Weighing between 100 to 200 pounds and reaching a shoulder height of between 30 to 32 inches, this elegant and sweet-natured dog breed offers quite an expanse of body to display a variety of colors and patterns on their short, sleek coats.
Great Danes come in seven official American Kennel Club-recognized colors, markings, and patterns. When those seven standard colorings and patterns are intermixed, the possibilities expand to a multitude of variations, including the rarest color of white. For our list, we’ve described the seven types of Great Danes colors and patterns registered with the AKC.
The brindle coat has a tiger stripe, also described as a chevron stripe. This pattern extends over the entirety of the Great Dane’s body. The base color is fawn, which is a golden yellow shade, and the stripes are black. The most desirable coats are evenly brindled with no white markings. Brindle Great Danes have a black mask that extends on and above their eyes and may be present on their ears and the tips of their tails.
You’ll find that brindle Great Danes come in a range of color combinations beyond fawn and black, though these are not recognized by the AKC. A blue brindle Great Dane has a blue base coat. Additional color duos include black and red, and light and dark gray.
You’ve most likely seen the fawn color on certain Great Danes in popular culture such as “Scooby-Doo” and “Marmaduke.” Fawn is a golden yellow hue that dominates most of the Great Dane’s body. A mask of black coloring surrounds the eye rims, eyebrows, and snout.
While black coloring is acceptable on the ears and the tail tip, additional white or black markings on the chest or paws are not considered desirable. If you plan to show your fawn-colored Great Dane, you’ll want the fawn coloring to be a deep golden shade without being so dark that it resembles a dirty blonde.
Fawn is one of the most common colors found on Great Danes. You’ll find the fawn coloring throughout many color and pattern combinations.
These Great Danes have a steel blue coat. The blue can range from lighter to darker and often takes on a gray tone. The blue coloring on the AKC standard should cover the whole body with no other markings. Some blue Great Danes have white markings on their chest and toes. However, these white markings are not desirable for a show dog.
The blue coloring is a recessive gene, making it a rare variety. Creating blue puppies requires breeding two blue parents. However, patches of blue can be found in combination with other Great Dane patterns, such as brindle, harlequin, mantle, and merle.
A black Great Dane is an impressive sight. Their glossy black coat is sure to show off this breed’s athletic build. While you may find black Great Danes who sport white markings on their chest and toes, the AKC standard only accepts fully black dogs.
The black coloring is a recessive gene requiring two black parents to produce completely black puppies. You’ll often find black coloring on Great Danes as a mask or in combination with mantle or merle color patterns.
With a pure white base color, Harlequin Great Danes have black patches evenly covering their body. To meet AKC show standards, the patches should be smaller than a blanket area and larger than a speckle pattern. Harlequins must have pure white necks with no markings.
The white gene that produces the base coat has many health issues associated with it. Careful breeding may help avoid health concerns such as congenital deafness.
Because they closely resemble the coat color patterns of the Boston Terrier dog breed, mantle Great Danes were once referred to as Boston Great Danes. Consisting of two colors, black and white, the mantle is a solid black blanket draped over most of the body. White coloring exists on the muzzle and may be found as a blaze, around the collar, on the chest, along the legs, and at the tip of the tail.
Although not standard for show, the mantle can come in a diverse selection of one or more of the following colors and patterns: fawn, blue, harlequin, merle, and/or brindle.
Recently recognized in 2018 by the AKC, the merle coat is complex and interesting. Closely related to the Harlequin coat, Great Danes with a merle color pattern are distinguished by a pale to dark gray base coat with irregular darker patches.
The Merle pattern is acceptable as solid or mantle. Although you may spot Great Danes with the pattern combination of merle and harlequin, also known as merlequin, this pattern does not qualify for show.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed discovering seven types of Great Dane colors and patterns. From these seven, there’s an amazing number of combinations. Each one is fascinating, interesting, and eye appealing in their own unique way. It’s one of the reasons that Great Danes are so great!
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