The world’s largest dog breed is the Harlequin Great Dane. With his lovely spirit and family-friendly nature, this magnificent, big canine is known as the gentle giant of the dog world.
However, when it comes to the Great Dane breed, there are a variety of colors and color patterns, prompting many interested potential owners to ask if the color corresponds to temperament, health, and other factors.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at one of the most popular and unusual Great Dane colors — the Harlequin!
What is a Harlequin Great Dane?
The Harlequin Great Dane is one of numerous traditional Great Dane colors.
This color is likely the hardest to obtain because it requires decades of breeding to perfect, yet it is also one of the most popular and most attractive.
Photo from @stancydane5
Other common and well-known Great Dane colors, in addition to Harlequin, are
As previously stated, one of the most striking aspects of the Harlequin Great Dane is that it is one of the most difficult colors to perfect in the breed and one of the rarest.
What is the appearance of a Harlequin Great Dane?
The Great Dane is tough to miss, standing 28 to 32 inches tall and weighing 110 to 175 pounds, and the Harlequin Great Dane has the added singularity of a gorgeous and unusual coat.
According to the AKC, the American Kennel Club’s breed standard, Harlequin Great Danes, have a white coat with black spots, or ‘patches,’ a white neck, and black or spotted ears.
There may be some grey patches or blotches scattered throughout the coat as well.
The American Kennel Club’s (AKC) breed standard for show grade Harlequin Great Danes states that any color variation that deviates from these parameters will be penalized or judged inappropriate for show.
But what about coat color, and how does it relate to breeding temperament and health?
Let’s take a look at the breeding process’s genetics to see how coat color may affect your dog’s general disposition and vigor.
Harlequin Great Dane Genetics
Photo from @gator_thegreatdane
It can take decades and a lot of trial and error to breed a flawless Harlequin Great Dane.
In reality, several breeders have discovered that simply breeding two Harlequin-coated Great Danes does not guarantee that their litter would result in Harlequin Great Dane puppies.
It all boils down to genetics.
According to veterinarian Lynn Buzhardt, the outcome of your dog’s color is ultimately determined by the colors black and red.
As she explains, all dogs have these fundamental colors, which serve as the cornerstone for all other coat color variations.
Genetics determines the coat color a puppy inherits it obtains from its parents, but there is also some chance involved.
Even Harlequin Great Danes have these two foundation colors in their genetics, which is why breeding two Harlequin Great Danes does not always result in a Harlequin canine.
Does coat color have any link to temperament?
While research is ongoing and opinions differ, most experts agree that coat color has nothing to do with your dog’s general temperament.
The final line is that your dog’s temperament will be determined by whether he was carefully raised, adequately exercised and groomed, and thoroughly socialized.
What about health?
Unfortunately, coat color and certain dogs’ health have been shown to be linked.
According to Dr. Stanley Coren, Ph.D., congenital deafness and coat color can be connected. Is this a cause for concern with a Harlequin Great Dane?
Yes, in fact.
Dogs with lighter colored coats, such as merle, roan, piebald, and white, are more prone to inherited hearing difficulties and deafness, according to Dr. Stanley Coren’s article.
This is due to a link between the gene that causes these colors and the gene that causes congenital deafness in dogs.
The unpleasant truth is that Harlequin Great Danes, in particular, are predisposed to congenital deafness due to the fact that their coats include two pigmentations, the predominant of which is white.
However, deafness is not the only health risk to be aware of before purchasing a Great Dane, though it is the only one that studies have determined to be directly related to the harlequin colors.
Before we get into your Harlequin Great Dane’s overall health, let’s discuss their temperament.
The temperament of a Harlequin Great Dane
Photo from @pawseatraw
The Great Dane is, indeed, a large dog. In fact, the Great Dane is the largest dog in the canine realm, according to the American Kennel Club!
Nonetheless, there is a reason why this big canine is renowned as a gentle giant.
One of the breed’s most appealing characteristics is that it appears to have no notion of its own size and fancies itself a lap dog of sorts, albeit they may accidentally crush you as they come onto your lap to snuggle!
Harlequin Great Dane Nature
These large canines are as nice as can be and spend the majority of their days lounging around and enjoying family life.
Great Danes are tolerant of youngsters and get along with almost everyone, but this is not the breed for everyone.
The most obvious difficulty with a Great Dane is its enormous size. If you are a first-time puppy owner who is not prepared to deal with such a large dog, you may wish to downsize to something a bit less intimidating.
The Great Dane is not an outdoor puppy by any means, preferring to be indoors, up underneath his family, or watching from his comfy bed by the fire.
While sweet-natured and friendly, Great Danes make excellent home guards and will undoubtedly notify their family of anything odd approaching their domain!
Nonetheless, they appreciate their family and are adorable and ready to please, making them a joy to train.
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How can you socialize with a Harlequin Great Dane?
Of course, because of this breed’s sheer size and power, it is always advisable to socialize and train a Great Dane from puppyhood onward.
This is a dog that can easily overwhelm you on walks and should learn to sit, remain, and walk on a leash and harness from an early age.
Early socialization will also benefit their mental health and happiness in the long run.
You may socialize your Harlequin Great Dane as early as possible by taking him to dog parks, taking him on walks, and exposing him to as many people and dogs as possible.
Experts advise that any new encounter you introduce your Great Dane puppy to should be favorable in order for them to be fearless of new people or locations in the future.
What about their health, though?
Harlequin Great Dane Health
Photo from @manesndanes
The problem with particularly huge dogs, such as the Great Dane, is that they don’t always live very long. In fact, the majority of studies find that the larger the breed, the shorter the longevity.
Although being the largest breed in the canine world, the Great Dane has a very short lifespan of approximately 7 to 10 years.
Furthermore, this massive dog may be prone to various health difficulties because of its large size.
Even with safe breeding procedures, prospective owners should be on the lookout for health risks such as
- Deafness from birth
- Cardiovascular illnesses
- Autoimmune Thyroiditis
- Hip Dysplasia
Let’s talk about Bloat a little bit further.
Bloat, sometimes known as gastric dilation-volvulus, or GDV, is a dangerous and life-threatening illness that, according to the American Kennel Club, is the leading cause of death in Great Danes.
Most experts advocate educating yourself on the signs and symptoms of Bloat before committing to getting a Great Dane or any breed that is susceptible to this deadly ailment.
The good news is that if you catch it early enough, you have a better chance of saving your dog. You can also take certain precautions for your Great Dane to help lower his chances of experiencing Bloat in the future.
Diet of a Great Dane
Photo from @gator_thegreatdane
Of course, another approach to keeping your Great Dane healthy is to feed him a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
Because Great Danes are prone to Bloat, it is critical to provide them with a high-quality, balanced diet and feed them smaller meals several times a day rather than one or two large meals for breakfast and dinner.
Experts also advise not exercising your Great Dane just before or after a meal since this can increase the likelihood of them acquiring Bloat.
Harlequin Great Danes are prone to joint and hip problems due to their huge size in terms of exercise. This is a breed that will require a lot of activity but should also be observed and monitored while playing.
Avoid allowing your Great Dane to rush up and downstairs, especially as a puppy or young adolescent.
It’s also important to remember that both over-exercising and under-exercising your Great Dane can cause health issues.
A nice, fast-paced stroll can provide adequate exercise for your Great Dane a few times a day.
So, what else can you do to keep your Great Dane healthy and happy for the rest of his life?
Although most respectable breeders will have had their Great Dane puppy’s health tested, you can have your Great Dane health screened yourself.
Some of the national breed club’s suggested testing for a Great Dane is as follows:
- Hip Examination
- Evaluation by an Ophthalmologist
- Thyroid Examination
- Cardiac Examination
Maintaining your Harlequin Keeping your Great Dane well-groomed can also assist in keeping him healthy and happy. Let’s get into more detail regarding grooming down below!
Grooming a Harlequin Great Dane
Despite the fact that Great Danes had short coats and are low shedders, they do shed seasonally, and their sheer size can result in a lot of stray hair.
Brushing your Great Dane once per week should be enough to keep loose hair at bay and his lovely coat looking healthy.
Fortunately, Great Danes only require baths on occasion unless they get exceptionally filthy.
And, like all dogs, your Harlequin Great Dane’s ears will need to be checked and cleaned on a regular basis to prevent moisture, dirt, and wax from accumulating and developing an infection.
Furthermore, it’s important to keep nails cut or ground down on a regular basis to prevent them from cracking or breaking, which can be exceedingly uncomfortable for the dog and lead to infections.
You and your Harlequin Great Dane
Yes, the Harlequin Great Dane is lovely, somewhat rare, and oh-so-massive! It is also true that these lovely canines are excellent friends and get along with almost everyone.
Unfortunately, Harlequin Great Danes are prone to a variety of health difficulties, including congenital deafness and Bloat, and they have a shorter life than most other breeds due to their big size.
However, with proper care, exercise, a good diet, and plenty of love, your Harlequin Great Dane will create an eye-catching companion you will undoubtedly fall in love with!
Have you ever had a Harlequin Great Dane? Tell us in the comments what you like about them!