What You Do Not Know About Chocolate Great Dane May Hurt You

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Last Updated on January 1, 2021

Brown or Chocolate Great Danes are not included in the seven standard coat colors for Great Dane breed dogs. The chocolate color is not acceptable for dog shows either. The Chocolate coat color does not only prevail in the Great Danes. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinscher often depict brown or chocolate coat color through their litters.

Brown or Chocolate Great Dane is neither a show dog nor it is rare. Therefore, do not pay any additional amount for a Brown Great Dane. The Great Danes bearing chocolate color are not included in standard coat colors of the breed. Unfortunately, Brown coat color in Great Danes is an expression of a recessive gene existing in all carrier dogs of the breed.


Are Brown or Chocolate Great Danes rare?

Brown Great Danes are not rare. If you had not seen a brown Great Dane previously this would not make it a rare dog. Brown or Chocolate Great Danes are not rare but rather responsible breeders refrain from breeding this mismarked Great Dane.

In other words the Chocolate Danes are not bred generally so the dogs are scarce.

Why the Brown or Chocolate Great Danes are not bred?

Great Dane Breed Standard:

The Brown Great Danes in the breed are regarded the same as a mismark Great Dane. The dogs are neither standard dogs from A.K.C. standpoint nor do any Great Dane dog show would receive a Brown Great Dane for showing. 

Therefore, a Chocolate Great Dane’ purchase is not recommended if you are into show dogs. Rather, buy a Great Dane adhering to Great Dane breed standard in its color and all inclusive appearance.

Brown or Chocolate Great Dane Occurrence:

A Great Dane who holds Brown Dane in its litter has an unwanted gene lingering in its genetics. As the Brown coat color is due to the recessive gene that could express itself any time in the litter. 

Yet, there are certain cases when the litter would assuredly be a brown or Chocolate Great Dane.

  • When two Brown Great Dane dogs are bred together, the litter can neither be Blue or Black but are Brown Great Danes. Further,
  • If two Brown Great Dane dogs both sans dilution gene are bred, all litter would be brown or chocolate coat colored. Whilst, when one Brown Great Dane involved in the breeding possess dilution gene and other does not, the produced Great Dane puppies would still be brown.
  • When both involved Brown Great Danes hold dilution gene, then there is a possibility of color dilute Great Dane puppies along with Brown Great Danes in the litter.

The dilute coat colored Great Danes are also called as Lilac Danes.

Chocolate Great Dane Breeding

Some bad breeding kennels would intentionally breed the Brown Great Dane dogs. As Chocolate Great Danes might be produced under profitable breeding fallacy. Such breeders regard Brown Great Dane breeding as profitable by selling the dogs at high prices. 

Though Brown Great Danes are produced through responsible breeding as well. 

Brown Danes and responsible breeding:

As the brown coat color is due to a recessive gene residing in the genetic makeup of a Great Dane. Once a brown Great Dane is born in a breeder’ litter, the pedigree holds an non favorite gene in its genetics for the breeder. 

In addition to an unfavorable color from show point, a Brown Great Dane’ presence would be a herald for the breeder to end breeding that particular lineage. As a Brown or Chocolate Great Dane would pass its brown color bearing gene to all its puppies.

Indubitably, Great Dane dogs who are potential carriers of the recessive brown gene must not be bred. Additionally, the presence of this gene in a Great Dane lineage indicates no breeding between the two latent brown gene carriers. This is the ideal and responsible breeding norm. 

Besides, breeding the Brown Danes might become a liability for a breeder as the dogs are not suitable for breeding, nor for showing. 

Responsible breeders strive to enhance the quality of their litter continuously. Huge number of perfectly marked Great Dane puppies is their goal. They try to find out the dogs carrying unwanted color among their breeding stock. Namely, Fawn, Brown, or Blue Great Danes. 

Chocolate Great Dane and Show Breeders:

Great Dane breed has a plethora of coat colors in its genetics. Usually, strange coat colors are not welcomed by a breeder in that their occurrence is a fiasco for an apt show breeder.  Unfortunately, Chocolate coat color in Great Danes is not accepted as a show Great Dane color. Hence, breeding Brown Great Danes would be pointless.

Adroit show breeders would not breed the particular  line further from a Brown Great Dane.

Why-Not -A-Chocolate-Great-Dane

What makes Brown coat color: The Brown Color Genetics

Proteins are critical to the development of an organism at birth. In canines, TYRP1, or tyrosinase-related protein 1, is a protein that is of paramount significance being responsible for coat coloration in dogs. It plays a key role in the formation of the pigment Eumelanin.


This is the pigment is what shades the coat color of a dog. Its excess and scarcity would result in Black or Brown coats. 

Black coat color:

In the dominant form of the TYRP1 gene ( the B Locus), enough Eumelanin is synthesized. Providing black tinge to the coat, and the dog’s coat emerges black rather than brown colored. Hence a Black Great Dane has dominant gene “B” in its genetic makeup.

Chocolate or Brown coat color:

In case of Brown or Chocolate color a mutation in the TYRP1 gene can happen, triggering an alteration. Eumelanin production is influenced which dilutes the prior black color tinge. Brown color coat develops owing to the changed amount of Eumelanin synthesis.

This mutated gene is known as the “b” allele. Brown Great Danes hold “b” gene in their genetic material. When a dog is homozygous for the mutation all black pigment appears brown.

Homozygous: Meaning the dog has two copies of the same gene.

which is recessive allele (b/b) in the above case. 

The color can also be alluded to as liver also beside brown and chocolate. In some breeds (such as the Australian Shepherd), this color is referred to as red. Given, the B allele is dominant over the b allele. Therefore, a dog that is B/b or B/B will have a black coat, and not chocolate. 


The dog must have b/b in order to have a dilution of black color into brown tinge.

Brown Great Dane Genetics:

Parent color Genes  Litter color Genes 
Black  Both Dominant (B/B)  Black  All with Dominant B
Black  1 Dominant 1 recessive (B/b) Black  B and b both could be found
Brown  Both recessive (b/b) Brown  All with Recessive b

The “b” gene has no effect on other coat colors. Only brown and black coats get influenced by this gene’ mutation. TYRP1 mutations can affect the nose and pad coloration, changing it from black to brown.

Brown or Chocolate Dane Concerns:

As Brown or Chocolate Great Dane puppies are born when both parents involved in the breeding are carriers of the recessive gene. The responsible gene is hanging in there for quite sometime and finally revealed itself.

The born Great Dane puppies due to the recessive gene unable to express black coloration.

This culpability furnishes the Dane puppy with a brown coat color. 

Brown Great Dane health problems:

The Brown Great Danes are not acceptable due to their brown coat color. Additionally, this color makes the Danes vulnerable. The Great Danes bearing brown color are believed to suffer from skin disorders. A large breed dog, going through some skin disease would be a real problem. 

Besides, coat related complications are also found in Brown Danes. The dogs are also prone to the health issues frequent in the Great Dane breed.

Double dilute Great Danes:

The Great Dane parents carry brown gene which is also responsible for coloration. Sometimes this unfit brown gene couples with a further color dilution gene. This dilutes the black pigment to a greyish or blue tinge, producing a lilac color. The resultant double dilution Great Dane puppies are reported to bear an increased risks related to coat and skin disorders. 

Brown Dane and bad breeding:

Brown gene is not the most unwanted strand in terms of breeding and breeders ethics. As the gene can represent itself in any lineage even the best Great Dane pedigree can produce Chocolate Danes. So bad breeding is not the main reason behind Brown Great Dane’s birth.

Brown Gene Presence Test:

Great Dane breed holds a quite varied range of coat colors. Some of the genes responsible for coat coloration are known whilst others are yet to be found. Since, brown coat color genetics are revealed already. The Great Dane dogs can be checked for the existence of this gene prior to breeding to ensure healthy litter. And preserving the breed standards.

Why not a Brown Great Dane?

Brown Great Danes are not accepted by the breed standard. Just like Merle coat color was once regarded as an unwanted tinge in the breed. Since, Merle is crucial for the Harlequin breeding this transformed the Merle Great Dane’s status.

Merle Great Danes are now acceptable. Same can work for Brown Great Danes. If the brown color’s significance for the breed is indicated, then it might gets included in the standard Great Dane coat colors. But as of now the dogs are only regarded as a mismarked Great Dane. And generally hold a dubious health record. Therefore, it is recommended to refrain from breeding Chocolate Great Danes.

4 thoughts on “What You Do Not Know About Chocolate Great Dane May Hurt You”

  1. Personally I think it’s all a bunch of bunk! I have a chocolate dane and he is absolutely perfect. He is the healthiest and smartest dane we’ve ever owned! I would never register a dog with the American kennel club or any other club for that matter because of their snooty stupidity about colors! Your own paper says that if it becomes useful then they would include them, just like the merle pups being used for Harlequin! Just shows in the narrow view that’s held.

    • I agree completely! We have a perfectly healthy well bred Euro Lilac Merle. Meanwhile the AKC still supports the inhumane cropping of puppy ears in Danes and other breeds (also docked tails) – long banned in Europe btw. See how the only Danes winning US AKC championships have the cropped ears as the judges ignore the natural beautiful ears. Great Danes are no longer used to capture wild boar on the estate (since 1850) so I think their ears are safe from wild beast harm.

  2. I agree with Ruth whole heartedly. AKC doesn’t do anything to improve breeds health and preventetive inherited issues that could be bred out. Rather they would have us breed these dog so large and long that they have health issues from the AKC standards i.e. breeding for height and length and ear set. Don’t even get me started about the cropping of ears!!!

  3. I have a 14 month old Chocolate Dane , he is amazing, he has no skin issues, no digestive issues , was so easy to crate train, housebreak etc.
    I had someone put him down due to being chocolate , I got him as a loved family member , not to show . They were so rude, almost saying he couldn’t v be a Dane .
    I got him at a breeder, strictly breeds Danes , he’s 140 lbs of pure Dane. These snuffy people can take their standard colors . My chocolate boy is the love of my life.


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