Harlequin colour pattern

The harlequin coat refers to a type of coat coloration pattern characterized by a white background with darker shaded spots.


The harlequin trait refers to a characteristic coat pattern corresponding to a white background with darker colored spots. The variant is found in the PSMB7 gene (also known as the H locus), which encodes one of the subunits that are part of the proteasome.

Genetic basis

The harlequin trait presents a dominant form of inheritance, therefore, the presence of a single copy of the c.146T>G variant increases the probability of presenting the trait. Even so, at least one copy of the variant encoding the merle trait at the M locus (not analyzed in our test) is required for the trait to be expressed. Presenting two copies of the c.146T>G variant poses a risk, as it causes death in early stages of embryogenesis. For this reason, crossing two dogs carrying one or two copies of the c.146T>G variant is not recommended.

Other relevant information

The trait arises as a consequence of the interaction of the PMEL gene (M locus) and the PSMB7 gene (H locus). The presence of one copy of the variant at the M locus and one copy of the variant at the H locus is sufficient to express the "harlequin" colouring pattern. In addition to this gene interaction, the A locus can also interfere with the final expression of the phenotype. This type of characteristic colouring pattern is present only in the Great Dane breed.


Do you still not know the true nature of your dog?

Unlock the secrets of your pet's DNA with our two ranges.


Breeds + Physical traits


Health + Breeds + Physical traits

DNA Day Promotion

Only until April 25

-15% on our dog DNA tests

Use our code DNA15