Since all 30 plus years of my experience in breeding
danes has been with harlequins, I am limiting my comments to harl bred dogs like
merles, merlequins, piebalds. Also,
I am not going to address cross color breeding here.
I do not deliberately look for mismarks for breeding,
however, I would breed a nice mismark before I would breed an average harlequin.
I have bred one or two piebalds, a couple of merlequins, and several
merles in my breeding career. I have
a merle here now that we breed.
In general, sometimes I think that people get carried
away with their own passions. If
they love showing, for instance, nothing is better than a show dog to them.
Iíve met a lot of show dogs that no one could have paid me to own.
Iíve owned a few mismarks that I would never have given up for money or
anything else. I probably would have
embarrassed myself if I could have given up a human in my life in order to add
another five years to one of these Danes lives.
Breeders in different countries have different
opinions. Breeders in some countries
would rather breed merles than mantles.
in the States, for the most part, would elect to breed mantles over merles any
Personally I donít understand all the yelling and
screaming about breeding merles, merlequins, piebalds, and undermarked harles
(often referred to as whites). When
breeding harls, the color of the pups is basically a mystery until they pop out
of mom. A show marked harl bred to
another show marked harl does not produce a litter of show marked harls.
I wouldnít seek a mismark for breeding, with the exception of an
undermarked harl. But I would never
fail to consider breeding a mismark if everything else about the dog was
exceptional. After all, these dogs
donít consistently reproduce their own color.
There are those people who maintain that merles
should not be bred because they are genetically flawed health wise.
Now, I do not have a degree in genetics, but to that I would say, based
on my own experiences, that these people like to hear themselves speak more than
they like to dispense accurate information, or to simplyÖ.thatís
a bunch of crap! Sometimes I
think that God gives the mismarks a little something extra to make up for the
prejudice that they are going to encounter.
Bottom Line: If a dog is healthy; has a
good temperament; is intelligent; and is a decent example of the breed when
evaluating conformation and movement, I donít think color should be a big
Advice: I am not encouraging
people to use mismarks for breeding. I
am, however, advising all breeders to breed the best examples of the breed that
they can find. If the best candidate
happens to be a mismark, so be it! We
breed for health, temperament, intelligence, conformation and movement, and
color in that order. It
is not often that the best marked harl in the litter is also the pup with the
best conformation and movement; the most intelligent pup; the pup with the best
temperament; and the healthiest.