Danes come in seven acceptable colours: Fawn, Brindle, Black, Blue, Boston (Mantle), Merle. and Harlequin.

Fawn: a golden yellow with a black mask on the face
Brindle: golden base coat with defined black striped laid over as chevrons (almost tiger-striped appearance)
Black: Solid black coloured dog
Blue: a steel grey solid colour
Boston/Mantle: this pattern is best described as marked like a penguin, must have a white tail tip or is not considered a true Boston
Harlequin: a white dane with torn black patches distributed over the body.
Merle/Merle Mantle:
a. Merle – A pale gray to dark gray merle base colour with black torn patches within.
b. Mantle Merle – A white base with a solid merle blanket extending over the body (marked the same as the Mantle with the exception that the mantle is merle with black torn patches as opposed to a solid black).

These colours are acceptable to show in conformation for a Canadian championship. A mismarked dane can be born in a litter and they are registrable as they are purebred, from registered parents but a mismark is a colour not acceptable for competition in conformation (ie. merle, harlequins with too much black, blacks with large white spots on their body, brindles with little or no fawn base colour, etc.). Aside from the colour, mismarked colored Danes still can preform in functions sanctioned by the Canadian Kennel Club, just not in conformation (dog shows). They are as equally wonderful a pet as a conformation-marked dane.

Caveat: Don’t be fooled – there are no ‘rare’ coloured Great Danes. Don’t walk, run from any breeder claiming to have a ‘rare’ coloured Dane.

For more details please go to the breed standard Note: as of July  2019 the following additions/deletions were made to the Colour and Fault sections of the existing Breed Standard as follows:

Section 1.  General Conformation

  1. Colour and Markings

vii) Merle Danes:

The base colour shall be pure grey ranging from silver mouse grey to pewter (slightly brownish due to its nature as a dilution gene). Black torn patches shall be irregular and well distributed over the body. The black torn patches shall not be so large to give the appearance of a blanket nor small enough to give a dappled effect. Dark eyes and dark nose leather preferred.

Faults: White socks, partial small facial blaze.

viii) Mantled Merle Danes:

A grey ranging from silver mouse grey to pewter and white dog with a grey mantle extending over the body; black torn patches irregularly shaped and well distributed over grey mantle; white blaze or muzzle or both; white chest; white on part or whole of forelegs and hind legs; part or whole white collar; white tipped tail; dark eyes; dark nose. Acceptable but less desirable – lack of collar, break in blanket.

Faults: Any variation detracting from the general appearance. Any deviation from the colour described above.

Section 6.  Faults of the Great Dane


  • Danes under minimum height
  • Any colour other than those described under “Colour”
  • Docked tails
  • Split noses