Thursday, 19 July 2012

Harlequin Blue *MISMARK* Great Danes

The Harlequin Blue Great Dane, a mismark.

{UPDATE: I have been told by one of my readers that harlequin blue Great Danes have been shown at championships in the UK and have won titles! The Kennel Club stated that genetically Harlequins carry the same colors whether they are blacks or blues! It is therefore not a MISSMARK}
People are often very curious of our Great Danes, Indigo and Malach, because of their unusual colour. 
The harlequin blue *missmark* has spots in different
 shades of blue, and some merle spots.

Indigo and Malach's color is very unusual for a simple reason: it is a missmark. Their color is not in the Kennel Club standard of the breed and therefore breeders do not tend to breed for harlequin blue puppies. (NOTE: i am not saying it is a rare color, as if you are indeed trying to breed harlequin blues, it is not more difficult to obtain than any other color.) Indigo was obtained breeding a Blue Great Dane to a Harlequin Black Great Dane. There might be a reason why Harlequin Blue are not KC standards, but I am still researching it and i haven't found my answer yet.

(you can see the different shades of blue)
The Kenel Club recognizes 6 colors in the Great Danes (fawn, brindle, black, blue, mantle, harlequin) but a lot more colors can be obtained when breeding these different colors between them, which is what happens with harlequin blues. These colors are not rare, they are unusual because they are not often created.

the 6 Kennel Club standards of color for Great Danes:
fawn ; brindle ; mantle ; black ; blue ; harlequin
One day i  decided to illustrate all the coat color obtainable, from the Kennel Club's Standards, to the designer colors, to the colors carrying defects (such as "solid white", piebald and merle)! Here is what i ended up with: 100 possible coat colors!!!

To examine this chart in more details, click HERE !
PS: since doing this chart i learnt that i forgot "platinum Great Danes", who are harlequin blue with black nose

Malach's blue eyes.
There are also standards for the color of the eyes. The Kennel Club standards say that fawns, brindles, blacks, blues and mantles must have dark colored eyes and an entirely black nose, which is what the majority of them has, but other eye colors exist.  The Harlequin great dane is "allowed" lighter eye colors but the darker ones are preferred.

{Most Great Danes puppies are born with blue eyes, and they usually change color between 0ne and 3 months old.} 

 Harlequins are also allowed "butterfly nose", a mix of black and pinks.
Black nose and butterfly nose.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg! The Kennel Club standards are primarily about the physique of the dogs! Things such as the emplacement of the ears, the angle of the bones, play more important part in choosing a champion than eye or coat color! Therefore the fact that you have a KC  standard colored Great Dane does not mean that you have a champion or that you should breed your dog.

Right now, i do not judge myself as having enough knowledge in Great Danes Genetics to have an opinion. I therefore do not condemn breeders for breeding  missmarks, nor do i condemn breeders for sticking to the KC standards, as long- of course- as the breeder does everything to ensure the puppies will be healthy.

This blog is not about deciding who is right and i will therefore not tolerate negative comments on the subject of great Danes Breeding.
However, i do accept constructive criticism if it concerns my blog, and don't hesitate if you have any question on the harlequin blue color or other missmark!


Molly The Wally said...

Very interesting and have a lovely Thursday and looking forward to seeing your entries for BO2012.
Best wishes Molly

GOOSE said...

Very interesting. My MOM has a very soft spot in her heart for Great Danes. He beloved Pete was a Harleguin Dane and Lab mix. I know that he was not a full Dane but he was beautiful and topped out at 155 pounds of, as my MOM puts it, the best most loving dog ever.

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

this is all so facinating to me. THANKS for sharing all the info.

Two French Bulldogs said...

Very cool.... Mom just calls my Lily a cow.
Benny & Lily

chicamom85 said...

Thank you for that and I think the blue is so beautiful.

Loveys Sasha

Lynda Hough said...

Very very informative! I'm having a bit of troubly figuring out our newest family members true coat color. We rescued her so we don't have any bloodline information. She looks lounge a Harleqiun but actually has some blue markings and brown (darker) in different spots on her body. One leg looks merle on the interior. Of course we think she's beautiful! Is this a color you have come across. I have photos on my facebook page. Lynda Hough

James said...

Great post!

Danwe said...

Is it at all possible to get a copy of your 100 colours for my blog too please. Also blue harlequins are being shown in the ring and have been for about a year. I know of 2 that are wining at champ shows.

A blue harli is just the same as a black by the way LOL!!!!


_ASHLEY_ said...

I'm glad more people are accepting of the many colors danes come in. I am having my first litter of danes between my harlequin female and blue male I put a post on a forum and received so many negative comments from other breeders telling me that those two colors should never be bred together because Merle's are not akc quality and can't win points in the show ring, they went on to call me names and say I was a terrible dog owner, all from a simple post I was disgusted that any Dane lover could be that hateful towards danes of unique color, in my opinion I'm a lover of danes of all colors whether they are show quality or not it's a shame that people are so against the variety of colors that danes can be, and I was offended by how hateful these people were acting towards me for creating uniquely colored danes, such a shame I love the hundreds of colors danes could be an I think more people should as well.

Roelf Hoeksema said...


We Live i South Africa and your Dane looks exactly like Indigo (Harlequin Blue).
We are now looking for a male to mate with her but I am keen to know what the "best" male will be in order to get lovely Harlequin Blue babies? Any Ideas?


Roelf Hoeksema said...

Hi we have Dane that looks exactly like Indigo (Harlequin Blue).
We are however now looking for the "best" male to mate with her in order to get more lovely little Harlequin Blue babies.
I know that through generics there will always be some mismarks but is it at all possible to to let her male with a "Blue Dane" for instance in order have a better chance for Harlequin Blue's?
Any Help would be greatly appreciated.