Merle Great Dane: Complete Guide

Merle Great Dane
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Great Danes are among the most recognized canine breeds in the world. These dogs are hard to miss, thanks to their huge bodies and portrayal in several popular cartoon shows. But not all Great Danes are created equal. Some of these gentle giants come with a unique coat pattern known as Merle.

A mutation causes the Merle coat pattern. We’ll discuss this genetic variation in more details later, but there’s no doubt that this coat pattern is a thing of beauty. Great Dane with this genetic variations can come in blue Merle, red Merle, and several other color combinations

So, if you’re thinking of adding a Merle Great Dane to your family, here is everything you need to know. 

Table of Contents

Merle Great Dane: Breed overview 

Merle Great Dane
Other NamesMerle Dane, Merle Great Dane dog
AKC RecognitionYes
Height28-32 inches
Weight110-175 pounds
ColorsBlue, harlequin, fawn, orange, chocolate, brindle, silver, gray, platinum, red, brown, tricolor
Child friendlinessHigh
Canine friendlinessModerate
Training difficultyLow
Grooming upkeepLow
Exercise needsLow
Lifespan7-10 years
Puppy cost$700-$4,000

What is a Merle Great Dane?

Merle color Great Dane
Great Dane Merle color

Merle Great Danes are not a separate breed of Great Danes. They are simply Great Danes with a Merle coat. The Merle coat is a mottled pattern of colors. It’s usually blue, with dark and light cloudy patches which gives them a unique look.

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Are Merle Great Danes rare?

So, are Blue Merle Great Danes rare? 

Well, many breeders claim that they are rare to price their pups higher. However, the truth is that Merle Great Danes are pretty standard. In fact, it is a frequently occurring pattern in the Great Dane breed. 

Can Merle Great Dane be AKC-registered? 

Yes, Merle Great Dane can be AKC-registered. According to the AKC, Merle Great Dane pups are eligible for registration.

In 2019, the American Kennel Club (AKC) added the Merle coat color to the list of acceptable colors for the Great Dane breed.

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What is a Blue Merle Great Dane?

Blue Merle male Great Dane
Blue Merle female Great Dane

The Blue Merle Great Dane is a beautiful canine with a blue and silver coat.

The Great Dane Blue Merle usually have a lighter base color with darker patches, creating a marble effect. 

Is a Blue Merle Great Dane rare?

No, the Blue Merle Great Dane is not rare. The Blue Merle Great Danes are less common than the generic colors, like grey, black, and white.

Is Blue Merle a recognized color for AKC Great Danes?

Yes, the Blue Merle Dane is a recognized color variant according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). 

Merle Great Dane genetics

In a Merle Dane, the coat color is caused by a Merle gene. It’s a dominant gene, which means that only one parent needs to carry the gene for it to be passed down to the pup.

Due to the presence of this gene, the coat color can range from very light to very dark mottled

Merle Great Dane physical appearance 

The Merle Great Danes look like any other Great Dane, except for their coat color. They are large canines with an athletic build and long limbs. The Merle Dane’s coat is short and smooth, with a long, muscular tail. 

The eyes of Merle Great Dane may be blue, green, or brown. A Merle Great Dane Blue eyes or a Blue Merle Great Dane Blue eyes is very beautiful for those who have never seen them before. Some may be heterochromatic, meaning they have one blue eye and one brown eye.

Merle Great Dane cropped ears are common among this breed. When the ears are cropped, they stand straight up rather than flopping down. 

Next, let’s get into a bit more detail about their coat color.

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Merle Great Dane colors and variations 

fawn Merle Great Dane puppy
AKC Merle Great Dane

You can find Merle Great Danes in different colors and variations. Some common Great Dane colors Merle are:

Orange Merle Great Dane

The orange Merle colored Great Dane is the least common of all the Merle colors. These pups have an orange base color with Merle markings. They may have visible orange spots on their body along with the Merle patches. 

Merle vs harlequin Great Dane

The main difference between Merle Great Dane and harlequin Great Dane is that Merle Great Dane is born with a mottled coat while harlequin Great Dane is identified by his pure white base color with large, black patches. 

Merle harlequin Great Dane

Harlequin Merle Great Dane, also known as “Merlequin,” is a beautiful mix of harlequin and Merle. Usually, the harlequin and Merle Great Dane puppies have a white base color with Merle patches and spots. 

Can you breed Merle and harlequin Great Danes?

No, Merle and harlequin Great Dane breeding is not recommended. Due to the presence of the double Merle gene, there is a high risk of congenital defects and health problems in the offspring

Blue Merle harlequin Great Dane

The harlequin Blue Merle Great Dane is a beautiful mix of blue Merle and harlequin. These dogs have a blue base color with dark blue patches.

Merle mantle Great Dane

The mantle Merle Great Dane typically has a Merle coat with a white blaze around the muzzle, legs, and chest area. The rest of the body is covered in dark Merle patches

Blue Merle mantle Great Dane

The Blue Merle mantle Great Dane has a blue base color with Merle patches and white fur around the muzzle, chest, and legs.

Fawn Merle mantle Great Dane

The Fawn Merle mantle Great Dane has a predominantly fawn base coat with mantle (white fur around the chest, muzzle, and legs) and Merle markings.

Double Merle Great Dane

Now that you probably have a good idea of what a Merle Great Dane is, you might wonder, “what is a double Merle Great Dane?”

A double Merle Great Dane puppy inherits two copies of the Merle gene, one from each parent. Usually, these pups are at a higher risk for health problems, so breeding two Merle Danes is not recommended.  

Fawn Merle Great Dane

The Merle fawn Great Dane has a tan or brown base color with Merle spots and patches. 

Blue fawn Merle Great Dane

Though not an AKC-recognized color, the Blue fawn Merle Dane is a unique mix of blue Merle and fawn. These dogs have a fawn base coat with blue markings instead of the traditional black

Lilac fawn Merle Great Dane

The Lilac fawn Merle Dane has a fawn base color with lilac Merle spots and patches. 

Chocolate Merle Great Dane

Like the fawn Merle, the chocolate Merle Dane has a tan or brown base coat with chocolate and red patches. 

Lilac Merle Great Dane

The lilac Merle Great Danes have a light purple or lavender base coat with mottled markings. 

Merlequin Blue Merle Great Dane

The Merlequin Blue Merle Dane looks like Harlequin Great Danes. They have an all-white base coat with Merle spots. 

Brindle Merle Great Dane

Usually, the Merle brindle Great Dane has a fawn, brown, or red base color with tiger-like stripes. 

Blue brindle Merle Great Dane

The Blue Merle brindle Great Dane has a gray silver base color with blue and fawn brindle strips. 

Grey Merle Great Dane

The Gray Merle Great Dane has a light gray or silver base coat with Merle splotches. 

Red Merle Great Dane

Usually, the Red Merle Dane has a grey base coat with darker red Merle markings on the body. 

Silver Merle Great Dane

The Great Dane silver Merle has a light gray or silver base coat with black Merle markings.

Black Merle Great Dane

The black and white Merle Great Dane has a black base color with white and Merle markings. 

Great Dane colors Blue Merle

Merle Blue Great Dane puppies are born with a blue base coat that can have black, blue, or grey patches. 

Cryptic Merle Great Dane

The Cryptic Merle Dane or Phantom Merle Dane has very light or no Merle markings

Merle piebald Great Dane

The piebald Merle Great Dane predominantly has a white base coat with small Merle spots.

Merle tan point Great Dane

The tan Merle Great Dane has a fawn or brown base coat with tan points and Merle spots. 

Blue Merle tan point Great Dane

The Blue Merle tan point Dane has a blue base coat with tan points and Merle spots. 

Platinum Merle Great Dane

The Platinum Merle Dane has a white or cream-colored base coat with Merle spots. 

White Merle Great Dane

The White Merle Dane has an all-white base coat with few Merle markings. 

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Merle Great Dane size, height, and weight 

The Merle Great Dane is a giant among dogs. The Merle male Great Dane is taller, heavier, and broader than the Merle Great Dane female.

Below is a size chart of the Merle Great Dane and the Blue Merle Great Dane if you’re ever wondering, “how big does a Blue Merle Great Dane get?”

Merle Great Dane and Blue Merle Great Dane

Size GroupLargeLarge
Height30-32 inches28-30 inches
Weight140-175 pounds110-140 pounds

Full grown Merle Great Dane

Both the full-grown Blue Merle Great Dane and the Merle Great Dane is an enormous canine, and their size varies slightly depending on their gender.

Generally, a Male Blue Merle Great Dane or a Merle Great Dane male will be larger and heavier than a Blue Merle Great Dane female or female Merle Great Dane

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Merle Great Dane Temperament and personality

Merle grey Great Dane
Great Dane grey Merle

The Blue Merle Great Dane temperament is gentle and loving, with a very calm and relaxed personality. Due to their caring nature, the Merle Dane is known as the “Gentle Giant.” 

Though these dogs are gentle and loving, they can also be very protective of their family and home, making them excellent watchdogs.

The Merle Great Dane is also a very intelligent breed and is quick to learn commands and tricks. 

Do Great Dane Merle make great family pets? 

Yes, the Merle Danes do make great family pets. They are affectionate and enjoys being around families with children.

However, we do want to note that they may accidentally knock over a small child because of their large size. Thus, it is crucial to always supervise when your toddlers are around your Merle Great Dane.

Also, the Merle Great Dane gets along well with other dogs and pets in the family. However, due to their size, they can intimidate smaller animals. Therefore, it is essential to introduce them to other pets at a young age. 

Merle Great Dane training

While most pups of this size can be challenging to train, the Merle Great Dane is fortunately a fast learner. They are brilliant canine companions who learn new commands and tricks quickly

However, early socialization and obedience training are still essential to prevent this breed from becoming too protective or aggressive. 

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Merle Great Dane exercise requirement

The Merle Great Dane is not an overly active breed, but they still need exercise to stay healthy and happy. A one to two-hour walk or a light play session each day is sufficient for this breed

Try not to overdo the exercise, as this could put stress on their large bodies and lead to joint problems later in life. 

A great tip we’d like to share, especially if you have a spacious backyard, is to allow your Merle Great Dane to play and roam freely in your backyard during the day. This is another way for your canine friends to get in their daily exercise requirement.

If you do let your four-legged friends roam freely in your backyard, make sure that the yard is fully fenced. A fenced-in backyard will not only keep your K9 friends safe, but also gives you a peace of mind.

However, we are aware that some towns or counties have zoning laws that prohibits physical fences. If you’re in this situation, don’t fret! Many dog owners in this situation will install a wireless dog fence, which also keeps your pups safe and sound.

Most pet owners prefer the invisible dog fence because it is highly flexible and adaptable to different types of terrains, including hilly, mountainous, or flat grassy terrains.

So if you have a beautiful backyard view of the mountains or hills, you can still keep your pups safe without compromising on that gorgeous view.

Many pet owners who allow their canine friends to head outside to their backyard during the day will also install an electronic dog door so their pups can head outside on their own whenever they want.

What’s great about the automatic doggy door is that it is very easy to install and has programmable modes with customizable access.

So whether you work from home or at the office, your K9 companions can now head outside on their own and receive some fresh air, sun, and playtime during the day while staying safe indoors at night.

Merle Great Dane living conditions

The Merle Dane is a giant and needs plenty of space to move around. They are not suited for life in an apartment or small home, as they may bump into things and accidentally knock them over.

And as we mentioned above, it is best to have a large, fenced-in yard for this breed to run and play in. 

Merle Great Dane grooming and cleaning 

Although the Merle Great Dane has a short and single coat, they still shed a lot but not as much as other dog breeds. In fact, Great Danes are known to be moderate to heavy shedders. They shed moderately throughout the year and shed heavily during the spring season.

In this case, it’s best to use two type of doggy brush. For daily brushing, you can use a slicker brush to brush their coat and spread their natural oil all throughout their body.

During the heavy shedding season, we highly recommend that you use a de-shedding brush. The de-shedding tool we use for our two dogs and the one that our professional dog groomers recommend is the Furminator de-shedding tool because it is gentle on the skin.

During this time of the year, if you’re annoyed by the amount of fur on your carpet, sofa, and furniture, don’t fret! Another way to control the amount of dander and fur around your home is to invest in a durable and powerful vacuum cleaner.

We highly recommend the Miele vacuum cleaner because it can seamlessly vacuum between various types of surfaces thanks to its multiple suction power settings.

Additionally, it is quiet and won’t scare your canine friends away.

When it comes to bathing your Merle Great Dane, the good news is that you do not need to bathe him or her every day. Actually, it’s best that you don’t since doing so can strip the natural oil from their skin and coat and lead to dry, irritated, and inflamed skin.

Instead, you’ll want to bathe him about every 6 months. When bathing your pooch, be sure to use a dog shampoo that is organic and mild in order to prevent dryness and skin irritation. Using a shampoo designed specially for dogs is important because it contains a different pH level than the human shampoo.

In between bath sessions, if your pup’s paws are dirty or there’s a bit of dirt on his coat and skin in between bathing, you can use a doggy wipe to clean the debris off of his fur, paws, or ears.

Additionally, play close attention to your pup’s oral hygiene and health. Periodontal disease or dental disease is one of the most common health conditions in dogs. To prevent dental disease, it is best to keep your K9 friend’s oral health in tip top shape.

One of the ways is to make sure you’re brushing your canine friend’s teeth at least 2 to 3 times a week. You’ll want to use a dog toothpaste that contains an enzymatic formula with a non-foaming agent. This way, the enzymatic formula can help break down plaque, control tartar formation, and keep your dog’s gum and teeth healthy.

The non-foaming agent in the doggy toothpaste ensures that the toothpaste is safe to swallow and without the need to rinse.

Next, you’ll want to keep your pup’s nails short. If you start to hear the clickety-click sound of their nails on the floor when they’re walking, then it is time to trim their nails. For a pleasant nail trimming experience, try using a dog nail grinder which features whisper-quiet motor and a precise diamond drum bit grinder.

Here’s how frequently you should tend to your Merle Great Dane’s grooming:

Grooming NeedFrequency
Hair BrushingWeekly.
BathingEvery 6 weeks.
Ear CleaningWeekly.
Tooth Cleaning2-3 times per week.
HaircuttingNot needed.
Nail TrimmingMonthly.

Is Merle Great Dane hypoallergenic?

No, the Merle Great Dane is not a hypoallergenic. They shed their coat, though not as much as some other breeds. During heavy shedding season, you can reduce the amount of loose fur by brushing your Merle Dane daily.

Merle Great Dane food and diet

The Merle Great Dane is a large breed that needs a specialized diet to help them maintain their energy levels. It is vital to feed your Merle Great Dane premium quality dog food or plain boiled meat to ensure they get the nutrients they need. 

Make sure you give your Merle Dane the right amount of food according to their age, weight, and activity level. If you’re not sure, we highly recommend consulting your veterinarian to find out how much food your pooch needs. 

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Merle Great Dane health issues 

Since the Merle gene often contributes to genetic issues among canines, prospective Merle Great Dane parents might wonder, are Merle Great Danes healthy?

Merle Great Dane pups produced by irresponsible breeding practices often carry several health issues; however, at-home DNA tests like the Embark Dog DNA Test Breed and Health Kit can help identify these health conditions early.

You can conduct at-home DNA tests or visit the vet for a professional opinion to ensure your Merle Dane is healthy. 

Some common Merle Great Dane health problems include: 

1. Deafness

Most Merle Dane pups are born deaf or partially deaf. This is due to the lack of pigment in their inner ear, which causes the nerves to not develop properly. 

2. Blindness

Like deafness, blindness in Merle Great Dane pups is also caused by the lack of pigment in their eyes. This can lead to various degrees of blindness, from the inability to see in low light to complete blindness. 

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3. Heart diseases

Some congenital heart diseases are more common in Merle Great Dane pups, such as mitral valve disease, subaortic stenosis, dilated cardiomyopathy, and others. 

4. Cancer

Merle Great Dane pups have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and skin cancer.

5. Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)

Gastric dilatation-volvulus or GDV affects deep-chested pups, such as the Merle Great Dane. GDV occurs when the stomach twists and knots. This can be fatal if not treated immediately. 

6. Hip dysplasia

Larger dog breeds like the Merle Great Dane are susceptible to hip dysplasia, which affects the hip joints and can cause pain and lameness.

Merle Great Dane lifespan 

Both the Merle Great Dane and the Blue Merle Great Dane have an average lifespan is around 7 to 10 years. 

Blue Merle Great Dane breeders

Before you buy a Merle Great Dane pup, it’s not wise to trust anyone breeding Blue Merle Great Danes. Ask for health clearances and ensure the pup’s parents have been health tested. 

Puppy mills and backyard breeders often produce pups with health and behavioral issues, so research before purchasing a Merle Dane pup. 

Merle Great Dane breeders

So, you might be thinking, what can you breed a Merle Great Dane with? 

The best method of breeding Merle Great Danes is using two health-tested parents that are not related. This will help to ensure that the pups are free of genetic health issues. Also, never breed two Merle parents together.

When it comes to choosing the right breeders, make sure they are reputable, trust-worthy, ethical, and responsible.

Breeding two Merle Great Danes: Is this bad?

Yes, it is bad to breed two Merle Great Danes. That’s because breeding two Merle Great Danes means that the pups will have double Merle genetics. The presence of double Merle genes can lead to serious health issues, such as blindness, deafness, and other congenital problems. 

Merle Great Dane puppies

If you want Great Dane Merle puppies, you can buy them online from a reputable breeder. Check for vaccination records and health clearances before purchasing a Merle Great Dane puppy. 

Blue Merle Great Dane puppies

The Great Dane puppies Blue Merle are beautiful and will make a great addition to your family. Be sure to socialize and train your pup early to prevent behavioral issues. 

Merle Great Dane price 

So, how much is a Merle Great Dane puppy going to cost you?

The Great Dane Merle price can range from $700 to $4,000. The pup’s cost depends on the breeder, the parents’ health clearances, and the color. 

If you adopt a Merle Dane, the adoption fee will be significantly lower than purchasing a puppy. 

As for the initial expenses to care for your pet for a few weeks, here’s a quick breakdown:  

Expense typesEstimated cost
Food and water bowls$10 – $20
Vaccination and Health Exams$140 – $160
Spaying or Neutering$200 – $350
Supplements$30 – $40
Crate$100 – $200
Healthy food$70 – $90
Collar and leash$20 – $30
Toys$20 – $30
Toiletries$40 – $50
Total initial expenses$630 – $970

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Blue Merle Great Dane price

If you’re wondering, how much are Blue Merle Great Danes? 

The average price of a Blue Merle Great Dane can range anywhere from $700 to $4,000

Merle Great Dane rescue and adoption 

If you want to rescue or adopt a Merle Great Dane, these are the places to look:

1. White Diamond Double Merle Dane Rescue (

This is a double Merle Great Dane rescue center dedicated to rescuing and rehoming double Merle Danes. 

2. White Kisses Great Dane Rescue (

White Kisses Great Dane Rescue is a non-profit rescue that aims to provide homes and shelter to all types of Great Danes.

3. Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League (

Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League covers the mid-Atlantic region of the US and is dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming Great Danes. 

Places to find Merle Great Dane puppies for sale 

Finding a Merle Great Dane puppy for sale can be challenging, especially if you are looking for a specific color pattern. Be sure to do your research, as unscrupulous breeders are more interested in making a quick buck than in producing healthy, well-adjusted pets.

Fawn Merle Great Dane Puppies For Sale

You can find fawn Merle Great Dane at Great Dane of the Ozarks (

Chocolate Merle Great Dane Puppies For Sale

Divergent Great Dane ( is the place to get a chocolate-colored pup.

Grey Merle Great Dane Puppies For Sale

Mega Great Dane Pups ( has a range of healthy AKC-registered Great Dane Merle puppies for sale.

Harlequin Merle Great Dane Puppies For Sale

If you’re looking for Harlequin Merle Great Dane, try Rose Danes (

Mantle Merle Great Dane Puppies For Sale

Visit The Dane Haven ( to find Merle Mantle Great Dane puppies for sale.

Merle Great Dane Puppies For Sale Near Me 

To buy a pup, simply type “Merle Great Dane puppies near me” on the AKC marketplace or any other search engine to find ethical breeders in your area.

Orange Merle Great Dane For Sale

To find an Orange Merle Great Dane for sale, your best bet would be at AKC Marketplace (

Merle Great Dane Puppies For Sale UK

If you’re in the UK and want to get a Merle Great Dane puppy, check out TamzDane Great Danes ( where they can help you find Merle Great Dane puppies for sale.

Places to find Blue Merle Great Dane puppies for sale 

If you’re looking for a Blue Merle Great Dane puppy for sale, check out the following resources:

Blue Merle Great Dane puppies for sale near me

Simply search “Blue Merle Great Dane near me” on your favorite search engine to find a breeder near your area.

Blue Merle Great Dane puppies for sale in Michigan

Great Lake Danes ( is one of the best places in Michigan to buy a Great Dane.

Blue Merle Great Dane puppies for sale in Missouri

You can find your adorable mate in Missouri at Wingless Angels Danes (

Blue Merle Great Dane puppies for sale in Texas

Dreamaker Danes ( breed the healthiest pups in Texas.

Blue Merle Great Dane puppies for sale in Ohio

Check out Darby Plains Danes ( to get a Blue Merle Great Dane.

Blue Merle European Great Dane

Go to Full Euro Danes ( to buy a European Blue Merle Great Dane.

Finding a healthy Merle Great Dane for sale 

If you’re looking for adult Merle Great Danes for sale, look for breeders that offer health guarantees. This will give you peace of mind that your fur baby is healthy and free from genetic issues.

Blue Merle Great Dane for sale MN

Northernaire Kennels ( is the place to find Great Dane Merle for sale in Minnesota.

Chocolate Merle Great Dane for sale 

Get your chocolate-colored Blue Merle Great Dane for sale from Night Magic Danes (

Euro Merle Great Dane

If you want an European Merle Great Dane, check out Euro Puppy (

Merle Great Dane: Pros and Cons  

Bigger than any other canine.Can’t live in apartments.
Calm and gentle.Shorter lifespan.
Easy maintenance.Needs a lot of food.
Fewer exercise needs.Prone to joint problems.
A variety of colors.Pricey.
Easy to train.Huge size makes them a threat to toddlers and small pets.

Is the Merle Great Dane right for me?

The Merle Great Dane is perfect for families looking for a big, loving, and friendly fur buddy. However, we wouldn’t recommend them for families with young children, small pets, and limited living space. 

Related Questions

What is a Blue Merle Great Dane?

A Blue Merle Great Dane is just like any other Great Dane but with a beautiful blue and silver coat. You’ll see darker color patches on a light base coat and this creates a gorgeous marble effect.

How much is a Blue Merle Great Dane?

The average price of a Blue Merle Great Dane can range between $700 and $4,000 depending on the breeder’s location, reputation, years of experience, and how many puppies were in the litter. 

In addition to the initial cost, keep in mind the ongoing living expenses including health and vaccination exams, toys, food, collar and leash. All of this can add another $1,000 to the initial cost every month.

What is the rarest color of Great Dane?

White is the rarest Great Dane color.

What color eyes do Blue Merle Great Danes have?

Blue Merle Great Danes can have blue, green, brown, or hazel eyes.

What color is a Merle Great Dane?

Merle is a coat pattern and not a coat color. A Merle Great Dane has a mottled pattern of colors brought about by the dominant Merle gene. Usually the mottled pattern is blue with light cloudy or dark patches.

Is Merle Natural in Great Danes?

As Merle is a dominant gene, it is natural for Merle Great Danes to exist.

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