The Great Dane is a giant breed of dog with many coat colors and patterns. They originated in Germany, but are now highly sought-after companions for families in the United States.
These dogs are very affectionate and friendly, earning them a nickname of the “Gentle Giant.”
Blue Merle Great Danes and the AKC
The American Kennel Club (AKC) didn’t recognize this color and pattern as an official Great Dane until recently in 2019. It’s very popular though because it’s very unique.
Blue merles can be found in other dog breeds such as the Australian Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, and the Collie.
AKC considered merle to be a mismark of a harlequin pattern on dogs because it was not a standard recognized color by the AKC until recently.
The owners of Blue merle Great Danes could still register their dogs with the AKC, but they couldn’t participate in dog shows as a breed standard.
Since 2019, blue merle Great Danes are accepted as a breed standard by the AKC. They can be registered and participate in dog shows.
The merle pattern is a light-colored coat with darker spots on it. Blue Merles have a slate blue-colored coat with darker spots on it.
Merles can be found with many other coat colors, including fawn, chocolate, brindle, mantle, silver, and tri-colored with three different colors,
The Blue Coloration in Great Danes
Blue is actually a diluted black coat color and it looks like a bluish-gray, dark blue, or a brownish blue color with dilute blue markings. Blue merle Great Danes also have a nose pigmentation of bluish-black as their physical identifier.
The lighter-colored coat has more blue undertones than those with black coats or neutral gray. Merle patterned Great Danes are acceptable with white markings on the feet and chest.
Blue Merle Great Dane Genetics
The harlequin Great Dane coat pattern is a white base color with irregular black patches that are torn, random and irregular and cover the body. When two harlequin Great Danes are bred together, they will produce one to two merle puppies in a litter.
The same is true when breeding a harlequin and a mantle Great Dane together. If a puppy has two merle genes, it may actually be a solid white Great Dane.
From this one to two merle puppies, a blue merle Great Dane may be found as a color variation. Merle coat patterns originate from the Great Danes’ gene that creates a gray base colored coat.
There are also variations of the Great Dane, with a blue merle coat which is generally a pale grey-blue coat with black markings. Variations may include a dilute blue merle, a harlequin, or a cryptic merle.
The Great Dane gene of the M(Silv) gene is inherited from the bloodlines. It determines how the puppies will look.
The merle gene can be a normal pigment or a dilute pigment in the coat pattern. There are 4 variations of the merle gene to produce the different merle coat color patterns.
How Does the M(Silv) Gene Affect Color and Patterns?
The merle color pattern is the standard coat pattern of a dark gray base coat with dark black markings. In this color and pattern of the Great Dane, the gene is a standard length and it produces different variations of the merle coat color pattern by analyzing other merle genes and combining them.
The blue merle, also called a dilute merle, results when the merle gene is much shorter than the standard length of the merle gene. This will result in a gray base coat with black markings.
The harlequin Great Dane coat color is a result of a longer than standard merle gene. The coat pattern is also a reaction from both the harlequin and the merle genes for coat patterns. This results in a white base coat color with irregular gray or black patches.
The cryptic merle that is also called a phantom merle is a result of a much shorter merle gene that is even shorter than the blue merle’s gene.
The coat pattern is a subtle gray base with black irregular markings that are close to the same shade of gray and may look like one solid color unless you look closely to see the merle pattern.
Are Blue Merle Great Danes Really Rare?
Merle Great Danes are not really rare, although the blue coat color is seen less often than other merle colorations.
Many breeders will charge a much higher price for a blue merle Great Dane as they will sell them as being very rare.
Blue merle Great Danes are slightly less common than a traditional merle coloration with the standard gray, white, and black markings on them.
How Much Does a Blue Merle Great Dane Puppy Cost?
The average cost of a blue merle Great Dane puppy is somewhere between $1,000 and $2,500 depending on the breeder, their location, and who you choose to buy your new puppy from.
You should make sure you get a health guarantee on your new puppy from the breeder so you can rest assured that you are getting a puppy that’s been screened and tested for health conditions. This prevents you from buying an unhealthy or sick puppy.
Blue Merle Great Dane Health Issues
Breeding two merle Great Danes together is considered unethical by the Great Dane Club of America’s Breeder’s Code of Ethics and they should not be bred together intentionally.
Merle Great Danes that are bred together can create sick or stillborn puppies. Puppies may also be blind and deaf and will have other health issues that are worse than other coat patterns in Great Danes.
When two merles breed, there is often a solid white Great Dane, which is often called the lethal white combination.
It’s very common for a white Great Dane to be deaf and blind in both ears and eyes and their eyes are both significantly smaller than normal as well.
Other issues with a blue merle Great Dane can include skin disorders, brain irregularities, and aggressive behavior. It’s usually advisable to have your blue merle Great Dane neutered or spayed so they don’t breed.
However, you can get a DNA test to indicate if your puppy has the merle gene. If they don’t, then you can breed them to another merle, Great Dane, without any consequences.
Which Other Great Danes Are Blue?
If you love the color of a steel blue dog, you may opt to adopt a solid blue Great Dane to avoid any of the health issues that may arise in the future.
The standard AKC solid blue Great Dane has a life expectancy of up to 10 years with very good veterinary care. This may enable you to spend more time with your beloved four-legged family member due to being more healthy.
Blue Merle Great Dane Personality and Traits
Besides extra health issues, the blue merle coloration and pattern on a Great Dane has no other bearing on any aspect of the dog.
They are loving and adorable dogs that love their families and love spending time with them as much as possible.
Their loveable manners tend to make them lean against their humans or get in their lap, even at maturity of up to 32 inches tall and up to 175 pounds. Your blue merle Great Dane has an average life expectancy of 7 years and is easy to train as well.
Great Danes of all colors and patterns are beautiful and loyal dogs, no matter which color you choose.
However, the blue merle is exceptionally striking in color and very well muscled. Make certain to see the breeder’s paperwork so you know your particular pooch is a healthy and happy puppy.