Piebald Dane is a mismark for the Great Dane breed. Given the Piebald Dane’s mantle head on a white body the Piebald Danes are mismarked Mantle Great Danes. Some Piebald Danes have pure white coats. Whilst others have splotches on their bodies which are primarily of black color. The Piebald Danes are not recognised either by A.K.C. nor by G.D.C.A. as the Great Dane breed standard.
Piebald Dane is the natural result of breeding Mantle Great Danes. When even one such pup is produced in a litter it indicates that both parents are Piebald carriers. The Piebald Danes are not rare. Despite the coat’s healthy genetic makeup such Great Danes are not desired by most breeders.
The Piebald Danes are fine as pets but not as potential breeding stock. Piebald Danes are commonly mistaken to be mismarked Harlequin Great Danes. These Danes are different from Harlequin Danes in that the former has little or less spots viz-a-viz a Harlequin Great Dane. In reality, the Piebald Danes are much more common than Fawnequins and are considered a common harlequin litter mismark.
How did Piebald Dane come about?
Piebalds are named pinto, parti-colored, and colored-headed whites. As a phenotype, piebald is a common and well recognized coat pattern seen in many breeds. The Piebald Danes are born from harlequin and mantle breeding. There are two types of Mantles
- one that has the most flash and often a break within the blanket. Such Danes are normally piebald gene carriers. The dogs hold one copy of the gene.
- The other is Irish gene dogs. These dogs originally lack the increased amount of white which is a favored pattern.
Appearance of Piebald Danes
Piebald Danes are the dogs holding at least half of their coat in white color. The percentage of white color on its coat could be more as well. Generally, 80%-90% white coloration is common in Piebald Danes. The dog’s bear some round or somewhat oval colored splotches.
A Piebald Dane has a full black head which is also called a Mantle head. The dog’s body could be;
- One black side and other white side bearing black spots
- Three big black splotches on one side
- Whole white with black circling the Piebald Dane’s tail
- Usually colored tail
How to tell a Piebald from a Harlequin
Piebald Danes are mainly white coat colored dogs bearing black blotches. The number of spots on the coat of the dog can be varied. The spots are mostly adjoining the tail of the Danes. Head of the mismarked dog is mantle which frequently includes its blaze as well.
Piebald coloration also exists in cats, called ‘van coloration’.
The Piebald Danes
The Great Danes hold
- One or two round, smooth edged splotches
- Eyes of a Piebald Dane are genuinely dark and a white muzzle
- There are relatively more markings on the head of a Piebald Dane
Harlequin Danes possess Merle genes, which is the chief stimulator of discoloration in Danes. These dogs have
- Numerous patches which appear to be torn in shape
- Leg markings are also visible
- A Merle spot could be present on a Harlequin Dane. Typically it could bear grey to brownish tinge but no black spots. Size of the Merle mark could be miniscule or huge, there could be singular or multiple Merle spots.
These Merle patches are sometimes absent on double Merle white dogs as these dogs are sometimes solid white.
If the colored areas are Merle, the Dane would be a Merlequin carrying double Merle genetics.
There is a plethora of variations within Piebald Danes due to the combination of piebald genes with other dane genes. Some commonly found Piebald Danes are;
Such dogs are genetically Fawn Great Danes.
A Piebald Harlequin Dane is often called a harlequin head white. The Danes are born when piebald gene fuses with harlequin gene. A Harlequin Piebald has a few body spots. It is mainly regarded as a normal Harlequin genetically.
Merle Piebald Danes are called Merle heads by Great Dane breeders. The piebald gene can also integrate with the Merle gene producing Merle piebalds. The dogs appear similar to Merlequin Great Danes. They are often inaccurately registered as Merlequins.
There is a major lack of certainty circling Piebald Danes. The people get confused due to differences in breed-specific and individual language. It is also rather difficult to recognize a Piebald Dane.
As the color on the head and tail are lastly to be affected by discoloration, these both areas retain black color. In genetics the gene, piebald is considered an ‘excessive white gene’. Hence the Piebald Danes are regarded as holding disproportionate and improper spotting.
As mentioned above Piebald Danes could bear any colored pigment beside black. The Danes could be blue as well.
Boston head piebalds:
A Piebald Dane holding a uniform genotype and phenotype is called a Boston head piebald. The dogs are considered straight piebalds owing to their singular physical and genetic appearance. From the head the dogs appear closer to Mantle Danes but the body of the dog has black splotches unlike Mantle Dane.
Piebald Dane Genetics
Piebald Danes are somewhat more than a mere mismarked Mantle. Mismarked Mantle Danes are genetically mantles, just with not enough white to fall under the accepted range of show Dane’s markings.
Genetically, a Piebald Dane possesses a pair of white spotting genes(S\S). Irrespective of the coat color the piebald gene can influence any Great Dane. Hence the dogs can occur in numerous Great Dane colors. But the most recognized Piebald Dane is the one called Plattenhund. Which is a black Mantle holding piebald genetic make up. The dogs are also alluded to as color headed whites.
There are health problems associated with discoloration due to loss of pigment. Piebald Danes also lack color pigment therefore the dogs are genetically flawed. Although, the diseases are not as frequent and common, as they prevail in double Merle Danes but exist anyhow.
Piebald Dane Health
Given their huge white bodies, the Piebald Danes are prone to skin problems because of the lack of pigment. Primarily the harlequin family Danes do not possess more health problems than other Danes.
Typically there are some hearing defects that are linked to the piebald gene. There is a comparatively less percentage of reported Piebald Danes having impaired hearing or deafness than the double Merle White Danes.
The Danes could suffer from skin allergies due to their sensitive skin. Undoubtedly these skin problems are not any worse than a harlequin or a Merle Great Dane. Some Piebald Danes hold eyesight problems.
The impaired sight and hearing is mainly associated with a dog holding two Merle genes. Such dogs are called double Merle Danes. Predominantly double Merle Great Danes have white coats. Double Merle Great Danes are born when both dogs involved in breeding carry Merle genes.
Piebald breeding is not favored at large. Given the high probability of producing white and deaf dogs in the litter responsible breeders do not involve mismarked Danes in breeding. Having these dogs in a pedigree illustrates that the coat color of litter will diminish later on. Other potential litters from piebald breeding are Mantle Danes. Such Danes hold blankets with intermittent blotches. The Mantles with breaks in the blankets are not favored for Great Dane dog shows.
Piebald genes can be identified in a Dane beforehand using gene tests to avert the complete piebald puppies in any litter. Responsible and moral breeders strive to keep their breeding stock healthy and defects free. As the Piebald Danes can increment on the number of hearing impaired Danes in Harlequin pedigree.
Anti Piebald breeding
Here is what anti Piebald breeding standpoint suggests,
Breeding two entire Piebald Danes together is not a good idea to begin with. For instance, if a Piebald dam, carrying two piebald genes is bred with an accurately marked Harlequin Dane. The litter would include 2 perfectly marked mantles, 2 exactly marked Harlequins, 2 Boston headed Merle puppies, and two piebald puppies. One of which appears Merlequin and is therefore a Merle piebald.
Well apparently the litter produced from this breeding are fine and capable. Albeit they are not. All the puppies born to a piebald and harlequin bred litter are piebald genotypically or phenotypically or both. Particularly all show quality perfectly marked puppies are piebald carries. Yet phenotypically the puppies are apt. Mainly such piebald gene carrying Danes are sold and bred without any record of holding piebald genetic material.
Here is the problem, when the perfectly marked piebald gene holding Danes are further bred more dogs having piebald genes are produced in the future generations. This will increase the number of excessive white genes, i.e piebald in the lineage. In this way piebald gene carriers keep on increasing in the genetic material of the great Dane breed.
This might later the breed standards for the Dane dogs in the longer run and is antithetical to preserving the breed.
Pro Piebald breeding
The Piebald gene is known for leaving color on head alone so it can not be blamed for deaf puppies, rather the doubling of the Merle gene.
Breeding piebalds do continue piebald color but it doesn’t cause health problems, neither does breeding a normal Merle Dane.
Many light harlequins are reported that never produce piebalds, so many light marked dogs are just light due to the coat patterns found in parent dogs.
Piebald Dane Grooming
Piebald Danes have short, and smooth coats. The dog’s coat requires minimal brushing.
Here is the kicker,
White coat requires more effort to maintain and keep clean. Particularly if your dog has fallen in love with mud, it would be quite a task to keep its coat clean and shiny.
Piebald Getting Spots
Piebald Danes get spots on their white coats as they develop. This spotting phenomenon is very common in dogs. Mantle Danes will get spots in their collars, socks and chest.
Other breeds besides Great Danes also develop splotches. In other breeds it is called ticking, but in Danes it is called freckling.
Tips for Buying a Piebald Dane
If you are looking to adopt a Piebald Dane, do not neglect the following points;
- Purchase the puppy only from a responsible breeder, this would indicate that the piebald is not the result of intentional breeding. Given that a reputable breeder refrain from using mismarked dogs in breeding.
- Ask the breeders if they have performed O.F.A. tests on parents involved.
- You can also request a hearing test for the puppy. If the puppy is normal you can buy it.
- Above all, a mismarked Dane including Piebald ought to be sold on limited registration. Hence the breeder must sell piebald puppies on A.K.C. limited registration.
- The dogs must be spayed or neutered timely.
Adopting a Piebald Dane vs rescuing one
Piebald Danes are prone to produce more mismarks for the Great Dane breed. This is the reason the Piebald Danes are not regarded fit for breeding. Nonetheless the dogs are fine as pet dogs. It is not erroneous to buy a Piebald Dane from a reputable breeder as it is a common mis-mark of harlequin lineage.
You can also opt to adopt a mismarked Dane from a rescue shelter. Numerous mismarked Danes are in dire need of your support and home. Instead of buying a mismarked Dane puppy and promoting its breeding choose one of the dogs that are already out there and helpless.