The Harlequin Great Dane—Fascinating Facts About the Gentle Giant

The Harlequin Great Dane—Fascinating Facts About the Gentle Giant

Harlequin Great Dane
Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

Harlequin Great Dane

The Harlequin Great Danes are enormous dogs who are popular for their gentle nature and affectionate behavior towards their owners. Their size may intimidate some people into thinking this dog is aggressive—that is not true. They are affectionately called the “Gentle Giants,” and rightfully so. It is important to mention that the Harlequin is a special color pattern in the Great Danes. It is not a separate breed. It is identified to have a white base coat with irregular black patches throughout the body. Most people prefer a harlequin with a white neck. What makes them more interesting is that there are no similarities in any two Harlequin Great Danes. Each one of them is unique.

Origin and History

Talking about history, the Harlequin Great Danes are believed to have been around for more than 400 years. Although there is a popular misconception about this breed to have a Danish origin, they are proven to be a German breed. In the early 1800s, they were used in Germany to protect real estate properties and caravans. Before that, they were used for boar hunting. In the year 1880, the Germans banned their name “Great Danes” and renamed them “Deutsche Dogge”–meaning German Mastiffs. It hints at the fact that these dogs were produced from a breed that resembled the German Mastiffs. Although the Germans changed the original name, they continued to be known as Great Dane in countries with English as the primary language.

Physical Characteristics of a Harlequin Great Dane

When it comes to appearance, this dog is enormous. Harlequin Great Dane puppies have a pinkish nose that turns black when they grow older. They have deep-set eyes and ears that drop forward. When they were used as hunting dogs, their floppy ears would be cut to protect them from getting injured while running after the hunt. Their body is long and muscular, with a rectangular head and straight legs. The male dog’s height falls between the range of 30 – 32

inches, with a weight of 140 – 175 pounds. The females, however, are around 28 – 30 inches tall and weigh around 110 – 140 pounds. 

The Harlequin Great Danes shed lightly, and their coat is short and silky.

Harlequin Great Dane Personality

With their intimidating size and enormous body, many people assume them to be aggressive and hostile—that is not the case. The Great Danes are nicknamed the Gentle Giants because of their friendly and warm temperament. They are goofy, delightful, and gentle towards children, other dogs, and even cats. As they were bred as guard dogs, Harlequin Great Dane may become a bit cautious around strangers. However, if the Harlequin Great Dane puppies are trained to socialize, they will find it easy to get comfortable around new people and places. They are intelligent and can be easily trained.  

Grooming and Care

Their silky, short coat is low-maintenance. Although they are minimal shedders, they shed a great amount of hair because of their huge bodies. They usually shed more around springtime when the weather is getting warmer. It is advised to brush their coats every week throughout the year. When they are shedding heavily, however, they need a brushing session daily. Additionally, they need baths every once in a while. Apart from looking after their fur, you also need to take care of their nails—they need a regular trim. Their ears should be checked frequently to keep them clean. If left unchecked, there may be a buildup of wax, moisture, or debris. This can result in ear infections. Moreover, they are huge, which makes them prone to develop bone and muscles related problems. So you need to keep an eye on their exercise routine. Avoid over physical exertion. Also, regularly check their joints, hips, and elbows. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, get your pooch checked by a vet and have him evaluated.

Below are some other recommended tests for your Great Dane;

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

How Much Does a Harlequin Great Dane Cost?

Depending upon your location and the type of Great Dane you might be looking for, a Harlequin Great Dane costs around $500 – $3000. The price may also be influenced by the quality of a breeder or the ancestral lineage of a dog. They are expensive because breeding a Harlequin requires years of experience. A female can produce 7 – 10 litter.

Additionally, the care cost is also high for a large dog like the Great Dane. They eat more than an average-sized dog. If they become sick, they need large doses of medication, which also increases the cost. It’s imperative to keep these factors in mind before owning a big dog like the Great Dane.   

Pros and Cons of Having a Harlequin Great Dane

Owning any dog is fun. They are loyal companions who can brighten up your day merely with their presence. Just like any other dog, there are various advantages of owning a Harlequin Great Dane—there are also some downsides to it. Below we have discussed a few pros and cons of having a Harlequin Great Dane as a pet.

Pros
They are affectionate and gentle dogs
They don’t need a lot of grooming
They are the best guard dogs
Cons
They are not suitable for people living in small apartments
They have a short life span
They are costlier than other breeds
They shed a lot in the springtime, which can be a problem for people prone to allergies

Fun-Facts About the Harlequin Great Dane

Below are some interesting facts about this gentle giant.

  • They grow fast, and the young ones stop looking like puppies a few months after their birth
  • They drool a lot
  • These dogs are the world’s tallest dogs
  • Their color is the hardest to perfect, as it takes generations of breeding to get the perfect harlequin color pattern
  • Because of their graceful and courageous demeanor, they are called “The Apollo of dogs”
  • They were initially used in Germany to hunt wild boars
  • As they were boarhounds, they still have a strong sense of smell
  • When they were used for hunting, their ears would be cropped to protect them from getting injured while hunting

Harlequin Great Dane Health

The Great Danes are known to be susceptible to several serious diseases. One of them is gastric dilation-volvulus or GDV. This is a life-threatening disease, which can make a dog’s stomach get filled with air and, as a result, can get flipped and twisted. The twisted stomach then puts pressure on other organs. This happens because the Great Danes have a huge abdomen and there is a lot of room for the stomach to flip over. This can be treated by a special surgery, in which a dog’s stomach is stitched to the abdomen wall so it doesn’t flip on its own.

Additionally, they are also prone to heart-related diseases and eye infections. Their huge weight and medium levels of energy also make them susceptible to obesity.

Other less common diseases a Great Dane can suffer from include;

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis
  • Congenital Deafness

If you are planning to own a Great Dane, it is better to consult a vet and get an expert opinion regarding the precautions to minimize the potential risks your dog can have.

What to Feed Your Harlequin Great Dane?

Just because a Great Dane is a huge dog, he shouldn’t be fed larger meals. Instead, the food should be divided into small meals and fed throughout the day. They need a diet that has a high quantity of proteins and healthy fats. You also need to be careful about their exercise and playtime routine. As they are prone to bloat, you shouldn’t make them exercise right before or after their mealtimes. This can cause their stomachs to flip and get twisted, which can turn into a life-threatening situation.

How Much Exercise Does a Great Dane Need?

Talking about exercise, it is important to note that the Harlequin Great Danes do not require high-intensity activities. You shouldn’t make them over-exercise. Instead, a half-hour walks to a dog park or some playtime in the backyard of your house would be enough for them. They are not the kind of dogs who will spend their whole day inside a kennel or the backyard of your house. They enjoy playing and going for walks. So, to keep them entertained, you must give them attention and time.

Life Expectancy of a Harlequin Great Dane:

They have a relatively shorter life span as compared to other dog breeds. They live for 7 – 10 years. Some may reach the age of twelve, but that rarely happens.

Harlequin Great Dane—At a Glance

Harlequin Great Dane Characteristics
Height Males: 30 – 32 inches Females: 28 – 30 inches
Weight Males: 140 – 175 pounds Females: 110 – 140 pounds
Color White base with black patches
Coat Dense, short, and silky
Life Expectancy 7 – 10 years
Shedding They shed minimally throughout the year but more in the spring season
Temperament They are popular for their goofy, joyful, gentle, and loyal nature
Socialization They are very friendly and if trained to socialize from a young age, they become comfortable around new people too
Intelligence Medium level
Activity Levels Not very active. They need a moderate level of exercise daily
Litter Size 7 – 10 Litter
Relationship with Children They are joyful and calm around children. They are known to be gentle with children even after the kids are being mischievous with the dog
Grooming Requirements They need low to moderate grooming
Health Concerns GDV, Heart-related diseases, Eye-infections, Hypothyroidism, Hip Dysplasia, Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Congenital Deafness, and Obesity

If you are planning to add a Harlequin Great Dane to your family, you must make yourself well-informed about this enormous and gorgeous canine. You should also make arrangements for his accommodation in advance, so he can adjust easily. It is also important to understand their food requirements because they eat a lot compared to medium or small-sized dogs. As discussed earlier, owning a Great Dane can become pretty expensive, so you need to keep that in mind as well. You also need to take them out daily or play with them in the backyard so they can stay active and entertained. With love, proper care, and a healthy lifestyle, your Harlequin Great Dane will prove to be a loyal and affectionate companion. Invest your time in him, and you will have an excellent canine pal.

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