I don't see why a Great Dalmuti deck (1-12) couldn't be used, especially for larger Pairs games.
I'm a little bit more interested in the smaller deck (1-8 -> 36 cards) but besides that what I want to understand is how the game changes and how can I adapt the rules (namely the loosing points limit) to maintain the same look & feel of the original rules.
I mean, I don't think there is something special about the 55 cards deck and I'm quite convinced that the game can work equally well with another triangular deck, but I suppose that you can have greater control with a smaller deck (so the game becomes more strategic) and less control with a bigger deck (so the game becomes more random). Perhaps adapting the point limit to 60/#players - 1 for the 36 cards deck and to 60/#players + 3 for the 78 cards deck is enough to compensate all of this.
On the other hand, it is possible that the 55 cards deck is the sweet spot between too random (so your decisions are not meaningful) and too strategic (so the optimal strategy is always the same).