The Great Dane is one of the few dog breeds which comes in a large variety in the looks department. DogAppy lists all the recognized and non-recognized coat colors and patterns of the Great Dane breed.
Defect of Color
White Danes are generally born due to breeding between Merles or Harlequins. Two Merle genes curb pigment production by the concerned cells in the body (melanocyte), thus causing deafness and various eye problems in the puppies that receive these genes.
The Great Dane is also known as the ‘gentle giant’. It has an even temperament, friendly nature, and tolerant attitude. It gets along well with kids, grown-ups, and other four-legged animals as well.
This dog has a royal and regal air about it. Its presence is such that it makes everyone sit up and take notice wherever it goes. This charming breed is also quite versatile when it comes to appearances. Unbelievably, the total number of coat colors and patterns that the Great Dane breed can be seen in comes to nine! With such variety, no wonder this breed is a favorite among many dog lovers.
However, you must keep in mind that not all colors are accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Those which are, have specific standards set for them, while the rest do not as of the moment. The following paragraphs list the colors and patterns found in the Great Dane breed, which are and aren’t recognized by the AKC.
Recognized Colors and Patterns
According to the AKC standard, the Black coat must be glossy. White patches on the chest and toes are undesirable. White patches are considered as mismarkings. If you intend to enter a Great Dane into shows, then a black coat with white markings will be treated as a fault. However, a little bit of white is generally allowed; but it is always better to choose a Dane with a completely black coat for competition purposes.
According to the AKC standard, the Fawn coat must be golden-yellow in color, and the mask (muzzle/snout) must be black. The eyebrows and the rims of the eyes should also be black. Similarly, black on the ear tips and tail tip is acceptable. However, white markings on the chest and toes, or any other markings anywhere on the body are undesirable. The proper golden-yellow color is always favored. Again, if you wish to enter your Dane into shows, then be careful while selecting a puppy so that the coat color is AKC accepted.
According to the AKC standard, the Blue coat must be pure steel-blue in color. White markings on the chest and toes are undesirable. Although white markings are allowed, completely blue-colored coats are favored.
According to the AKC standard, the Harlequin coat must be white with ‘torn’ black patches over the body. The patches must be evenly-spread throughout. A white neck is always preferred. The patches must not be too big or too small. Gray patches are acceptable, but undesirable.
According to the AKC standard, the Brindle coat color must be golden-yellow with black markings across the body in a chevron pattern. The mask (muzzle/snout) must be black. The eyebrows and rims of the eyes may also be black, as may be the ear tips and tail tip. Black or white markings on the chest and toes are undesirable. A proper golden-yellow color is preferred. Evenly spread out striping is preferred over dense or sparse striping.
According to the AKC standard, for the Mantle coat, the entire body must be black in color, with a white muzzle, and a white neck and chest. A part of all the four legs must be white, as must be the tip of the tail. The white may also extend to a thin line between the eyes. A small white patch on the black area or a small black patch on the white area are acceptable.
Non-recognized Colors and Patterns
The Merle coat is similar to the Harlequin coat. It is spotted, with the only difference being in the basic coat color. Here, the coat is gray instead of white, and with black spots. The shade of the gray color varies, as do the number of spots. The pattern of the coat can also be variable, with mixtures of Harlequin or the Mantle.
As the name suggests, the Fawnequin is a fawn-colored Harlequin. The basic coat color is white, with torn fawn patches covering it. There can be variations in the color and spots. Patterns may also include Brindle and Merle.
This is the rarest of the Great Dane colors, and the most susceptible to genetic defects. White Danes are common in Merle to Merle mating, and are almost completely white; a few markings are possible.
Now that you know how Great Dane dogs can look, and which colors are accepted in shows, you can decide which color or pattern you would like your dog to have. If you wish to compete in shows, then Merle, White, or Fawnequin coats will be out of the running. However, if you just want a big dog as a family member, then no color should matter right? After all, isn’t love blind?