Deaf + halfblind + cushings + heart murmur = Double Dapple

We took in a couple of double dapples from Oconee County a couple of weeks ago.  They had been turned in by their owner, and came with their breeding papers.What an adventure we are having.  (At least, I’m trying to look at it as an adventure, rather than a tragedy.)

One of the dogs, Blossom, had no apparent issues.

The other, Bree, has the full gamut of health issues associated with double dapples, which are the offspring of 2 dapple dogs.  (You can read more about what this means at this link.  ) The fact is, many puppies born “double dapple” are blind, deaf, both, or worse.  Breeders who create these puppies consider the destruction of those puppies as a cost of doing business.

Bree on the day he came to DREAM

Bree on the day he came to DREAM

The bottom line is that this pattern should NOT be recognized by the AKC, and should NOT be bred by anyone.  It is far too dangerous to the puppies.

I hope you’ll consider doing the following:

1.  contact the AKC and ask them to stop accepting double dapple registrations.

2.  not patronize any breeder who offers double dapples, even if you are not buying a double dapple yourself.  (You know, as a rescuer who deals with the downstream effects of the high population problems we have, I’d prefer you not patronize breeders at all, but if you must, at least do not finance this practice).

I don’t know if we will be able to help Bree.  Having him in the house is like having Helen Keller, so he needs a special foster home, and right now I don’t know who that is.  He can’t communicate with us, and we can’t communicate with him.  The other dogs running around scare him.  He picked one of the other dogs and constantly humps him in what I imagine is his only feeling of control.  He is frustrated and reactive, and cannot settle himself down.  He snatches at food, because he also can’t smell very well and he’s afraid he’s going to lose out when he finally does smell something yummy.  It’s like he’s having a 24/7 anxiety attack.  Then add the other health issues — cushing’s disease, heart murmur, undescended testicle (and we can’t neuter him yet because of all the other risks — ARGH!)

We have found a trainer who will work with Bree so he can learn sign language with the little sight that he has. I hope that will alleviate some of his anxiety.  He will go there in the next day or so.  His cushing’s medication is beginning to work.  He is having X-rays today to understand what is going on with his heart, and how dangerous it would be to neuter him.

We are trying to do right by this dog.  He loves people, he loves to be held in a lap.  His life is worth something.

Somewhere out there, a home awaits.   A quiet home without too much activity to startle him.  A patient person who will learn his sign language.  A soft bed for him to lie in next to his person.  Is that really too much to ask for a little deaf dog?

The world says yes, but we, at least for now, say no.  We will keep trying with him as long as we can.


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dreamdachshundrescue
    May 22, 2009 @ 17:03:48

    Bree is doing so much better! The wonderful guys at Frogs to Dogs training helped him tremendously. He is now in a foster home and doing great. We are still working on getting the Cushing’s disease and heart murmur under control.

    What a cuddler he is. He will make someone a great little companion.


  2. Kim Adams
    Jul 01, 2009 @ 13:49:28

    Hi! Wanted to let you know I adopted a rescued double dapple over a year ago. She is deaf but otherwise seems to be fine. She was passed over to a person at a Wal-mart from a teenager whose mother rescues collies and put out a call to a person who handles dachshunds. Initially she was very hyper and nervous. I have other dachshunds and at the time an older dog that was part lab (Sweet Pea). Between Sweet Pea and the one male dachshund — Butler — she was able to settle down and feel at home. She is guidely largely by her nose and tends to still be a bit hyper and getting into things. I have adjusted the whole environment to make it safe for her as I know she doesn’t know any better. She makes us laugh. She LOVES baths. (Apparently the young girl had bathed her alot and not “hearing” actually makes her less fearful.) I have taught her some sign language and tend to always pick her up to hug and “mouth” kisses onto her neck and face and top of her head so she can FEEL the love directly as opposed to my hearing dachshunds knowing by the love in my voice as well as hugs and kisses that I love all of them. God bless anyone who will “step outside the comfort” of the normal love and carry the love onto these special ones! Her name is Faith and she is quite gentle in her interactions with me. Best wishes for much success! Kim


    • dreamdachshundrescue
      Jul 01, 2009 @ 14:45:34

      Thanks so much for your comment, and especially for your opening your heart and home to your little double dapple! Faith sounds a lot like Bree. He too was very nervous and hyper at first, and he will probably always have some of that nervous energy, but it is amazing to see him now “out on the town.” He greets everyone he meets with a waggy tail and a big smile. He is very social and loves new people! His cushing’s medication seems to be working and he’s a lot healthier. He’s really a funny, quirky little guy with tons of personality. I hope he finds a home like your Faith’s soon.


  3. Tracey
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 21:59:46

    I am so glad to hear that Bree is doing better. And I hope he finds that special home. He reminds me a lot of our Helen. We adopted her when she was 8 weeks old. She is now 2 1/2 and she is a completely blind double dapple. She has added so much love to our family and now I can’t imagine life without her. She gets along fine, runs, fetches her toys, speaks for treats, swims, etc. She has 2 sighted sisters (peekapoo and maltipoo) and they helped so much with her acclimation to our home and office. We own our own business and they go to work with me every day. And we got a camper several years ago just so our dogs could travel with us. These special needs dogs are truly special and deserve all the love and attention that other “normal” dogs do.


  4. Stacy
    Jul 11, 2009 @ 08:40:41


    I just wanted to tell you that it is absolutely possible to have a happy deaf and blind dog! we adopted a senior dalmatian that was already blind in one eye, supposedly from an object. Turns out he had glaucoma, and we couldnt stop the other eye from going blind. He was older, yet did just great adapting. Some tips, up to you if you want to use them 🙂 Besides the usual stuff like not moving your furniture, teach your dog a lot of tactile signs. always communicate, tell him “stairs/steps” each and every time. tell him “dinner” every single night. everything. guide him through new places the first time, and then allow him to explore alone after that. when waking him up, gently put your hand up to his nose and let him wake up that way. Don’t pet him until he is awake. tap him on the shoulder indicating which way you want him to go instead of just pulling on the leash. My dog loved being the leader, walking ahead of me knowing that I would just tap on his left/right shoulder when he veered off course. Communication is key! “Talk” to him constantly. You’ll find his anxiety dropping at least some. With his cushing’s disease, the cortisol in his blood is a major cause of anxiety. But at least this way, he won’t jump up thinking there s a fire! Best of luck, and how lucky is he to have found you!


  5. Angioplasty
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 22:45:49

    My friend had a dog that was completely blind since she was a puppy. I’m not trying to sound like i’m making fun by any means, but the dog would intentionally run into objects so she would know what room she’s in. At least thats what we assumed. I loved that dog more than any other animal i’ve ever owned. Just because a dog has a handicap doesn’t mean you can’t love them.


  6. Ann
    Sep 13, 2009 @ 17:28:44

    My family and i already have one completely blind and deaf Double Dapple that we rescued. We named her Helen Keller and she is the sweetest dog. She is happy as can be and is unconditionally loved. Bree sounds precious and he has caught our attention. Can someone please tell me where Bree is currently located? Thankyou


    • dreamdachshundrescue
      Oct 13, 2009 @ 16:31:43

      HI all — thanks for your outpouring of love and support for Bree. He is still in his foster home in Decatur, Georgia. His heart improved enough that the vet felt comfortable neutering him, and that has helped him feel better too. (A neuter surgery takes only 7 minutes, so is pretty low risk for anesthesia-related complications.)
      A wonderful family is interested in adopting him. But we just found out that he has thyroid cancer. He is going to UGA Vet School’s oncologist tomorrow. We hope that it will be a simple tumor removal and he can go on his way to live out his life with a loving family. (How many families are willing to take a little sweetie with Cushing’s, heart murmur, stressful behaviors, and now cancer?) Hope you’ll follow us on twitter @DreamRescue — we tweet often about Bree. Wish us luck tomorrow.


  7. Dawn
    Jan 10, 2010 @ 01:07:36

    I have a double dapple dachshund named Stuart who will be 5 years old this month. He was born deaf and I have had him since he was 4 months old. I must say he is the best dog anyone can ever love. Even though he requires special attention and love, I would never replace him for any other dog!!! I aquired him through a breeder in the newspaper who was breeding dachshunds. When I arrived at the home Stuart caught my eye. I fell in love right away and felt like no one else would ever appreciate him the way I would. Blind, cross eyed, crooked tail, but he is beautiful to me and he knows he is loved and very much a part of our family. He sleeps with us and is never left home alone.


  8. Roger and Myrna
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 01:59:57

    This is a long overdue update on Bree. His UGA visit did take place on 10/14/09 and it was discovered that his thyroid cancer had metastasized to his lungs. The vets at UGA gave Bree a prognosis of 2 to 6 months to live. By now, my wife and I had fallen in love with Bree. We adopted Bree and picked him up on our anniversary on October 19th, 2009. We were aware that we may only have Bree for a short time, but we were determined to make him a part of our family for whatever time he had left. That was the right decision. Having Bree as a part of our family was a special blessing and we enjoyed every day we had with him. With very sad hearts, we were forced to have Bree put to sleep on September 25th, 2010 after his condition had rapidly worsened. He was happy and playful until the end. We were very fortunate to have Bree for nearly a year. He was one tough, special little character, and what a character. That’s the story of Bree. Don’t be afraid to adopt an older dog, or a dog with health problems. You never know what a special dog you could be overlooking. We will add some Bree stories soon so you can understand just how special this little dog was.

    It still amazes us that there is an organization so devoted to helping dogs that they would spend so much in time and resources to help a dog like Bree. DREAM is simply a wonderful organization.


  9. Donna Weberg
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 13:03:56

    Ihave adopted a double dapple pup. Her name is Bella. We got her as a 16th bday present for my daughter. At first we didnt know anything about daschunds and double dapple, etc. A friend of my daughters dog had the pups and after further talking to the friends, realized they knew nothing about double dapples either. They were not a puppy mill or breeder, just a family that mated their daschund with another not realizing the risks of mating 2 dapples.

    We later found out that Bella was deaf, she has one blue eye and one brown eye. When we realized something must be wrong with her hearing we took her to the vet to be checked out. Signs we noticed….we also have a chiwauwau, Tinkerbelle. Tinker would bark at the mail man, Bella wouldnt. We would come home, Tinker would run to great us and bark, Bella would still be sleeping in her bed not realizing we had come in the house. The vet said her heart was strong (no heart murmur) and she has full sight in both of her eyes. Other than being deaf, she does not seem to have any other health issues. She is learning hand commands and doing quite well. She seems super smart and loves her sister, Tinkerbelle. Our Chiwauwau has really been a great help in training her.

    She is the most adorable and loving little dog. She is now 3 1/2 months old, and yes she plays like a pup and tears up things if you dont keep things picked up, but that is normal for a pup. We love her to death. I never thought I would have a special needs pup, but I wouldnt trade her for anything.


  10. Nancy Roberts
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 02:46:18

    What a heartwarming story about Bree–and Bella–and the other little guys. I ‘d like to tell you about Minnie, a sweet little deaf double dapple doxie, whom I adopted from the pound 3 years ago. She is now 5 and the best dog I’ve ever had. She’s progressed from shaking with anxiety to being calm and happy and playful. All she wants is to be picked up and held, or to sit on your lap, or snuggle with you in bed. She’s mostly white with some reddish spots and blue eyes. She can’t hear a thing, but she quickly picked up sign language for basics (sit, come, stay, lie down, stop). Her pupils are a little uneven looking and stay pretty dilated even in the sun, so she blinks a lot outside. She seems to see well enough, though, to respond to sign language.
    At 15 lbs., she’s a tweenie and she is so mellow that she even rides in a special handlebar basket on my bicycle (wearing a pink bucket hat to protect her eyes). She is the mascot for the Tiger Cub den that I lead. The 6 and 7 -year-olds adore her and she returns their affection. She also is a wonderful therapy dog for senior citizens, willing to cuddle on their laps for hours on end.
    She seems to have the compromised immune system that some of these little double dapples have. In her case, it showed up in serious skin allergies that left her armpits red and very sore. A perceptive vet who was willing to do some research figured out how to treat the allergies (including with a special diet of rabbit and potato kibble, the idea being to give her a protein source she had never ingested before). Today her skin is perfectly clear and she is in tiptop health.
    Minnie is truly the most loving animal I’ve ever lived with and she has brought so much joy into my life and also that of the Cub Scouts, my friends and family, many older people, etc. etc. It was a happy day when I stopped by the animal shelter and this little doxie ran right into my arms.


  11. Shelbi
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 15:10:12

    My husband Andy and I adopted a double dapple in September 2011. His name is Hank and he is blind in one eye. We adopted our first dachshund Bentley a few months prior to Hank. We read that dachshunds to better in pairs, so we decided to get Bentley a playmate. I found a breeder who was a vet and by looking at their website, they bred beautiful dogs for a very large price. I emailed them about one of one of the dapple puppies. We got to talking and it was mentioned to me that they had a little white one (which wasn’t being advertised on their website), that was healthy but blind in one eye. After seeing pictures of the little guy, I knew he was for us. We brought Hank home and he was just like any other puppy. As playful and onry as could be and plays great with Bentley. We had Hank home for a week or so and started doing research on his coloring. Neither of us had ever seen a white dachshund with so many different colors. Let’s just say we both were devastated. How could somebody risk the health of a puppy to make a few bucks, especially a vet? We immediately took Hank to our local vet to be checked for any other health issues.Dr. Woods said his heart and lungs sounded strong. He could also hear in both ears. He said any major issues would have shown by now, which gave us some relief. Hank is now almost 8 months old and doing fantastic! He loves to be cuddled and wants to be held all the time! He just makes us smile and you can tell he is very happy! However; he is in desperate need of being neutered. He won’t leave poor Bentley alone. But, I am very concerned and nervous to put him under anesthesia. Im sure he would be fine and Dr. Woods wouldn’t do anything to risk Hank’s life. He is my baby and it still concerns me. Has anybody else gone through this situation? What would be the best thing for Hank?


    • dreamdachshundrescue
      Apr 28, 2012 @ 16:31:55

      Hi there! I really need to check my comments more often — so sorry it has taken me so long. Your vet can tell you if a neuter is risky, but if the vet says his heart is strong, I doubt there is much risk. A neuter takes only a few minutes, and it doesn’t even involve cutting into the abdomen, so it’s about as low-risk as any surgery can be. A vet tech friend told me it takes longer to prep for a neuter than it does to do a neuter! Keep us posted!


  12. Chemeney
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 09:20:46

    Good day All,

    I am sorry to say but due to my lack of knowledge of Dubbed Dapples I bought one from a local lady that states she’s a breeder of dapples. How ever as our beautiful little dapple amazes everyone I started to notice that its not just a little puppy reluctant to hear but he CAN NOT HEAR! I started talking about it to people and as my suspicions were right my little angel is deaf. I now understand how it happened and I strongly feel this is not fair to the doggies. This is a price much to high for beauty.

    So yes my little dubbed dapple as I see every one calls them is deaf. Can this be reversed with help form a Vet or should I seek help of a qualified dog trainer to help me understand by deaf puppy better and be able to communicate with him in a different way.

    Any help or advise will be appriciated

    Free State
    South Africa


    • dreamdachshundrescue
      Apr 28, 2012 @ 16:29:26

      I”m so sorry it has taken me a while to respond…I was having trouble with the log in. I tried to email you but it bounced. I’ve never heard of a dog born deaf having any kind of surgery. But I know a lot of deaf dogs who have perfectly normal lives. They learn hand signals just like “normal” dogs learn voice commands. I actually think the hand signals are more effective in a lot of ways (once you have the dog’s attention, that is!). Our constant babble must be very confusing for them, and I bet they learn to tune our voices out, then tune back in when something sounds like a command.

      I’m glad your sweet boy is with someone who doesn’t see him as “broken” and will help him have a happy normal life!


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