July 22, 2021

Here's Our Not-so-Definitive Guide to Great Dane Colors & Coats

By George Carson
Here's Our Not-so-Definitive Guide to Great Dane Colors & Coats

People from all over the world send us photos of their Great Danes.

As owners of Fetty — a Brindlequin sporting virtually all the colors you might find in a Great Dane, anywhere — it's fun for us to see the array of coats these beautiful dogs boast.  We've identified ABOUT 20 unique color combinations.  Here's our not-so-definitive guide.  


For us to call a Great Dane black, she must not have another marking on her coat.  Usually we see these coats as very shiny, and we count them among the most beautiful coats a Great Dane can wear.


We've read that Fawn is among the common Great Dane coat colors; however, we don't see as many Fawns as we do other types of Great Danes.  When we do see them, though, we usually notice golden brown fur covering most of their bodies, along with a black mask — black fur around their eyes, snout, and jaw.

These Scooby-Doo-looking Danes are gorgeous, and it makes sense to us why they're so popular.


Like black Great Danes, the Blue Great Danes we've seen mostly have consistent coats — blue all over their bodies; although, their coats seem less shiny than black Danes.  We've been told Blue Great Danes are rare because their coats stem from recessive genes.  One thing's for sure, they're striking animals.


Is this one real?  Silver is one reason we call this a "not-so-definitive" guide.  We get photos of folks drinking Great Dane Coffee Company coffee with their "Blue" Danes, but some of these “blues” look quite silvery to us! 

We'll count on responsible, serious breeders to tell us if we're wrong, but we see Silver Danes as different from blue or black.  So, we're counting these pretty dogs, separately.



When we think of a Mantle Great Dane, we think of a big, white dog wearing a black cape.  We've seen them white with chocolate-colored capes, too.  And we're pretty sure we've seen a Blue Mantle, but only once.

The white color is always on the dog’s chest, belly, and sometimes its front legs.  And sometimes we see white patches on a Mantle's face.  And the black or chocolate or blue colors are usually on the back or "top" surfaces of the dog.


Speaking of Chocolate Danes, we're not sure whether that’s a breed standard or not, but we've seen some very beautiful, deep brown or reddish-brown Danes.  We've also seen coats with chocolate and white that don't seem quite "Mantle" to us.  This is why our list isn't numbered.  We can’t get a handle on how many different coats there really are!

Again, we are observers in awe, and we're not trying to define or pigeonhole the breed.  We love Great Danes in every color or coat.  And Chocolate Danes are fun, usually shining, wondrous and attractive dogs.


"Is that a Dalmatian," asked no informed Great Dane aficionado, ever.

But if someone did, he or she may have been looking at a Great Dane with a variety of black spots and a beautiful white coat — a Harlequin Dane.

We think of these as the quintessential Great Dane coats; however, we know others will disagree on what’s quintessential.  Harlequin Danes sure are distinctive, though.  It's hard to miss one of these beautiful variations of the Great Dane breed.


To us they look like Grey Harlequins — black patches or spots over a salt-and-pepper coat.  Gotta be honest... we kinda want one, but we don't think Fetty's ready for a new brother or sister, just yet.


Brindle Great Danes look like majestic tigers to us.  Most of those we've seen or met have fawn-colored coats with dark stripes that are deep brown or black — all over their bodies.

Danes get this color from a Brindle gene.  And here's some very good news about Brindle Danes:  the genes that make a Dane "brindle" in color don't seem to be associated with any health or developmental issues.


Ever drive down the highway and see white cows with big black patches? 

Well... you might wanna take a second look and make sure you're not checking out a Piebald Great Dane.  We heard this word a bunch of times before we saw one, so we think they might be rare.


Getting tired yet?  There are so many Great Dane coat variations, but we never get tired of photos of our customers' Merlequin Great Danes.  Their main color is white, but they get distinctive — often large — patches of Merle.  They look a lot like Harlequin Danes, but their patches have more of a grey appearance, overall.


Imagine a Harlequin Great Dane with fawn-colored patches instead of black ones, and you'll get a perfect idea of what Fawnequin looks like.  These are among the rarest of Great Danes we've seen.  We've also heard them described as "non-conforming" by AKC sticklers, but we ignore those folks.  If they won't let you show your Fawnequin, you can show him to us.


We already spilled the beans on this one.  We're partial to Brindlequin Danes because our own boy, Fetty, is a Brindlequin.  This is a photo of him.  And until we wrote this article, we've never seen his coat described in any article about Great Dane variations.  So... this is just to say.. Brindlequins are a thing.  And we love them!


The way we see it, white Great Danes are different from Albino Great Danes, but people often confuse them.  

Albinism is a rare condition in all animals, including dogs. People frequently associate Double Merles (White Danes) with being albino — when in reality being a Double Merle and suffering from albinism are two, completely different conditions.

Now... about Double Merles... White Great Danes are produced when two dogs carrying the Merle gene are bred together, resulting in a dog that has two copies of the Merle gene (that's why it's called Double Merle).

In case there's anyone thinking, "Golly, people will love white Danes.  I wanna breed for that," PLEASE, STOP.  DON'T DO THAT.

Most folks understand, but everyone should know, breeding Merle to Merle is a very bad idea.  Many Merle-to-Merle Danes have serious health problems.  Some get lucky, but it's just not worth the risk.  Blindness and deafness are common, among a host of other, potential health issues.

Having said that, White Great Danes ARE adorable and adoptable — whether they're Double Merles OR Albinos.  All Danes are beautiful, and those with special needs can be wonderful additions to the right families.

Not all White Danes have special needs.  We're just sayin', "Why breed for a gene associated with illness?  That's just crazy?  So don’t." 

Some folks say, "Don't breed at all.  Rescue." But that's a topic we'll leave for others to argue about.  We're not gonna talk about ears — floppy vs. croppy — either. :)

So, what do you think?  Did we get 'em all?  Or is there a color or a coat we missed?  If so, post us a picture and let us know at facebook.com/GreatDaneCoffeeCompany. 

We'd love to hear from you.

If you want to try our coffee, use discount code "COLORS" at checkout for 10% off your purchase!  Shop now

(Oh, and yes, we know that last pup is not a Dane, but we couldn’t find a royalty-free pic of a white one. So, there ya go.)

Editor’s note:  our apologies for leaving out Tan Points… one of our best friends has one, and she’s ready to clobber us!

But, hey, we said it was a “not-so-definitive” list. ;)