Last Updated on April 21, 2023
The Great Dane breed is a giant whose bark is much worse than its bite.
On the inside, this Gentle Giant is affectionate, loyal, and will enjoy being around their family – often trying to cuddle and be a lap dog!
On the outside, this doggo comes in quite a few coat colors. Let’s take a look at what they are.
- 1 History: Where Did these Great Colors Come From?
- 2 What are the Standard Great Dane Colors?
- 3 What are the Great Dane Markings?
- 4 Do Great Danes Change Color as They Age?
- 5 Do Great Dane Colors Affect Behavior?
- 6 Do Great Dane Colors Affect Health?
- 7 How about the Great Dane’s Eye Color?
- 8 How Do You Take Care of Your Great Dane’s Coat?
- 9 Which Great Dane color will you choose?
History: Where Did these Great Colors Come From?
The Great Dane is a purebred who originally came from the Irish Wolfhound and the English Mastiff.
These two parent breeds come in various colors and patterns, giving the beloved Great Dane its fancy looks.
In fact, the Great Dane might get mistaken for the Irish Wolfhound on occasion due to their similar stature, coat type, and colors and markings.
Thanks to these two breeds, it’s easy to see how this German Mastiff comes in many colors and patterns.
This dog breed can come in 18 different colors, but only nine of these colors are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
What are the Standard Great Dane Colors?
According to the AKC’s breed standard, the nine acceptable colors of a Great Dane are as follows:
- Black and white
The best color to get in a Great Dane is fawn. Of course, a color is just that – a color. There are other things to look for in a Great Dane when choosing your best friend to bring home.
Fawn is one of the most popular colors as well as the most common.
People recognize Great Danes easily when seeing a fawn-colored fido, thanks to the beloved cartoon pup, Scooby-Doo, or Marmaduke.
The rarest color a Great Dane can come in is white. This is due to the color causing health problems for the pup.
The most expensive gentle giant you can get is the harlequin. This is another that’s a popular color and easily recognizable.
If you’re thinking of including your furry friend in dog shows, then there are only nine of the 18 colors you can choose from.
Let’s take a closer look at what they are.
1. Black Great Dane
This color type is when the Great Dane’s entire body is a sleek, glossy black. As per AKC standards, they do not want to see any white markings on the chest or toes.
These Great Dane dogs are typically used for dog shows, but it’s not unheard of to see a black Great Dane as a family pet.
Black is a recessive gene, so to get your doggo to be all black, both its parents will need the black gene.
2. Black & White Great Dane
This particular coloring is when your pup has a black coat with white markings.
It’s similar to the harlequin coat, but black is the dominant gene, therefore being the base coat.
3. Blue Great Dane
This standard color is an interesting one. It’s known for being a tainted version of the black coat.
To get a blue Great Dane, you’ll need both parents to hold the blue gene since it’s recessive. You’ll also need the parents to be either both black or both blue.
There can be darker shades and lighter shades of blue as the solid coloring, but the AKC standard (and the most popular) is when the color is a pure steel blue.
Take a look at this blue merle puppy living life!
4. Brindle Great Dane
To get a brindle Great Dane, you’ll need to breed a fawn-colored pup with another fawn or a fawn with a brindle.
The base color is typically fawn or a golden yellow with black tiger-like stripes. It may also have a chevron pattern with a black mask.
A blue brindle coat can occur if both parents carry the blue recessive gene, but this is not an accepted color from the AKC.
5. Fawn Great Dane
Even though fawn is the most popular and most common coloring for a Great Dane, it can be challenging to breed one. Fawn is a recessive gene, so both parents need to carry it if you want a fawn Great Dane puppy.
This is one of the simpler colors for the gentle giant. Fawn is a yellow-gold coat with a black mask marking. It may also have black around the rims of its eyes and on the tail tip.
6. Harlequin Great Dane
The harlequin Great Dane, often mistaken as a Dalmatian, has a pure white base coat with black patches all over the body. Merle patches are also accepted in dog shows.
It’s difficult to breed a harlequin because these genetics hold a lot of colors.
In addition, this coloring may come with genetic health issues such as congenital deafness due to the dominant white gene.
7. Mantle Great Dane
This particular color is another version of a black and white Great Dane.
This time, black is the dominant gene with white only on specific areas of the body such as a white muzzle, a white neck or collar, chest, forelegs, and hind legs.
Mantle Great Danes have been referred to as “Boston” because they resemble the Boston Terrier.
8. Merle Great Dane
The merle coat is also similar to the harlequin, but its base color is grey instead of white. It has spots around its whole body that can be black and white.
Merle is the dominant gene and is also associated with eye color, so it’s important to note not to breed two merles together.
This will create a double merle, causing genetic health problems such as congenital deafness and blindness or other eye defects.
9. White Great Dane
Lastly, white is the final color according to the AKC standards. This is the result when two Great Danes hold the merle genes and gives a pure white doggo.
However, white Great Danes aren’t as great as they appear to be. This coat color is prone to many defects, so it’s not recommended to breed.
This is thanks to the merle gene again in which causes the white Great Dane to have little or no pigment in their middle ear, causing them to be deaf.
In fact, the Great Dane Club of America warns about breeding white Great Danes due to these health issues to keep the dogs safe and healthy.
Other recognized Great Dane colors
In addition to these nine colors, there are nine more colors that are not standard. They are:
- Blue and White
- Blue Brindle
- Chocolate and White
- Chocolate Brindle
- Mantle Merle
What are the Great Dane Markings?
The Great Dane comes in a couple of different markings, but only three are standard. These patterns are black markings, black mask, and white markings.
There are a few non-standard patterns, such as:
- Blue markings
- Blue mask
- Brindle markings
- Chocolate markings
- Chocolate mask
- Fawn markings
- Merle markings
Fun fact: there are mismarked Great Danes where a mantle pup has colors other than the standard pure black, with white and no other colors.
Spotted Great Danes are typically white with black spots scattered about their body.
Do Great Danes Change Color as They Age?
Yes, they do! It’s recommended to wait until your pooch matures before entering them in any dog shows to ensure their coat color is their true color.
When your pup is about one-year-old, they will begin to go through a process where they shed their fuffy fur, replaced by a stiff, new coat. This will give them a darker coat color.
It’s possible for the color to lighten if your pup sheds a lot or has been exposed to a lot of sunlight.
This process will take about six months, so your fido should have its adult coat by 18 months.
Do Great Dane Colors Affect Behavior?
Many things affect behavior in a dog, and the color of their coat is not one of them.
Their personality and temperament will depend on a few factors, such as their bloodline, training, and upbringing.
All Great Danes are smart. They’re eager to please their owners, often making training relatively easy.
Do Great Dane Colors Affect Health?
Your Great Dane’s color might affect their health as it’s all in the genes.
While no dog is without health problems, you can most likely have a healthy Great Dane if they don’t have a merle, white, or blue gene in them.
Blue Great Danes may have skin problems due to their thin coat, but all Great Danes have a short coat that could make their skin sensitive.
If a blue Great Dane has blue eyes, then that means they have the merle gene in them, and that could cause some issues.
Are all white Great Danes deaf? No. There is an increased change due to the dominant white gene, but not every German Mastiff with this coloring is deaf.
How about the Great Dane’s Eye Color?
This doggo can have many eye colors such as brown, dark brown, light brown, blue, yellow, green, amber, or gray.
When they’re puppy, they will be born with blue eyes. As they mature and grow into adulthood, your fido’s eyes will most likely change to a brown color.
The eye color will not stay blue unless they are a harlequin, in which they may change color or remain blue throughout their life.
Like all dogs, the Great Dane is colorblind and can only see mostly yellows, blues, and violets.
They can, however, see better in the dark. Our furry friends have something called the tapetum lucidum as part of their canine eye, which allows them to see well in the dark.
How Do You Take Care of Your Great Dane’s Coat?
Because this pup has such a short coat, grooming will be easy. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t shed.
Giving your doggo a regular brushing is ideal. It will keep the shedding at bay, and your dog’s coat will remain to look sleek and shiny.
Brushing regularly will also minimize the need for baths. Of course, to help keep their coat and skin healthy, they’ll need a bath once in a while. You can use this pet-friendly shampoo to ensure your pup stays clean.
Which Great Dane color will you choose?
All Great Dane colors are beautiful, but which one is your favorite?
Remember to be wary of certain health problems a coat color can cause. Make sure you get your Great Dane from a reputable breeder who knows the history of the puppies.
Which Great Dane color do you think you’ll bring home today? Let us know in the comments!
Cess is the Head of Content Writing at K9 Web and a passionate dog care expert with over 5 years of experience in the Pet Industry. With a background in animal science, dog training, and behavior consulting, her hands-on experience and extensive knowledge make her a trusted source for dog owners.
When not writing or leading the K9 Web content team, Cess can be found volunteering at local shelters and participating in dog-related events.