Black Great Dane

This is a complete guide on black Great Danes.

I am going to be breaking down everything that you need to know about the Great Dane color and also show you how it is achieved.

Here are some topics we are going to cover:

So without much being said, let’s get started.

What Is A Black Great Dane?

Black Great Danes are those with a glossy black coat color. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) standards, white markings at the chest and toes are not acceptable. The coat of the Great Dane should be a pure glossy black color.

what is a black great dane

These standards make a pure black dog much more desirable but it is very common for many black Great Danes to be born with mild to moderate white fur on the body, with the chest and toes being the most common parts for the white fur.

Any variance in color or markings described above shall be faulted to the extent of the deviation and any Great Dane that does not fall within these color specifications must be disqualifies.

The AKC standards are really strict on approving and recognizing dog coat colors but your can still register Great Danes of any color variation with the club.

Standard Vs Non-Standard Black Great Danes

Standard black Great Danes are typically those with a pure glossy black coat color. White markings on the coat are not desirable but the dog can still be considered to be a standard black if it has mild to moderate white fur that does not form a blanket on the coat.

When it comes to non-standard black Great Danes, the white markings typically form a blanket on the chest and extend to the neck. It is also common to find white markings on the face of the dog. Another non-standard black Great Dane is one with a pure brownish black coat that is totally different from the desired glossy black.

non-standard black great dane

However, the non-standard black coat color should not be confused with mantle Great Danes whose coat color should be black and white with a solid black blanket extending over the body.

Are Black Great Danes Rare?

Black Great Danes are not rare since there are a lot of breeding options to produce the coat color. In the next sections I am going to be breaking down the many different ways of producing black Great Danes and how that makes this coat color easier for many breeders to produce.

Black Great Dane Genetics

A recent report on dog genetics revealed that coat variation in the domestic dog is known to be governed by variants in three genes. These are the genes that influence coat color, growth, pattern, length and curl.

According to VCA Hospitals, Despite the huge variety in coat color, there are only two basic pigments that determine the color of canines: eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red). All different variations in color are created by these two pigments, which are both forms of melanin.

When it comes to the genetics of black Great Danes the best explanation can be the presence of melanocytes which are melanin-producing neural crest-derived cells located in the bottom layer of the skin’s epidermis, the middle layer of the eye (the uvea), the inner ear, vaginal epithelium, meninges, bones, and heart.

These melanocytes might be the main reason for the glossy black coat color in Great Danes. However, another study on the inheritance of coat color in dogs revealed that the brown and black pigment result from different stages in the activity of an oxidative enzyme.

The inheritance of the black color in Great Danes is still blurry but what is fundamentally known is that a dog will have a black coat either of the parents carry a dominant or recessive black gene.

Breeding Black Great Danes

Black Great Danes can be typically produced from black out of black breeding, black out of blue breeding and black out of harlequin breeding. The most recommended breeding practice is to produce a black Dane through black to black mating but any of the three will breed true.

When it comes to black out of harlequin breeding, Studies on the inheritance of the harlequin color in Great Dane dogs have revealed that:

Harlequin by harlequin matings produced 60 black, 77 harlequin, 42 merle, and 35 homozygous merle pups. Harlequin by black matings produced 44 black, 26 harlequin, 25 merle, and one white (homozygous merle?) pups. All harlequins produced some merles. These data best fit the hypothesis that harlequin is a modification of merle (Mm) caused by an autosomal dominant mutation that is lethal to homozygotes, and to about half of heterozygotes when combined with the MM genotype. The symbol H is proposed for this mutation.

So you are very much guaranteed to produce a black Great Dane through harlequin by black matings.

Black-bred blacks can be bred to any of the subgroup: black, to blue and to harlequin. However, blacks carrying for blue should not be bred to the harlequin color family and similarly, blacks carrying for harlequin should not be bred to blue.

Black Great Dane Health Issues

Black Great Danes don’t seem to have unique health issues based on their coat color. Much of their health problems are the typical ones largely faced by Great Danes and other dogs.

Here are some common health problems experienced by black Great Danes:

  • Bloat– This is a very dangerous health condition that results in the twisting of the stomach. After the stomach twisting, blood supply is cut off so it is important to visit the veterinarian as soon as early signs start to show.
  • Cardiomyopathy– This is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body.
  • Joint & Bone Disease– Many Great Danes experience joint and bone diseases such as hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis. Joint supplements like glucasomine can help to protect your dog from these diseases.
  • Thyroid Problems– These are also common for large dog breeds. The most common one is Autoimmune thyroiditis commonly causes hypothyroidism in Great Danes.

It is important to always take your black Great Dane for regular veterinarian checkups so that you can diagnose any life threatening health problem before it becomes worse.

Black Great Dane Temperament

Studies have revealed that there is little to no association between coat color and dog temperament. Your black Great Dane will most likely have the temperament of any other Dane rather than deviate from the standard due to the coat color.

Here is the common personality and temperament of Great Dane dogs:

  1. Devoted.
  2. Reserved.
  3. Loving.
  4. Friendly.
  5. Confident.
  6. Gentle.

However, it is important to remember that personality will vary from one individual dog to another. The qualities mentioned above are typical for Great Danes but your individual Dane might deviate from such standards due to the environment and how you contribute to their overall behavior.

How Long Do Black Great Danes Live?

Great Danes normally live to an age of around 8 to 10 years and many black Danes have been known to reach have a lifespan within this range. Coat color might be a major contributor to life threatening health problems but this is not the case for many black Great Danes.

There is no clear relationship between the black coat color and diseases in Great Danes so you should generally expect yours to live longer just like many other dogs across the breed provided that you are taking good care of the dog. Factors like diet, environment and access to medication can greatly influence the lifespan of your Great Dane.

How Much Do Black Great Danes Cost?

Coat color is one of the major contributors to the average price of a Great Dane puppy. Some coat colors are very expensive as a result of their genetic complexity and how difficult it might be to produce a dog of that color.

The average price of a black Great Dane puppy is between $600 to $3,000 depending on the reputation of the breeder, location, pedigree and many other factors.

Here is a quick summary of some factors that can affect the price of a black Great Dane puppy:

  • Location- This is one of the major factors that influence the price of a dog. If the breed is exotic to the area is will be more expensive that indigenous breeds.
  • Breeder- The reputation of the breeder will also influence the price of your Great Dane. A dog bought from an expert and reputable breeder will cost more than others.
  • Pedigree- Pure bred dogs are generally more expensive and ancestral history of the dog will also influence the price. The rule of thumb is to get a Great Dane with an ancestral history that is free from disease and bad temperament.
  • Standard- The standard of your harlequin Great Dane will also influence the cost. A black Great Dane that meets all the specifications stated by the American Kennel Club will be more expensive that any with some degree of deviation.

Black Great Dane Care

As mentioned earlier, taking good care of your black Great Dane can greatly contribute to a longer lifespan. This section is going to cover some of the basics of taking good care of a Great Dane.


Diet can greatly influence the overall health of your dog. It is important for pooch owners to provide a nutritionally balanced diet for their dogs in order to keep them fit and healthy. A typical Great Dane diet should generally have more proteins, moderate fats and low calories so dog owners can use this as a guideline to determine the type and amount of food to give their Great Danes.

One of the best dog food for Great Danes is the Wellness Large Breed Dry Dog Food that is specially formulated to provide whole-body nutritional support for your large breed dog.


Grooming is also another essential part of good Great Dane care. Here are some quick grooming tips for your black Great Dane:

  • Bathe your Great Dane with dog shampoo at least 5 times a year. Frequent bathing can deprive your Dane’s coat with the necessary natural oils.
  • Always dry your dog after every bath.
  • Dry shampoo your Great Dane in-between bath routines. This is very important for dogs that go outdoors and easily get dirty.
  • Regularly brush your Great Dane with a short hair brush to remove loose hair, dirt and parasites.
  • The ears should be kept clean and any excess hair inside the ear should be carefully removed.
  • The nails of your Great Dane should also be regularly trimmed. A good rule of thumb is that if you can hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor when they are walking you should cut the nails.

Should You Get A Black Great Dane?

A recent study on the coat color of shelter dogs and its role in dog adoption revealed that:

Coat color influenced the likelihood of a dog being reclaimed from a shelter as well as the length of stay (LOS) of abandoned dogs at the shelter. Black dogs had the greatest LOS (median 32 days). 

This can be tangible evidence that black dogs are generally prejudiced against with regards to issues of adoption. The truth of the matter is that black dogs are equally good as dogs of any other color.

There is little to no evidence to suggest a relationship between coat color and temperament. Black dogs can still have a great personality and behave very well provided that they are raised in an environment that nurtures their good qualities.

Issues of dog behavior has more to do with how the individual dog is raised instead of their coat color. The same is true of health problems. Black dogs generally don’t have much health problems as a result of their coat color.

If you are thinking of getting a black Great Dane there is no real scientific evidence why you should not do so. Black Great Danes are good dogs just like other Danes of any color so they definitely deserve a home.

Black Great Danes are a good option for prospective dog owners. The breed is very friendly and also good with kids so they can be a good addition to your family.

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This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.