Harlequin Great Dane Vs Dalmatian: Top Differences

The Harlequin Great Dane and the Dalmatian are both popular dogs. It is quite easy to confuse these two dog breeds because they both have white and black spotted coats and are also almost the same size. 

So, what is the difference between Harlequin Great Dane vs Dalmatian?

Let’s dive into the key differences between these two dogs so that you can tell them apart, and learn more about their unique characteristics and who each dog is best for.

harlequin great dane vs dalmatian

No, Dalmatians are not Great Danes. When comparing the Harlequin Great Dane and the Dalmatian, many people assume they are the same breed because they look alike, however, they are two different breeds with unique characteristics and differences in appearance, size, personality, and lifespan.

Harlequin Great Dane Vs Dalmatian: Top Differences

Harlequin Great Dane

1. Are larger and taller

Great Danes are giant dogs. An adult male can weigh between 120 to 200 pounds and stand up to 28 to 32 inches tall. Adult female dogs are slightly smaller and weigh between 100 to 130 pounds and stand up to 28 to 32 inches tall.

This size is what makes the Great Dane a giant dog.

Related: Are Harlequin Great Danes bigger compared to other Great Dane coat colors?

harlequin great dane
Harlequin Great Dane

Dalmatians are large breed dogs but smaller in size compared to the Great Dane. 

An adult male weighs between 48 to 55 pounds with a height of 19 – 24 inches, with female dogs being slightly smaller than the male dogs. 


Both breeds appear to be the same size, however, side by side they can be distinguished by their body size and weight.  

The Great Dane is larger and taller. They have a more muscular body with a broad chest, large head, muzzle, and natural floppy ears that can also be cropped. 

The Dalmatian is leaner, less muscular, and more lightweight than the Great Dane. They are medium-sized with a more athletic body, medium-sized head, muzzle, and floppy ears.

2. Have a different coat type and spots

Both dogs have white and black on their coats appearing as black-spotted dogs, however, there is a difference.

The Great Dane’s coat is short, sleek, and smooth with a white base color covered by irregular black patches all over the body over the whole body.

The Dalmatian’s coat is short and dense. It also has a white base color with well-defined black or brown round spots that vary in size and are evenly distributed all over the body. 

The difference between the Dalmatian’s black spots and the Harlequin Great Dane’s black markings is that a Dalmatian’s black spots are around and not patches like the Harlequin’s. 

Dalmatians with black patches are undesirable.

See Also: Chocolate Harlequin Great Dane: An interesting Great Dane coat color

3. Are calmer and easy-going

The Great Dane’s personality is that of an easy-going, calm, gentle, intelligent, eager-to-please, loyal and protective dog. 

In comparison, Dalmatians are more energetic, active, playful, and outgoing. 

Great Danes do not require plenty of exercise or activities and thrive on moderate activities to keep them healthy. They mostly enjoy a laid-back cuddle with their owners on the couch. 

On the other hand, Dalmatians are more active dogs that require daily active exercise and are more suited for active lifestyle families. Activities such as hiking backpacking jogging are great activities for them.

4. Were bred for hunting

The Great Dane was bred as a working dog breed for hunting wild boar. They excelled as hunting dogs because of their speed, ferocious personality, and strength. 

Over time their temperament was adjusted to gentle and calm dogs that we know today as companion dogs than hunting dogs. 

The Dalmatian was bred as a non-sporting dog and was commonly used as a carriage dog working together with horses by helping to scare off highwaymen. 

They have also been trained for other uses including hunting, circus, and firehouse dogs. They are suited for an active lifestyle family because they need plenty of exercises.

5. Have a shorter life span

Harlequin Great Danes have a shorter life span compared to Dalmatians. The life expectancy of a Great Dane is between 7 to 10 years compared to the Dalmatian’s 12 to 14 years.

6. Are more expensive

Harlequin Great Danes are the most expensive Great Danes costing between $1000 to $3000 and even higher.

This is because of the unique coat color that is popular and very high in demand compared to other Great Dane coat colors. 

In comparison, Dalmatians are one of the cheapest medium-sized large breed dogs costing between $500 to $1,200 from a qualified breeder.


7. Are headstrong and may be tough to train

Dalmatians are very intelligent and headstrong which means they can be stubborn and therefore require firm and consistent training to learn desired behaviors. 

If this is not provided, they become stubborn and decide what they want to do by neglecting training guidance. 

On the other hand, Great Danes are also intelligent and easy to train because of their eagerness to please. 

Both breeds require early socialization and training including positive reinforcement to ensure they learn the desired behaviors.

8. Have a higher rate of deafness

Dalmatians are generally healthy but have a high rate of hereditary deafness. Approximately 8% of Dalmatians are born deaf and 22% – 24% are born with hearing in one ear.

In addition to this, they are prone to the breed’s health problems which include urinary tract stones, hip dysplasia, skin allergies, and hereditary iris sphincter dysplasia which is an eye disorder that causes poor night vision, sensitivity to bright light, cataracts and partial or complete blindness.

The Great Dane is also generally healthy but is prone to congenital deafness because of the Merle gene which has been linked to causing deafness. 

The occurrence of deafness in the Harlequin Great Dane is not as high compared in the Dalmatian but there’s a chance of it occurring.

The breed’s health concerns include bloat, hip dysplasia, cancer, hypothyroidism, arthritis, and heart disease.

See Also: Dalmatian shaking: Find out why and how to help

Summary: Harlequin Great Dane vs Dalmatian Differences:


Harlequin Great Dane



Working group dog

Non-sporting dog



Possibly Dalmatia, Croatia


28 – 32 inches

19 -24 inches


120 to 200 pounds

48 – 55 pounds

Coat color

White with black patches

White with round black or brown spots


Muscular and taller

Lean and lightweight


Affectionate, eager to please, calm, gentle

Energetic, active, playful, outgoing, friendly, intelligent


7 – 10 years

12 – 14 years


$ 1000 – $ 3000

$ 500 – $ 1200

Harlequin Great Dane vs Dalmatian: Which one is best for you?

Between the Harlequin Great Dane and the Dalmatian, which breed is best for you? This question is best answered by analyzing your lifestyle, the size of the dog you want, personality, and care.

If you want a dog that matches your active lifestyle the Dalmatian is a better choice. Dalmatians are highly active and thrive with plenty of exercises.

Activities such as jogging or hiking are examples of activities they enjoy. An active lifestyle utilizes this dog’s energy.

Great Danes are not recommended for active lifestyles families because they are not very energetic and are more laid back. 

Strenuous exercises or activities are harmful to their bones and joints. They are more companion dogs that do best with a calm lifestyle.

Final Thoughts: Harlequin Great Dane vs Dalmatian

The Harlequin Great Dane and the Dalmatian slightly look the same, however, they have differences in appearance, size, and personality. 

You now know how to differentiate the two dogs and whether you choose a Harlequin Great Dane or Dalmatian you will be sure to get an amazing dog that is affectionate and loyal.


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