Blue Merle Great Dane: Everything You Need To Know

As a Great Dane enthusiast, curious dog lover, or brand new owner, you will realize there are different types of Great Dane coat color patterns.

In this dedicated article we will go into more details on the Blue Merle Great Dane, how they are developed, their temperament, health, grooming, and cost.

What Is A Blue Merle Great Dane?

A Blue Merle Great Dane also known as a dilute merle is a coat color and pattern variation of the merle Great Dane. On appearance, they have a base coat that can be grey, brownish blue, or dark blue covered with dilute black markings. The Blue Merle has a distinct nose pigmentation that is a bluish-black color which is also their physical identifier.

Despite prior non-recognition of the Merle Great Dane as one of the breed’s standard colors, this color variation in Great Danes is now accepted as a standard Great Dane breed color by the American Kennel Council (AKC).

This means they can now compete in the American Kennel Club conformation shows. 

a blue merle great dane

What makes a Blue Merle Great Dane? : Blue Merle Genetics

The Blue Merle Great Dane comes from the breeding of two harlequin Great Danes which produces 1-2 Merle puppies within a litter. From these merle puppies, a Blue Merle which is a color variation that exists within the Merle Great Dane can occur. Merle coat color pattern originates from the gene that creates the grey base coat color.

The Merle coat color of a Great Dane is a dark to a pale grey base which is broken up by black marking. There are variations of the merle color patterns which include:

  • Blue Merle ( dilute merle)
  • Harlequin
  • Cryptic merle

The differences between these coat variations come from the gene which is responsible for transmitting the merle color pattern. 

This gene is the M(Silv) gene which is inherited and determines how a Great Dane will look like. The merle gene shows up as either normal pigment (melanin) or dilute melanin in the coat pattern. 

Depending on how the gene characteristics show up and its length, a Great Dane will have variations in color intensity within the merle coat color pattern.

There are 4 variations of the merle gene which produces the different merle coat color patterns:

Merle color. The merle color pattern is the standard merle coat pattern which is a dark grey base coat with dark marking. The merle coat color gene is used as the standard length that is used to analyze the other merle genes that produce the different variations of the merle coat color patterns.

The Blue Merle (dilute merle) is a result of a shorter merle gene compared to the standard merle gene. The coat is a subtle grey base coat with black markings. 

Harlequin coat color pattern is a result of a longer merle gene compared to the standard merle gene. The coat pattern is also a result of the interaction of the merle gene and the Harlequin genes. The base coat is white with irregular black or grey patches. 

Cryptic merle (phantom merle) is a result of a shorter merle gene, shorter than the Blue Merle’s gene. The coat pattern is also a subtle grey base coat with black markings which may appear as one solid color at a glance but has a merle pattern. 

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The Blue Merle Great Dane’s coat color does not influence their growth and size as a Great Dane. 

The Blue Merle Great Dane grows to the average size of the Great Dane breed.

The average height of an adult male Blue Merle Great Dane is 32 to 34 inches while the female Blue Merle Great Dane is 28 to 32 inches tall.

The average weight of the male Blue Merle Great Dane is 120 – 200 pounds while the female weighs between 100 – 130 pounds. 

The Great Dane is a giant dog and appropriately called the ‘Apollo of dogs’.

Recommended reading: Blue Great Dane puppy names


The Great Dane coat color variations do not cause differences in personalities of the Great Dane. The Blue Merle Great Dane’s personality traits are the same as the Great Dane breed’s temperament.

Personality is also shaped by a Great Dane’s socialization, training, proper breeding, and good nurturing. 

Great Danes are generally affectionate, gentle, people-oriented, sweet-natured, friendly, protective, and loyal dogs. 

 The Blue Merle Great Dane has these personality traits. 

Despite its huge size, the Blue Merle is a gentle dog that loves people. They thrive being close to their owners and may suffer separation anxiety they are not close to them

Overall they are a great friendly and loving companion to have.

Recommended Reading: How to stop separation anxiety in Great Danes

Health Problems

Based on their coat color, the blue merle Great Dane is prone to certain health problems. Dogs that have the M(Silv) gene which is responsible for the merle coat color are more prone to developing certain health problems.

Research has proved that the coat color of a dog is related to its health status. The studies state that some coat color variations such as white, merle, piebald, and roan are more prone to certain health problems. 

The genes that are responsible for these color pigmentations have been linked to causing deafness and dogs that have this light white pigmentation are more susceptible to hearing problems and deafness.

The Blue Merle Great Dane falls in this group and is susceptible to deafness. 

The merle gene is linked to sun sensitivity therefore the Blue Merle Great Dane will also tend to have more sun sensitivity. The Blue Merle is at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. 

The Blue Merle Great Dane is a large breed dog that is susceptible to more health problems. The common Great Dane health problems that they face include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Wobblers syndrome
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Cancer
  • Bloat

A Blue Merle Great Dane will not develop all of these ailments, however, the understanding of these diseases helps a Great Dane owner know how to care for their Great Dane by implementing preventive measures and the overall care that is expected for a healthy Dane.

Read more: What do Great Danes usually die from?

The Blue Merle Great Dane has a short life expectancy of 7 to 10 years. Some may live longer. 


The blue Great Dane grooming is minimal, which includes care for their coat, nails, and dental hygiene. 

The blue Great Dane’s coat sheds a lot, especially in the spring. The is short and only requires brushing 2-3 times a week to remove shed hair and dirt.

Read more: How to keep a Great Dane’s coat shiny

A bath is required at least once a month which also depends on how quickly they get dirty. 

Dental care is important to keep the Blue Merle Great Dane’s teeth clean and prevent the development of disease. Care involves brushing the teeth every week.

The nails require trimming once a month only when required. Care should be taken when cutting the nails to avoid injury of the Great Dane. 


Great Danes are laid-back dogs with moderate energy levels. This means they only need minimal exercise to be healthy. 

Exercise should be moderate because Great Dane’s bones and joints are still underdeveloped and delicate before the age of 18 months. 

Strenuous exercise can injure them which causes bone and joint health problems. 

An adult Blue Merle Great Dane only requires 30 – 60 minutes of exercise every day while a puppy will require 90 minutes of exercise.

It is important to remember not to overdo it for your dog. A brisk walk is enough and other less strenuous exercises for Great Danes.

Read more: What do Great Danes like to do?

How much does a Blue Merle Great Dane cost?

The average cost of a Blue Merle Great Dane is between $1000 and $2500 which depends on the breeder from whom you purchase the puppy and the location.

Always purchase a Blue Merle Great Dane puppy from a reputable breeder who will share their health history. 

By using this approach, you will be confident that you are buying a puppy that has been tested and screened for different health conditions.

This will prevent you from buying a sick or unhealthy puppy that has been properly bred.

How rare is a Blue Merle Great Dane?

A Blue Merle Great Dane is less common to be found compared to the other merle variations from a puppy litter but it is not rare.

They can still be acquired from a puppy litter. Some unscrupulous breeders can take advantage of this and charge more for a Blue Merle Great Dane.

However, you should not pay more than the average Great Dane price. Therefore buy your puppy from reputable breeders who will not overcharge you.


The Great Dane is a gentle and affectionate dog that is a great companion to have. In addition to this, the breed has different coat colors that are each unique.

The Blue Merle Great Dane is one of these colors. They are adorable with a coat color quite different from the other Great Dane colors.

Learning about the Blue Merle Great Dane helps you be more aware of their characteristics, health status, and overall care. This helps you to better care for them.

When considering buying a Blue Merle Great Dane, ensure to purchase your puppy from a good breeder to buy a healthy puppy, avoid being overcharged as well as getting a sick pup.

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