Great Dane Colors With Pictures

great danes colors

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Great Danes are magnificent dogs that can have a variety of different coat colors and patterns. There are 7 coat colors that are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), plus several other colors and patterns that are not officially accepted but that are still equally stunning.

So, what colors do Great Danes come in? The seven AKC-recognized coat colors are brindle, fawn, black, blue, harlequin, mantle, and merle. Other possible Great Dane colors include merlequin, fawnequin, brindlequin, white, silver, chocolate, piebald, and any other combination of all of the above colors! 

In this article, we’ll look at a Great Dane color chart that includes the AKC descriptions of the 7 official colors as well as informal descriptions of other possible colors, plus a more in-depth breakdown of each color (with pictures). Finally, we’ll answer a few FAQs about Great Dane coat colors.

Let’s get started!

Great Dane Color Chart

Color NameColorMarkings or PatternsAKC Accepted?
BrindleThe base color shall be yellow gold and always be brindled with black cross stripes.*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. White markings on the chest or toes; black fronted; dirty colored Brindles; are not desirable.*Yes
FawnThe color shall be yellow gold.*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.*Yes
BlackThe color shall be a glossy black.*White markings on the chest or toes are not desirable.*Yes
BlueThe color shall be a pure steel blue.* White markings on the chest or toes are not desirable.*Yes
HarlequinBase color shall be white with black torn patches.*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.*Yes
MantleBlack and white with a black blanket extending over the body.*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.*Yes
MerleA pale gray to dark gray merle base color with black torn patches within.*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.*Yes
MerlequinWhite, with only patches of merleInstead of having black or a combo of black and merle patches, the dog has only patches of merle on a white base.No
FawnequinWhite, with patches of fawnPatches of solid fawn color on a white base.No
BrindlequinWhite, with patches of brindlePatches of gold/black brindle on a white base.No
WhitePure whiteWhite Danes might have small spots of color here and there, particularly on their noses. Or, they might be completely white.No
SilverLight grayDanes that are too light to be called blue are often described as silver.No
ChocolateAny shade of brown that’s darker than fawnChocolate Great Danes might have small patches of other colors.No
PiebaldWhite, with irregular patches of another colorPiebald Danes are predominantly white, but have a few large and irregular patches of another color. Patches are commonly in the eye/ear area but can be in other places as well.No

*Denotes descriptions pulled directly from the AKC’s Official Standard of the Great Dane

7 AKC-Recognized Great Dane Colors

Now that we’ve covered the official definitions of the various Great Dane coat colors, let’s look at each in more depth and check out some example photos.

Brindle Great Danes

Brindle Great Danes have a tan or yellow base color with black stripes, almost like a Great Dane version of tiger stripes. Brindle Danes typically have all-black faces as well. According to AKC guidelines, too much or too little brindling is undesirable, and the stripes should be clearly defined rather than a ‘dirty’ or muddled look where the stripes and base color are close together. They can have white markings on their chests, tails, or feet, but these too are considered to be a flaw by the AKC. 

The Great Dane in the picture above does have a tiny bit of white on his chest and perhaps the brindle pattern on his hind legs is a little sparse for the folks at the AKC, but he is absolutely majestic nonetheless.

And, of course, if you don’t plan to show your Great Dane at an official dog show, none of these nit-picky points matter!

Fawn Colored Great Danes

 

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Fawn Great Danes are a beautiful tan color (‘yellow gold,’ if you want to get technical). Fawn colored Danes typically have black around their eyes and snout area, and sometimes on their ears as well like this fella pictured above. Again, the AKC has specific guidelines regarding the desired absence of any other markings.

Fawn is perhaps the most common color for Great Danes – such a classic coloration.

Black Great Danes

 

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A black coat is pretty self-explanatory! Of course, the AKC will want every single hair on a Dane’s body to be pure black, but just look at this pup’s little white toe – what could be cuter?! Also, this could just be my opinion, but black Great Danes have a particularly regal and sleek look to them.

Pure black Great Danes are somewhat rare, as the all-black gene is recessive. This means that two black Danes (or at least two carriers of the gene) have to be bred together to produce black Dane puppies.

Blue Great Danes

Although the AKC wants to say that this color is blue, it is actually, if we’re being honest with ourselves, dark gray. This coat color is also fairly rare, since it’s caused by a variation of the recessive all-black gene. 

Harlequin (Black and White) Great Danes

Harlequin Great Danes are sometimes mistaken for Dalmatians, due to their black and white coats. However, where Dalmatians have small round spots, harlequin Danes have ‘torn patches’ of black in addition to spots. As you can see above, this stunner has some spots of various sizes as well as larger, more irregularly shaped patches of black.

There are several different types of spotted/patched/multicolored Danes, but a true harlequin pattern is perhaps the most striking.

Mantle Great Danes

The mantle pattern is defined by the AKC as a black ‘blanket’ on a white Dane, although this color pattern can also occur (unofficially) as blue/white or chocolate/white combos. However, the base coat is always white. The blanket is one large continuous patch that covers the back, tail, and possibly the top of a Dane’s head, while her feet, lower legs, belly, and chest are white.

Merle Great Danes

https://www.instagram.com/p/CZCkeqoJixH/ 

A merle Great Dane is any shade of gray, with black ‘torn patches’ over her whole body, like this beautiful pupperina pictured above. Some white is permissible according to the AKC, although only in specific patterns and amounts. If the Dane is white with patches of merle rather than merle with patches of white, she would then be considered to be a merlequin Dane, which is an unofficial color option.

Other Potential Great Dane Colors

Now that we’ve covered the 7 officially accepted Great Dane coat colors, let’s look at some other equally beautiful but non-showable colors.

Merlequin

After reading the merle description, you might be wondering how to tell if a Dane is white with some merle or merle with some white. Hopefully the difference between these two pictures will be illuminating – this merlequin Dane is clearly majority white, with a few patches of merle and some black harlequin-esque spots. Hence: merlequin.

Fawnequin

Fawnequin Danes are quite rare, featuring a harlequin pattern of spots, but with fawn/brown on white rather than black on white. This coloration is strikingly similar to that of a red and white Coonhound, and requires highly selective breeding to achieve in a Great Dane.

Brindlequin

Brindlequin, as you may have guessed by now, is a harlequin coat pattern but with brindle patches on white instead of black on white. This is another extremely striking but fairly rare coat pattern.

White

 

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White Great Danes are very rare, because they are unfortunately prone to ear and eye problems. For this reason, the AKC does not recognize the coat color, in an effort to prevent the intentional breeding of Great Danes who may suffer from these issues. White Danes are often the result of breeding two merle Danes or two harlequin Danes together. Fortunately, not all white Great Danes are deaf and/or blind. 

It’s also important to note that white and albino are not the same thing. While albinism in dogs is rare and requires genetic testing to truly diagnose, it is generally indicated by a complete lack of pigment on a Dane’s body and especially around his eyes and nose. So, a white Dane who has any patches of color on his body and/or pigment around his eyes or nose (as pictured above) is simply white, not albino. An albino Dane would have light blue eyes as well as a pink nose and eyelids.

Silver

Silver Danes are, in essence, light gray – as opposed to dark gray, aka blue. This pretty lady has a light gray coat that has a few specks of black, but not quite enough to call her merle in my opinion. And just look at those beautiful gray eyes!

Chocolate

 

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Chocolate Great Danes are not particularly common. Any brown color that is darker than the official yellow gold fawn color is classified as a chocolate coat, so it can be anything from a bright reddish brown to rich deep brown. Chocolate Danes can be all brown, or they might have white markings on their chests, feet, tails, etc.

Piebald

Piebald is yet another pattern involving splotches of color on white. You could make an argument that this is simply a white Dane with a few black patches, but for the sake of thoroughness, we will give piebalds their own category. They typically have a few large, irregular blotches of color – often around their eyes and ears but they can be in other areas as well.

Any Other Combination of the Above Colors

This is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all potential Great Dane colors. Some breeders may be out there doing crazy things, coming out with purple Danes for all I know. However, we’ve covered the 7 official colors, as well as the most common other potential colors. 

FAQs

What is the rarest Great Dane color?

True albino is the rarest Great Dane color, although white Danes aren’t much more common because of their propensity for health problems. This has led responsible breeders to steer clear of intentionally trying to create white Danes, although some are still of course in existence, whether because of uncontrolled or irresponsible breeding or pure chance.

What is the best Great Dane color?

There is no ‘best’ Great Dane color – it’s solely a matter of personal preference! While the AKC will tell you that there are only 7 legitimate Great Dane colors, we believe that all Danes are beautiful and equally deserving of love!

How many different colors of Great Danes are there?

There are 7 AKC-recognized colors, and 7 unofficial but fairly common colors. However, there are so many different potential patterns and mixtures of colors that it’s difficult to put an exact number on it.

Closing Thoughts

No matter what color or pattern their coats are, Great Danes are still majestic and regal (and sometimes derpy) creatures. Their sheer size makes them eye-catching, and their coats make them simply stunning. Have a Great Dane whose coat doesn’t fall into any of the categories we listed? Let us know in the comments!