Brindle Great Dane – Everything you Need to Know

What is a Brindle Great Dane?

A Brindle Great Dane refers to the Brindling pattern that can be present on a Great Danes coat. This pattern is often compared to stripes on a tiger due to the way the colors interact and weave in and out. It is most common to see a Great Dane with a Fawn undercoat with darker brindle stripes mixed in with this coat. Brindle itself is a recessive gene meaning that it requires both parents to pass on the gene for it to be present in any puppies.

With the Brindle gene being recessive to Dominant Black it can be difficult to produce Brindle Great Danes. The most reliable way to do so is by breeding two Brindle dogs together. Whilst other genes can still play a part you should expect the majority of puppies to be Brindle. This does not mean that you however need to have two Brindle dogs.

If you were to have a Brindle and a Non Brindle then the Non Brindle Great Dane would need to still carry the Brindle gene. Due to this gene being recessive it is possible for Non-Brindles to also have this gene. This can in fact be extended to the possibility of two Non-Brindles producing Brindle offspring. When breeding a Non Brindle to a Brindle and ignoring other genetics then you would still expect 50% of the offspring to be Brindle. This is assuming the Non-Brindle carries the Brindle gene. Again with breeding two Non-Brindles they would require to have a copy of the recessive Brindle gene. Ignoring other genetics this would leave around a 1 in 4 chance of producing a Brindle Great Dane.

What Color Great Danes can be Brindle?

There are two officially recognised colors for Brindle by the AKC. In addition to this there is also one unrecognised Brindle color. The two recognised color are Brindle (which is Brindling of the common Fawn color) and Blue Brindle. The unrecognised color is Chocolate Brindle.

Blue Brindle Great Dane/Grey Brindle Great Dane

The Blue Brindle Great Dane still requires the same genetics present in a regular Brindle Great Dane. The difference is that it also requires the recessive Blue gene to be present. This is officially referred to as the dilution gene and shows up on a DNA test as a small d to indicate it is recessive. Due to both Brindle and Blue being recessive this leads to these dogs being very rare unless specifically bred for in targeted programs. This effect display as a Blue base coat on the Great Dane with darker Blue stripes mixed in to their coat.

Chocolate Brindle Great Dane

Chocolate Brindle requires another set of recessive genes which are rarely seen. Due to this being a rarely seen gene in a Great Dane and being unrecognised by the AKC a Chocolate Great Dane is a rare sight. When a Chocolate Brindle is produced however it displays in a similar way to that of a regular Brindle. This will be a base coat of Chocolate with darker stripes intertwined within it’s coat.

Is Merle the same a Brindle in a Great Dane?

Merle and Brindle are two different patterns that can be present in Great Danes. Merle is a dominant gene meaning that it only requires one copy of the gene to present itself. The pattern itself is patchy in nature and will usually be smaller around the face and larger spots around the body. Merle however can come with a number of health issues which can be present in any Merle dog but are almost always seen in Double Merles. Some of these issues are the following.

  • Deafness – There is an increased risk of deafness or hearing issues compared to a regular Frenchie
  • Blindness – Dilation of the pupils can be an issue which can lead to night blindness and in some cases complete blindness.
  • Further Eye Issues – There is also a risk of eyes being off centre, additional eyelids, missing tissue or in some cases being born without eyes.
  • Immune Deficiency – A high risk of a having a weakened immune system.

This is different to Brindle where there are no notable health issues compared to any other Great Dane color.

Great Dane Health Issues

Great Danes like most dogs can suffer a range of health issues with many related to their large size. Below we outline some of the more common afflictions. These are in addition to the Merle Health Issues.

Hip Dysplasia 

This leads to a reduced range of movement in the hind legs along with a reluctance in jumping, running and climbing stairs. Ensuring they stay at a healthy weight and are fed a high quality diet will help delay the onset.

Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV)

This is largely associated with eating large meals rather than several smaller meals. Studies have shown that dogs which are fed one large meal a day are more likely to be afflicted. In addition it has been observed that foods high in oils such as sunflower or animal fat can be a contributing factor. Whilst this illness can be life threatening in the worst of cases there are additional ways to reduce the risk. Elevated feeding is recommended as a way to reduce this pressure in addition to several meals a day.


Great Danes can be prone to allergies like most other dog breeds. This will usually display in red/raw patches often around their paws. Also it can show through watery eyes, ear infections or sneezing. If you suspect allergy issues it is best to discuss with a vet around possible treatments.

Heart Disease 

Great Danes can be prone to Heart disease, the best way to reduce this risk is through breeding. It is important to find out the medical history of any puppies parents as this will be the best indicator of risk.

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