The Merle Goldendoodle Guide – Why They’re So Special

Merle dogs are great designer dogs. 

To produce a merle Goldendoodle, one can breed a Merle Poodle and a Golden Retriever or a Goldendoodle and a Merle Poodle. 

So, merle is not a recessive trait, which means only one parent has to have the recessive trait. 

This parent is usually the Poodle. 

Merle Goldendoodles are fabulous, unique, and just overall fantastic dogs.  

Owners who choose to have Merle Goldendoodles are people who want something very specific. They want unique, friendly, easy-going, and very well-behaved life companions. 

You will probably want to skip this part, so let’s dive right in and get information about this wonderful pooch. 

Let’s have a deeper and simplified look at everything you need to know about Merle Goldendoodles: 

Other Names 
Weight 15-27 Pounds 
Height11-24 inches 
Lifespan 10-15 years 
Colors Blue, chocolate, red, phantom, and parti
Health 6/10
Grooming Needs8/10
Exercise Needs8/10
Shedding 9/10
Kid Friendliness 10/10
Pet-friendliness 10/10
Protectiveness 6/10
Good for apartments Yes
Average puppy cost 2000-3500 USD 

The Merle Goldendoodle Characteristics 

merle goldendoodle

Size: 11-24 inches

Weight: 15-27 pounds 

Colors: blue and chocolate, red, phantom, and parti.

Coat Type: double-coated, straight, wavy, and curly 

Merle Goldendoodles come in many sizes. Specifically, they range from 11 to 24 inches and weigh from 15 to 27 pounds. 

Merle Goldendoodles are either standard, medium, mini, or toy-sized. 

You can choose the size according to your preference and how big your living situation is. 

However, even standard-sized dogs are significantly medium-sized dogs. 

Like all Goldendoodles, their coats can either be curly, wavy, or straight. They also have a double coat that is very thick and rich in hair. 

This also means their coats are prone to matting. This means you will need to pay some attention to make sure this doesn’t happen, and you can learn how to prevent your Goldendoodle from matting here

Their colors may vary from blue, chocolate, red, phantom, and parti.  

In general, their appearance is mostly very easy on the eyes. The merle is like a marbled pattern.  

They are also very easy to maintain and are best for people with allergies, as the curly and wavy coats are mostly hypoallergenic

Parent Breeds

Merle Goldendoodles can be made in a variety of ways. 

A Golden Retriever can be crossed with a Merle Poodle or with Goldendoodles. The result is a perfect Merle Goldendoodle. 

Merle Poodle 

Merle Poodles are recognized by the Americal Kennel Club (AKC). 

Merle is a pattern that looks similar to a leopard. Like Merle Goldendoodles, the Merle Poodle comes in many sizes, such as standard, toy, and miniature. 

Merle Poodles can also have blue eyes that make them look even more gorgeous. 

Not only do they look beautiful, but they are also calm, gentle, and affectionate canines that love to live with families. 

Black Merle Poodles are also known to be very intelligent. 

Poodles are not specifically energetic dogs, but they do need a minimum of an hour of exercise daily. 

Their beautiful curly coats also need medium to high maintenance. They need to visit a groomer every 6 to 8 weeks. 

They also need daily brushing and need to be bathed approximately once a month. 

Golden Retriever 

Golden Retrievers almost don’t need an introduction because of how popular they are. 

They are great family pets and service dogs. Goldens have a very friendly and tolerant attitude. No wonder they are such great guide dogs! 

Golden Retrievers are also great with kids; they love to play with them. 

If you have a Golden Retriever at home, they will probably grow old with your kid because of their loyalty. 

When you take your Golden Retriever for a walk, you will find them socializing with other pets and people. 

Unlike Poodles, Golden Retrievers are straight-haired and shed a lot. You can learn how much they shed and how to manage it better here. 

Golden Retrievers have only a few color possibilities, and you may only choose from golden tones.

Golden Retrievers are known for their intelligence. No wonder Goldendoodles are so smart. 

Unlike the a-bit-aloof nature of a Poodle, the Golden Retriever is very friendly and loves to spend time with their parents, friends, and other partner animals. 


So, at this point, you are probably wondering what to expect from your newly added family member or soon to be newly added family member. 

Let me tell you something; if you have sought after a Merle Goldendoodle, you are a very specific and unique person. 

So, will your merle Goldendoodle be; special and unique. 

They are also very calm, flexible, well-behaved, friendly, and playful canines. 

Like all Goldendoodles, the merle Goldendoodle is friendly to everyone and anyone. They are very people-oriented dogs. 

They appreciate the attention and love they may receive, especially from their family members. 

Their friendliness, however, is not always a good thing. For instance, if a stranger with ill intentions is around, your Merle Goldendoodle will not perceive them as a threat. 

All strangers need to do at this point is be friendly to these gorgeous dogs, which isn’t a hard task, if you ask me. 

So, I wouldn’t recommend them as guard dogs. 

However, I would recommend them as amazing family pets that just want to have fun. 

Luckily, if you want some quiet time or just act lazy around a bit, your Merle Goldendoodle can do that. 

Their cheerful demeanor, loving attitude, gentle personality, and trustworthiness makes them great family companions. 

They are also highly trainable and are very easy-going which makes them great for people with disabilities. 

Health and lifespan 

Goldendoodles generally are very healthy dogs. Unfortunately, Merle Goldendoodles aren’t that healthy. 

Merle Goldendoodles have higher chances of inherited disabilities. 

Let me tell you what to look out for 


Merle Goldendoodles are prone to bloating. 

Bloating is when your Merle Goldendoodle’s stomach fills with air and flips. 

This is a serious condition that can result in death so it is not to be underestimated. 

The consequence is your doggo unable to breathe. 

Its medical terminology is Gastric Dilation-Volvulus, abbreviated as GDV. 

When you notice your poor four-legged best friend having difficulties breathing, you should not wait. 

Take them to the vet immediately. 

Hearing impairment 

Unfortunately, the merle gene and hearing impairment are often correlated. 

This health issue can be noticed in all merle dogs, not just Goldendoodles. 

Statistics prove that 4.6% of all merles are unilaterally deaf, whereas another 4.6% are bilaterally deaf. 

By unilaterally, I mean they are only partially deaf, and by bilaterally, I mean they are completely deaf. 

Unfortunately, there are few known effective preventative actions for this disease. 

Merle Goldendoodles are often born with it. 

Remember, even if your Goldendoodle is deaf, they deserve to be loved and cared for. 

Color dilution alopecia 

The medical term sounds too complicated. Allow me to simplify it for you. 

First of all, don’t beat yourself up too much over it; you did nothing wrong.  Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA) is a recessively inherited skin condition.

It is basically when your dog starts losing fur, and bald patches start to appear on their coat. 

You might also notice their skin being itchy or flaky. This may show itself as dandruff, and dandruff in dogs looks exactly like it does in humans, and you should be able to notice it easily as you’re brushing them.

I know, that beautiful coat is going through so much. 

However, I have some good news. Your little Merle Goldendoodle’s health and life are not at risk, just her appearance. 

I think that’s something to be thankful for. 

Unfortunately, you can’t cure Color Dilution Alopecia, but you can manage it with the right nutrition, supplements, and shampoo. 

I recommend you pay your veterinarian a visit. 


Some Merle Goldendoodles are born blind. 

They can either be born with dysfunctional or missing eyes. 

Unfortunately, even those born with a set of functioning eyes might lose it eventually. 

This is the case mostly for blue-eyed Merle Goldendoodles. This, however, is not exclusive to Goldendoodles, and you can check out my guide to why blue-eyed dogs go blind here, where I explain the reasons and distinguish facts from myths. 

The merle gene is held responsible in this aspect, as it leads to developmental defects in the iris. 

Crushing’s disease 

Crushing’s disease is, simply put, a hormonal disorder caused by a tumor in the pituitary glands. 

You can notice your dog developing crushing’s disease if they drink water and go to the bathroom (urinating) more than usual. 

In the advanced stages of the disease, merle Goldendoodles start to lose muscles, gain weight, develop skin conditions, and get sick more frequently because of their compromised immune system. 

I know it sounds horrifying. But luckily, it could be treated, and your veterinarian should discuss the treatment with you. 

I have to warn you, though, that treatments for crushing’s disease are expensive. But, I believe your Goldendoodle is worth it if you can make it work. After all, the disease is crushing. 

By this point, I have concluded all the possible health issues your merle Goldendoodle may be prone to. 

Overall, Merle Goldendoodles are somewhat healthy dogs; the percentages for these diseases are mostly not high. 

If your Merle Goldendoodle is healthy, they should live with you for 10 to 15 beautiful and joyful years. 

I’m pretty sure they will be a joy to live with. 

Nutritional Needs 

With having a doggo at home come great joy, love, affection, care, and loyalty. 

That being said, there is a lot of responsibility in the equation too. 

If you have a dog at home, you should be very well informed about the nutrients that would help them blossom and grow into the beautiful dogs they are. 

If you neglect your dog and forget to feed them, they will eventually be very unhealthy dogs. 

Neglect can sometimes turn into aggression too. 

It is especially important to focus on nutrition when your dog is still a puppy. 

Like all Goldendoodles, Merle Goldendoodle puppies need higher quantities of food than adult Goldendoodles. 

You should feed your puppy 2-3 cups of food every day. It is better if you divide the quantity to several meals per day. 

Let’s say you should feed your merle Goldendoodle puppy 3 times a day. 

When choosing what to feed your dog, you should consider adding a protein-rich diet, a lot of fibrous carbs, and fatty acids. 

Fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 will improve your dog’s coat, making them less prone to skin diseases. 

You should also focus on finding good quality dry food too. 

When you feed them several times a day, you could also be preventing bloating, which merle Goldendoodles suffer from. 

Grooming Needs & Shedding

Merle Goldendoodle are non-shedding, like most Goldendoodles. 

Their coat is usually curly or wavy, which makes it hypoallergenic. Keep in mind that different generations of Goldendoodles shed differently, and you can learn about how much each generation of Goldendoodle sheds here where I also explain what you should look for as someone with allergies.

They also produce less dander and drool minimally, which means they are perfect for people with allergies. 

However, if your Merle Goldendoodle is straight-haired, they will probably shed. 

Merle Goldendoodles are medium to high maintenance when it comes to grooming because of their coat. 

You need to regularly groom them in order to avoid loose fur and matting. 

You need to give them haircuts, bathe them, clip their nails, brush their coats, and clean their ears and teeth. 

Basically like every other dog. 

Some dog owners prefer to do all the grooming at home by themselves; some prefer to go to professionals. 

Both are fine. 

Either way, here’s how often you should groom your dog. 

You should brush your dog’s coat as often as twice a week if your merle Goldendoodle is straight-haired (very rare) and daily for wavy or curly-coated Merle Goldendoodles. 

If your Merle Goldendoodle is straight-haired, then consider bathing them every 2 months, and once a month if they are curly or wavy-haired. 

Their ears should be cleaned weekly, like all floppy-eared dogs. 

Like humans, dogs need their teeth brushed. So, ideally, you should clean your dog’s teeth every day or every other day. 

Consider paying your veterinarian a visit to trim your dog’s nails once a month. 

Exercise Needs 

Merle Goldendoodles are generally not demanding dogs, but like all dogs, they still need to exercise and they need to do it every day consistently to stay happy and healthy.

They need an hour to two hours of physical activity every day, like all other Goldendoodles. 

You can divide the time of exercise to 2 or 3 times a day. 

You can also play with your Goldendoodle, which can count as time for exercise and quality time at the same time. 

They love to play and enjoy their time with their family members. 

Luckily, when your Goldendoodle ages, they won’t need to run around as much. Playing will be more than enough. 

You will not have to run after them or chase them in the park. 

However, as they grow older, it is essential to make sure they exercise to prevent health issues.

Here are some games that your Merle Goldendoodle will love: hide and seek, fetch, tug of war, and some fun wrestling. 

Your Merle Goldendoodle will love to play with your kids all day, making them both leave you alone.


Don’t mistake your Merle Goldendoodle’s well-behaved nature for their lack of need to get trained. 

Basic training is still necessary. 

From puppyhood, you should start training and socializing your dog. 

Your Merle Goldendoodle will have no problem learning new things with the right technique, gentleness, patience, love, and acceptance. 

Merle Goldendoodles are intelligent dogs; they learn quickly and easily. 

They also respond to positive reinforcement, so consider giving them a treat or encouraging them when they doing something plausible. 

Remember that you shouldn’t yell at them or punish them, as they would not be helpful. 

It is better to start socializing and training your dog when they are less than one year old. 

As Family Dogs 

Merle Goldendoodles are great family dogs; they are people-oriented and welcome attention. 

They are also affectionate towards humans and other animals and will happily exist in their presence. 

Their gentle nature is what makes them great family pets, which ultimately makes your life easier. 

Merle Goldendoodles are great with children, as they have the energy to match your childrens’ playful nature. 

Unlike other Goldendoodles, Merle Goldendoodles don’t get separation anxiety easily. 

You can leave them at home for a while, while you finish your work or errands.

Luckily, you won’t find your house a mess when you get back. 

If you are dead set on getting a Goldendoodle, you should definitely take a few minutes to check out my guide to everything you need to know before getting a Goldendoodle here so you are as ready as you can to welcome them to your home. 

As Guard Dogs 

Some dog breeds stand out as being extremely watchful watchdogs and/or taking their guard dog abilities to the next level by actually protecting their owners or homes physically.

Merle Goldendoodles do not stand out in that area; Merle Goldendoodles don’t have guard dog capabilities.

Friendliness is one of the most important Merle Goldendoodle characteristics. 

This means that they would welcome strangers who play with them and give them attention. 

Of course, that doesn’t make them good guard dogs.

However, they are quite smart, which means they might find a way to warn you if there’s any stranger danger. 

Where to find them? 

Finding a merle Goldendoodle may not be an easy task because of the controversy around breeding them. 

The controversy happens because of the health issues that come with the merle gene. 

If you want to adopt a dog, you might want to check your local shelter first. Chances are you will find a merle Goldendoodle there, maybe a blind or a deaf one. 

If you can take such responsibility, you will feel a great sense of reward. 

All About the Merle Goldendoodle in a nutshell 

Merle Goldendoodles are excellent dogs. They are bred from a Golden Retriever and a Merle Poodle. The Merle gene usually has a lot of health issues, the most common of which are blindness and deafness. Their weight ranges from 15 to 27 pounds, and their height is from 11 to 24 inches. They are energetic and friendly dogs, who love to live with families, 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the rarest color of Goldendoodle? 

Black is the rarest color in Goldendoodles, mainly because both parents (Golden Retriever and Poodle) have to carry the black recessive gene. This makes it a very low-possibility color to occur. Black Goldendoodles are gorgeous.  

How do you get a Merle doodle? 

One gets a Merle doodle when they breed a Merle Poodle with a Golden Retriever. The merle gene often exists in Poodles and can be passed down to their children. Only one parent has to have the merle gene for it to be passed down to their children. 

What is the most desirable Goldendoodle? 

F1 and F1B Goldendoodles are the most desirable Goldendoodles. They are relatively easy to predict, and they are very consistent. Dog owners want to know what to expect, which is why they want the safest options. 

Why are Merle doodles so expensive?   

Because the demand for them is high, breeders set the bar high. They are so expensive because dog owners are willing to pay that amount of money. The high demand makes them able to put the prices they want. The merle pattern is rare and unique. 

Helpful Resources

The Merle Gene – UC Davis

The Problem With Merle Coat Patterns in Dogs

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

If you liked the article, you can share it using the share and pin buttons at the end of the post. I’ll really appreciate it ♥️♥️

Recent Posts