Beagles come in many different hound colors.  The typical hound colors are of the colors of the Foxhound colors.  In the last 12-24 months, I have received pictures from owners and prospective owners of a new color of beagles that has never been known to exist.  This new color is being termed "Norwegian blue" or "Russian blue".  Neither of these colors are a recognized option for a beagle.  merleThey are actually an incorrect description of what appears to be a dapple colored Beagle.  The dapple gene or "merle" gene has never been known or documented to exist in the Beagle color genetic pattern.  All of the genetic references do not list this color pattern as being one identified in the Beagle breed.  This color pattern seems to be mostly located in northern and southern California.  Numerous reports have come from the San Francisco Bay area.

The "blue" color pattern does exist in beagles.  But is actually a recessive gene being expressed as they dilution of the black gene.  Blue beagles will have lighter colored eyes, a dark slate colored nose and a lighter color to their tan markings.  The pictures I have been sent of these blue beagles show, a beagle with dark eyes, black noses and darkdappleadults pigment.  The reports I have received state that these beagles are being registered as blue, tan and white.  This is an incorrect color registration as they are not blues, but actually merles.  The ads and report from owners have stated that these beagles are AKC registered.  When I asked for specific pedigree information and AKC numbers to initiate a genetic study of their backgrounds; I have not received valid AKC information that could be verified by AKC.merle

One owner, specifically said that these beagles were rare, and from Norway.  This owner implied that unless I was familiar with the Norwegian beagles;  I would not have adequate information concerning this new color.  I did contact breeders internationally as well as judges that Judge in Europe.  None had ever seen or ever heard of a Norwegian blue.  That includes a Norwegian breeder of over 20 years experience.  Her comment upon seeing pictures of this color of beagle was that it had to be a mixed breed and that pattern did not exist in Norway.  There is a totally separate breed that is recognized in Norway that is named, the Norwegian Dunker that does have a dapple marking.  This breed is very rare and is thought to have been developed by crossing with another breed. This is a separate breed, not a beagle and is not recognized by AKC.face

I would like to acquire specific information and registration information concerning one of these new color of beagles that could be verified with AKC.  Until this information is available,  it is a assumed that these beagles do have some other breed in them, possibly two to three generations back that introduced this new color pattern.  It could have been totally accidental, or it could been done on purpose, that is the unknown factor.  The bottom line is that you should not spend large amounts of money for this new rare color beagle as it is probably actually a mix breed.  Many ads have stated that they are AKC registered, but some prospective owners were not given actual litter registration papers but were told that the papers were on their way to or from AKC.  Names of sire and dam and registration numbers were obtained, but AKC did not have any litter registration being processed for those animals.  If anyone reading this does have an AKC registered Beagle that has this color pattern, I would love to get a copy of the AKC registration papers.  I am open to finding out that this color has "appeared" in AKC beagles and maybe is a fluke mutation or is some long lost color pattern that did exist many many generations ago.  But since the "merle" gene is dominant it does not seem likely it has remained hidden for so long.

One concern about this new merle pattern existing in beagles is that it is a dominant pattern, which means one of the parents has to have a merle pattern.
You cannot breed two tri color beagles and get a dapple. When you have a doubling of this merle gene there are a number of significant health problems associated with it. Specifically, deafness, blindness and death.   So breeding two merle's can actually express major health problems.

For more information on acceptable colors in beagles, please visit the National Beagle Club web site.