Harlequin Great Dane “COMPLETE” info (cost, appearance & more)

The Harlequin Great Dane is a unique and rare Dane variation and one of the 7 recognized great Dane colors. This Harlequin coat is made up of a white base coat color with irregular and random black patches as the secondary color. These dogs have large bodies weighing up to 175 pounds like other Great Dane. 

With that said, you should keep in mind that the Harlequin Great Dane is not a separate breed but a coat color version of the popular Greta Dane breed. Harlequin is a pattern, not a “dog”.

Here is a complete list of the Great Dane colors and types.

These Harlequin Danes puppies are often confused with Dalmatian due to the coat coloration.

However, it is worth noting that the Harlequin Great Dane has torn patches and the Dalmatian is made up of spots.

So what makes this Dane variation unique? Stick with us to learn why this is the case.

About the Harlequin Great Dane

The Harlequin Great Dane color is an alternate color to Merle and is one of the most identifiable color variations.

As I mentioned earlier, this dog should have a white base color with irregular black patches well distributed throughout the dog’s body.

The uniqueness of this coat variation is brought by the fact that no Harlequin Great Dane can be identical to the other.

This Harlequin Apollo of all dogs also has additional characteristics with some being deemed preferable.

Here are some of the main characteristics; 

  • Black patches should not be too large.
  • The patches should be balanced and not too many nor too few and can appear on the legs and chest as well.
  • These patches should be torn (have jagged edges) and should not be rounded.
  • A Harlequin Great Dane with a white neck is preferred.
  • It is preferred that no black hairs should show through the white base coat color.
  • This color variation may also have merle patches.

You can also get a mismarked Harlequin Dane giant but this should not be an issue if you are not planning to show your Great Dane.

Harlequin Danes

But what is the reason behind this rare coloration? Genetics 

Harlequin Great Danes genetics

Several studies show that this Harlequin Dane color is brought about by mutation of the Merle gene (M) in Great Danes.

Therefore, we could not be having these Harlequin giants without the merle gene.

For you to get a Harlequin Dane, both the dogs need one or two copies of the mutated Merle gene. This dilutes the base color with dark patches on the top. Also, this pattern cannot be expressed in Danes with red pigmentation or that are not marle.

It is also suggested that you can get a Harlequin Dane by breeding a Merle and Blue Great Dane.

Visit this guide to learn more about the Blue Great Dane.

However, the breeding of Merle/Harlequin with mantle Great Dane produces the largest number of show-marked harlequins.

Breeding two Harlequin Great Dane

To start of the breeding of two Harlequin Great Danes is highly discouraged since there are several health issues related to this.

Doing this can result in white puppies that often end up deaf or blind.

Mating 2 Harlequins does not also guarantee Harlequin puppies.

Even when harlequin offsprings are produced in a litter, you will also have pups with other colors since the parents carry other color genes such as black, fawn, and so on.

For example, a litter of 7 puppies may have 1 to 2 merle pups, 2 to 3 harlequin pups, 2 white puppies (probably deaf), and 2 black or mantle pups.

6 Harlequin Dane Fun Facts

  1. This dog can also be referred to as the Harlequin Apollo of all dogs or Harlequin Gentle Giant.
  2. These dogs originated from Germany and not Denmark as the name may seem to suggest.
  3. They were once used to hunt and take down wild boars.
  4. These canines friends grow fast and can reach 100 pounds within 6 months.
  5. Harlequin Danes may be large but they are super gentle a trait that was bred into them hence the name Harlequin Gentle giants.
  6. They have one of the shortest lifespans live for between 7 and 10 years. This applies to all Great Dane colors.

Pros and cons


✓ Gentle and great with children.

✔ Love to snuggle.

Good looking. 

✔ Great watchdog.

✓ Low grooming needs.


✘ Not suitable for apartment living.

✗ Short lifespan.

✘ Get tangled up easily.

✗ They shed.

General Characteristics and appearance of the Harlequin Great Dane

Harlequin Great Dane summary table
Height Males: 30 to 32 inches, Females: 28 to 30 inches
Weight Males: 140 to 175 pounds, Females: 110 to 140 for females
Lifespan 7 to 10 years
Breed Type Mastiff
Purpose companion dog
Suitable For families
Grooming requirements moderate grooming
Color Variations White base color with Darker patches
Health concerns Bloat, Congenital Deafness, Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Hypothyroidism
Temperament friendly, patient, dependable, moderately playful, affectionate
Other Names Harlequin gentle giants, Harlequin Apollo of dogs

Height and weight

The Harlequin Great Dane is a giant dog breed.

  • Male Harlequin Danes can stand between 30 and 32 inches and weigh between 140 and 175 pounds.
  • Female Harlequin Danes can stand between 28 and 30 inches and weigh between 110 and 140 pounds.

The physical appearance

Apart from the color, one of the most notable features that this dog has is a muscular body.

This dog should have a massive and flat head that is narrow at the top with long and strong necks.

The ears are floppy and eyes heavenly and quirky.

These eyes can come in a variety of colors ranging between blue, brown, and dark brown. In other cases, the eyes can be colored differently.

This dog is born with a pink nose that changes to black as he grows up.

Great Dane price

Coat appearance and shedding

This dog should have a short and smooth coat that sheds moderately throughout the year.

Unfortunately, the Harlequin is also not great for allergy sufferers since he is not hypoallergenic.

If you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog, check out our list of all the hypoallergenic dogs that may be fit for you.


As I mentioned earlier, the Harlequin Great Dane should have a white base coat color with torn black patches.

However, some Great Danes may be colored differently and include the following;

Merle Harlequin

This is a Great Dane with both the mutated Harlequin gene and a merle gene giving him a peculiar appearance.

Has a white base coat with merle torn patches.

Blue Harlequin

Blue Harlequin Great Danes offspring come about due to the breeding of Harlequin and Blue Great Danes.

This dog has a white base color with blue patches and blue eyes.

The blue patches should be steel blue.

What is a Merlequin Great Dane?

A Merlequin Great Dane is a Dane that is double merle (MM) and not harlequin (hh). This Merlequin Dane is also known as a Merlekin and can produce Harlequin pups if mated with a Mantle Great Dane that carries the Harlequin gene. 

Harlequin Great Dane Personality and temperament

The harlequin gene does not affect the temperament or any traits of the Great Dane.

He still retains his endearing and gentle personality forgetting that they are big dogs.

These dogs may be large but they love to cuddle and snuggle on the couch although they do not always fit in due to their enormous size.

They love adventure, lazing around, and having fun.

With that said, you should note that the Harlequin is an outdoor dog and is not suitable for apartment dwellers.

They are also great watchdogs and protectors that will let you know when things are not right. These dogs have sheer barks.

Is the Harlequin Gentle Giant a good family dog?

The Harlequin Great Dane is an exceptional family dog with one obvious downside- his sheer size. He is great with children but because of this supervision will be necessary during play.

Also, if you have no experience handling large dogs, this canine friend may be a bit too imposing.

Harlequin Great Dane guide

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between Merle and Harlequin Great Danes?

The main difference between Merle and Harlequin is the base coat color. Merle Great Danes have a greyish base color with colored patches while the Harlequin Great Dane has a white base color with dark patches. The patches on a Merle Great Dane can be dark or light-colored.

Why are Harlequin Great Danes more expensive?

Harlequin is a unique and popular Great Dane coloration making them the most expensive Great Dane variation.

Are Harlequin Great Danes high maintenance?

In terms of grooming, the Harlequin Great Dane is low maintenance but he is high maintenance in terms of exercise and feeding. Harlequin Great Danes will need a lot of daily exercises and eat a lot due to their massive size.

How long do Harlequin Great Danes live?

Harlequin Great Danes have one of the shortest dog lifespans. These Harlequin Danes live for between 7 and 10 years with a few reaching the age of 12 years.

Do all Harlequin Great Danes have blue eyes?

Not all Harlequin Great Danes have blue eyes, others may have dark or brown eyes. Blue eyes are, however, common in Blue Harlequin Great Danes with some Harlequin Danes having different-colored eyes.

How much do Harlequin Great Danes cost?

A Harlequin Great Dane puppy will cost you anywhere between $1000 to upwards of $2500. This cost can vary from one breeder to another and depending on your location and pedigree.

You can visit our guide on the cost of a Great Dane where we go into detail on all the costs that a Great Dane owner may incur.

Litter size:

Between 7 and 10 puppies.

These puppies grow fast and can reach 100 pounds within 6 months and continue growing even after 2 years.

The harlequin Great Dane guide

Grooming needs

The Harlequin Great Dane has low grooming needs.

However, you will need to brush the coat at least 3 times a week to minimize shedding and to maintain the coat’s sheen.

Bathing this dog can be a challenge and it would be advisable that you seek the help of a professional groomer. This should be after every 6 weeks.

The floppy ears will also need to be checked and cleaned every 2 weeks.

You should also remember to keep the nails short and to maintain the dog’s dental hygiene.

Exercise requirements

Daily exercises such as walks could help keep the dog in healthy conditions.

30 to 45 minutes of exercise should be enough for this dog. They can play in the yard as a form of exercise as long as it is fenced.

This dog will also enjoy going for daily walks to the dog park and hikes of about 2 miles.

You should not over-exercise this dog, especially in the pup stage when his bones are still developing rapidly.

Feeding requirements

One thing that you will need to do is consider the dog’s weight when you are feeding him.

A general rule of thump is giving the dog about 30 calories for every pound of his weight. Puppies may need to be feed on slightly more to keep up with their energy needs.

Harlequin Great Dane Daily Food Consumption
Calories 2700
Cups of Kibble 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗

This dog is also prone to bloat and you should, therefore, split the meals into 3 or 4 daily portions.

You will need to make sure that the diet is made up mostly of meat proteins.

Harlequin Dane

Known health concerns

Some of the common health issues that this dog is susceptible to are;

  • Bloat
  • Congenital Deafness
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis
  • Hypothyroidism

Breed summary

The Harlequin Great Dane is a massive, unique and great looking dog.

However, he is also prone to several health issues such as bloat and will need you to feed him on a balanced to ensure that he stays healthy.

This dog will also need a lot of love, some tasty treats for good behavior and adventure to help him stay active.

There you go, WOOF!