Harlequin Great Dane

Few dogs are as big as the Great Dane, and that’s part of their appeal, but in addition to their size, these stunning pups also come in a wide array of colors and patterns. One of the rarest, most sought after, and arguably most beautiful colors/patterns you’ll find is the Harlequin!

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What is a Harlequin Great Dane?

A Harlequin Great Dane is a purebred Great Dane with a very specific pattern. Thanks to a rare combination of genetics, these gorgeous dogs are born with a pure white coat and black, gray, blue, or sable splotches. They almost look like a puppy inkblot test!

Image of Harlequin Great Dane

Why Are Harlequin Great Danes So Rare?

This unique coloration comes from a very specific mix of genetic traits, and these special genes aren’t found in all Great Dane pairs. Breeding Harlequin Great Danes takes extreme care and precision, and some breeders are reluctant to attempt this genetic mix due to a variety of possible negative outcomes, and how frequently these breeding projects produce mismarked dogs. 

Ethical Issues

There are also ethical issues with breeding Harlequin Danes since this genetic trait produces health issues that are uncommon and extremely rare in other types of Great Dane. 

Double-merle Great Dane

Breeding Harlequin puppies often have at least two all-white, fully deaf pups, of which only one survives the birth. These pups are sometimes called double-merle dogs since this defect is also common within dogs who are specifically bred for merle genetics. Double-merle dogs often have life-long vision and hearing problems, and many are fully deaf and blind. 

All About Harlequin Great Danes

As purebred Great Danes, Harlequin Great Danes will have all of the same traits and breed characteristics as any other Great Dane. These are big dogs, and they come with big personalities!

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How Big Are Harlequin Great Danes?

Like any other Great Dane, these pups are gigantic! They usually stand around 28–32 inches tall, and they can weigh in at upwards of 110–175 pounds. Even the pups can be quite large, and they grow quickly, so don’t get attached to your puppy’s size.

Great Dane Dimentions
Source: dimentions.com

What Sort of Personality Do Harlequin Great Danes Have?

Harlequin Great Danes, like most Great Danes, can be generally described as friendly, affectionate, and loyal. These big dogs (or small horses?) were originally bred for something much more dangerous than snuggles and cuddles. A long time ago, Great Danes accompanied German nobles on hunting trips, and were the first line of defense against wild boars on grand estates!

Ancient painting of Great Danes helpdefending against wild boars
Source: Creed Danes

So, what does that mean for you?

  • Expect your Harlequin Great Dane to be extremely receptive to training, but a bit stubborn.
  • You’ll want lots of space because these pups require a lot of exercise!
  • To ward off boredom, be prepared to provide mental stimulation, such as puzzles.
  • These dogs are amazing with families and are known for their gentle nature with children and small animals.
  • Thanks to their roots, Harlequin Great Danes also make great guard dogs, though we don’t recommend using your family pet as a working dog unless you have prior experience with working dogs.

As far as sociability is concerned, that will be up to you! Great Danes are generally easy to socialize with enough practice, but they can become skittish without plenty of exposure. Make sure to start introducing your Great Dane to people and other animals early in its life, since this will help your adult dog be more confident and tolerant of interaction. 

What Does Caring for a Harlequin Great Dane Look Like?

All Great Danes are known for their short, silky coat. This makes them great for folks who may not have the time or energy to perform daily grooming. However, they do shed, which means they are not hypoallergenic, and you’ll probably need to keep a lint roller or two around the house.

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Great Danes have a relatively short lifespan of 7–10 years but have lots of love to offer during those years. 

Health Concerns

All responsible breeders carefully evaluate each pairing to guarantee the healthiest pups. However, there are some breed and individual specific health concerns to look out for if you choose a Great Dane as your next companion: 

Congenital deafness/blindness
Hip dysplasia
Joint problems/arthritis
Eye problems
Thyroid issues
Great Danes Health Concerns

Because Great Danes are big, it’s important to protect them from themselves. Especially as puppies and adolescents, Great Danes don’t know their own size. For this reason, it’s important to supervise your pup and prevent them from pushing too hard, since too much exercise or overactivity can exert too much pressure on their joints. 

How Much Do Harlequin Great Danes Cost?

You can expect to pay $1,000–$2,500 for a Harlequin Great Dane!

In general, your best bet if you want one of these gorgeous pups is to go directly to a reputable breeder. As always, do your research! Ethical breeders are plentiful, and they’ll be more than happy to save a pup just for you.

Great Dane Puppy

While the upfront costs aren’t exactly low, they’re nothing compared to what you will pay for a decade of food and veterinary care for your pup. Great Danes eat a lot of food, sometimes up to 2.5 lbs of food every day, so make sure you can afford to keep up with this giant’s giant appetite and their health. 

Can You Adopt a Harlequin Great Dane?

In theory, you can adopt a Harlequin Great Dane. However, you probably won’t find one in your local shelter. These pups are rare and highly sought after, so many of them end up in loving homes from the beginning! As great as that may be for the dogs, it makes locating them difficult. If you happen to find your Harlequin Great Dane at your local shelter, you may want to pick up a lottery ticket, too!

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Don’t worry, though – there are lots of mixed breed dogs in shelters that have gorgeous colors and patterns, and some might just have some Great Dane ancestry!

What Other Great Dane Colorations Are There?

The American Kennel Club recognizes a number of colors and patterns for Great Danes. In addition to the gorgeous two-toned Harlequin variant, there are also:

Black Solid Coat Great Dane
1. Solid coats (blue, black, white, etc.)
Brindle Great Dane
2. Brindle (they look a little like a marble countertop)
A fawn Great Dane
3. Fawn (basically Scooby-Doo!)
A Mantle Great Dane
4. Mantle (they look like they’re wearing a saddle)

Meet Some Harlequin Great Danes

Okay okay, that’s enough talking about Harlequin Great Danes – let’s take a look at some of these gorgeous dogs living their best lives!

Quinn

Quinn the Great Dane
Photo Source: @Quinn_TheCow

Now living in Charlotte, North Carolina, Quinn was born in 2018. This amazing pup has a devoted family and an equally doting fanbase. You can keep track of her adventures on Instagram!

Boone

Boone the Great Dane
Photo Source: @boone_boy

Here’s a rags-to-riches story! Boone was one of many pups who, unfortunately, was returned to his breeder. Sometimes, things just don’t work out, but that’s okay! Boone found a loving new family in 2020, and his proud parents have been documenting his adventures ever since!

Chase

Chase the Great Dane
Photo Source: @thedaneonmain

Just how affectionate are Great Danes? Ask Chase, a snuggly pup from Toronto, Ontario! He’ll nuzzle his way into your heart just as easily as he’ll cuddle up in your lap! For all of his lazy ways, he still loves to romp and roam.

Appa

Appa the Great Dane
Photo Source: @appa_thegreatdane

Not all Great Danes are knights. Some prefer to snuggle and hide! Don’t tread too heavily, or you might just scare away Appa, a 190-pound lump of joy! This big pal loves his family as much as his food. Fortunately, his family has trained him well, and he regularly shows off his amazing obedience skills in his videos.

Now that you’ve learned more about this gentle giant of a dog, what do you think? Should breeders attempt this knowing the dogs could be both deaf and blind. Let us know what you think in the comments.

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