Great Danes make wonderful family pets for a household which wants a large, affectionate short-haired breed who will offer a measure of protection. They are a very people-oriented breed and need to be a part of the family. Great Danes do not do well in kennel situations where they are exclusively outdoor dogs. They need and crave human companionship. Great Danes are loving, easy to housebreak, simple to groom, and of average intelligence. They prefer to be lap dogs and will find solace on your chairs and couches. Overall, they are sweet, loving, and protective pets.
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Great Danes come in all sorts of colors; here some of the colors and patterns that are possible. Click the pictures to view their names. The first six colors here are the six AKC recognized show colors.
We breed mantles and harlequins, but because of how genetics works, we also get merles and piebalds in our litters as well.
Genetics Behind our Great Dane Colors
There are two main genes that determine whether a puppy will be a mantle, harlequin, or merle.
Harlequin Genes: H and h Merle Genes: M and m
A Harlequin must have one H gene and one M gene (Hh Mm) A Merle must have one M gene and two h genes (Mm hh) A Mantle must have two m genes (mm hh) or (mm Hh)
Puppies with two Harlequin genes (HH), are not viable. Puppies with two Merle genes (MM) make meraquins (MM hh) or white puppies (MM Hh) which are often deaf or blind.
To avoid double harlequin (HH) or deaf or blind puppies, we always breed a mantle to a harlequin or mantle to mantle. We do not breed Harlequins to harlequins or harlequins to merles.
Below are examples of breedings and offspring. Note that the offspring ratios are only theoretical, not exact. The Punnett squares show how the genes interact to make the colors of the offspring. Also, a mantle bred to a mantle will result in 100% mantle offspring (unless there the parents carry the pieblad gene, then there might be piebalds. (See below).
Mantel X Harlequin
Offspring (25%, 50%, 25%)
25% HH non viable
Harlequin X Harlequin
Genetics behind Great Dane Spotting
There are three types of spotting genes (the genes that are responsible for the white marks on danes, like masks and stalkings).
Solid (S), no white Irish Spotting (si) is the most desirable form of spotting, creates "mantle" white markings Piebald (sp) is not very desirable. If a dane is a carrier of the sp gene (with an si gene), then it creates "excessive" white, causing undesirable show markings. If a dane is homozygous for this gene, (spsp), then it is considered a "piebald."
The Punnett square below shows the result of breeding two mantles each with one piebald gene and one Irish spotting gene.
Even though the piebald gene is undesirable because it messes up Irish spotting, it's so widespread it's hard to find a non-carrier. All of our dogs are carriers which is why we get piebalds in our litters. However, we do not breed piebalds, nor do we sell piebalds with full registration.
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