Harlequin Great Danes
Harlequin Great Danes are difficult to breed, properly marked dogs are prized among many Great Dane lovers.
Harlequin Great Danes are pure white with black "torn" patches all over their bodies.
Patches should appear torn, irregular and cover the entire body; a pure white neck is preferred and most desirable.
These are amazing looking animals and their large size and unique markings almost makes one think of a Holstein Cow Calf!
Many people mistake a growing juvenile Dane as a Dalmatian.
Although both dogs are white with black markings, the Dalmatian has spots.
The Harlequin Danes "torn patches" differ from the smooth rounded spots of the Dalmatian.
AKC standard for Harlequin Great Danes:
Base color shall be pure white with black torn patches irregularly and well distributed over the entire body; a pure white neck is preferred. The black patches should never be large enough to give the appearance of a blanket, nor so small as to give a stippled or dappled effect. Eligible, but less desirable, are a few small gray patches, or a white base with single black hairs showing through, which tend to give a salt and pepper or dirty effect.
Any variance in color or markings as described above shall be faulted to the extent of the deviation. Any Great Dane, which does not fall within the above color classifications, must be disqualified.
Producing well marked harlequin puppies is not easy!
Simply breeding two harlequins will not assure a litter of beautifully marked puppies.
Many harlequin Great Danes carry genes of other colors in their lineage, such as black, blue, merle and more. Merle pups, mismarked blacks, and white are always possibilities when breeding harls.
It takes years of experience, many litters and mismarks before a successful harlequin breeder finds the perfect breeding combination. On occasion, a mismarked harl pup will be used as breeding stock for future harl litters with success.
Additional harlequin characteristics.
A baby harls nose may be pinker than pink! As the dog matures, nose color will typically darken to black, or a darker pink with black spots.
Harlequins with different colored eyes are not uncommon. One eye may be blue, one brown or dark, one eye may be one solid color while the other is two colors. With harlequin great Danes, you never truly know the outcome until the dog matures.
Most all harlequins have some merle color! This can go without notice as the merle coloring typically lightens or darkens to blend in with the black or white. On occasion you may find a rare harlequin Great Dane with no merle color whatsoever.