Danes Of A Different Color – Photos Of Recognized and Non-Recognized Great Dane Colors

March 18th, 2008 by Dan

As you may be able to tell, we’re big fans of BIG dogs! Great Danes come in a variety of colors and patterns, but only 6 of these are recognized by the AKC (meaning these are the only colors that can be shown). We’ve compiled a list of the recognized colors as well as some of the other dane colors that exist. The non-recognized colors are not *rare* and any breeder who is charging more for a pup of a different color is only out to make a buck. What it does mean is that there is no standard set for these dogs (at this point in time- it doesn’t mean there never will be) and in some cases the variety cannot be consistently reproduced. Or in the case of the white danes, genetic faults (deafness and eye issues) has led the Great Dane Club of America to BAN the breeding of this color, as it is unethical to create puppies who are likely to be born with handicaps.

Enjoy this guide to the many varied looks of the Great Dane!

Recognized Colors/Markings - Below are the 6 AKC recognized colors and markings of Great Danes, plus the AKC standard for each.

Black
: AKC Standard -The color shall be a glossy black. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable.
*A black Great Dane with a healthy coat should appear to shimmer in the sun. This striking color makes the massive dogs musculature stand out.

Black Great Dane Closeup
Photo by ravenwhois
Black Great Dane Puppy
Photo by BassOverflow

Blue: AKC Standard:The color shall be a pure steel blue. White markings at the chest and toes are not desirable.
* Blue Danes are very popular – they have a striking appearance that people are drawn to.
* Other breeds come in this color including: American Pit Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers and even Chihuahuas!

Blue Great Dane Closeup
Photo by tvtrayart
Blue Great Dane Puppy
Photo by imtoobigtoo

Brindle: AKC Standard:The base color shall be yellow gold and always brindled with strong black cross stripes in a chevron pattern. A black mask is preferred. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears and tail tip. The more intensive the base color and the more distinct and even the brindling, the more preferred will be the color. Too much or too little brindling are equally undesirable. White markings at the chest and toes, black-fronted, dirty colored brindles are not desirable.
*There are less hearing/sight issues involved in breeding Brindle Great Danes than breeding Harlequins or Merles.
*Other breeds that display this marking are: American Pit Bull Terriers, Mastiffs and Boxers (just to name a few!)

Brindle Great Dane Puppy
Photo by shel_munro
Brindle Great Dane Basks
Photo by naturgraphics

Fawn: AKC Standard: The color shall be yellow gold with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears and tail tip. The deep yellow gold must always be given the preference. White markings at the chest and toes, black-fronted dirty colored fawns are not desirable.
*Scooby Doo, Brutus from the Disney film “The Ugly Dachshund”, and Duke & Turk of Swiss Family Robinson were all Fawn Great Danes.
*This is the most recognizable color of the breed.
Fawn Great Dane Puppy
Photo by brettinoz30
Fawn Great Dane Playing In The Sand
Photo by marylene222

Mantle: AKC Standard: The color shall be black and white with a solid black blanket extending over the body; black skull with white muzzle; white blaze is optional;whole white collar is preferred; a white chest; white on part or whole of forelegs and hind legs; white tipped black tail. A small white marking in the blanket is acceptable, as is a break in the white collar.
* The name “Mantle” may have originated from the piece of clothing by the same name. It is a sleeveless robe that is left open at the front – the description is fitting with this dogs appearance.
* In some countries this marking is called “Boston” because of it’s resemblance to a Boston Terrier.

Mantle Great Dane
Photo by mikehipp
Mantle Great Dane Puppy
Photo by MJGREATDANES

Harlequin: AKC Standard: Base color shall be pure white with black torn patches irregularly and well distributed over the entire body; a pure white neck is preferred. The black patches should never be large enough to give the appearance of a blanket, nor so small as to give a stippled or dappled effect. Eligible, but less desirable, are a few small gray patches, or a white base with single black hairs showing through, which tend to give a salt and pepper or dirty effect.
*These big spotty dogs are often confused for dalmatians (if you can believe that one!).
*Great Danes are the only breed of dog bred for this color pattern.
*When 2 Harlequin’s are bred together they may or may not have Harlequin marked offspring.

Harlequin Great Dane with Apple on His Head
Photo by animaxgallery
Harlequin Great Dane Puppy
Photo by borntofish

Non- Recognized Colors:

Merle: Merle Great Danes appear to have black spots on a grayish back coat. The shade of grey can range from very pale to a dark grey. Merles can vary in patterns as well – there can be Merle Mantles and even Merlequins.
*The merle coat pattern occurs in other breeds besides the Great Dane including: The Australian Shepherd, Catahoula Leopard Dog, Collie, and Shetland Sheepdogs.
*Breeding a Merle to a Merle can produce white puppies that often have congenital defects.

Merle Puppy - series of 3
Photo by kridgett kreations
Merle Great Dane
Photo by misterpink82

White: When 2 Danes that carry the merle gene (Harlequins, Merles, Whites) are bred together, the pups that inherit 2 copies of the merle gene are considered white pups (even if they have a slight amount of markings). White danes are usually deaf and have various eye issues (they can be totally blind). Thus the Great Dane Club Of America has a Breeders Color Code of Ethics to try to prevent these types of defects from occurring. There is also a genetic test available that is able to predict if a dog carries the merle gene.

Deaf White Great Dane Puppy
Photo by kneedeeeep
White Great Dane
Photo by chadcooper

Fawnequin: A Fawnequin is a Dane with “Harle” like markings but with fawn patches instead of the usual black. Occasionally you can find a “Brindlequin” or a “Merlequin” as well.

Fawnequin Great Dane
Photo by Sharon Hicks
Fawnequin Great Dane Lounging
Photo by Sharon Hicks





13 Responses to “Danes Of A Different Color – Photos Of Recognized and Non-Recognized Great Dane Colors”

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  11. Beverly Denning Says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the lovely picture of the Fawnequin. I have a 7 year old Fawnequin who is my life! She is the first of many I will own in the future.

  12. Natalie Says:

    I have a blue brindle great dane, have you ever seen that color before? she was born pure blue, and started brindling out at 3 weeks of age. She’s a one of a kind.

  13. Tiffany Says:

    My black dane was bred with a blue dane and we got 4 blue brindled puppies. Very pretty and they are AKC registered parents. The color blue brindle is show acceptable but a rare color

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