Learn The Facts
No! Albinism is an entirely different condition. Albino dogs tend to be completely pure white with pink eyes and pale skin. You can learn more about albinism in dogs here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question to ask?
If there's a specific question you'd like to ask, or if you are a double merle owner that is frequently asked a question, you may submit it here for consideration!
Are they albino?
How do you know your dog is deaf?
The only true way to determine your dog is deaf is through BAER testing. This is done by a veterinary specialist. Most owners pick up quickly on the fact their dog is deaf just by a lack of response. A quick "at home" test can be done, but isn't definitive in any way. If you believe your dog is deaf, leave the room once they are fast asleep. Stand in a different room and scream or bang pans together. If your dog wakes up, it's more likely it can hear. Make sure you aren't close to your dog or it may feel the vibrations.
Of course they bark, and it is loud and normal. Just because they are deaf, doesn't mean they are mute. Most owners agree that their deaf or blind dog barks much louder than other dogs!
Do they bark?
How do you train them?
The type of training you do will vary depending on the impairments your dog is faced with. If you have a deaf dog, you can communicate through signs. Some people will learn American Sign Language and others make up their own signs. There is no right or wrong as long as you are consistent. If your dog is blind, you can still use your verbal commands. You may also accompany touch signals. If your dog is both deaf and blind you will want to train with solely tactile, or touch commands. For example, a touch on the side can be a cue for the dog to sit.
Blue eyes themselves are not linked to blindness. Many double merles do have blue eyes, but certainly not all of them.
Is your dog blind because it has blue eyes?
Any dog has the potential to startle if woken abruptly. This isn't more so with a deaf or blind dog. It's important to condition your blind/deaf dog to be woken up so that they have a positive association with the interaction.
Do they startle easily?
This is a complicated question that doesn't have a strictly yes or no answer. Generally speaking, there is no known link between a dog being a double merle, and it inheriting other issues. Double merles most often come from breeders who don't put much thought in to what genetic combinations they are putting together, and they most often aren't breeding for health. Because of this, there are a lot of cases of double merles with other issues like epilepsy, and allergies. This isn't the case for every dog, however.
Are double merles more prone to other health problems?
"Lethal white," right?
Double merles are often called, "lethal whites," but this is actually an incorrect term. Lethal white syndrome is a condition that occurs in paint horses. A foal is born white with blue eyes (no pigment anywhere on the body), and with an incomplete digestive tract. This results in death shortly after birth, and is 100% fatal to the foal. This is not the case with double merles, and calling them "lethal whites" can be quite misleading. It is rumored that the term became associated with double merles because many breeders kill these puppies at birth because they pose an undesirable representation of their breed.