Blue Great Dane: Are These Gentle Giants Really Blue?

Giant blue Great Dane outdoors

Anyone looking at the Great Dane might find themselves doubting whether it is the dog for them due to their overawing or threatening effect.

However, with their elegant stance and smoothly-muscled body, the Great Dane has rightfully earned the title “Apollo of dogs” as their towering height is likened to that of the Greek god.

Aside from being gentle giants, Great Danes are also iconic for their stunning colors. One of their many sought after shades is the blue coloration because it makes them look more imposing.

If you are interested in buying or adopting one, then this guide is dedicated to you. Here we will talk about the blue Great Dane’s shades, color genetics, temperament, lifespan, health issues, and the cost of owning one.

What Is a Blue Great Dane? Are They Really Blue?

A blue Great Dane is not a separate breed from the Great Danes we know, but they are distinguished from their other cousins due to their blue coloration. Blue Great Danes are giant working dogs that are spirited and never timid and their coloration is a result of a recessive blue gene.

Blue Great Dane puppies are also born with blue eyes, but some of them eventually lose this eye feature as they mature. If you got a blue Great Dane puppy with this rare eye color, do not get too excited yet because this may turn brown as the time comes.

Also, the blue tone of your Great Dane’s coat may vary, so do not be confused if you see another with a lighter or darker tone. We will discuss this in detail in the next section so keep on reading.

What Are the Different Blue Great Dane Shades?

The regular blue shade is just one of several shades that the American Kennel Club recognizes. Moreover, the blue Great Dane also comes in different tones. They are:

  • Steel Blue
  • Blue Fawn
  • Blue Brindle
  • Blue Harlequin
  • Blue Merle

Let’s take a look at each shade:

Steel Blue Great Dane

A pure steel blue Great Dane is the only blue Great Dane recognized by AKC, while those with white markings on their chest and toes are not desirable and would not be able to take part in dog shows.

Blue Fawn Great Dane

Blue fawn Great Danes sport the usual fawn coloration, but they may also have some sort of blue mask on their face. As you can see in the picture above, the area around the dog’s nose and eyes features a charcoal coloration that accentuates their overall look.

Blue Brindle Great Dane

A blue brindle Great Dane has a regular brindle base of fawn with blue stripes rather than the regular black. It is a mismarked color after breeding two parents carrying the recessive blue gene.

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Blue Harlequin Great Dane

Blue Harlequin Great Danes are quite iconic for their white base coat and dark irregular patches. This color pattern would probably remind you of a Dalmatian, but what makes them more unique is that, instead of black patchwork, they have blue or gray.

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Blue Merle Great Dane

As shown in the photo, a blue merle Great Dane fashions a dark blue or brownish blue coat with a black spotting slate. Despite being branded as a mismarked color, this dog coat is considered rare by some.

Do Kennel Clubs Recognize Blue Great Danes?

Even though they look more unique than most of their Great Dane cousins, blue puppies are recognized by most kennel clubs. In fact, the AKC considers this shade as a standard color with a registration number of 037.

Here are some other kennel clubs that recognize them:

Are Blue Great Danes Rare?

Blue Great Danes aren’t that rare. However, they are difficult to breed along with the harlequin Great Dane because there is no assurance that they will be produced during breeding.

Those who are planning to purposefully breed them should go to great lengths just to ensure that their breeding stock can produce these pups.

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Blue Great Dane Coat Color Genetics: How Do They Develop This Special Coat Color?

Full grown blue Great Dane

Coat color genetics is a complicated topic but hear me out on this one.

To start, a dog’s color is created from two pigments: eumelanin and pheomelanin. These two pigments each have their default color, but they can be altered by various genes.

All black areas of a dog are caused by the eumelanin pigment but some genes turn the pigment into other colors such as liver, blue, or isabella. That’s what our blue Great Dane has, the recessive blue gene that turns black into the blue coat.

Moreover, the eumelanin pigment is also found in other parts of the dog, particularly the eyes and the nose. That is also why some blue Great Dane shades, such as the blue fawn Great Dane shown earlier, exhibit the blue coat only around their head.

The absence of eumelanin in the eyes causes the dog to have blue eyes which are seen in some blue Great Dane puppies.

The second pigment is the pheomelanin which is the red pigment, but it also covers all other similar shades like deep red, yellow, orange, gold, and light cream. It should also be noted that this pigment does not affect the eyes and the nose, unlike the eumelanin.

What does this mean for the blue Great Dane? As I have mentioned earlier, a blue Great Dane puppy is born if both parents carry the recessive blue gene.

It is important to note that some unique or mismarked pups are most probably from the genes of their past generations.

However, genes can still be a little tricky so breeding even with two blue Great Danes does not guarantee that the puppies will also be blue.

How Big Do Blue Great Danes Get When Fully Grown?

Did you know that the biggest dog in the world is a Great Dane? Yes, that’s right and the title belongs to Freddy the Great Dane from Essex, United Kingdom who stood at seven feet on his hind legs. Sadly, he passed away in January 2021 at the age of eight.

It should be noted that there are no varying sizes among the different colors of Great Danes, so the height of the blue pups are similar to their other cousins.

Male blue Great Danes generally weigh 140 to 175 pounds and they stand at 30 to 32 inches. Meanwhile, female blue Great Danes are 28 to 30 inches tall and they weigh between 110 and 140 pounds.

Do Blue Great Dane Puppies Change Color as They Grow?

The color of the blue Great Dane puppies will slightly change as they mature. Their colors could become richer, deeper, and darker but it could also lighten up depending on their exposure to sunshine.

Most dog owners are taken aback when their pup’s color changes so I suggest that you ask your breeder about possible changes to their coat. Also, note that there may be some color changes that can be brought about by the following:

  • Medication
  • Sunlight exposure
  • Skin disease
  • Nutritional status

Blue Great Dane Temperament: Are They Good Family Companions?

Blue Great Dane puppy and an Australian Shepherd playing together

The blue Great Dane’s majestic stance alone is enough for any intruders to think twice so I’d say yes to them being a good family companion.

Their height, which could surpass that of a human, is already intimidating but you’ll also find that these dogs are loving and gentle. In fact, they sometimes forgot that they are gigantic, so they cuddle and cling to their owners all the time.

It is believed that Great Danes were originally bred to hunt wild boar but the required fierceness to pursue such animals was eventually bred out of them.

These days, they are known as the gentle giants for their affection and gentleness with humans, children, and even other animals.

Another great thing about the blue Great Dane is that they are only aggressive and ferocious when necessary. This means that with the right training, they will only fight back to protect you and your home.

Any dog will be good family companions especially when your home is ready to welcome them. But for a dog as enormous as the stunning blue Great Dane, it takes a little more effort on your side to accommodate them.

However, if given enough attention, training, love, and care, you’ll find that letting this dog into your home will be one of the best decisions you will ever make.

I suggest watching this video so you can see for yourself how gentle and affectionate they actually are.

Great Dane Blue - Litter - N, O, P - 16 puppies

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Blue Great Dane Lifespan: How Long Do Blue Great Danes Live?

If all good qualities could fit into a dog, I bet it would fit in the blue Great Dane (literally and figuratively). However, like all good things, they come to an end and it’s always too soon with the good ones.

Blue Great Danes have a short lifespan of up to only 10 years on average. They are short-lived dogs because their giant frames come with joint and bone diseases resulting in their slow deterioration.

Responsible breeding, a healthy diet, preventative care, and exercise are just some ways to improve your Great Dane’s life span.

Blue Great Dane Health Issues: Do Blue Great Danes Have More Health Problems?

A blue Great Dane’s health concerns are the same as any other Great Dane color because there aren’t any reported concerns associated with their blue gene.

I have listed down major common health problems blue Great Danes can have:

  • Gastric Torsion: Commonly known as canine bloat, this is the most common killer for Great Danes. Humans suffer the same condition when we eat too much food but luckily for us, our bodies can recover faster than Great Danes. The expansion of the stomach due to gas build-up when food passes through it can restrict blood circulation to the heart and can cause severe damage to their stomach.
  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a chronic condition in larger dog breeds where the head of the femur bone does not fit into the hip socket correctly. When adopting a Great Dane, you must ask for the health history of your pup’s parents from your breeder.
  • Cardiomyopathy: This condition is most likely genetic and causes your dog’s heart to enlarge. Symptoms of cardiomyopathy in dogs include lethargy, weight loss, weakness, difficulty breathing, and decreased appetite. Luckily, treatment is available for dogs with this condition.
  • Tricuspid Valve Disease: Another heart problem, this congenital condition is where the dog’s heart valve does not function properly, resulting in the possible failure of the dog’s left side of the heart. Treatment is available for this disease but if the dog is not responding as it is hoped to be, surgery could be an option.
  • Osteosarcoma: This is the most common bone tumor in dogs and long bones are most commonly affected. The tumor is very painful and a distinct swelling of a limb will be obvious. Amputation of the affected limb is most likely to happen but don’t worry because most dogs do well even after being amputated.

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Blue Great Dane Puppy Prices and Expenses: Are Blue Great Danes More Expensive Than Other Colors?

Black Great Dane puppy with a blue Great Dane puppy

The cost of a blue Great Dane can range from $600 to $3,000 and will still depend on the breeder and the dog’s pedigree. Also, they are only more expensive than other coat colors if they come in a blue harlequin shade.

A blue-coated dog that is of show-quality is more expensive than those intended to be as pets. I suggest you ask the breeder for the dog’s documents to cross-check if they are good and healthy dogs. You have to remember that a higher price tag does not always mean a better dog.

You can also opt to adopt blue Great Dane puppies so I will be giving you a list later on where you can get these dogs.

After buying or adopting the puppy, there are other things you have to purchase for them. Remember that they take up a big space so the things they need will also be bigger and might be more pricey.

To help you prepare for what’s coming, I have listed the basic needs a puppy needs to have.

  • Food: This large dog requires a lot of food to keep going. Adult Great Danes eat up to six to 10 cups of food daily. I suggest you allot about $60 to $80 a month for their food.
  • Bed and Crate: A blue Great Dane deserves their good night’s rest so investing in a high-quality bed will take you a long way. Also, the bed you have to buy for them should be comfortable but is heavy-duty at the same time as you need to consider their orthopedic risks and the weight they put on the bed. On average, a good quality bed costs an average of $400.
  • Veterinary Checkups and Vaccinations: To help protect your dog and strengthen their immune system, vaccinations and checkups are a must. Vaccinations cost an average of $100 while veterinary care can cost from $50 to $300 depending on the service your dog needs.
  • Spaying or Neutering: If you are not planning to have your dog be bred, they should undergo this procedure. This costs about $35 to $200 on average.
  • Licensing: Set aside about $10 to $20 for your dog’s license as this will come in handy when they get lost or if you want them to participate in dog shows.
  • Pet Insurance: Getting your dog pet insurance will help you provide better healthcare to your dog. This costs about $10 to $100 per month depending on the coverage.
  • Other Startup Supplies: These supplies include your puppy’s collar, leash, toys, and food bowls. I recommend setting aside about $50 to $300 because their things are bigger and could be more expensive.

Places to Find Blue Great Dane Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Here are some places where you can shop for a blue Great Dane puppy:

  • Great Dane Puppies Home – This breeder offers a 30-day health guarantee for your blue Great Dane puppy. They can also bring your pup right to your doorstep the same day you purchase them.
  • AKC Marketplace – This is the place to go to make sure your puppy is registered and healthy. You can choose who to contact from their directory and most of them are even breeding blue Great Danes from champion bloodlines.
  • Haus of Blues – This breeder will explain to you how breeding blue Great Dane puppies works while also offering kits to prevent bloat. All you have to do to start your application for their pups is fill out a form on their site.
  • Farmhouse Great Danes – They produce puppies from their AKC registered pet who has hips that are graded excellent. They are located in Chehalis, Washington and you can easily set an appointment with them through their website.
  • Coleridge Blue Great Dane – This multi-breeder collective takes pride in producing title-winning pups in the obedience and breed ring. They have been breeding blue Great Danes for over 50 years, so you are assured that their pups are bred by experts.

It is also highly recommended to adopt. However, make sure that the rescue organization you’re going to talk with is reputable. I also urge you to contact your local shelter as they may help you with your quest to find your own blue Great Dane.

Here are some rescue organizations you can check out:

  • Great Dane Rescue – This non-profit group was established in 1993 and aims to place neglected Great Danes in loving homes. Most of the pups in their care are voluntarily surrendered to them.
  • Great Dane Rescue of Minnesota & Wisconsin – This is an all-volunteer rescue that has so far rescued 162 Great Danes. They are very transparent when it comes to the adoption fees they have received, so you know that they are putting it to good use.
  • Great Dane Rescue Alliance – This group has a flexible adopting area along the East Coast. The cost of adopting a blue Great Dane from them is $350.

Commonly Asked Questions

Merle blue Great Dane close up

Do Blue Great Danes Have Blue Eyes?

Some of them are born with blue eyes but some puppies’ eye color changes into a different shade as they mature. A blue Great Dane with blue eyes that stay blue is rare and is more common with the harlequin variation.

Do Blue Great Danes Shed?

This dog, which carries a smooth, short, and thick coat, is a moderate shedder but still requires more grooming to keep its hair and skin healthy. They shed an average amount of fur year-round but their size makes it look like they are shedding heavily.

Can You Breed a Blue Great Dane With a Harlequin?

There are varying answers on whether it is okay for a blue Great Dane to be bred with a harlequin. If you want a show dog, then breeding those two dogs will not give you a favorable outcome because a blue harlequin Great Dane is not up to the breed standard.

Moreover, breeding them could cause significant health problems to the pups as they could carry a merle gene which is associated with common health issues.

On another note, a blue Great Dane bred with a harlequin will produce a blue harlequin Great Dane, one of the most popular coat colors of their breed. If you just want one for aesthetic reasons, contact a professional breeder and ask if they have this rare variety.

What Is the Rarest Great Dane Color?

White is the rarest Great Dane color, but the AKC does not recognize it as an official breed color. Merle to merle mating results in an almost completely white coat, but a few markings could also be seen.

What Is the Most Expensive Great Dane Color?

Of all the Great Dane coats, the harlequin coat is the most popular and most expensive because of its unique coloration. Buying a harlequin Great Dane puppy could cost from $1,000 to $2,500 and can still vary depending on the breeder and the pedigree.

Final Thoughts

Indeed, blue Great Danes are not for everyone due to their imposing size. Owning them will take much thought and preparation, so I suggest that if you really want this color variety, you directly talk to owners who have been attending to them for quite some time now.

In addition, do not buy a blue Great Dane from a puppy mill or a backyard breeder. They will only saturate your bank account with the health issues they are predisposed to.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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