Great Dane Colors: 7 Official Coat Colors Explained (With Pictures)

The Great Dane is a large-giant breed dog that is loved by many because of its affectionate personality and the different coat colors and patterns. 

The different Great Dane coat colors and patterns give the breed a stunning appearance. 

The official coat colors are recognized colors by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as the breed’s standard colors.

 These colors are also the Great Dane show colors that are qualified to participate in the American Kennel Club’s conformation shows.

For more information about the Great Dane’s history, characteristics, and care, our Great Dane dog breed complete guide explains more about the the breed.

Read on to learn more about the seven official Great Dane colors, their appearance, the most common colors, unofficial colors, and considerations to make when selecting a Great Dane color.

Black

black great dane

The Black Great Dane is a Great Dane with a solid black coat with no other color markings. The coat is all black coat, sleek and glossy. 

An all-black Great Dane is very attractive to many because of its striking coat color.

Blue

blue great dane

The Blue coat color of the Great Dane also referred to as a Steel Blue Great Dane, is a coat color that is gray with a blue hue.

The blue color is not a typical sky blue color, it is simply a gray color which is a result of the dilution of the black coat pigment to gray. 

This dilution is due to a dilution gene that a Great Dane puppy inherits from its parents.

Harlequin

harlequin great dane

The Harlequin coat is characterized by a white base coat that is covered by black patches. The black patches are not completely round in shape and are distributed all over the coat.

This is a very fascinating coat color of the Great Dane which is very sought after and also the most expensive Great Dane color.

An interesting fact is that the Harlequin coat is only found in the Great Dane breed and not any other dog breed.

Interested in learning more about the Harlequin Great Dane? Read our complete guide here

Merle

merle great dane

The Merle Great Dane has a base coat color that is pale to dark gray, covered with black patches that are distributed all over the body.

The black patches vary in shape and size.

Read more: Merle Great Dane: Everything you need to know 

Mantle

Mantle Great Dane

The Mantle Great Dane has a white muzzle, partial or whole white neck, chest, white forelegs and hind legs, and a black tail with a white tip.

Unlike the Harlequin’s white base coat with black patches, the Mantle coat color pattern is a white base with a black blanket.

White spots on the black areas of a Mantle are also acceptable and also black spots may also appear on the white areas of their body. 

Fawn

fawn great dane

Fawn is a coat color that is a shade of light brown which ranges from soft tan to light brown.

A Fawn Great Dane has a fawn coat with a black mask. The facial mask is the fur that covers the face around the muzzle, eyes, ears, and forehead.  

Brindle

The Brindle coat color pattern has a golden to soft fawn base color with stripes of black. The facial mask is black.

The coat color pattern is often described as “tiger striped”.

The Brindle Great Dane is truly an interesting coat color with its striking coat pattern.

What are the most common Great Dane colors?

The most common Great Dane color is Fawn which is also a very popular color of the breed. Many Great Danes have this coat color. Closely following the Fawn Great Dane are the Black, Blue, and Merle Great Danes.

What are the non-standard Great Dane colors?

The non-standard Great Dane colors or mismarked Great Danes are colors that do not align with the breed’s standards. This includes white, piebald, and other variations of the official coat colors which have either fawn, merle, brindle, or blue markings.

Mismarked Great Dane puppies can be found in a puppy litter from the breeding of the acceptable Great Dane colors.

Although non-standard Great Dane colors are not recognized by the American Kennel council, the Great Danes that spot these colors have the breed’s qualities and are good companion dogs.

If you want to learn more about each Great Dane color in detail and the several variations of the coat colors that exist, we have the information linked to each section of the coat colors above.

Why do Great Danes have so many coat colors?: Great Dane Coat Genetics

The coat colors of all dog breeds are based on genetics, that is, the different genes that a puppy receives from both of its parents.

Canine coat color starts with two primary pigments, that is, black pigment (eumelanin) and red pigment (pheomelanin). 

All the different variations of dog coat colors are created by these two primary pigments which are manipulated by the coat color genes that a puppy receives from their parents.

This creates the different coat colors and patterns of the Great Danes and other dog breeds.

Great Dane colors and Temperament

A Great Dane’s coat color does not affect or influence their temperament. The personality of a Great Dane regardless of their coat color is that of the breed.

Great Danes are gentle, affectionate, friendly, confident, loyal, and reserved dogs.

The personality of an individual dog is also shaped by other factors including their breeding, training, socialization, and upbringing.

Great Dane Colors And Health Problems

Research studies have shown that the coat color of dogs makes them susceptible to certain health problems.

Merle, white, roan, and piebald coat colors are prone to hearing problems and deafness.

Blue coat color is susceptible to color dilution alopecia (CDA), a condition that causes hair thinning, hair loss, and itchy bald patches on the skin.

Therefore Great Danes with the Merle gene, which includes the Merle Great Dane, Harlequin Great Dane, and the White Great Dane are prone to hearing problems and deafness.

The White Great Dane is a double merle Great Dane and is susceptible to more health problems compared to the single merle Great Danes. 

Generally, Great Danes are healthy dogs, and it is important to purchase a Great Dane from a reputable breeder to receive a healthy puppy.

Breeders strive to produce healthy puppies and decrease the chances of development of these conditions.

Do Great Danes change coat color?

Great Danes do slightly change coat color as they grow from puppies to adult dogs. The slight change is in darker or deeper shades of the coat color and sometimes lightening due to exposure to too much sunlight or shedding.

This can be a surprise to new Great Dane owners, however, there is nothing to worry about. 

A puppy gradually sheds its coat as it grows up and its color becomes deeper or saturated hues of the puppy color.

This occurs when a Great Dane puppy reaches one year old, and for some, it happens as early as 10 months.

Exposure to sunlight and change of coat color is most often observed in all-black Great Danes where the color slightly looks brown because of the sun’s effect on their coat.

The change due to exposure to too much sunlight is a temporary change as well as the slight change of a coat to a lighter hue due to shedding.

Does Coat Color Matter?

Great Dane coat color does matter if you want your Great Dane to participate in the American Kennel Club’s conformation shows.

Great Danes that qualify to participate in the dog show must meet the American Kennel Club’s breed standards. The seven official Great Dane colors qualify.

Other Great Dane color variations within the official colors may not qualify, although they are still good Great Danes to have as family dogs.

Therefore if you wish to participate in the AKC’s conformation show, the selection of a Great Dane color is important.

Summary: Great Dane Colors: Which color would you choose?

The Great Dane has several fascinating coat colors and patterns which are all beautiful and unique.

The coat colors are due to the coat color genetic makeup of a Great Dane.

The considerations to have in mind when deciding which color to choose are mainly based on: 

  • The appearance you prefer for your dog
  • Show dog qualifications if you desire to participate in conformation shows 
  • The possible health problems that a coat color pattern presents

Remember when looking to buy a Great Dane, always purchase from a reputable Great Dane breeder who will provide the health history of their puppies.

Canines and Pups
Canines and Pups

Overall, regardless of the Great Dane color you choose, the breed is a good choice for affectionate companion dogs. 

Related Posts

Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams is a writer, mum, and animal lover with extensive experience with dogs. She loves talking about animal advocacy and care. She lives with 4 German Shepherds and 1 cat.