All About Great Dane Colors, Patterns, and Markings

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Last Updated on September 28, 2022

The Great Dane dogs exist in a wide range of coat colors. All the Great Dane colors are no less elegant and neat. Not even a single Great Dane coat color fails to add up to the Great Dane’ splendor. However, all the Great Dane colors are not recognized and favored, according to the Great Dane breed standards. Learn everything you ever wanted to know on Great Dane colors in the article.

Out of the numerous naturally occurring Great Dane colors, some coat colors are favored and are popular among show dog Great Dane owners, while others are not acceptable by the breed standards. The 7 official Great Dane colors which are also allowed to participate in G.D.C.A. and A.K.C. dog shows are only seven. Namely;

Black, Brindle, Blue, Fawn, Harlequin, Mantle, and Merle.

The A.K.C. includes other Great Dane coat color as well in the list of official coat colors of the Great Dane breed. The colors are as follows;

  • Black and White
  • White

The Official Great Dane Colors

Here are the seven famous Great Dane colors which are recurrent in Great Dane dogs. The color superiority for breeding is mainly determined by color families. The general rule is to cross Great Dane colors within a color family rather than without color families. The Great Dane color families preferred for breeding are Black x Blue, Harlequin x Mantle, and Fawn x Brindle.

The standard marking for the Great Dane breed dogs are black, and white markings with black mask for all coat colors. An all inclusive discussion on the Great Dane markings and pattern relative to each Great Dane colors is broached below.

1. Black Great Dane

As A.K.C. and G.D.C.A. suggests,

The black Great Dane’s color shall be glossy. Some of the Black Great Danes have spot markings on their toes and chests. These white patches on the chest and toes of Black Great Danes are unwanted. Generally, a Black Great Dane with white markings is considered a culpability. Although, slight white markings are allowed usually for show dogs. Indubitably, it is preferable to choose a flawless black Great Dane if you are into contests and dog shows.

Moreover, you can improve the black coat making it smoother and more radiant with regular grooming. As a rich back coat depicts a dazzling shine whilst in sunlight. Furnishing your Black Great Dane with an intriguing appearance for dog shows.

Black Great Dane Puppies On A White Background
Grigvovan /

Patterns and Markings

According to the Great Dane breed standards such markings are not accepted and are unpopular mark of the pedigree. Besides white markings, the Black Great Danes are also observed having fawn, brindle, harlequin, mantle, and blue markings. Anyways, Black Great Danes with any colored markings are undesirable.

Black Great Dane Puppies

Black Great Dane puppies are mainly produced by breeding Black Great Danes. The other Great Dane colors which can give birth to black Great Dane puppies are:

  • Harlequin Great Dane
  • Blue Great Dane
  • Mantle Great Dane

2. Brindle Great Dane

Brindle Great Danes are distinct having tiger strips on golden yellow coat. The strips are mainly jet black. The appearance of a Brindle Great Dane is described by the A.K.C and G.D.C.A. as:

The brindle coat color must be yellow gold and always brindled with strong black cross stripes.

Brindle Great Dane Puppy On A White Background
MirasWonderland /

Patterns and Markings

The brindle Great Dane shall have a chevron pattern with a black mask. Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows, and may appear on the ears and tail tip.

Brindle Show Dog Great Dane

The more intensive the base color and the more distinct and evenly brindled, the more preferred will be the Brindle Great Dane color. Breed standard also advises on the Brindle Great Danes’ Markings density. Too much or too little strips are not preferred. Regular stripping is desirable than irregular stripping. Dense or scanty Brindle Great Dane dogs are not popular generally among Great Dane dog lovers.

Brindle Great Danes might possess white markings on their toes and chest, black-fronted, or dirty colored Brindles. These marking are undesirable according to breed standards. Great Dane lovers favor base coat shade of golden yellow, and deep yellow brown color for the Brindle Great Dane.

Brindle Great Dane Puppy

A Brindle Great Dane puppy is born only when a Fawn Great Dane is bred to a Brindle Great Dane or a Fawn Great Dane.

3. Blue Great Dane

Blue Great Dane is regarded as a tainted variant of a black Great Dane. As suggested by the A.K.C. and G.D.C.A., The color shall be a pure steel blue for a Blue Great Dane.

Blue Great Dane Puppy On A White Background
David Huntley Creative /

Blue Show Dog Great Danes

Great Dane dogs having colored markings on their chest and toes are not popular. Fawn, brindle, and white marked blue Great Danes are not viewed as an accurate pedigree.

Blue Great Dane Puppies

Blue coat colored Great Dane puppies are born when two Great Danes having same coat colors are bred. The Blue Great Dane puppies are usually born from Black and Blue Great Danes. Black Great Danes can also give birth to Blue Great Dane puppies.

4. Fawn Great Dane

Generally, a Fawn Great Dane comes into mind at once when people think of the Great Dane breed. May be it is due to the fact that the most recurrent coat color of the Great Dane is fawn.

According to the A.K.C. and G.D.C.A., the color shall be yellow gold for a Great Dane color Fawn. The deep yellow gold must always be preferred viz-a-viz other hues. White markings on the chest and toes, black-fronted or dirty colored Fawns are not desirable. Besides white, Great Dane color Fawn must not hold Black, Blue, or Harlequin markings on their coats.

Fawn Great Dane Puppy On A White Background
Jesus Souto /

Patterns and Markings

Black should appear on the eye rims and eyebrows. It may appear on the ears and tail tip as well. The mask of such Great Danes shall be black. Additionally, deeper shades of black are favored.

Fawn Great Dane Puppies

Cross breeding of Fawn, Harlequin, and Brindle Great Danes are probable to produce Fawn puppies

5. Harlequin Great Dane

Harlequin Great Danes are easy to differentiate from other Great Dane colors. A Harlequin Great Dane holds black patches on white coat. According to A.K.C. and G.D.C.A. standards

The base color must be pure white with torn black patches over the body. Merle patches are also acceptable.

Harlequin Great Dane Puppy On A White Background
Eric Isselee /

Patterns and Markings

The Black torn patches are well distributed over the body with a whole or partial white neck. Black pigment might be present on the skin in white areas. Additionally, no patch should be so large as it appears to be a blanket.

Harlequin Show Dog

A Harlequin Great Danes’ black patches must be evenly dispersed all over its body. Though, the black patches on the body of a Harlequin Great Dane are not very big. It might offer an idea of an enormous black coat having white marks. The Harlequin Great Danes might have some grey patches which are permitted under the A.K.C standards, yet not acceptable for dog shows.

However, eligible yet less desirable are the black hairs seen through the white base coat. This gives a salt and pepper or dirty appearance.

Harlequin Great Dane Breeding

It is laborious to breed Harlequin Great Danes. In fact, the Harlequin Great Danes hold genes of many other color families. It might have Black, White, Merle, or mantle patches on its white coat. The Harlequin Great Dane must be allowed to mature first in order to decide on its pedigree.

6. Mantle Great Dane

Mantle Great Danes acquired identification in late 1990’s. Erstwhile the dogs were alluded to as Boston Terriers.

The mantle Great Dane ought to possess the following color as stated by the A.K.C. and G.D.C.A. standards, Black and white with a black blanket extending over the body.

Mantle Great Dane On A White Background
Eric Isselee /

Patterns and Markings

Black skull with white muzzle, whole or partial white neck, a white chest, white on whole or part of the fore legs and hind legs. The tail has to be white tipped black.

A little white marking on the black coat is acceptable. Though further divergence in aforementioned color and markings is not favored for an accurate pedigree mantle colored Great Dane.

Mantle Great Dane Puppy

Mantle Great Dane is likely to be born, by breeding harlequin or mantle Great Danes together. Be cautious, you might be given a mismarked black Dane puppy as a Mantle Great Dane puppy.

7. Merle Great Dane

This coat is just like Harlequin coat of the Great Danes. The only difference is in the base coat color. Which is grey in case of Merle Great Danes instead of white. Shade of grey could be lighter or intense. The abundance of spots and pattern on the coat also differ. Its pattern might be the mixture of Harlequin and Mantle. Hence, each Merle Great Dane is unique and different from others of its kind in markings and coloring.

Merle Great Dane Puppy On A White Background
Erik Lam /

Merle Great Dane Puppies

Merle Great Danes are born in harlequin families. Higher probability of health problems discourages their willful breeding. If both parents have Merle genes, the puppies are likely to have health problems related to ears and eyes. The puppies might be deaf, blind, or genetically faulty.

Show Quality vs Pet Great Danes

Different Great Dane Colors
Erik Lam /

Nevertheless it is totally up to you which coat color Great Dane you would choose to adopt. But make sure to keep your choice closer to the Great Dane breed standards recognized colors. Besides, holding an edge over other colors in being a show dog this will ensure a healthy Great Dane as well.

Certainly, it is not easy to find a Great Dane puppy having exactly same color coat as those mentioned earlier. The Great Dane puppy might have some mismarks on its body which is not unusual. Commonly, the Great Danes with markings and colors upholding the breed standard are sold as ‘Show Quality Great Danes’. Whilst, the mismarked Great Danes are sold as ‘Pet Quality Great Danes’.

The best option is to adopt a Great Dane puppy possessing a color from aforementioned list. Based on experience and suggestions from experts, it is better to select a Great Dane puppy having the same coat color as recognized by breed standard. Or you could simply choose a Great Dane as close as possible to the breed standard.

Unofficial Great Dane colors

The aforementioned coat colors of the Great Danes are standard. However, there is also occurrence of many other unacceptable coat colors and patterns of the Great Danes. Which are;

1. Fawnequin Great Danes

A Fawnequin Great Dane is a fawn colored Harlequin. The base coat color is white which has torn patches of white. The patterns and colors could vary including Brindle and Merle. if you are looking for a show dog do not go for this coat color. The Fawnequin Great Dane coat is not desirable for that purpose.

2. White coat color

White coat colored Great Danes are the most rare dogs. They are also prone to various defects. Dog shows usually do not favor The Danes of white coat color. The dogs hold two Merle genes which give them white coat color.

A White Great Dane Puppy

White Great Danes are born by breeding Merle-Merle, Harlequin-Harlequin, and Merle-Harlequin. The White Danes are susceptible to eye disorders and deafness.

3. Black and White Coat Color

The Great Danes of black and white coat can be taken as a swap of harlequin coat. The harlequin traits remain hidden due to dominance of the black gene.

The Dane appears to hold black coat with scattered white markings. The dog shows do not approve of a black and White Dane as a show dog.

4. Piebald Great Danes

Piebald Great Danes hold predominantly white coat colors. the dogs appear to wear a ring of black on its rear end, i.e., around its tail area. Additionally eyes and muzzle of Piebald Danes is black as well.

Other Great Dane Colors

Nevertheless, as long as you are fine with your Great Dane puppy breed’s lineage and health you can pick any coat color that attracts you. As the A.K.C. can still enter different coat colors in purebred Great Danes. The American Kennel Club enumerates 17 purebred Great Dane coat colors. Out of which 9 are standard breeds and 8 are registered coat varieties.

The A.K.C. approves three other coat colors of the Great Dane as standard colors besides the 7 coat colors allowed to enter in the G.D.C.A. (mentioned above). These three more colors are;

  • White
  • Black and white

Although, the variety in coat colors of the Great Dane is the result of conventional breeding. Yet some coat colors are caused by accidental cross color breeding. Many responsible breeders aim to improve a breed. If breeders who truly follow moral breeding norms the probability of having puppy of breed standard colors would be high. But this still cannot ensure a healthy Great Dane puppy.

The Great Dane coat colors due to accidental or intentional cross color breeding are;

  • Blue-Brindle Great Dane
  • Mantle-Merle Great Dane
  • Blue-Fawn Great Dane
  • Chocolate-Brindle Great Dane


Firstly, If you are interested in Great Dane color which are not adhering to the breed standards, you need to be cautious. While buying pet quality Great Dane colors look for a reputable breeder and ask for all health tests of the parent Great Danes. This would ensure that you are buying a healthy Great Dane puppy with no additional health problems besides the Great Dane usual ailments.

Secondly, If you covet a Great Dane for dog shows, you can choose from above mentioned official Great Danes breed standard coat colors. Nevertheless, Great Danes are amenable, devoted, gentle, friendly, appeasing, and loving giant dogs irrespective of the coat colors they bear.

In a nut shell, coat colors of the Great Danes are indication of their general well being. And sometimes could be a warning sign. For instance, as mentioned earlier the White Great Danes are genetically blind and deaf. The health issues arise due to recessive gene which is primarily responsible for the coat color. Therefore, a coat color efficaciously gives an an insight to the dog’s fitness. This is the reason behind the Great Dane color standards.

5 thoughts on “All About Great Dane Colors, Patterns, and Markings”

  1. My great dane has fawn as her base coat. Her toes and chest are white and her face is grey with black spots. What is she considered color wise. I don’t know if she is brindle, dirty brindle, or fawnequin. Can you help.

    Thank you,
    Natalie Bellovich

  2. So true about the white Dane. Sad, but true. My neighbor adopted (Or rescued) a white pup.
    This dog, in all her magnificent glory, was indeed born deaf and almost blind.
    She has had one eye removed altogether and is critically near-sighted in her one remaining eye. She is stone deaf. But what a sweetheart!
    Mei-Li is truly a gentle giant and such a pleasure to share company with.
    (LOL she has a “big sister” who is a 12 year old miniature Doberman. Quite the two extremes).

  3. Pingback: Why are all White Great Danes not deaf and blind? - Great Dane k9
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  5. Hello. I have a newly acquired rescued Dane which is more of a lilac color. She is beautiful and is a companion dog. Can you tell me more about this color and what problems if any I may encounter?
    Thank you.


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