The Coat Types of Great Danes

Merle is not one of the AKC-sanctioned colors and is the result of a recessive gene.

Merle is not one of the AKC-sanctioned colors and is the result of a recessive gene.

The Great Dane is one of the most impressive breeds because of its size. Great Danes are gentle giants and are great for families with older children. Their coats have short and smooth fur that's easy to groom. They come in six officially recognized colors.

Coat Texture

According to the AKC description of the breed, "The coat shall be short, thick and clean with a smooth glossy appearance." As far as shedding is concerned, the Great Dane is average. Routine grooming with a soft brush is recommended to cut down on the need for frequent bathing of this enormous dog.

A Word about Coat Color

Great Dane color is most important if the dog is to be shown, in which case strict adherence to the color description on the AKC website is necessary. If the dog is for companionship only, you can select any color you like. Be aware, however, that unusual coat colors can indicate an increased risk of future medical problems, so if you're looking to adopt a Great Dane it's wise to stay as close to the six recognized colors as possible. Beware of unscrupulous breeders who charge extra for what they market as "rare" Great Danes because they have unusual colors. These are simply non-AKC-recognized colors, the result of recessive genes.

Solid Colors

The solid colors accepted by the AKC are fawn, blue and black. Of these, only fawn is allowed to have one other color, black, which appears as a mask and on the tips of the ears and tail. Blue is a solid smoke-gray and black is pure, glossy and solid. White patches, though commonly found on Great Danes, are considered undesirable for show dogs.

Color Combinations

The other three accepted colors are brindle, harlequin and mantle. Brindle appears as a yellow background with black stripes in a "chevron" pattern. Such a dog may have a black mask, eye rims and brows and some black on the tips of her tail and ears. A sharp contrast between the yellow and black is considered more desirable, as is an evenly distributed brindling. Harlequin is an impressive color and once you see it you will always remember it. It's pure white with large black patches. The black patches must be evenly distributed but irregularly shaped. Mantle is described by the AKC as black and white with "a solid black blanket extending over the body." The head should be black with a white muzzle, and a white ring around the neck is preferred.

 

About the Author

Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.

Photo Credits

  • Surprised merle great dane puppy staring at the camera image by velora from Fotolia.com