The Mantle Great Dane: A Gentle Giant of Beauty

If you’ve ever looked for a new dog to adopt, particularly a Great Dane, then you have discovered the wonderful world of colors and coat patterns available from which to choose.

Various colors are acceptable by the AKC for show dogs, while many other colors are considered mismarkings, but still make beautiful dogs.

What is a Mantle Great Dane Dog?

The mantle Great Dane is a coat pattern. It’s a base color with a sort of cloak–if you will–over the back that is much like a horse blanket in size and shape. The base color shows through the cloak on different parts such as the collar around the neck, the feet, chest, tail, and head.

The mantle-colored Great Dane has a base coat of white with a black cloak or blanket on him. It includes a black skull with a white blaze between the eyes and a white muzzle.

His legs will appear as if he is wearing socks that can be any length from barely at the tips of his toes to thigh length. He will have a white chest, a white-collar, and a black tail with a white marking on the very tip of it.

These markings resemble a Boston Terrier in all manners and sometimes the mantle Great Dane is called a Boston Great Dane.

Sometimes you can get the standard black and white mantle coloration and pattern for Great Danes, but occasionally you will see them in fawn, blue, or merle colors for the base coat with mantle markings which are not acceptable for show dogs, but they have interesting and gorgeous coats never the less.

The AKC recognizes Great Dane coat colors and patterns of solid black, brindle with stripes and blue, as well as the patterns of the mantle, merle, harlequin, and fawn.

Which Great Danes are Bred Together to Get Mantle Great Danes?

Two Great Danes that are both mantles and are bred together will produce mantle-colored puppies with an occasional mismarked black Great Dane puppy. But there are also other patterns when bred together that produce mantle Great Danes.

The harlequin Great Dane has a pure white base coat with black patches all over the body that has irregular edges on them. They are not black spots like a Dalmatian.

The neck of a harlequin should be partial to entirely white and the patches are not very large, so it gives it a spotted appearance. Some of the skin may have black patches as well and the nose is most commonly black and pink.

The breeding of a harlequin pattern and a mantle pattern Great Dane can produce both coat patterns of puppies plus merles and mismarked blacks in a single litter. If two harlequins are bred together, you may also get both harlequins and mantles in a single litter.

There are also black and white Great Danes that are mismarked according to the AKC.

They will look much like a mantle, but the black and white patterns do not include the same areas of white as in a mantle-coated Great Dane. Two black and white Great Danes may also produce a mantle-colored puppy.

The Genetics of All Mantle Possibilities in Great Danes (Approved and Mismarked Colors)

Great Danes are often called dogs of many colors and it’s fitting considering all the different combinations of genes that affect their appearance.

Some of the colors and coat patterns are standard, while others are not. If you like the appearance of a mantle Great Dane, you have many other choices than just the standard black and white coloration.

If you are searching for a new family member as a companion dog and not a show-quality dog, then you can greatly widen your choices of non-standard mantles.

The different gene combinations in Great Danes create the colors and coat patterns of the puppies. Each parent dog will supply an allele from a specific gene that can be dominant or recessive.

Two dominant genes or recessive genes will produce a puppy with those characteristics, while a combination of one recessive and one dominant will make the coloration different.

There are 8 different loci with genes that determine a dog’s coat color. The A locus produces patterns, the E locus produces a black mask on the face and it also produces yellow and red coat colors.

The K locus gives you coat colors of black, fawn, and brindle–the most dominant colors; the G locus produces gray color.

The B locus produces brown, chocolate, and liver coats and the D locus dilutes the colors.

The M locus produces the merle pattern, the H locus produces the harlequin pattern and the S locus is genetically linked to a parti or piebald pattern and white spots as well. The T locus produces a ticking on a dog’s coat.

The approved mantle Great Danes are black and white as discussed and described earlier. But, there are many other variations of this pattern in which the white markings on the legs, chest, neck, facial blaze, muzzle, and the white tip on the tail will be the same in conjunction with many other magnificent colors which are not black.

A blue mantel Great Dane has a genetic code of dd/–/K-/mm/ss in which it has a dilute color of black which is blue instead of the black markings on a standard mantel. This is noted by the dd for dilution and the K for black color.

He is double recessive in the M locus, making him non-merle, and he is double recessive in the S locus because he has white Irish spotting.

A brindle mantle Great Dane has a genetic code of D-/–K br-/mm/ss. The Kbr locus is brindle colored and the D denotes a non-diluted color.

The double recessive M locus of mm means he is non-merle and the double recessive S locus means he does have white Irish spotting. His brindling is a mixture of black and brown stripes and usually, he will have black on his ears and his head as well.

A blue brindle mantle Great Dane displays a genetic code of dd/–/K br-/mm/ss meaning he is diluted black for a blue coloration in stripes plus he has brindle stripes.

The double recessive M locus of mm makes him non-merle and the double recessive gives him the spots and ticking off an Irish dog. This dog will have a blue and tan striped coat with blue ears and blue markings on its face.

The blue fawn mantle Great Dane is genetically dd/–/kk/mm/SS with a fawn-colored coat where the standard mantle Great Dane is black.

He will have to dilute black or blue extra markings on his ears and face as well, with an S locus being double dominant. That means he will have no white ticking on him.

Even more variations of the mantle Great Dane exist, as you can now tell how their genetics affect their colors.

Some other non-standard mantles include the merle mantle, the dilute blue merle mantle, the brindle merle mantle, the blue brindle merle mantle, the fawn merle mantle, the blue harlequin mantle, the fawn harlequin mantle, the blue fawn harlequin mantle, the brindle harlequin mantle, and the blue brindle harlequin mantle.

All of these variations in colors make a Great Dane a very interesting dog indeed. If you are looking for a family companion dog, the exact color won’t really matter.

The biggest concern is that you get a puppy for a forever home that is healthy, no matter what color he is.

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