Last weekend I took care of Piper, my friend Becky’s great dane. I wanted to show a picture of her because I had never seen a gray and black (blue merle) great dane before Piper.

Piper reminds me of how some of the American Kennel Club’s regulations are a bit ridiculous. The AKC recognizes the great dane in the following colors: brindle, black-masked fawn, blue (solid gray), black, harlequin (white with random black patches) or mantle (black with white collar, muzzle, chest and tail tip). Blue merle great danes like Piper are not accepted in the AKC. In other words, Piper is 100 percent great dane, like her parents and littermates, but because of her color, she is not recognized.

Some people don’t want to own a dog unless it is AKC registered. Because of this, fewer people want to buy blue merle great danes, which means a breeder will have a harder time selling those puppies for as much as the others. Still, it’s a surprise to me that, according to Piper’s breeder, some breeders kill the blue merle puppies shortly after they’re born. These puppies might sell for $500 instead of $2,000, even though other than color, there is no difference between them and the other pups. A litter of great dane pups could have a variety of colors. Piper’s mother, for example, was harlequin, and so were some of Piper’s siblings.

It seems unfair to judge a dog by its color, but what do I know? I own a mutt.

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