Harlequin great dane

Harlequin great dane

Harlequin great dane

The Harlequin Great Dane is the globe’s biggest dog breed. Known as the peaceful giant of the dog world, this lovely, large dog is an easy favorite with its charming spirit and family-friendly qualities. However, the Great Dane breed has several colors and color patterns, prompting many interested potential owners to wonder if the color relates to temperament, health, and more.

What is a Harlequin Great Dane?

The Harlequin Great Dane is one of several common-colored Great Dane dogs. This color is perhaps the numerous hard to come by as it brings generations of breeding to perfection. However, it is one of the multiple famous and perhaps most attractive.

Along with Harlequin, other measured and identified Great Dane colors contain

  • Brindle
  • Fawn
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Mantle
  • Merle and Harlequin are two different types of coat coloring on a Great Dane. However, they can also have their names depending on where they are from and how many patterns they have in their coats.

Additional Details

The interaction of many genes is involved in various colors and patterns of dog coat color. Harlequin is a design seen in Great Danes resulting from the complicated interaction of the Merle (PMEL17) and Harlequin (PSMB7) genes on black pigment. The dominant Merle gene produces dark spots on a dilute background in melanistic dogs. If a merle dog also inherits one copy of the Harlequin gene, the dark spots increase in size, and the background pigment is removed altogether. Dogs that are not merle or just have red pigment cannot tell the Harlequin gene. Two copies of Harlequin have not been observed and are presumed to be embryonic lethal. Therefore all Harlequin patterned dogs have just one duplicate of the mutation.

What does the Harlequin Great Dane look like?

Standing 28 to 32 inches tall and considering between 110 and 175 pounds, the Great Dane is hard to miss, and the Harlequin Great Dane has the counted singularity of a lovely and unique coat. Harlequin Great Danes generally have a white coat with black dots or ‘patches,’ according to the American Kennel Club’s breed average, with a white neck and black or speckled ears. There can also be some interpretation of grey patches or spots throughout the coat.

According to the American Kennel Club’s breed standard for show-quality Harlequin Great Danes, any variation of colors that stray outside these guidelines will be faulted or considered unacceptable for show. However, what about coat color and its correlation with breed behavior and health? To understand how coat color may impact your dog’s overall temperament and vitality, let us look at the genetics of the breeding process.

Does coat color have any link to temperament?

While studies are still ongoing, and opinions vary, most experts agree that coat color has nothing to do with your dog’s overall temperament. The bottom line is that your dog’s temperament will come down to whether or not he was responsibly bred, adequately exercised and groomed, and thoroughly socialized.

What about health?

Unfortunately, coat paint and the fitness of certain dogs have been confirmed to go hand and hand. In reality, according to Dr. Stanley Coren, Ph.D., coat color and genetic deafness can be connected. However, is this something you have to stress about with a Harlequin Great Dane? Actually, yes.

Harlequin Great Dane Health

Even with reliable breeding practices, potential owners should maintain an eye out for fitness issues, including

  • Congenital Deafness
  • Cardiac diseases
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Bloat

Let us carry a point here to speak more about bloat. Also known as gastric dilation-volvulus, or GDV, bloat is a serious and life-threatening condition considered the number one killer of Great Danes, according to the American Kennel Club. Before committing to getting a Great Dane, or any breed susceptible to this severe condition, most experts recommend educating yourselves on the signs and symptoms. Hence, you know what to do should bloat occur.


Since Great Danes are so susceptible to bloat, it is essential to feed them a high-quality and healthy diet and give them smaller meals multiple times a day rather than one or two big feeds for breakfast and dinner. Professionals also recommend not to exert your Great Dane immediately before or after meal time, as doing so can increase the probability of them creating bloat.

Moreover, talking of exercise, due to their big size, Harlequin Great Danes can be prone to mutual and hip problems. This breed will require plenty of workouts but should also be managed and monitored during play. Avoid letting your Great Dane run up and down stairs, significantly as a puppy or young adolescent, when still growing. It would be best to remember that over-exercising your Great Dane could cause health issues like under-exercising. A good quantity of exercise for your Great Dane will be a friendly, fast-paced walk a rare times a day.

So, how else can you support keeping your Great Dane fit and happy throughout his lifetime? While most respectable breeders will have had their Great Dane puppy’s health tried. You can also have your Great Dane fitness screened. Some of the suggested tests for a Great Dane, as determined by the national breed club, are

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam


A Harlequin Great Dane is a distinctive-looking dog with a white base color and black and brown patches. This breed originated in the 1800s from Great Danes that were used for hunting wild boar. Today, they are often used as service dogs or therapy dogs because of their gentle temperament and large size. Harlequins have low to moderate exercise requirements but do best with at least one daily walk. They are generally healthy but must be monitored for specific health conditions such as hip dysplasia, bloat, diabetes, and heart problems.


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