24 Great Dane Colors & Markings (With Pictures)

Great Dane colors markings and patterns

The Great Dane is a dog known for its giant stature and elegant gait, but did you know that there are 24 striking Great Dane colors?

Although it’s mostly known for the rare harlequin coat or its staple black and white pattern, Great Danes can sport other color variants. Some are recognized colors by the American Kennel Club (AKC), while others aren’t.

Learn all the different Great Dane colors and markings in this guide. This will be helpful if you’re interested in bringing home a Great Dane. Frequently asked questions will also be discussed here, so stick around and read along!

How Many Colors Do Great Danes Have?

Two Great Danes with different colors

The Great Dane comes in seventeen AKC-recognized colors; seven are considered standard variations, and ten of which are non-standard. Add these up with a few non-unrecognized ones, too. In total, there could be about twenty-four available shades for this dog breed.

Here’s a list of all the possible Great Dane coat colors:

  1. Black
  2. Black and White
  3. Blue
  4. Blue and White
  5. Blue Brindle
  6. Brindle 
  7. Chocolate
  8. Chocolate and White
  9. Chocolate Brindle
  10. Fawn
  11. Harlequin
  12. Merle
  13. Silver
  14. White
  15. Mantle
  16. Mantle Merle
  17. Merlequin
  18. Fawnequin
  19. Brindlequin
  20. Albino
  21. Blue Mantle
  22. Brindle Mantle
  23. Blue Fawn
  24. Blue Fawn Mantle

We categorized each one below to help you understand which ones are standard, which are not, and which are not recognized colors.

Standard colors include brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin, mantle, and merle. Meanwhile, the other colors, aside from the seven mentioned previously, are deemed as non-standard.

Despite other hues not being standard or official Great Dane colors, they still come naturally for the breed. Yet, the occurrence is rare or difficult to produce and may be more expensive.

24 Great Dane Colors

In this section, you’ll get a good look at what each Great Dane color looks like. The first seven shades are based on the Great Dane breed’s colors per the AKC’s list. The others are either non-standard or unrecognized. 

Learn more about each Great Dane color and observe how each one differs. 

1. Black Great Dane

Black Great Dane

Black is one of the most beautiful coat color variations in the Great Dane breed. Its shade is described to be ideally shiny black without patches of other colors present in any area of its body.

The color quality of the glossy black Great Danes helps enhance the appearance of their muscular physique, especially under good lighting conditions.

Although black is caused by a dominant gene, pure black Great Danes are apparently rare and difficult to produce. This is because a black Great Dane is not a genetically pure variety. 

Even if you mate two black Great Danes, a blue Great Dane might be produced if one of the parents carries the blue gene. Pure black Great Danes are also less likely to be born from parents exhibiting any white marks.

2. Black and White Great Dane

Black and white Great Dane

The black and white Great Dane, as its name suggests, sports black and white fur. They’re predominantly black, and white appears only in a few body areas. 

Like black Great Danes, the black-and-white variety should have a healthy black coat that shines in direct sunlight. 

Meanwhile, the white markings appear in large or small blotches commonly found in the chest, toes, and underbelly. This color combination is relatively common in the Great Dane breed. 

This is because most Great Danes with black coats display patches of white somewhere in their bodies, and breeding them together may result in a puppy with the same color combination. 

On another note, black and white Great Danes shouldn’t be confused with harlequin Great Danes. While both may exhibit the same base colors, they will differ when it comes to coat patterns.

3. Blue Great Dane

Blue Great Dane

The blue Great Dane is a real head-turner for many breed fanciers. It’s genetically a black dog, but the dilution gene interfered, causing the coat to appear lighter. 

Blue Great Danes typically come in shades ranging from charcoal blue, slate, and pure steel blue to pale-bluish. Its coat quality should be smooth and shiny.

As purely blue dogs, this variety shouldn’t have large white areas displayed in any parts of its body. This makes it even harder to produce, given that Great Danes commonly have white fur, plus genetics are tricky.

Both parents should carry the recessive dilution gene to produce this least common variation. In turn, the puppy will be born with a blue coat.

Additionally, since coat colors aren’t predicted by one single type of gene, breeding two blue Great Danes together does not always guarantee blue-colored puppies. 

4. Blue and White Great Dane

Blue and white Great Dane

The blue and white Dane is practically a blue variety with white markings. These white fur patches are seen in the chest, toes, or underbelly areas, and the rest of the body is covered in a blue coat. 

According to the breed standards, the coat should be steel blue. However, other blue and white Great Danes can come in grayish blue and other variants of the same shade. 

Blue and white Danes carry the recessive blue gene, so these dogs aren’t common. For a higher chance of producing a puppy of this kind, it has to have two copies of these recessive genes. 

It’s also possible that blue and white Great Danes are produced when both parents have unexpressed blue genes in their DNA. 

5. Blue Brindle Great Dane

Blue brindle Great Dane
Image credit: wolf_bay_great_danes / Instagram

Another coat color variation for the Great Dane is the blue brindle. This appears with blue stripes on a yellow-gold or fawn base coat. Blue brindle Great Danes exhibit a black mask, although it’s not always the case. 

Blue brindle Great Danes display no white markings on the chest or toes — all body parts should be covered in blue stripes on top of the base color. 

It isn’t necessarily rare, given that blue brindle is one of the AKC’s official Great Dane colors. However, the breeding aspect makes blue brindle Great Danes challenging to produce. 

Great Dane breeders know those blue brindle markings are recessive to the dominant black gene. This requires careful breeding and planning to achieve fully blue brindle dogs.

6. Brindle Great Dane

Brindle Great Dane

A brindle Great Dane exhibits tiger-like stripes in black on top of a golden-yellow base described as a chevron pattern. 

It’s preferred if the pattern is more distinct and evenly brindled and the base color is more intense. 

This pattern covers the entire Great Dane’s body, and no white markings are visible in any area. If ever white fur appears, this shouldn’t look too obvious.

In producing brindle Great Dane puppies, neither of the parents should pass along the dominant black allele. The absence of this gene is what enables the brindle allele to not be overridden. 

This makes brindle a color difficult to achieve for this breed. The unpredictability of genetics requires extensive knowledge to produce pure brindle Great Danes.

7. Chocolate Great Dane

Chocolate Great Dane

Chocolate is another interesting color found in the Great Dane breed. Yet, regardless of how mesmerizing this hue is, chocolate Great Danes can be disqualified from most dog shows since it’s not a standard color. 

Their fur is described to be reddish brown in different shades. Some appear darker, while others can look rusty reddish-brown.

To be considered chocolate, there should be no markings on their body. Ideally, the intensity of the color should be consistent, with no visible lighter and darker shades in any area. 

Chocolate Great Danes are born when it has two copies of the recessive allele (b/b). These genes make the black pigment brown, thus turning their coat liver or chocolate.

8. Chocolate and White Great Dane

Chocolate and white Great Dane
Image credit: whiskythechocolatedane / Instagram

Chocolate and white is another fascinating coat color combination for the Great Dane breed. It’s predominantly brown with a few white patches, primarily seen in areas like the chest, lower abdomen, and toes. 

Like their chocolate counterpart, this variation comes in multiple shades of brown; some are lighter, and others can be darker. 

Contrary to misconceptions, chocolate and white Great Danes aren’t extremely rare. However, they’re not as common as black and fawn Great Danes. 

Still, with chocolate and white being an AKC-registered shade for the said breed, you might come across one much more often than you’d expect.

9. Chocolate Brindle Great Dane

Chocolate brindle Great Dane

The Great Dane can also come in a chocolate brindle shade. This coat color variation shows the typical dark brown tiger stripes in a light chocolate-colored base. 

They exhibit this pattern all over their body, but it is important to note that no other markings of white fur should be present. 

Genetically, this coat pattern is caused by the brindle gene. This is expressed only when no dominant black gene is present in any of the parent dog’s DNA. 

As a non-standard coat color, chocolate brindle Great Danes cannot compete in most dog shows, particularly AKC conformation events

10. Fawn Great Dane

Fawn Great Dane

Fawn is one of the standard coat colors of the Great Dane breed, and it was popularized by a fictional character named Scooby Doo. It’s remarkable for its golden brown fur that covers the entirety of the dog’s body. 

According to breed standards, a Great Dane’s fawn color is yellow-gold. This shade is preferred over any other shade of fawn. 

Further, fawn Great Danes should not bear any markings except for a black mask around its muzzle, which sometimes reaches around the eyes. This black mask is often complemented by darker-shaded ears.

By far and large, the fawn Great Dane is the breed’s most common coat color. However, in my wide experience breeding for colors, pure fawn Great Dane puppies still require careful planning to produce.

To successfully breed one, both parents should carry the recessive fawn gene with no dominant black and brindle genes in their DNA.

Here’s a video showing an impressively-built fawn Great Dane with a black mask:

Cash 2.0 Great Dane at The Grove and Farmers Market in Los Angeles 17

11. Harlequin Great Dane

Harlequin Great Dane

Harlequin is one of the popular and beautiful Great Dane colors. It comes in a pure white coat with black torn patches irregularly but well distributed all over the body. 

The black patches shouldn’t be so large that the coat appears close to a blanket. Preferably, the neck should be wholly or partially white. 

Additionally, the black and white markings shouldn’t resemble the salt and pepper coat color or exhibit a dirty appearance.

Even though harlequin Great Danes are well-known to fanciers, I can attest to the challenges of breeding this well-accepted color. Breeders of harlequins must be able to merge a particular dominant gene, like mantle or black, with the harlequin or merle gene to produce them.

I would recommend having both parents undergo thorough genetic testing to avoid producing double-merle Great Dane puppies, which should be avoided as this causes blindness and deafness. 

12. Merle Great Dane

Merle Great Dane

Merle is another standard color of the Great Dane breed. Merle Great Danes remarkably became eligible for AKC dog shows on January 1, 2019, despite the long-held belief that merle dogs are prone to multiple conditions. 

This mesmerizing color is basically a light to dark gray merle coat base with torn black patches splattered randomly in its body. 

Merle Great Danes can be solid merle or have small white blotches of fur on the chest or toes. Merle dogs of this breed can also come in a mantle pattern with a white-tipped merle tail.

Nowadays, it’s common to come across merle Great Danes. Their breeding formula seems less complicated than other colors since they are often produced in a litter of two harlequin parents.

13. Silver Great Dane

Silver Great Dane

Silver is a variation of the blue Great Dane. This coat appears lighter and is almost grayish. Not only that, but the coat will have a glossy shine to it, much like that of black Great Danes.

The shine gives them a distinct silvery appearance, although they’re technically blue Great Danes. There should be no black spots evident anywhere in their body.

However, small patches of white fur can appear on the chest, toes, or underbelly without making the coat look mantled. 

In breeding, the parents of the silver or grey Great Danes should be carriers of the double recessive dilute gene.

The process is similar to how blue Great Danes are produced. Yet it only happens that silver Great Danes exhibit a light silver shade. 

14. White Great Dane

White Great Dane
Image credit: noah_the.deaf.dane / Instagram

White is another standard color of the Great Dane breed. It barely has any spots or markings on its face or body. Even if it does, they should not be overbearing or too noticeable.

Often, white Great Danes are mistaken for albinos. One way to differentiate white Great Danes from the other is through its nose, eyes, and eye rims. 

White Great Danes have dark noses, eye rims, and eyes. Meanwhile, albino Great Danes will have pinkish hues in these areas.

No doubt, white is a controversial coat color for dogs. This is because this color is often associated with deafness or blindness. 

However, it’s not always true that every dog with white fur will suffer from these conditions. Still, the Great Dane Club of America (GDCA) decided to ban the breeding of this color, considering the handicaps associated with it. 

15. Mantle Great Dane

Mantle Great Dane

The mantle is an AKC-standard coat color showing predominantly white fur on the chest that may reach the toes. This is matched with a black blanket that extends over the body. 

It’s generally similar to the black and white tuxedo coat of the Boston Terrier.

The ideal look of mantle Great Danes includes a black skull and a white muzzle. An optional white blaze extending up to the forehead may also show. 

They also have a white-tipped black tail. A small white break on the blanket is acceptable. Pigmented spots in black may also be visible in white areas. 

In order to produce mantle Great Danes, two parents should be of mantle variation. This will provide a litter with many mantle puppies with occasional mismarked blacks. Another option is to mate mantles with harlequins. 

16. Mantle Merle Great Dane

Mantle merle Great Dane

Mantle merle is a variety of the mantle color. To identify this coat pattern, the Great Dane will have a mottled or marbled coat with patches of black, gray, and white evenly distributed on the pigmented base color. 

This forms a solid merle blanket extending over the body with a merle skull and a white muzzle. A white blaze is also possible. 

Further, white fur may cover the chest and all four legs. Meanwhile, the tail base of mantle merle Great Danes is often covered in a merle pattern. 

Mantle merle Great Danes also come with a challenge when producing them since you’re aiming for a blanketed dog in a merle pattern. However, they’re not considered exotic or rare. 

17. Merlequin Great Dane

Merlequin Great Dane
Image credit: kaiju_the_greatdane / Instagram

A Great Dane dog can also come in merlequin, which is a non-standard merle variation. They are known to have mottled merle patches in a harlequin pattern. 

Merlequin Great Danes are predominantly white-coated, and the marbled patches or merle are scattered randomly all over the body. This includes the face. 

They are produced by breeding a merle and a harlequin variety, which both have the dominant merle genes. The puppy should have two copies of the merle allele and a copy of the harlequin. 

This, in turn, results in a coat with a harlequin pattern where the black pigments are replaced by merle. 

Since both parents have merle genes, merlequins inheriting two copies are considered double-merle Great Danes. This is most likely the reason why it is a disqualification based on the AKC standards.

18. Fawnequin Great Dane

Fawnequin Great Dane
Image credit: odin.b.dane / Instagram

A fawnequin in a Great Dane also comes in a harlequin pattern, but the markings that usually come in black are replaced by the fawn color. These fawn markings have shades that range from golden to brown tones. 

Since fawn is recessive to black and brindle, producing fawnequin Great Danes can be difficult. This makes this variant extremely rare, unlike the usual harlequin Great Dane.

Breeders need to ensure through genetic testing that the sire and the dam don’t have any dominant genes that can mask the fawn gene.

Usually, two Great Danes with the fawn gene should be bred together to yield fawnequin Great Danes. Either of the parents must be harlequin.

19. Brindlequin Great Dane

Brindlequin Great Dane
Image credit: great.paradise.danes / Instagram

Brindlequin, as the name suggests, comes in a harlequin pattern, but the dark markings appear brindled. These colors and patterns are scattered all over the body on a pure white background. 

Since they’re brindlequins, the dark yellow, gold, or brown patches come with dark stripes. The sizes of these blotches are irregular, but they shouldn’t be too large or look too similar to the mantle pattern. 

On another note, you’ll not often see brindlequin Great Danes, especially since they aren’t one of the registered or official colors. 

Additionally, breeding brindle and harlequin to achieve brindlequin Danes is not a common practice to avoid producing sable merles in the process. They are deemed aesthetically unpleasing by some fanciers. 

20. Albino Great Dane

Albino Great Dane
Image credit: emma_the_harlequin / Instagram

An albino Great Dane is noted for its pink nose, eye rims, paw pads, and blue eyes. It also has a remarkably white coat due to the absence of pigment. 

Albinism is caused by a rare genetic mutation and shouldn’t be mistaken for a double-merle, which also results in white-coated Great Danes. 

Due to the high risks of health issues associated with albinism, such as photophobia and skin cancer, albino Great Danes shouldn’t be bred. Additionally, they may also have eye and ear defects. 

Albino Great Danes are extremely rare dogs, especially since there are few pure albino dogs. Moreover, it is deemed unethical to purposely breed albino dogs.

In case you have an albino Great Dane, extensive care is required, such as applying sunscreen to its coat as protection against ultraviolet rays.

21. Blue Mantle Great Dane

Blue mantle Great Dane
Image credit: ragnarjne / Instagram

The blue mantle is a mantle variation of the Great Dane breed. This shows a pattern where a blue “blanket” coat predominantly covers the dog’s body. White markings are present in large patches which cover the chest. 

White fur can extend from the chest to the forelegs, underbelly, and hind legs. A white muzzle and a thin white blaze that can reach the forehead may be displayed too. 

Blue mantle Great Danes are black dogs carrying two copies of the dilution gene; hence their coat colors are light and almost bluish-gray. 

Since blue mantle isn’t part of the recognized Great Dane colors, dogs with this coat are labeled “mismarked” Great Danes.

22. Brindle Mantle Great Dane

Brindle mantle Great Dane
Image credit: kysercyrus_thedane / Instagram

The brindle mantle Great Dane has a unique coat color and pattern. Basically, their notable features are the tiger stripes in a yellow or golden base color. This covers a portion of the head and extends over the body.

Matching this pattern are white markings on the chest, muzzle, legs, and tip of the tail. 

Like blue mantles, brindle mantles are considered a mismark since they’re neither registered nor an official coat color of the Great Dane breed.

23. Blue Fawn Great Dane

Blue fawn Great Dane
Image credit: dougthegd / Instagram

Blue fawn is an interesting variation despite being one of the unofficial Great Dane colors. This shows a fawn coat that’s either light or deep in color with a blue mask around the muzzle. 

The ears may also appear in the same shade, depending on how the blue mask gene plays in the dog’s DNA. 

In a way, the blue fawn resembles typical fawn Great Danes. Their only difference shows through their mask colors. 

For fawn Great Danes to obtain a blue mask, they should be predisposed to have a black mask but at the same time have two copies of the dilution gene to turn black into blue.

24. Blue Fawn Mantle Great Dane

Blue fawn mantle Great Dane
Image credit: nightmagicdanes / Instagram

The blue fawn mantle isn’t a color you’d always see in the Great Dane breed. Still, it’s a possible variation. They’re primarily a blue fawn Great Dane but follow the mantle pattern. 

That said, blue fawn Danes are majorly fawn with a white chest, neck, snout, underbelly, and legs. Surrounding the white muzzle is a blue shade which may also extend around the eyes. 

Coming up with this color combination and pattern is difficult. They require the dilution gene for the blue markings, the recessive fawn gene, and the mantle pattern. 

Great Dane Markings

The Great Dane has a total of 11 markings recognized by the AKC. Three of these are considered standard — black markings, white markings, and a black mask. 

The remaining eight, which are the merle, fawn, brindle, blue, and chocolate markings, plus the blue mask, piebald, and chocolate mask, are non-standard.

Keep reading as this section discusses all the different markings found on the Great Dane breed’s coat, including how they look.

White Markings

Great Dane with white markings

The standard white markings are common in the Great Dane breed. These are usually seen on the chest as a big blotch of white fur. Some Great Danes may display small white areas on their paws or underbellies. 

A white blaze, a marking seen between the eyes, may also be exhibited. If the Great Dane is of mantle variation, the white fur may partially or completely cover the neck. 

This can also reach areas such as the hind legs and forelegs. Further, the tail tip can also be white. 

Merle Markings

Great Dane with merle markings

Merle markings are characterized by patches of diluted and solid colors in irregular shapes. They can cover several body areas depending on the pattern they follow. 

Usually, mantle merle and merlequin Great Danes are the ones that exhibit these merle markings. 

If the merle gene takes over the whole coat of Great Danes, this wouldn’t be considered a marking anymore. Instead, this will appear as a coat color.

Black Markings

Great Dane with black markings

Black markings refer to a Great Dane with black spots or body patches. These black markings don’t specifically have certain areas where they should appear, especially on harlequin Great Danes.

This is because these black markings are usually dispersed randomly. If they come in bigger patches of black on a white background and cover most of the dog’s body, then the dog may be blanketed or mantled. 

Mantle Great Danes may have additional small black splotches on their white coat, which distinguishably appear different from the large pigmented black markings on their bodies. 

Fawn Markings

Great Dane with fawn markings
Image credit: odin.b.dane / Instagram

Fawn markings may appear on a Great Dane in harlequin and merle patterns. These markings are non-standard but can be registered with the AKC. 

Still, despite fawnequin and fawn merle Great Danes bearing fawn markings, they’re unacceptable based on breed standards. 

On a different note, fawn markings are displayed in irregular shapes and are distributed practically in any area of the body. Depending on the pattern, the outcome may either appear harlequin or mantle in fawn. 

Black Mask

Great Dane with black mask

In the Great Dane breed, the black or melanistic face mask shades the foreface. This covers the muzzle up to the surrounding areas of the eyes. Dark shading may also appear on the ears. 

This black mask is usually present in fawn and brindle Danes since they’re carriers of the black mask gene. However, not every fawn or brindle Great Dane will exhibit this physical trait. 

Nonetheless, fawn and brindle dogs of this breed with a black mask gene are generally considered desirable since they meet the breed standards. 

Blue Mask

Great Dane with blue mask
Image credit: vinthedane / Instagram

The blue mask is a diluted variation of the black mask, which is also seen in a Great Dane. The melanin appears in a dark blue shade in Great Danes with blue coats. 

The mask can look minimal or large on the muzzle. It may even cover the whole snout, including the skin around the eyes. Sometimes, the blue mask is complemented by same-shaded blue ears.

On top of these details, for blue Great Danes to exhibit blue masks, they have to have a combination of black pigment B/b located at the B-Locus as well as the dilution gene.

Piebald Markings

Piebald Great Dane

A Great Dane with piebald markings is sometimes called a “pied” and is often described as cow-like. Piebald Great Danes are easily identifiable due to their random white markings displayed along with areas of color. 

Piebald markings are manifested by a Great Dane when the Microphthalmia Associated Transcription Factor (MATF) gene mutates. 

This results in a random deletion of color, thus, the white spotting seen in a piebald Great Dane.

Brindle Markings

Great Dane with brindle markings

Brindle markings may also appear in a Great Dane. These refer to the black cross stripes in a golden, yellow, or brown base color. Unlike brindle as a color, brindle markings don’t take up the whole coat of the dog.

Instead, it covers only certain areas depending on the pattern it follows. Brindlequins, for example, will show spots of brindle markings on its body.

Meanwhile, brindle mantle Great Danes will set out brindle markings that cover larger areas, like a blanket that extends over the body. That is, except for areas like the neck, some parts of the head, the legs, and the tail tip.

Blue Markings

Great Dane with blue markings
Image credit: moose.and.lenny / Instagram

The Blue marking is exhibited by the blue merle, blue mantle, or blue harlequin Great Dane. These pigmented markings may either come in a solid blue color or appear ticked on a white background. 

Regardless of their coat pattern, these blue markings may be scattered randomly on the body. 

On another note, Great Danes with blue markings carry the dilution gene since blue is genetically a diluted black.

Chocolate Markings

Great Dane with chocolate markings

Chocolate markings, just like any other markings available in the Great Dane breed, are pigmented splotches randomly distributed in the body. The shade of these markings ranges from light to dark brown.

Chocolate harlequin Danes are examples of dogs bearing the same-shaded markings. Along with the chocolate harlequin are the chocolate merle and the chocolate mantle Great Danes. 

Note that these dogs are technically black when chocolate markings appear in Great Danes. However, as the mutated gene, known as the “b” allele, gets inherited from both parents, the offspring will carry the mutated gene, and black will appear brown.

Chocolate Mask

Great Dane with chocolate mask
Image credit: easternmountaindanes / Instagram

The chocolate mask is another possibility in the Great Dane breed. Like the black and blue mask, this variety is seen covering wholly or partially the muzzle. This may even extend around the eyes. 

In some cases, brown Great Danes may have a chocolate mask that’s not noticeable. 

How obvious the chocolate mask appears depends on how the dog’s genetics play. Mostly, the mask is easily noticeable in light brown Great Danes. 

Great Dane Breed Standards & Disqualifications

According to the AKC breed standards, the Great Dane primarily comes in seven colors. These are black, blue, brindle, fawn, harlequin, merle, and mantle. 

The rest on the list, which includes black and white, white, silver, blue and white, blue brindle, chocolate, chocolate and white, chocolate brindle, mantle merle, and merlequin are only registered. 

Meanwhile, fawnequin, brindlequin, albino, blue mantle, brindle mantle, blue fawn, and blue fawn mantle are also possible Great Dane coat colors, yet they’re not recognized. 

All these non-standard colors are automatically disqualified in any AKC conformation event.

Do Great Dane Colors Affect Behavior and Health?

Two Great Danes with different markings on white background

There may be an association between behavior, health, and color in Great Danes. This can be explained when Australian Labrador Retrievers were behaviorally examined through their coat colors

It showed that Labradors with brown coats are less receptive to dog training. Meanwhile, yellow-coated Labs scored high in familiar dog aggression. 

In the case of Great Danes, no particular study has been made that clearly suggests their coats have something to do with their behavior. 

Yet, based on the previously done research on other dog breeds, there’s a potential relationship between Great Dane coats and their personality. However, this requires more thorough research. 

Meanwhile, certain coat colors may predispose Great Danes to certain issues. For example, double-merle and albino dogs are heavily prone to eye and ear problems. For the eyes, these Danes are heavily photosensitive due to the lack of melanin.

Notice that they usually have blue eyes. The lack of pigmentation in the iris makes it difficult for them to control the amount of light that gets into their eyes. 

On the other hand, the lack of hair pigment in their inner ear causes the nerve endings to degenerate; thus, the ear loses its normal function. 

With these outcomes, these dogs may need help being trained, especially if they can’t properly see or hear the command. 

Even white Great Danes aren’t spared from potential health risks. Although the AKC recognizes this color, the Great Dane Club of America continuously warns breeders of the health problems of these dogs. 

Fun Fact: In a study on what you call genetic temperament, it is said that genes only influence about 20% of the dog’s demeanor. On the flip side, at least 80% is determined by environmental factors such as how you raised and socialized your dog and how healthy its lifestyle is. 

Do Great Dane Puppies Change Colors as They Grow?

Great Dane puppies change colors as they grow. They naturally blow off their soft, puppy coat color, and this gradually transitions into a richer shade. 

If you have light-fawn Great Dane puppies, they may have a yellow-gold coat once they reach adulthood.

Typically, the color change happens between 10 and 12 months for Great Danes. In most cases, puppies can turn two shades darker as they mature.

Still, it will depend on several other factors, such as shedding and light exposure. If dogs shed extensively, the coat color is expected to turn lighter. Overexposure to sunlight also bleaches the coat. 

What Color Will My Great Dane Puppy Be?

Great Dane puppies isolated in white background

Genetic testing is one way to determine your Great Dane puppy’s coat color. In recent years, this method has exponentially improved, providing breeders and dog owners with accurate results in predicting or controlling their puppies’ coat colors. 

To give you an overview, fawn and mantle Great Danes can result in a black litter with or without white markings, provided they have no recessive genes.

Genetically, though, these puppies will be carriers of sable and mantle. These coat colors and patterns will manifest if bred with the right dogs. 

Meanwhile, brindle and harlequin breeding may produce harlequin, merle, brindlequin, fawn merle, fawnequin, black, fawn, and brindle puppies. On the other hand, blue and harlequin Great Danes can give birth to harlequin, merle, and black dogs. 

Lastly, fawn merles and blue brindle mantles may have puppies in brindle merle, brindle, blue merle, fawn merle, fawn, and fawn mantle colors. 

Of course, these outcomes on Great Dane puppy coat colors will sometimes yield different results. Dominant, recessive, masked, and mutated genes may come into play and skew coat color predictions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Two Great Danes in varying colors side by side

What Is the Rarest Great Dane Color?

White is arguably the rarest color for the Great Dane breed. Even though it has become an AKC standard shade recently, breeding white Danes requires careful planning and execution.

The reason behind this is that white Danes are often linked to albinism or double merle Great Danes, both of which are white dogs that are prone to health issues.

What Is the Most Common Great Dane Color?

Fawn is the most usual color for the Great Dane breed. It’s classic for this breed since it’s widely recognized thanks to the ever-popular Scooby Doo character, who’s believed to be a Great Dane.

Breeding fawn Great Danes is challenging despite this being a prevalent shade. In order to have fawn puppies, both Great Dane parents must have the recessive fawn gene.

What Great Dane Colors Should Not Be Bred Together?

The Great Dane Rescue has a color code that helps breeders determine which colors shouldn’t be combined in the breeding program for Great Danes. 

Blue shouldn’t be bred with fawn, brindle, harlequin, or black from a harlequin Great Dane since these don’t fit the breed standards. Fawn or brindle bred with harlequin is also deemed unideal. 

These combinations aren’t encouraged since they often result in Great Dane puppies bearing coat colors that do not pass the breed standards. 

What Happens If You Breed Two Merle Great Danes?

Breeding two merle Great Danes may result in a litter where 25 percent of the puppies born are double-merle Great Danes. This happens because puppies inherit two copies of the merle gene. 

Such a case means that the lightening effect in the coat is doubled. Double-merle Great Danes become predominantly white, putting them at higher risk of ear and eye issues.

This is due to the lack of pigmentation in areas where melanin is supposed to be present.

Were you able to decide which of the Great Dane coat shades work for you? Let us know your thoughts and questions about any of these colors by leaving a comment below!

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