Colour and Health

Do not be misled by adverts offering “Rare Coloured Dachshunds” such as Double Dapple, Piebald, Blue or Isabella. These colours are not acceptable and there are serious health risks associated with the Double Dapple pattern. You cannot be certain what risks to the health of puppies have been taken by breeders who claim to be breeding “Rare Colours”, or the accuracy of their pedigrees. You should also avoid buying from breeders who advertise “All Colours Available”; this is a clear sign of a commercial breeder.

Reputable breeders will not claim the colours of their Dachshunds are “rare”, nor will they be charging inflated prices depending on the dog's colour. They will be breeding in accordance with the Breed Standard and their primary concern will be for the health and welfare of the puppies they produce. Generally, anyone telling you a puppy has a rare colour either doesn’t know what they are talking about, or they are a commercial breeder. The Breed Standard states that, apart from the dapple pattern which is expressed as lighter coloured areas contrasting with the darker base and neither the light nor the dark colour should predominate, there should be no white on a Dachshund’s coat, except perhaps a small patch on its chest and even this is undesirable.

What is Dapple?

Dapple in Dachshunds is the same in appearance, and genetically, as the “merle” found in Collies, Australian Shepherds and some other breeds. Strictly speaking, it is a pattern, rather than a colour.

It appears like a slashing or swirling of paint over all normal Dachshund colours. Some dappling is very bright and noticeable. Other dogs have so little of the dapple pattern that it is not easily seen. You will recognise a dapple Dachshund most easily when it is on one of these base colours:- Black & Tan (known as Silver Dapple), Red or Chocolate & Tan. One parent must be dapple to produce dapple puppies. It is not always easy to tell that a new-born puppy is Dapple, particularly in Reds. Read "Double Trouble: Can you spot the Dapple?"

What is Double Dapple?

Double Dapple is the colour of a dog that is the result of mating two Dapple Dachshunds together. Double Dapple puppies will always have white markings, many in the same pattern that you would associate with a collie-type dog (band around the neck, white on paws, nose, and tail tip). A Double Dapple Dachshund often has blue eyes, but may have one or both dark eyes.

The Kennel Club will not register puppies bred from two Dapple parents.

Double Dapple Health Risks

There are lethal genes commonly associated with Double Dapple. The problems associated with the lethal genes in Double Dapples are varying degrees of vision and hearing loss, including missing eyes or “micro eyes”. Blindness and/or deafness can be caused by the Double Dapple gene combination.

Remember that single Dapple Dachshunds do not have these lethal health problems.

Read our Double Dapple Fact-sheet which has advice for breeders and buyers.

Dapple vs. Piebald

Dapple and Piebald are caused by two totally different genes. Dapple is Dominant. One parent must be dapple in order to produce dapple puppies. Piebald is Recessive. Both parents must show or carry Piebald in order to produce a Piebald puppy. Being recessive, if both parents are Piebald, all the puppies would be Piebald (just like with Chocolate).
  There is far less documented evidence that Piebald carries health risks in the way that Double Dapple does.  However, it is reported that increasing amounts of white in the coat increase the likelihood of deafness and the most common cause of congenital deafness in dogs is pigment related.

The difficulty comes when a dog has both Dapple and Piebald genes. You would have to be very careful not to mate two of these together, otherwise you risk the health issues associated with Double Dapple offspring.

Here's a link to a presentation from our 2012 Breed Conference which discusses the genetics of Dachshund coats and colours.

Other Colours and Health Risks

The genetically dilute colours – Blue and Isabella – also have potential health issues (e.g. colour dilution alopecia) and are not favoured in the show ring in the UK today. Double-Dapple has now been excluded from the Breed Standard on health grounds, and the dilute colours Blue and Isabella are described as highly undesirable.

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