7 Official Great Dane Colors, Patterns, and Markings

If you love Great Danes, you probably know there are seven officially recognized colors for these dogs. If you are just thinking about adopting one but don’t know about these colors and what they tell about each dog, you should inform yourself of the differences. Luckily for you, that is what we will discuss in the following topics!

What Are The 7 Official Great Dane Colors?

When adopting a Great Dane, it is important to know that there are seven official colors. Each color tells something about the genetics of these dogs and potential differences in their health, behavior, personality, etc.

The 7 official Great Dane colors are as follows: fawn, brindle, blue, black, harlequin, mantle, and merle.

What Are The Differences Between Each Official Great Dane Color?

Choosing a color for your Great Dane might be one of the most important choices you’ll make!

While Great Danes come in a range of hues and patterns, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognizes just seven breed colors.

If you want to participate with your Dane in dog shows, keep in mind that contestants are restricted to the officially approved breed colors.

However, if dog shows are not a priority for you, color should not be the major consideration when selecting a new Great Dane for your family, but learning about them might show some interesting facts about these beautiful dogs.


Fawn is one of the most popular colors that come to mind when picturing a Great Dane. Perhaps this is because Scooby-Doo, one of the most popular Great Danes, has this vivid fawn color.

The American Kennel Club recommends that a Great Dane’s fawn color be yellow gold, ideally a darker yellow gold.

One of the characteristics of the officially recognized fawn Great Dane is that its eye rims and brows should have black patterns and markings. The black stripes may also develop on the ears and tail tip.

Additionally, the AKC has stated specifically that white chest and toe marks are not acceptable and do not qualify as a formal entry into a competition.

The coat’s rich golden gold color should also be “clean,” with no trace of black or white.


Brindle Great Danes have a golden yellow coat with prominent black tiger-like stripes. According to the AKC standards, Brindle Great Danes may have a black chevron pattern and a conspicuous black mask.

The black marks should almost likely emerge on the eye rims and brows, as well as on the ears and tail tip.

The darker the base color and the more clearly and uniformly brindled the stripes, the more desirable the hue as an officially recognized kind will be.

Additionally, the organization says that excessive or insufficient brindling, as well as white spots on the chest and toes, are not preferred.


Official Great Dane Colors

The coat of a Blue Great Dane is a stunning steel blue. The coat should be a solid color without any white spots on the chest or toes in order to be regarded as an authentic color.

Dogs with blue coats may range in color from a dark steel blue to lighter hues of gray, including slate and charcoal.

For show dogs, steel blue is the most sought-after color and is recognized by the AKC and other certifying bodies. Dark brown, amber or even blue eyes may be seen in Great Danes that are blue in color.

However, when it comes to blue-eyed Great Danes, be on the lookout. Blue merle Great Danes are known for their light blue eyes, which might be a consequence of a merle gene in the breeding.

In order to create a “pure blue” Great Dane, both parents must have the recessive blue gene.


To be considered a show dog, a black Great Dane must have a glossy black coat. There should be no white or any other color marks on the coat of this breed of Great Dane. In order to create a pure Black Great Dane, two Black Great Danes must be bred. 

The AKC does not accept variances as marks on a pure black Great Dane; nonetheless, black Great Danes are known to have certain color variations or patches on their coat.


The basic coat of harlequin Great Danes is plain white with tattered black areas. Although the patches may be dispersed across the body, no patch should be so enormous that it seems to be a blanket.

These dogs often have a completely or partially white neck, and in primarily white places, one may see black pigments on the skin.

Additionally, harlequin Great Danes may have tufts of black hair poking through the white base coat, giving the breed a salt and pepper or “dirty” appearance.

While such Great Danes will be qualified to compete in AKC-sanctioned events, they will lack a desired morphological characteristic.


The body of a Mantle Great Dane is covered with a black blanket with white patches on the chest, snout, and hind legs.

As an alternative, the tip of the tail in Mantle Great Danes may also be white. In locations where the skin is mostly white, the black pigment may also be seen. They resemble a Boston Terrier in appearance.

In fact, until the 1990s, they were not recognized as a distinct breed but rather as a subset of the Boston Terrier.

Mantle Great Danes may only be shown if their coats are completely black and white, with no additional colors such as fawn, brown, merle, and so forth.


There is a heavy black blotch on the coat of Merle Great Danes, which is light to dark grey in hue. The AKC and other organizations allow for a few distinct merle Great Dane varieties.

A merle with mantle pattern is a solid merle coat with a white muzzle, blaze, and all or part of a white neck and chest, or it may be a complete merle with white patterns on the chest and toes.

White spots on the dog’s legs and tail tip are also possible. A merlequin Great Dane, often known as a white Great Dane with patches of merle, is not approved.

Are There Unofficial Great Dane Colors?

Many unofficial Great Dane coat colors exist in addition to the seven officially recognized hues. Dogs with these colorations may be wonderful additions to any household. Because they don’t meet the official breed standard, they can’t participate in dog shows. That is all.

Black with white spots

Any black Great Dane with white markings is a black and white Great Dane. In this case, there is no harlequin design since it is a completely black coat.

It differs from a mantle in that the legs are not white all the way up to the body’s midsection.

The white markings on its paws and chest are the most prevalent. It’s not uncommon for dogs to have white patches on their skin.

Puppies with black coats and white markings on their paws and chests are known as black and white. It’s not only a mantle for the dog’s back and chest.

Due to the requirement that the black coat is a solid color, this shade does not meet the breed standard. There should be no white lines or patterns on it.


The fawnequin is a fawn-colored harlequin, a result of the mating of a harlequin and a fawn. Their harlequin pattern and fawn coloration are inherited from their mother and father. Because this coloration only happens in this type of situation, it is very rare to find a fawnequin great dane.

The dots on their white coats will be fawn instead of black, like a harlequin. It will have big areas of golden yellow spots on a white coat, resembling harlequin spots.

The fur of a fawnequin puppy is white with caramel-brown spots. They’re simple to detect because of their golden-brown markings.


The piebald Great Dane breed is characterized by a white coat with tiny areas of color.

The white coat will cover the majority of the dog’s body and will have minor patches of any coat color. The most often seen color patches are on the head.

The piebald resembles a harlequin, but with somewhat fewer spots of color. Harlequins, like Piebalds, have patches of black, while Harlequins may be any color. Additionally, a piebald will have fewer spots.


Gray Great Danes are remarkably similar to blue Great Danes in that they both have a dilute black coat.

The gray Great Dane’s coat is simply more diluted, giving it the appearance of silver, gray, or gray-white. None of these colors are recognized or legitimate.

Blue and silver pups are notoriously difficult to tell apart and must be compared to one another to determine the difference. Gray pups will be paler and less blue in hue.

These hounds may have white markings but will lack spots and merle patterns.

Official Great Dane Colors FAQ

Are There White Great Danes?

White Danes exist too, but many white Danes face hereditary disorders such as deafness, blindness, and other eye-related difficulties.

While these handicaps may not affect every single white Dane, you should thoroughly think about this before adopting one. You must be able to care for the dog in case he shows signs of hereditary disorders.

This is not to imply that these Danes cannot still enjoy a happy life, but that they could need particular care or training compared to an unaffected Dane.

The Great Dane Club of America has gone as far as to ban the breeding of this color to assist avoid the production of Dane pups prone to these handicaps.

Aside from the previously noted frequent genetic abnormalities observed in white Danes, color is not a leading sign of quality.

While you may have a particular preference for the beauty of one color over another, the overall quality, health, and temperament of the dog is much more essential to consider than its color alone.

If you are adopting a Great Dane from a rescue shelter or other similar circumstance, then it is doubtful you will have much option when it comes to color.

This is once again not normally a reason for worry apart from the previously noted genetic concerns prevalent to white Danes.

Does The Color Of A Great Dane Truly Matter?

If all you want is a dog to be your friend and to make your house a bit more vivid, pleasing your son and daughter, or to just make your company, then the color of his fur really doesn’t matter.

Great Dane’s “official colors” only serve the purpose of standardizing what types of dogs can compete according to the American Kennel Club.

However, not everyone cares about that, and if you don’t, then there is no problem in adopting a dog that doesn’t fit the seven official colors!

Only remember that white Great Danes have some genetic issues, so if you adopt one, make sure he doesn’t breed so he can’t pass the hereditary disorders ahead.

Great Dane Patterns Markings

Final Words About 7 Official Great Dane Colors

Great Danes are loving dogs that will grow with your family for a long time and become just as important as any other member such as a son.

However, some people like to train dogs to participate in contests, and in such a case the AKC only recognizes seven colors. Knowing them is entirely necessary if you want to compete with your hound! 

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