Merle Great Dane dogs are standard Great Danes as opined by the A.K.C. A Merle Great Dane was not a recognised Great Dane coat color for dog shows until recent. But now the A.K.C. and G.D.C.A. both approve Merle Great Dane puppy as a purebred color of the Great Dane breed along with black, brindle, fawn, harlequin, blue, and mantle coat colors.
Merle Great Dane dogs are intrinsically unique. Each Merle Great Dane puppy would bear different coat color pattern. This often leads to falsely considering Merle Great Danes as ‘rare’ dogs . Usually, Great Dane Merle dogs are more prone to a number of health risks than other Great Dane coat colours due to the presence of ‘Merle gene’.
Great Dane Merle
There are seven genes besides ‘Merle’ that furnish various attributes to a Great Dane Merle. ‘Merle’ is fundamentally a gene responsible for the coat color of the Merle Great Dane dog. Excluding the chances of mutation, the Merle coat colour of a Great Dane puppy is due to this inherited gene.
Merle Great Danes are lacking in fitness due to the ‘Merle’ gene. Particularly if the Dane holds double merle genetics the chances of flawed genetic makeup would increase even further.
Merle coat color is observed in other canine breeds as well. For instance;
- Australian shepherds
- Cardigan Welsh Corgis
Generally, Merle gene is only confined to domestic canine breeds. Furnishing only domestic dogs with a Merle coat color.
Great Dane Merle appearance
Merle Great Dane dogs are huge and mesmerising owing to their peculiar appearance. Usually, a Merle Great Dane puppy holds a white muzzle. Tip of tail, chest, and toes also appear black or white for Merle Great Dane dogs.
A darker coat color which is usually grey with grey splotches is regarded as a recognised coat color pattern for a Merle Great Dane dog.
Besides, the shades of grey, blue, and a combination of white or black base coat colour separated with black patches is also recurrent in Merle Great Danes.
How to differentiate a Great Dane Merle from a Harlequin Great Dane?
Merle Great Dane puppies are seldom mixed with Harlequin Great Danes. The principal contrasting point between Great Dane Merle dog and Harlequin Great Dane dog is the base coat color difference.
- Merle Great Dane puppies possess grey coat color whilst Harlequin Great Dane’ coat colour is white. The shade of grey could be lighter or darker.
- The spots on the body of Harlequin Great Dane are black in color as compared to typical grey coloured splotches on the coat of a Merle Great Dane dog.
- The abundance of dabbles and pattern on coat also differ for Merle and Harlequin Great Danes.
The Merle Great Danes pattern might appear similar to a Harlequin Great Dane.
Variety within Merle Great Danes
Merle Great Danes can be registered with the A.K.C. and G.D.C.A. as purebred Great Dane dogs. The Merle Great Dane puppies occur in a variety of coat colors and patterns. On some occasions the difference is so contrasting that finding another Merle Great Dane dog bearing similar coat pattern as yours would be unlikely.
There are varied kinds of Merle Great Danes depending upon the color of spots on the coat the canine is wearing.
Merle Great Dane colors
Merle Great Danes are not less beautiful and awe inspiring as any other Great Dane colours and patterns would be. Breeding of any coloured Great Dane that was hitherto color crossed can produce a variety of Merle Great Dane colours.
Brindle Merle Great Danes
Brindle Merle Great Danes inherit the coat color and pattern from both Brindle and Merle parents. This suggests the increased likelihood of a distinctive color pattern.
Typically, the Brindle Merle Great Dane holds a scrambled coat. The stripes when separated changes into spots of different colours, on the coat of a Brindle Merle Great Dane are quite visible. These stripes fade in and out of a Brindle Merle Great Dane base coat colour.
These coloured stripes are varied in colors, come from Brindle coat Great Danes. Their coats are covered with a fusion of black, brown, grey, and red colored stripes.
Fawn Merle Great Danes
Fawn Merle Great Danes coat color lies in the range of light cream to tan or brown tinge. The Fawn Merle Great Danes have Merle spots all over their bodies. These spots might appear in blotches of black colour.
Chocolate Merle Great Danes
Chocolate Merle Great Danes are alike fawn Merle Great Danes. The base coat colour of Chocolate Merle Great Danes is tan or brown as well. Though, these Great Dane dogs wear chocolate or red coloured asymmetrical patches all over.
Blue Merle Great Danes
Generally, Blue Merle Great Dane dogs hold light grey, slate, dark blue, or brownish blue coat color. With blue or black color spotting on the coat all over.
Sometimes nose of a Blue Merle Great Dane can also bear blue color. Additionally, a tinge of blue or black color might be seen all over the Blue Merle Great Dane’s skin.
Silver Merle Great Danes
Silver Merle Great Danes appear with a silver, grey, or black coat color with black spotting. The nose of a Silver Merle Great Dane is typically black in color but rarely it could be of pink colour as well.
Mantle Merle Great Danes
Mantle Merle Great Dane puppies have white coat just like a Mantle Great Dane, with Merle spots on it.This suggests the presence of grey or silver colored spots on the coat of a Mantle Merle Great Dane.
There is a band of white color on the neck and chest of a Mantle Merle Great Dane.
Merlequin Great Danes
Harlequin Great Danes and Merlequin Great Danes are often found tough to be distinguished. Merlequin Great Danes spots and coat color seem somewhat similar to those of a Harlequin Great Dane.
Though the coat could be different owing to individual Merlequin Great Dane’ color and pattern disparity.
Merlequin Great Danes mainly hold a white coat color with grey or Merle spots on it. Frequently, these dapples on a Merlequin Great Dane coat are uneven.
Tri Colored Merle Great Danes
Merle Great Danes are sometimes labelled as tri colored Great Danes. Tri Colored Merle Great Dane coat is an amalgamation of three striking coat colors. This coat is a combination of white, black, and brown colours.
Merle Great Dane colour strength
Merle Great Dane dog shades are also varied. The frequent color strengths of a Great Dane Merle are following;
The regular Merle Great Dane bearing grey colour.
Dilute Merle or Blue Merle
This Great Dane Merle color has subdued base coat color and pattern color.
Cryptic Merle Great Danes color strength is more fine.
The Harlequin color strength lies between Merle and Harlequin Great Danes color. As it is a mixture of both the Merle and Harlequin colors.
Great Dane Merle Genetics
Merle gene in Merle Great Danes and other breeds of dogs, mentioned prior, possess an interesting trait. The Merle gene is quite flexible. The gene is adaptable to the extent that it can be clipped, duplicated, and attached anywhere on the genetic strand.
The mere change of location of attachment of ‘Merle gene’ can alter whole appearance of your Merle Great Dane puppy. This is how various distinct Merle Great Danes are born.
The Merle fact
Merle gene is not only the determinant of coat color in dogs. It is also responsible for deciding eye color of a canine. Blue eyes of Merle Great Danes are due to the presence of Merle gene in the dogs.
Occasionally, the Merle Great Danes may have eyes of different colors. Sometimes there are two or even more colors in the eye of a Merle Great Dane puppy.
Are Merle Great Danes rare?
Merle Great Danes are not rare albeit each Merle Great Dane dog bears a unique color pattern. Despite the difference in appearance arising from diverse coat patterns and color variations, the Merle Great Danes are never to be reasoned as ‘rare’ dogs.
There are some devious breeders selling Merle Great Danes as ‘rare’ dogs. Which Merle Great Danes are certainly not. You ought to be cautious in selecting a trustworthy breeder while buying a Merle Great Dane.
Merle Great Dane Existence
Merle Great Dane puppies are born to Harlequin parents. The prior differ from later in their genetic makeup. Merle gene in Merle Great Dane produces grey tinge on the coat. Whilst absence of the gene produces Harlequin Great Danes.
Merle Great Dane puppies prevail through another Great Dane breeding ritual. This Great Dane breeding process is usually favoured upon other. In this, Harlequin and Mantle Great Danes are bred jointly which gives rise to Merle Great Dane puppies.
Breeding of two Harlequin Great Danes together would likely to produce Merle Great Dane puppies. The number of Merle Great Dane puppies in the litter could be either singular or two.
Besides, Merle Great Dane puppies, breeding two Harlequin Great Danes might also produce White Great Dane puppies.
Merle Great Dane breeding
Merle Great Dane breeding is somehow a arguable norm. The breeding was strictly prohibited even though your Merle Great Danes were physically fit. Even the Great Dane Club of America’s Breeder’s Code of Ethics tend to doubt the practice regarding it as an unethical operation. On account of increased possibility of health ailments deliberate Merle Great Dane breeding was avoided.
Can you breed a Merle Great Dane?
You can breed Merle Great Dane, but to keep the breed standards intact and lineage fit and healthy it is recommended to use DNA testing whilst breeding Merle Great Danes.
Most Harlequin breeders propagated that without Merle there would be no Harlequin. Since, over the years researchers have been able to substantiate that Harlequin is a modification of Merle. Therefore, allowing Merle Great Dane breeding.
Breeding Merle Great Danes without any homework can give birth to physically and mentally impaired Merle Great Dane puppies.
Additionally, Merle Great Dane breeding is likely to give rise to deaf, blind, or sick puppies. Such puppies are made vulnerable to suffer from a myriad of other ailments as well when grown. These health issues are recurrent in White Great Danes.
Why can you not breed Merle to Merle?
Merle to Merle breeding is not favoured due to the increased probability of health risks associated with the Great Dane puppies born. Merle to Merle breeding might produce Double Merle Great Dane puppies.
The Double Merle Great Danes could be dead or stillborn puppies. Besides, Double Merle Great Dane dogs bears flawed genetic makeup. This suggests a bleak health state of a puppy born from Merle to Merle breeding.
Additionally the puppies born from Merle to Merle breeding might suffer from deafness or they could be eyeless puppies. Other susceptible diseases in litters of Merle to Merle breeding include, flawed eyes and skin problems.
Some behavioural problems along with skin disorders are also linked with Merle to Merle breeding. The puppies born are more aggressive. It might be due to the incomplete mental development of a Double Merle Great Dane puppy.
Double Merle Great Danes
When a Merle Great Dane puppy carries two Merle genes, it becomes a double Merle Great Dane. It mainly happens when both parents carry a Merle gene each. The double Merle Great Dane dogs are prone to many diseases. This makes double Merle Great Danes non favoured in terms of fitness. Hence, the breeding of Double Merle Great Danes is not supported.
Is Marlequin a Double Merle?
Yes, Marlequin is a Double Merle Great Dane. But it differs from other Double Merle Great Danes, in its genetic structure. A strand of gene of a Marlequin is different from White Great Danes.
A Marlequin carries double Merle sans Harle gene whilst a White Great Dane bears a Double Merle plus Harle strand in its genetic material.
Being a Double Merle without Harle makes Great Dane less prone to diseases associated with White Great Danes. Therefore, a Merlequin Great Dane is not that much vulnerable as a white Great Dane.
White Great Danes
White Great Danes appear when a Great Dane puppy inherits two Merle genes. Presence of a Merle gene doublet renders white colour to the Great Dane coat.
In addition to white coat colour, this Merle gene doublet makes White Great Dane dogs prone to a plethora of ailments. Encompassing errs in ears, eyes, and genetic built of a White Great Dane.
Ear and eye flaws could make White Great Danes deaf and blind. A faulty genetic make up induces a sick white Great Dane puppy. At times adult White Great Danes also suffer from perilous ailments.
White Great Dane dogs are also produced by Merle-Merle, and Merle-Harlequin breeding.
Merle Great Dane Temperament
The Merle Great Dane dog inherits its temperament from Great Dane parents. The Great Dane dogs are extremely loving hence the dogs are also called ‘Gentle Giants’. This name exhibits temperament of a Great Dane Merle dog impeccably.
Given the captivating temperament of the Great Dane, Merle Great Dane temperament is affectionate. The Merle Great Dane dogs are benign, holding a tender heart, amenable, and friendly no less.
The Merle Great Dane puppies are minimal to average active canines. Merle Great Dane puppies have docile disposition furnishing the dogs with a wonderful temperament.
Merle Great Danes’ temperament indicates that the canines are obedient and appeasing. The Merle Great Dane puppies are possessive just like Great Dane dogs about its owners. Separation anxiety is an integral part of a Merle Great Dane’ temperament.
Merle Great Dane Training
Merle Great Dane puppies are somewhat easy to train. Training a Merle Great Dane becomes comparatively simpler owing to a Merle Great Dane’ appeasing temperament.
The Merle Great Dane dogs would readily follow your commands and instructions. During the training sessions you would find a Merle Great Dane, an incredible yielding canine.
By following the Merle Great Dane training regularly and persistently you would be able to furnish yourself with a dutiful canine.
Merle Great Dane Socialising
Possessiveness of a Great Dane could be a potential quandary for you. Provided the inherited possessiveness, it becomes consequential to socialise a Merle Great Dane puppy.
Other than dealing with possessive sentiment of a Merle Great Dane you have another matter to deal with. Merle Great Dane dogs could be aggressive or shy depending on the surroundings. The utmost rational solution to such behavioural vexations, is to socialise your Merle Great Dane.
Merle Great Dane health concerns
Merle Great Dane dogs are huge just like their Great Dane parents. As a large breed canine a Merle Great Dane is susceptible to a number of ailments. Starting from a perilous health situation of Bloat to Hip and Joint Dysplasia.
The Merle Great Dane dogs are also prone to Cardiomyopathy, Hypothyroidism, and Wobbler’s Syndrome. All these health concerns are a baggage for a Merle Great Dane being a large breed dog.
Additionally, Merle Great Danes are at an increased risk of suffering from many diseases.
Typically, when two Great Dane dogs holding Merle gene each, are bred together, the resultant Merle Great Dane puppy is comparatively vulnerable.
If your Merle Great Dane puppy is from a Merle-Merle family, the health problems aggravates.
The following are Merle-Merle Great Dane health concerns:
Hearing impaired Great Dane dogs
Merle Great Dane dogs are often hearing impaired.
According to researchers Merle gene and deafness are associated. Only the presence of Merle gene increments the occurrence of hearing impaired dogs. Whilst there might be a chance that your Merle Great Dane is deaf from one ear.
Eyeless Merle Great Dane dogs
The chances of eyeless Merle Great Dane increments due to Merle gene. The severity of eye problem varies in Merle Great Danes and Double Merle Great Danes.
Flawed eyes dogs
Merle Great Dane dogs possess faulting eyes, beside being vision less canines. Other eye flaws in a Merle Great Dane encompass;
- Optic nerve weakness
- Smaller eyes
- Misplaced pupils and lens
- Abnormal eye development including iris and retina
Skin cancer in Merle Great Dane
The Merle Great Dane dogs are also reported to suffer from skin cancer. It is more frequent in Merle Great Danes when the Great Dane holds an additional white in their genetic makeup.
The risks of diseases are relatively higher in case of a Double Merle Great Dane than a Merle Great Dane.
The Double Merle Gene
The Double Merle gene fashions a feeble and unfit Merle Great Dane. Due to this liability the Double Merle gene carries in Merle Great Danes, there were attempts to abolish the Merle Great Danes altogether. despite, the attempts the Merle Great Danes achieved the reverence of a Standard Great Dane.
The breeders endeavours to remove Merle coat color by using the method of selective breeding. However, their attempts were mainly resulted in failure and the Merle gene continued to persist in Merle Great Danes along with many other dog breeds.
On January 1, 2019 Merle Great Dane became eligible to join Great Dane Dog Shows. Both A.K.C. and G.D.C.A. have accepted Merle Great Danes. Paving the way for Bellini, the first Merle Great Dane in the history to compete for the confirmation championship. This marks the paradigm shift from prohibited to newly allowed Great Dane color.
The main reason behind the significant Merle embrace was owing to the technological advancements. Instead of discarding Merle gene, now researchers have provided breeders with Merle gene test.
DNA Genetic testing for Merle gene in Great Danes
To locate the presence of Merle gene in your Great Dane, genetic testing is an incredible option. Great Dane DNA testing would rightly indicate the Merle gene which is responsible for producing unhealthy Great Dane puppies. the DNA testing can efficaciously enlighten the contemporary Great Dane breeders including Merle breeders. Evaluating the recessive genes in the genetics of a dog and furnishing the breeders with recommendations to enhance healthy Merle Great Dane breeding.
If you own a Merle Great Dane after a perusal of the article the first thing to consider spaying of your Dane. The dog must be neutered or spayed to avoid any problems. Breeders hold great responsibility to keep the Great Dane breed and Merle Great Danes in particular, healthy and fit. They must bear in mind, adhering to moral breeding norms in terms of colour code is crucial to enhance the adaptability of a Merle Great Dane.
In addition to, in depth health tests are indispensable for producing physically and mentally apt Great Dane puppies.