The Dachshund, affectionately known as the “sausage dog” or “wiener dog,” is a beloved breed known for its long body, short legs, and spunky personality. Among the numerous coat colours and patterns the Dachshund breed presents, the dapple pattern stands out for its unique, spotted appearance. This article delves into the details of the dapple Dachshund, exploring its genetic basis, possible health issues, and care needs.
What is a Dapple Dachshund?
A dapple Dachshund is characterised by a coat pattern that features spots or patches of lighter colour interspersed throughout the darker base colour of their coat. This pattern is due to a particular gene called the “merle” gene, which dilutes random sections of the coat to a lighter hue, giving the effect of a “mottled” or “ticked” pattern.
It’s important to note that “dapple” is a pattern, not a colour. Therefore, any colour of Dachshund can exhibit dappling. The most common is the black and tan dapple Dachshund, where the black base colour is interspersed with lighter tan spots. However, you can also find red, chocolate, blue, cream, and fawn (Isabella) dapples, among others.
Genetics of Dapple Dachshunds
The dapple pattern is due to the merle gene, which is dominant in nature. This means that only one parent needs to carry the gene to potentially produce dapple puppies. A Dachshund with one copy of the merle gene will show the dapple pattern, while a dog with no copies will not.
Breeding two dapple Dachshunds can result in puppies with two copies of the merle gene, known as “double dapples” or “double merles.” This is generally discouraged due to the significant health risks associated, primarily concerning vision and hearing.
Health Concerns of Dapple Dachshunds
Dapple Dachshunds, when bred responsibly, do not inherently have more health problems than non-dapple Dachshunds. However, as with all Dachshunds, they are prone to certain breed-specific health issues such as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), due to their long backs and short legs.
The concern arises when two dapple Dachshunds are bred together, potentially creating double dapple puppies. Double dapples can have a range of serious health problems, especially relating to their eyes and ears. They can be born with varying degrees of vision and hearing loss, including complete blindness or deafness. They may also have eye defects or missing eyes.
Recognizing a Dapple Dachshund
Recognizing a dapple Dachshund is relatively straightforward due to their distinct coat pattern. Look for lighter patches or spots distributed across a darker base coat. However, it’s important to remember that the amount of dappling can vary significantly. Some dapples may have a single spot, while others may appear almost entirely light with their base colour barely visible.
In some cases, the dappling might be very subtle or only present in a small area, making it harder to identify. Therefore, if you’re purchasing a dapple Dachshund, it’s essential to see certification of the dog’s genetics or at least meet one dapple parent.