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Guide To Great Dane Colors (Officially & Unofficially Recognized)

Looking to get a Great Dane to add to your family? If so, you’ll notice that they come in a variety of colors.

However, there are only nine colors for Great Danes that are officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

You might be wondering why this matters?

Well, it doesn’t – unless you want to enter your Great Dane in dog shows.

Even if you’re not planning on entering your dog into competitions, you still might want to know the color variety in the Great Dane breed.

So, let’s have a quick look at all of the color options you’ll find in this large breed.

The 7 Official Great Dane Colors

If it is important to you that your Great Dane has a color that is officially recognized by the AKC, then you have seven options.

great dane puppies

Here are the AKC officially recognized colors for Great Danes:

  • Merle
  • Mantle
  • Harlequin
  • Brindle
  • Fawn
  • Blue
  • Black

There are also two other colors that the AKC lists as “standard” even though they are not part of the seven official colors.

Those two colors are:

  • Black & White
  • Silver
official great dane colors
image via AKC

Next, we’ll look at each color and it’s breed color descriptions as described by the AKC Standard.

1. Brindle

Color: The base color shall be yellow gold and always be brindled with black cross stripes.

Brindle great dane

Patterns/Markings: Brindle shall have a black chevron pattern with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows and may appear on the ears and tail tip.

The more intense the base color and the more distinct and evenly brindled, the more preferred will be the color.

Too much or too little brindling are equally undesirable.

White markings on the chest or toes; black fronted; dirty colored Brindles; are not desirable.

2. Fawn

Color: The color shall be yellow gold.

fawn great dane

Patterns/Markings: Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows with a black mask and may appear on the ears and tail tip.

Deep yellow gold must always be given the preference. White markings on the chest or toes, black-fronted; dirty colored Fawns; are not desirable.

3. Blue

Color: The color shall be a pure steel blue.

blue great dane

Patterns/Markings: White markings on the chest or toes are not desirable.

4. Black

Color: The color shall be a glossy black.

black great dane

Patterns/Markings: White markings on the chest or toes are not desirable.

5. Harlequin

Color: Base color shall be white with black torn patches. Merle patches are normal.

harlequin great dane

Patterns/Markings: Black torn patches well distributed over the body; with whole or partial white neck. Black pigment may be seen on the skin in white areas.

No patch should be so large as it appears to be a blanket. Eligible but less desirable, are black hairs showing through the white base coat which gives a salt and pepper or dirty appearance.

6. Mantle

Color: Black and white with a black blanket extending over the body.

mantle great dane

Patterns/Markings: Black skull with white muzzle; white blaze is optional; whole or partial white neck; a white chest; white on whole or part of the forelegs and hind legs; white tipped black tail.

A small white break in the blanket is acceptable. Black pigment may be seen on the skin in white areas.

7. Merle

Color: A pale gray to dark gray merle base color with black torn patches within.

merle great dane

Patterns/Markings: May be Solid Merle (white on chest and toes is permissible) or Merle with a Mantle Pattern (solid merle blanket extending over the body; merle skull with a white muzzle; white blaze is optional; whole or partial white neck; a white chest; white on whole or part of the forelegs and hind legs; white tipped merle tail.

A small white break in the blanket is acceptable. (Black pigment may be seen on the skin in white areas.)

Disqualification: Merlequin, a white dog with ONLY patches of merle.

Unofficial Great Dane Colors

As you already know, there are more than just the seven colors listed above when it comes to Great Danes.

Here are some of the most common unofficial Great Dane colors:

  • Fawnequin
  • White
  • Blue & White
  • Blue Brindle
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate & White
  • Chocolate Brindle
  • Mantle Merle
  • Merlequin

White

It’s pretty rare to see a white Great Dane. In fact, it is the rarest Great Dane color of all.

The way we end up with fully white Great Danes is the result of Merle to Merle mating.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re considering adding a white Great Dane to your family is that this color is prone to genetic defects, including blindness and deafness.

Fawnequin

One of my favorite colorings you may find on Great Danes is the fawnequin color.

As the name implies, this color is a Harlequin that is fawn colored.

To visualize this, the base color of the coat is white and there are patches of fawn mixed in.

Final Word

As you can see, there is a lot of color variety in the Great Dane breed, though only seven of those colors are officially recognized.

But, if you’re not raising show dogs, then you can go with whatever color Great Dane you like the most.

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