Malgorzata Sowinska

As I wrote before, the number of merle dogs which are registered, shown and used in breeding in Poland is negligible, hence the lack of practical experience in the problems of this group of great Danes. Several years have passed since the recognition of this color, taking into account that in the light of current genetic knowledge, the birth of merle puppies is inevitable when breeding harlequins. As you know, the Merle coat is found in many other breeds, but only in Great Danes there was such a genetic reduction in color, which resulted in the harlequin. The question of whether the color of merle is nice or not is a matter of taste that should not be discussed. Considering the time that has elapsed since the recognition of this color, and at the same time strongly emphasized by the FCI the tendency to avoid solutions that may encourage the breeder to euthanize puppies, it should be noted that it is simply one of the colors present in this breed. It seems that it is high time to clearly define the influence of this color on show notes and use in breeding. The recognition of this color was done by adding to the standard in the part devoted to the coloring of harlequins that there are gray harlequins, this color cannot be a reason for disqualification but is undesirable. At the same time, such a color was not included in the extensive catalog of defects included in the standard, broken down by their degree of importance. A year after the recognition, the German club issued a circular suggesting not giving the highest marks for this color. In general, it is accepted to waive discretionary distinctions / CAC, CACIB / etc. But by following the rules of shows, you cannot avoid a situation when such a dog obtains the title resulting from the competition, Show Winner, Junior Winner. BOB, etc. Therefore, it seems that it is high time for the standard to clearly and precisely define the assessment of this color. It should also be unambiguously determined whether the prohibition of mating harlequin / harlequin also includes the prohibition of mating a dog and a merle bitch, or merle with a harlequin. In other breeds that also have a merle coat color, it is generally considered undesirable to mate two individuals of the same color. All the more so, merle should not be associated with harlequin. But these are rather theoretical considerations that should be confronted with the effects that occur in practice.

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