The Merlequin Harlequin Great Dane is truly a sight to behold. These gentle giants captivate all who cross their path with their imposing stature, distinctive patchwork coats, and amiable temperaments. This rare and beautiful Great Dane variety results from blending two coat patterns – the Merle and the Harlequin – creating a dog like no other.
A Regal Breed with a Storied History
Great Danes have a long and fascinating history. These courageous dogs trace their origins to Mastiff-type breeds brought from England to Germany in the 16th century. They were bred to hunt wild boar and protect German nobles, earning the fitting nickname “Chamber Dogs.”
The distinctive Harlequin coloring, with its torn black patches on a white base coat, first emerged in the 18th century. The Merle pattern features irregular gray, blue, or silver splotches on a lighter background. When these two coat varieties were blended together, the striking Merlequin Harlequin Great Dane was born.
While Great Danes themselves gained recognition in the late 1800s, the Merlequin variety was not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1957. Even today, these regal giants remain relatively rare among Great Danes.
A Commanding Yet Graceful Presence
Merlequin Harlequin Great Danes have an imposing yet dignified presence. Males typically stand 30-34 inches tall at the shoulder; females 28-32 inches. Weights range from 100-200 pounds.
Their glossy, deep-set eyes and long, rectangular heads give them a noble appearance. Though massive in size, they carry themselves with grace and refinement. Their short, smooth coat highlights their lean, muscular frame.
No two Merlequin Harlequin Great Danes will look exactly the same. Their signature patchwork coats feature a sparkling white base splashed with torn black patches distributed randomly across the body. Interspersed throughout are mesmerizing gray or silver marbled patches caused by the merling gene.
A Friendly Temperament
Though intimidating in stature, proper socialization and training will ensure that the Merlequin Harlequin’s gentle and amiable nature shines through. They thrive on human companionship and aim to please their owners.
Merlequin Harlequins are typically friendly, patient, and eager to please. Their intelligence and trainability make them a joy to teach basic commands and tricks. Though some adult Danes can be wary around strangers, aggression is uncommon when they are properly introduced.
Early socialization and obedience classes are highly recommended. With proper guidance, they generally get along well with children, other dogs, and pets. Their affectionate nature and desire to be near their owners makes them excellent companions.
Exercise and Care Requirements
Significant consideration must be given to their substantial exercise and care needs to keep a giant breed like the Merlequin Great Dane healthy and happy.
Daily exercise is essential. These energetic dogs require at least 30-60 minutes of activity per day. Brisk walks, jogging, or swimming will help meet their needs. Short walks around the block will not suffice.
Their short coat is easy to groom with weekly brushing. Those dramatic ears need frequent checking and cleaning to prevent infections. Dental care and nail trimming should also be part of the regular routine.
Merlequin Great Danes grow rapidly, so care should be taken not to over-exercise puppies while their bones and joints are still developing. Adults are prone to musculoskeletal issues like hip dysplasia, so maintaining a healthy weight is imperative.
Providing a nutritious diet formulated for large breeds will help meet their needs while supporting joint health. Unfortunately, Great Danes have a shorter lifespan than many dogs, typically only 6-10 years.
Finding the Right Home
Merlequin Harlequin Great Danes make best companions for experienced owners with large homes and securely fenced outdoor space. They should be housed indoors and provided with soft bedding and room to stretch out.
Given their substantial size and exercise requirements, apartments and small homes are not ideal environments for these giants. Their veterinary needs can also be costly, which is an important consideration.
Families with older children who understand how to interact with dogs properly are best suited to these gentle pets. Their friendly nature allows them to thrive when shown adequate companionship and attention.
The Reward of Unwavering Devotion
For the right household, opening your home to a Merlequin Harlequin Great Dane will bring an immense reward in unconditional love and devotion. Though substantial considerations come with caring for their impressive stature and needs, few breeds can match the depth of loyalty these noble companions offer.
Their coat may feature a striking black and white patchwork, but aMerlequin Harlequin’s heart is pure gold. Shower them with proper care, training, exercise, and love; they will return the favor with their gentle, affectionate spirit for years to come.
Embark on your journey with these eye-catching giants today to enjoy a truly unforgettable friendship!