So you’re walking along your usual route to work. You suddenly see a little Corgi, jumping up and down on its leash, trying to run about on its famous tiny legs.
But when you manage to look beyond the cuteness, you notice something strange.
This isn’t your usual Corgi. This dog has a brand new coat on it! Well, the reason behind this is, you just saw a Blue Merle Corgi.
So is this just a corgi with some colorful spots on the coat?
Well, yes… and no, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
See, there are two kinds of Corgis – the Cardigan and the Pembroke. The second one is the more famous brother, with its light brown and white coat. Them having representatives in the Royal British Family doesn’t hurt the reputation either. But even if the Cardigan Corgi doesn’t have the word royalty on its CV, it’s royal in its own right.
The plan we have here is to give you all the corgi knowledge we can gather. So what are the differences, and what exactly does Blue Merle mean? Let’s find out.
The History Of The Blue Merle Corgi
Corgis have been with us for a long, long time. It is generally believed that the Celts brought them over during their migrations over 3000 years ago. The Cardigan Corgi was the first kind that was brought, and from it, we got the Pembroke. The name can pretty much confirm this version of its origin, considering that the Celtic word for “dog” is “Kergi.”
But let’s talk about the Cardigan. While many people say that the name comes from the long tail that looks like a cardigan sleeve, it has a different meaning.
The Celts brought Corgis to a specific part of Wales – Cardiganshire. Cardiganshire is a historic county of Wales that was located in what is now Ceredigion. But, we refuse to let the sleeve-tail story die. If you want to keep telling it to people, we sure won’t be stopping you.
The Cardigan Corgi comes in many different colors (the shape and size are constants): brindle, red, black, and the one we’re focusing on – The Blue Merle. This specific color is no random accident, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
The Corgi is famously a loyal worker. Sure, you may think that they’re a family pet that’s great for small children to play with. While that is true, the Corgi has been used as a herding dog, a guard dog, and a hunting partner for centuries. The majority of them changed their line of work, sure, but they still have it in them.
During the medieval ages, Corgis were used exclusively for all these things, and there are some researches that claim them to be the oldest dog breed in Britain. It all makes sense when you think about it. The famous short legs help with herds, as they help the Corgi not get hit by sheep or other livestock that they may be guiding.
These legs work well during hunting as they are closer to the ground, which means that their noses pick up smells easier. The work doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. During the night, they were used as excellent guard dogs. All in all, the working dog reputation they have in Wales is well earned.
Now the Corgi didn’t change that much during all these years. How the general public looks at dogs in general, did.
Today, the Corgi Is a loveable part of many families. The Blue Merle Corgi, on the other hand, is not so frequent. Because of this, it’s unique. No matter which Corgi you get, you can be sure that your new family member will be smart, playful, and however much love you give it, it will give back!
The Merle Gene: Can Corgis Be Merle?
So what’s so special about the Blue Merle Corgi? Well, first of all, they look quite different from the other Cardigan Corgis. Cardigans are usually multi-colored – the color spectrum on this particular breed gets a bit wider because of the Merle gene.
What Is The Merle Gene?
Any dog with mottled patches all over its coat, strange colored eyes, or even patchy colorful skin – has the Merle Gene. This genetic trait affects the overall skin, fur, and even visions of any dog that has it.
This strange occurrence can happen in any dog breed. The most famous Merle breeds are the Australian Shepard and the Catahoula Leopard Dog. For instance, these two don’t have the word Merle in their name because it’s a given. But the Blue Merle Corgi’s name goes into more details. So why is this?
Well, the first reason is that the Merle Gene isn’t so common amongst Corgis. But if we go deeper into analyzing the name, we’ll run into the word Blue. But the chances of you running into a blue Corgi are zero. There are two general types of these beautiful coats: Liver and Blue Merle. Liver Merle is the combination of brown and black, while Blue means that blue hairs from in the patches just get mixed up with all the other colors.
The Coats are just the beginning of the story. The Merle Gene can affect the eyes as well, but in a more complex way than you think. Sure, some Corgis can have regular (but still striking) blue eyes. Others can have only one eye affected by the gene, and if you think that’s weird, some get only parts of one eye affected! This kind of means that each Blue Merle Corgi is a unique, strange model of an already beautiful dog. But unfortunately, this beauty has its side effects.
Health Problems That Come With The Gene
All those things that make this Corgi breed unique, unfortunately, have a price. The Merle Gene can cause some severe side effects. The most common parts that suffer are the eyes and ears. The more serious problems usually come with dogs whose both parents carry the gene. For this reason, Merle to Merle breeding is forbidden in some dog breeds. Let’s take a closer look at what this means for our precious Corgis.
Double Merle dogs, which means that both parents carried the gene, are usually easily recognized. They can have blue eyes, and their coat can even become all-white. Unfortunately, one of the ways that you can spot these dogs is if they seem to have smaller than normal eyes. This condition is called microphthalmia. It can cause increased ocular pressure, and in more serious cases, the dogs can even go completely blind.
These extremes are not usually found in the Blue Merle Corgi, as is it rare for them to carry such strong Merle Gene. They are very rarely Double Merle dogs, but it still is a concern that should be noted.
The other serious issue that can happen with Double Merle dogs is – hearing problems. And let’s get something straight, we’re not talking about dogs that don’t hear 100%, and that’s it. The issues are much more significant.
Several studies have shown that around 50% of Double Merle dogs go completely deaf within the first couple of years of their life. Some even sooner than that. In comparison, the dogs that had only one Merle parent had no hearing problems whatsoever.
These two main problems are the reason that many national kennel clubs refuse to register double Merle dogs. The logic that is used is that if the Kennel clubs refuse the register them, maybe people will stop breeding them like this. Luckily these breeding practices are not common with corgis, but they exist – and that’s a problem.
Sure, the kennel clubs won’t register them, which means that these poor dogs’ prices will go down. Money is the ultimate goal for breeders who purposely breed double Merle dogs, so there is hope for this to stop.
These are still dogs, even if they suffer from these health risks, and they need to be taken care of. Blind or deaf, these dogs can live a perfectly normal life with a loving family!
Health, Exercise, And Temperament
Let’s get back to the dog at hand – the Blue Merle Corgi!
Corgis are generally healthy dogs that are active, happy, and full of love. We highlighted a couple of things concerning their energy levels, their temperament, and general health.
We already mentioned the worker’s reputation that Cardigan Cordis have, which gets translated into their daily lives very often. These are energetic dogs that can follow and guide a herd for quite a long way. So you can imagine that a simple walk won’t do the trick with them!
A Cardigan Corgi is a worker, unlike the Pembroke – it’s in their blood. And even though they seem like a perfect fit for your family, they need exercise. They won’t ever admit it, but all those years working don’t just go away. Still to this day, Cardigans usually end up in homes that have at least horses. The farmers appreciate their assistance; we guarantee it.
But if you don’t own a farm or a horse stable – don’t sweat it! As long as you make sure that your Cardigan gets enough exercise, you’ll be fine. They won’t mind switching to a family lifestyle, and in fact, they love it. There are a couple of things that we have to mention considering their history and how much of it is still shown in their temperament.
Cardigans can be loveable family dogs if you need them to be that. But there are differences when they are compared to a Pembroke Corgi. See, Pembrokes were never asked to guide a herd or look after the village. This means that the Cardigan doesn’t get scared easily and that if needed, he will try to protect you and your family.
The trouble starts when they get possessive and when they are exposed to unknown dogs or people. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you should expect some barking you plan on meeting a friend for a doggy play-date.
Being left alone is also not something that this breed likes very much. These dogs are used to the company, and if you take that away – you may end up with an anxious and destructive dog. As long as you keep them by your side, you won’t be able to take the grin off their faces.
We mentioned the health risks that come with the Merle Gene that the Blue Merle Corgi has, but don’t worry! These dogs are usually healthy, just like all other Corgis. They pretty much maintain themselves. They don’t get sick easily, and they have a long life span.
As long as owners get regular checkups, they’ll have a happy and energized little rascal on their hands!
Feeding the Blue Merle is also quite an easy task. Those short legs and little bodies are, after all, the reason that farmers loved to have them! These little workers eat a small amount of food and require minimal maintenance. Talk about a perfect farmer!
The Blue Merle Corgi is a beautiful, fun, and lovable dog. Sure, health risks are connected to the already mentioned beauty, but the numbers for those cases are luckily on the lower side. Like all Cardigans, this is a true family that will keep you and your loved ones feeling loved for a long, long time.
In the beginning, we said that the Cardigan doesn’t have connections in the Royal family as the Pembroke does – but that it’s royal in its own right. Well, we stand by that. The history of this little worker alone deserves our attention. So we hope that we’ve convinced you, and even though we love the Queen’s little Corgis, the Cardigan holds a special place in our hearts. Blue Merles especially.
And if nothing else, those blue eyes and spots make them seem like a beautiful jewel that the other dogs could only dream about! That’s enough for us.