What is a Dapple?
Dapple is a pattern seen in Dachshunds. It is commonly referred to as
"Merle" in other breeds of dogs (Collie, Sheltie, Great Dane, Australian
It is important to understand that dapple is NOT a color, it is a pattern.
Dappling can be compared to painting a room in your house. Say you
paint the room green. Before the paint is allowed to dry, you dip a
sponge in white paint and then dab the walls with the sponge. For each
spot that the sponge touches, you will have a lighter green marbling affect
that results from the green and white paint blending together. Dapple
works in precisely the same fashion. The dappling can occur on any
color. A dappled black & tan Dachshund would leave a black base with a
gray marbling affect. A dappled red Dachshund would result in a pinkish
marbling affect. A dappled chocolate & tan Dachshund would create a
cream marbling effect.
Precisely where the dappling chooses to occur is anyone's guess. In one
litter of puppies, you can have puppies that are dappled from nose to tail
or you can have puppies with nothing more than a dapple splotch on the
top of the head. A well dappled puppy can go on to produce lightly
dappled puppies, just as a lightly dappled puppy has an equal chance of
producing heavily dappled puppies. There is never rhyme nor reason to
how the dapple chooses to act on a puppy. There are responsible
breeders who have worked to understand the gene and how it works.
They've also put much into their program to produce healthy dogs, but,
these breeders are far and few between. Puppy mills, pet shops and
sadly, the Internet have capitalized on unsuspecting people and
jeopardized many healthy dogs.
Breeding dapple to dapple can produce Double Dapples and they
can have very serious genetic issues that can cause puppies to be
born without eyes, deafness and other body abnormalities. Double
Dapples are not accepted by the Kennel Club UK or USA Clubs.
Sadly, quite a few breeders in the U.S.A do breed DOUBLE
DAPPLES. Currently in the UK this doesn't happen with
responsible KC breeders. The reason breeders risk trying to breed
a Double Dapple is that they will eventually get a normal perfectly
healthy dog and that dog will look truly stunning (see picture
below) with additional white patches over the normal single dapple.
Double dapples can be bred by mating two dapples - the pups
from that mating will be normal colors, single dapple and double
dapple. If two double dapples are bred together then all the pups
will be double dapples.
Double dapples can be identified by patches of WHITE in addition
to normal dapple markings.
The big plus for double dapple breeders is a double dapple will
always produce all dapple litters NO MATTER WHAT COLOR THE
OTHER DOG IS so essentially this issue is more about disreputable
breeders being greedy given dapples normally fetch more money
than base colors and those who are prepared to maim a few dogs
for the sake of pretty colors. We do not under any circumstance
breed double dapples nor do we encourage anyone else to do so.
Sadly, the image to the left
shows what can happen
when breeding 2 dapples
together. Is it worth it?
Black & tan double dapple,
also incorrectly called silver
Chocolate & tan dapple, with
blue eyes smooth coat
Isabella & tan dapple smooth
Photo courtesy of
Red dapple with blue eyes,
Black & tan dapple, smooth
The black & tan dapple is
also known as, even if
incorrect as the silver dapple.
Blue & tan dapple smooth
Photo courtesy of
Not all dapples are born with blue eyes, but all blue eyed dachshunds are
dapples and may also have piebald and the brindle pattern.
It is only a myth that dachshunds with blue eyes are deaf or blind. They
are a perfectly normal dog, with light colored eyes.