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It's Time for GDCA to Crack the Ice & Accept Chocolate as a Breed Standard Color.
After all, Chocolate Danes Have Existed Since the 1600's!

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I find it interesting the chocolate Dane has existed since the 1600's, AKC recognizes the color and yet GDCA won't acknowledge chocolate as a breed standard color. Furthermore, I don't understand why GDCA & AKC can't comprehend the concept that brindle, harlequin, mantle and merle are patterns, NOT colors as I have demonstrated below.  Surely I'm not the only breeder/person thinking it's incorrect to classify these patterns as colors!!  GDCA & AKC really need to rethink this. 

THINKING:  The hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.


in black, blue, onyx & chocolate
in black, blue, fawn & chocolate
in black, blue, fawn & chocolate
in black, blue, fawn & chocolate

My color chart shows over 60 color variations Danes come in that I have found thus far.




It's a fact, chocolate breeds true.... chocolate to chocolate = chocolate!  So, why isn't chocolate allowed to be a breed standard color?  After all, they're AWESOME!



Below are chocolate harls, a chocolate merle and chocolates.

Below are two 16 wk old litter mates.


If anything, the chocolate closer resembles the other colors better than fawn does (ie: blues have blue nose & solid BLUE muzzle, blacks have black nose and solid BLACK muzzle, Brindles have black nose and BRINDLE muzzle, harles have harle nose and HARLE muzzle) yet the fawn has an inconsistent color pattern (Harle by definition has patches, including the muzzle and nose... but blues don't have a mismatched black muzzle, brindles don't have a mismatched black muzzle, harles typically don't have a solid black muzzle)...  Chocolates follow the same color pattern as blues, blacks, and brindles... body & muzzle are the same color.  I'm not advocating for elimination of fawns... just asking what makes them special and outside the laws of color yet chocolate is not to be considered a breed standard color?  In my opinion, the reasons for the accepted colors seem flawed.  It's a fact chocolate Danes are recognized by AKC and have their own color/pattern codes.

There are chocolates in many breeds of dogs as well as other species including rhinos, pandas & hawks!  Specifically note the rhino's horns are brown as with the chocolate Dane it's nose and nails are brown.  Thank goodness the person that first came across these beautiful creatures didn't kill them just because they were the "wrong color for the breed or species!"  One should not fear or hate something they didn't know existed or don't understand how it could be; but instead research it and accept the fact that it does exist as with the case of the chocolate Dane. 


Maybe when the GDCA, which was first the German Mastiff Club, was founded in 1889,  didn't want to have the variety of colors the breed can actually produce and since the first imports where fawns why exclude them and it is believed they took the most seen colors in stride and went from there.  So the color code was really based on what was "popular" rather than for "health/genetic" flaws.

If folks would just take a break from Dane genetics and begin to study Dachshund genetics - a light bulb would go on. SAME genes, SAME colors, SAME patterns as the Danes....except they are labeled correctly. And once you see them in Dachshunds - you realize that they are the EXACT genes that are in Danes (with exception of the harl, of course, which was a mutation of the merle Dane).

As you will read below you'll come to realize that brown/chocolate Danes are not just a current fad as one may have been mislead by breed standard and show breeders; nor are they rare as some chocolate breeders advertise.   I want to see this beautiful and healthy colored Dane recognized as a breed standard color one day.  Even a certain forum's member admitted chocolate Danes are color pure!!  However, the prejudice against the chocolate Dane dates back as far as 1896 when one was shown.

It'd be nice if more people were open minded and bred to improve the overall conformation and health of the chocolates being produced so that these colors can one day be breed standard colors?  After all, that's how the mantles and harlequins became breed standard colors.... because someone was willing to stand up for what they believed in. 

Why is it that GDCA and AKC consider harlequins (the discoverer of the harl gene explicitly says it is NOT a color, it is a PATTERN that can fall on any color) and mantles (when it's created by the s-gene (the piebald gene) "colors" rather that what they really are, PATTERNS!  It's been well known for generations that Bostons (or Mantles) (ie piebalds) can carry ticking (undesirable).  In Dachshunds the ticking gene is beginning to be understood in piebalds - and it's a gene all by itself, which is expressed in heavy ticking, light ticking or no ticking.

Big things have small beginnings and it is a fact there are at least 1/2 dozen show people already breeding for the chocolates but, of course they are hiding in the closet about it at this time.  On a positive note, at least those doing this obviously have the vision to see that chocolate in the show ring in the future!  It will be these open minded breeders in the show ring with their own lines of chocolates and my hat is off to them.

One needs to be open minded enough to realize if it weren't for independent thinkers like Honey Hollow, Dinro and BMW,  who defied convention and bred the way they believed and produced superlative Great Danes the breed would not be where it is today.  With that in mind, those of us who are seriously breeding the chocolate Dane to produce quality Danes are no different, these dogs are not inferior, on the contrary we strongly feel they have something to contribute to the breed as well.

It's about time people spoke up against the horrible "Color Code of Ethics" which has no purpose other than to whittle down the gene pool, and eliminate colors and patterns which have been around for literally hundreds of years.  If more and more breeders will start to think with their own brains, stand on their own two feet, do the research and not listen to the garbage some people are throwing out there and return to breeding this beautiful color in very correct and healthy Danes, we can achieve the goal of getting chocolate to become a breed standard color!


Chocolates come in a GREAT variety:  lilac,  chocolate,  chocolate harlequin, chocolate merle,  chocolate fawn,

lilac merle  and  a dilute chocolate
photos   © Kiss My Cocoa

Below notice the close up of the Great Dane in the portrait of Guidobaldo II della Rovere by Agnolo Bronzino, circa mid to late 1500's.  Sure looks like a white and black harlequin, doesn't it?

"Up until the year 1880 and without a single known exception we find that all scientist, all historians and people at large the world over are in agreement with that the country of origin of the Great Dane is Denmark. The dog's, Denmark's, Europe's and the World's history changes though with the arrival of Bismarck."

The standard we refer to today can be followed as far back as the year 1891. It was edited by the Deutschen Doggen club which has been founded in 1888 in order to support this breed. In 1897 the first volume of the genealogy of the Great Dane was published and contained 538 entries. Its editor was the Deutsche Doggen club.

Even AFTER 1880 (and with much documented protest by Germany to have the names changed) both England AND the United States created their "GREAT DANE" clubs (1885 in England) and (1889 or 1891 in the US). They were NOT called "Deutches Dogge" Clubs; and matter of fact, there is a rather grimly humorous bit on the net of England's response to Germany's protest over the name of their club...something to the effect that they would rather base their club on a pedigree 200 years old, than on a pedigree that "was born yesterday"  - something to that effect.

The painting below done by Karel van Mander III (1610-1670) titled "Great Dane Raro."  This beautiful animal is in my opinion a chocolate or dilute chocolate mantle because the nose is most definitely brown, not black, nor is it blue!  Raro was given by King Frederick III of Denmark to princess Magdalena Sibylle. She was married to the crown prince Christian.
And Raro was HIGHLY prized, since he was a special gift from the King of Denmark to his daughter.  The dwarf holding the Great Dane is the Italian Giacomo Favorchi; circa 1665!!  Now I'm not saying this was when the first chocolate Dane was actually in existence; this is the earliest evidence I'm aware of of it's existence. 

Bottom line, the present prejudice against Chocolate is simply a German "purist" carryover from well over 100 years ago.

Click on photo to enlarge


Below is an 1861 Danish photo of what looks to be a harlequin!

Click on photo to enlarge


The first show reported was 1886 in Leipzig, with the colors divided as solid, striped and spotted.  

Danes of many beautiful colors and patterns have been seen; brindle with a red-gold base coat and blue stripes, mask and nose; pups (from pure-color fawn-bridle breeding) starting out looking chocolate, then got a bluish tinge, and as an adult looked like an exotic shade of mink; blacks with horizontal stripes (eel-striped,  Aalstrich); Blues with a dark mask; whites with blue and fawn spots; whites with brindle spots,  etc.

A friend of mine was trying to track down the first Dane in the US, came upon a blue and white harl sent by the King of Wurtemberg in 1862 - who was put on exhibition in New York and sparked a great interest in the breed. The same 1890 magazine article gave the first "Great Dane Standard" - which included just about every color and pattern under the sun (including white dogs with striping); AND (interesting to note) on the list of "faults" there was NOTHING about color/pattern....only conformation - which one could/should take to mean that a Dane could NOT be faulted because of color or pattern!

She told me the article went on to say that the very earliest Great Dane records of show entries and wins were LOST by the GDCA (!)

1909 post card of a Dane  in which it appears to be red aka chocolate!


In 1911 Mendel's theory of genetics was just being paid attention to although he worked on it around 1865. Dr. Little's work on coat color in dogs was just starting. The DDC had officially defined the 5 colors, but there were quite a few unorthodox colors around and even registered in Volume I (published 1897) of the stud book  such as blue-brindle or blue-striped (blaugestromt).

Hans Friedrich, a judge of the Deutsches Doggen-Clubs, and long time breeder of "Teutonia" Danes (and who wrote an article on coat color)  mentioned a "very good bitch with a lustrous deep red color" (most likely a chocolate) at the 1907 Vienna show.  She was supposed to have come from a top-winning fawn (yellow) dog, Champion Meteor-Haider, bred to a well-known blue bitch, Champion Donau.

Hans Friedrich said that he liked to consider the appearance of especially noteworthy although faulty-colored Danes. They were, amongst the brindles, blue-striped ones, and silver-striped ones  which were becoming rare even back then in 1911. Among the spotted, from time to time appeared some with the white base-coat and yellow (gelb) or red (rot) or sometimes golden brindle (goldgestromt) spots.  (Could this be what we refer to today as fawnequins.)  Hans Friedrich also saw Harlequins (Tigerdogge) which had blue base and black or smutty-colored patches.  (...and this our standard merles.)

He also said (in 1911)  "25 to 30 years ago" was the high point for blues in Austria. Once in Vienna a "Draprude" appeared in a litter of blues. This color was popular here at that time, and that dog enjoyed much success in competitions. He described "Drap" as probably not a different pigment, but a paling of the blue. Along with the coat color, the dark color of the nose disappears, it becomes leather brown and likewise the nails become light.

Just what was this "Isabella" color like? We can only guess, based on the Isabella Doberman, which is a pinkish-fawnish shade genetically a dilute chocolate (or dilute liver, or dilute red, if you prefer). It would seem to be a different shade from "Drapp," since both terms are used in the studbook.

"Drappfarben" was used to describe a dog with brown nose and light nails, and a coat somewhere between pale blue and fawn  as described by Hans Friedrich.

Danes of many beautiful colors and patterns have been seen; brindle with a red-gold base coat and blue stripes, mask and nose;  pups (from pure-color fawn-bridle breeding) starting out looking chocolate, then got a bluish tinge, and as an adult looked like an exotic shade of mink; blacks with horizontal stripes ("eel-striped," "Aalstrich"); Blues with a dark mask; whites with blue and fawn spots; whites with brindle spots,  etc.

The Germans were meticulous in their description of color.  They also differentiated "spots" or "patches" with "plates,"  large patches of color with smooth edges (versus the usual irregular edges of the normal harl "spots" or "patches"). They called these "plated" dogs, plattenhunds. Dogs such as Alex von Borsigwalde were described as "weiss mit braun Platten" (white with brown plates). The "Brown" that is mentioned is precisely that "braun"; perhaps chocolate, perhaps liver, but never fawn.

One should wonder about the abrupt change of accepted colors in Germany, it seems a strange coincidence that so many colors and patterns were accepted until after (or near the end) of WWII. The country was in shambles, with little food for people, let alone dogs. At least one other  breed, the harlekin pincer (harlequin pinscher) became extinct during WWII  (according to a letter response I received from the German Pinscher Club). Perhaps they wanted to make sure that the German Great Danes with a few "standard" colors survived, at the expense of the other colors. It was not done for any "defect, reason" as some non-white colors were eliminated and the harls kept (which, by nature, produce whites).  One can't help but think that if there had been no WWII, we would see a great many other beautiful colors and patterns?

One innovation Robert Wetz had instituted in Vol. VIII of the DDSB (post WWI)  was most likely a result of his experience with color. Previously, the studbooks had been divided into the 5 accepted colors only: brindles, fawns, blacks, blues and "spotted" ("gefleckt" or what we call harlequins, although the spots may have been of various hues). Nothing else was registered, other than the occasional blue-brindle in the brindle section.

But in Vol. VIII he specified that the harlequin section be for black-and-white harls only, and provided a separate section for "andersfarbig gefleckt und Weisse" (Other-color spotted and whites). This included quite a few blue-and-white harls, whites, and merles; "grey-black spotted," "porzellantiger," etc.

In Vol. IX, which he had nearly finished organizing before his untimely death, the section became simply "Other Colors", and included the following besides blue-and-white harls, etc.: Isabella, white-and-brown, silver brindle, brown-spotted, blue with fawn, blue-brindle, and "drappfarben." 

Volume X continued the "Other Colors" section with many of the same descriptions, plus a couple of fawn-white-spotteds. From then on registrations were no longer divided by color, but by litters, and there were many different colors and patterns. 

Brown, in German Braun (including Rehbraun, i.e. fawn-colour) is rarely mentioned in the breed's history, although red and yellow specifically are each used to describe typical colors commonly seen. The term Rehbraun (for fawn) is not recorded and when Braun is used, it is separated from the usages of Gelb or Rot and typically describes some "brown and white" or "brown" offspring of harlequins; plus the term Braun seems to be only found in Germany in the era between WWI & WWII."

The word "Braun" being used to describe chocolate dogs of other breeds in Germany - even to the present day. No question that "braun" meant "chocolate."  And since that's a fact - then it's also a fact that Chocolate Danes were not only being SHOWN in Europe in 1900 - but were put up as FIRSTs. 

It wasn't until after World War II that the DDC reverted to refusing to register any but the 5 accepted colors.

Much of the above information was shared with me by Jan Harris.  She also told me that off of the top of her head she knew the following Danes were indeed either chocolate or carriers:

Adda v Stolzenburg (harl) (CH Harras Sauer x Ronde v Flamberg) Bred to harl Fram vd Marburg (a blue and brown carrier) and five pups resulted: one black and white harl, one black, one black with white markings, one ?grey-black spotted?, and Alex von Borsigwalde ?weiss mit braun Platten? ?white with brown plates? ? and those ?plates? are not little spots.

Afra v Stolzenburg (?black and white harl with grey?(CH Harras Sauer x Ronde v Flamberg) Had a littler containing, besides two merles, a black and a harl, a ?grey-brown spotted? and a ?grey with brown spots?

Alex von Borsigwalde (?weiss mit braun Platten? ?white with brown plates?) (Fram vd Marburg x Adda v Stolzenburg)

Alexander v Zobtenberg (harl; blue & brown carrier) (Prinz vd Paulsberg x Lohne Vater Jahn) Born July 8, 1921. Was used very extensively for breeding.

Asta v Deutschland (black, brown carrier) (Bryas Uhland x Dina v Proskau) Born October 17, 1928

Basso von Nurburgring (black; blue and brown carrier ? another pedigree said black; brindle/blue carrier) (Landor II v St Magn-Obertraubling x CH Anneliese v Brandholz) Born April 10, 1931. Breeder: Frau Paula de Groote, Nurnberg. Basso was 30 ?? tall at withers. Basso was kept in a dark stable in a city courtyard and supposedly he didn?t look like much, but it was only his phenotype (appearance) that was disappointing. His genotype (genetic background) was superb. Basso went back on his sire?s side to the Stehberger danes (v St. Magn-Obertraubling), and the pups he produced were outstanding.

Bill vd Gilbach (black and white harl) (CH Bosko vd Saalburg x Betty vd Rheinau-Halbinsel) Born 1928. Bill produced 3 black-and-white harlequins, one of which was a ?brown? carrier, 2 fawns, 1 black and a blue-and-white harlequin.

Bricka [Ledl] (white and brown spotted; ?weiss-braun gefleckt?) (CH Lord Tipp Topp x Flora [Pacher]) Born June 14, 1921. Breeder: Fr. Ledl of Ringsee.

Brunhilde v Brandenburg (white and brown spotted) (Heros Sauer x Satanella vd Burg Friesack).

Flora [Pacher] (harl, brown carrier) (born 1920)

Fram vd Marburg (harl; blue & brown carrier) (Hassan Sauer x Tanja vd Marburg) Born June 30, 1930

Freya v Urbachsriesen (black and white harl, blue carrier) (sire was a brown-carrier b/w harl and dam a ?blue/wh H?) Born 1932.

Heros Sauer (?grey-spotted?, ie merle, brown carrier) (CH Prinz Fuchs x CH Hero [Sperberg]) Bred to Satanella vd Burg Friesack (harl) and produced Brunhilde v Brandenburg (white and brown spotted) and her 4 black and white harl littermates. (born after 1916)

Kneissl vd Rheinschanze (black; fawn, brown & blue carrier)

CH Lord Tipp Topp (harl; blue & brown carrier) (Prinz Vater Jahn x Freya Tipp Topp) Born 1919. Owner/Breeder: Andreas Brunner, Munich

Nuscha Funcken vd Heide (white with brown spots, blue carrier) (another pedigree said white with brindle spots, blue carrier) (CH Jagla Moguntia x Contessa v Flamberg) 1932. Bred to Quirl v Duorpem (white with brindle) and had: one black/blue spotted, two black and white harls, one black with white markings.

Pascha Viktoria (harl, brown carrier) (Bismarck Viktoria x Cita v Oberauerbach) Born April 28, 1929

Pilord II Victoria (registered in the DDSB as a black and white harl, but when he went to the US he appared in the AKC records as ?black, white and brown) (Pascha Viktoria x Asta v Deutschland) Born October 13, 1930.

Roland Borussia (harl; blue & brown carrier) (CH Jagla Moguntia x CH Ortrud Borussia)

Satanella vd Burg Friesack (harl) (Prinz v Paulsburg x Lady 5222) Born January 1922. Bred to Heros-Sauer (merle) and produced Brunhilde v Brandenburg (white and brown spotted) and 4 black and white harl littermates.

CH TIlly Land (black, ?brown carrier?) (CH Samiel Tipp-Topp x Drea, unregistered) Born 1914

Troll v Neutemmen (white and brown spotted) (Rex v Alt Potsdam x ?) (born 1923)

Regardless of the EARLY history, there is no question that the Danes in the States originated from the bloodlines in Germany.

There English champion, Ch. Orus of Lockerbie. His color was brindle-harlequin...but there's no mention as to what color the stripes were! Ch. Orus was used for breeding, and so was his brindle sister, Pandora, who is behind some top English dogs."  If you research the Great Dane you will find
the original description of the breed (5th paragraph) allowed for various colors, plus brindles and patched Danes in all possible combinations!!  I've discovered
over the years many articles that I've referred to that support my comments are being deleted so here's a screen shot.

Even more recently a Champion-sired "chocolate" striped Great Dane, Butterscotch, was shown in California (in the early 1970s). Her sire was CH Bartholomew von Overcup.

Below are pictures of Jecamo's Butterscotch, with what looks to be a chocolate nose, shown in 1971 in which her picture is in Dane International, July/Aug. 1971 issue. It was Isabel Karkau and Jane Chopson who acquired her and showed her.  She was eventually disqualified by then-president of the GDCA Rose Sabett for not having the black nose required for a "standard" brindle.  After she disqualified her it is said Sally Haas protested that her own blue in the open blue class did not have a black nose. After this incident the Standard was changed to describe disqualified colors. However, I'd like to mention that a chocolate brindle is suppose to have a chocolate nose so, if Butterscotch truly was a chocolate brindle then she was marked correctly for being the color she was.  There is some talk she may have been liver, regardless, she still should not have had a black nose.

At least her owner was able to show for a short time what was a truly beautiful dog.  Before this time most chocolates (and other off colors) never saw the light of day, instead they were put down by going for a swim in a pail of water or getting a bonk to the head and pretended they didn't exist.  It is said Butterscotch had a 10-generation correctly marked fawn-to-brindle pedigree including correctly marked parents, but since this color is a combination of recessives, both her parents had to be carriers.

Her record:  4 Fun Matches, One Best Puppy, Three Firsts, Two Sanctioned Matches, One Best Adult, One Best of Breed, 5 AKC point shows...One first, One second, One third, One fourth... and then the One no placement.


Jane wrote an article to answer all the critics of her showing Butterscotch, one part that was very impressive was... "It should also be remembered that the appearance of this color is the fault of no one.  It has probably been carried in the breed from it's inception.  Fault does lie in hysterical reaction and in concealing the presence of this gene from buyers and breeders."

It amazes me how I'm accused of being unethical because I am breeding for chocolate Danes thus must be breeding for only color  when Dane judges immediately disqualify a dog with the “wrong color” or even “wrong color NOSE” without even GLANCING at the conformation!  Color is the FIRST thing they apparently look at! 

A friend said to me, "Perhaps for Great Danes – it shouldn’t be called the “Breed Ring” or “Conformation Ring” at all… seems to be better suited to being called “The Great Dane Color Ring.”  Dane breeders, judges and the GDCA itself could learn a great big lesson from studying the judging of Whippets.  There was no accepted standard until the various Great Dane clubs formed and agreed on a standard for their particular club. From what's left of my poor old memory, the English club was established first, then Germany's, and then, in 1889, America's."

I recently came across the following post on a Dane forum while at a friend's house and am amused because this post was by someone who doesn't even breed Danes or any other breed of canine! 


So, what does her statement say about all the Danes listed above as well as the chocolates I have which several come from CH lines


Sounds like the two women above have something backwards.... you have to get the breeding of a color consistent and produce healthy dogs with all the attributes and traits of a Great Dane  BEFORE it is accepted as a breed standard color IN ORDER for it to be shown.   In other words, one has to start somewhere and that's with the breeding, not the color recognition or showing.  I bet the people showing blues, mantles and harls are glad "someone" stuck to their guns and bred these colors because they were "all about the money!"  When you think about it, as stated above, aren't the show people "all about the money"  as Ariel stated above they ask so much for their puppies because of what they put into the litters?  Well, just because someone is breeding a color that is not breed standard does not mean they too don't spend a lot of money on their Danes' general everyday care and the proper care of their litters.  It's incorrect for someone to think that just because a person is breeding a non-breed standard color that they are a puppy mill.  I have seen evidence of many people breeding the standard colors of which by the living conditions and the poor physical conditions of their puppies they appear in every aspect of being a puppy mill, however, I guess just because they are breeding standard colors they are not considered this?  The people bashing the chocolates need to realize it's not the "color" a person is breeding that makes them a puppy mill, it's how they care for their dogs.

If you've read this entire page to this point and other parts of my web site I know you are tired of reading the following statement but it's the truth, "ONE HAS TO START SOME WHERE to get a NEW color accepted as breed standard."

Furthermore, if the first person means chocolates can't be bred correctly because they are a recessive gene,  what about blue being a dilute of black, does that mean blues are not being bred correctly as well?  If that's the case, why then are they a breed standard color? I can only wonder back when mantles and harlequins were not yet breed standard colors, was there someone dishing out mythomation (myth & mis-information) that mantles and harlequins had health issues and could not be bred correctly?  

Take a look at the below pictures - within each picture they are litter sisters, and are actually like two peas in a pod - though, because of the difference in color and pattern, they can at first glance seem totally different. 


Just as people should not be judged by the color of their skin, Danes should not be judged by the color of their coat.   I personally love the fact that just like the fawns, blues and brindles, there are various shades of chocolate!

As far as I'm concerned the color of a Dane's coat is not what makes it a Dane.  It's the overall conformation and appearance.  You can't convince me that if someone saw the Danes shown at the bottom of this page on the street they'd not know they were GREAT Danes. 

I recently had an open minded breeder who has some of the top lines in his pedigrees (that have chocolates and recessive chocolates in the pedigrees) send me his take on the above posting:   WoW!!! Looks like we have a genius here on dogs. You know Gibson the Greatest Dane and World record setter before the Blue Dane of late was  7 years old and had sired a couple of litters before he DIED of BONE cancer. Guess they should have waited for that pure Healthy check up though he had more Health certifications than OBAMA.

Someone else emailed me with this statement:  The attitude of the GDCA smacks of racism to me, and the purists who are trying to stamp out genes  in Danes (and other breeds) smacks of the German Nazism who were trying to "purify" their race.  I thought I was the only one who saw that correlation.  :-)   How can people believe that "purifying a race by eliminating genes" is horrifying for humans but okay for animals?

All I can say is if more people have an open mind and realize it's not the color of one's coat that makes them great, then there is hope for the chocolate becoming a breed standard color as it's apparent it's not only those of us breeding this color wanting change.....


I'm often asked how I have the colors I do because it would be genetically impossible to come up with some of the colors I have (or anyone else) based on the information on their pedigree.  Well, it's an unspoken tradition that many breed standard/show breeders register their "off" colored puppies (those they allow to live) under the wrong color because they don't want others knowing their breed standard dogs are producing off colors. 

A friend asked the other day if I'd ever heard of a Dane BMW Danielle?  She said, "She was a lightly marked mantle and was registered as a harl...and was actually SHOWN as a harl!  And got points!  She said BMW Pumpkin was registered as a harl....but she was a fawniken. Furthermore, many whites have been registered as harls.   But that practice goes back into antiquity - all you have to do is look at Olga vd Priel and Aga vd Ruhr - and examine those pictures closely... lol, can you find any black markings on them....they appear to be pure white...and yet were registered as harls."

Any way... the Germans were meticulous in their description of color, for instance differentiating the color of pups in a litter by Afra v Stolzenburg as:  two merles, a black, a harl, a "grey-brown spotted" and a "grey with brown spots".  

They also differentiated "spots" or "patches" with "plates,"  large patches of color with smooth edges (versus the usual irregular edges of the normal harl "spots or patches". They called these "plated" dogs "plattenhunds."  Dogs such as Alex von Borsigwalde were described as "weiss mit braun Platten" (white with brown plates). The "Brown" that is mentioned is precisely that, "braun"; perhaps chocolate, perhaps liver,  but never fawn. They used the word "Gelb" which means yellow (for what we call fawn).

It's a shame the Americans aren't doing the same because most chocolates were/are registered incorrectly as blacks; dilute chocolate as blue; chocolate fawns and blue fawns as fawns; chocolate brindles as brindles; fawnequins, brindlequins and porcelains as harlequins, etc.   However, thanks to AKC & CKC now recognizing these off colors and assigning specific codes for many of them, and thanks to breeders like me who are correctly registering a puppy by it's true color, those of us breeding for these colors will start having accurate (color) pedigrees and one day have color pure lines.  Check out the detailed color chart I started in the early 2000's before I ever started breeding Danes because I was so drawn to the breed; and it's still a work in progress!

It's a fact that GDCA considers a dog to be pure colour bred if it is "clean" of other colours in the pedigree for 5 generations and that is exactly what the goal of our breeding program is.  However, I'm not sure why that is because a friend of mine came across some interesting information that she emailed me: Adda & Alex v Wendenburg - "pure color bred fawns for THIRTY generations" - and guess what, when they were bred together, they had blues.  Even Brae Tarn had Colonel Sapt - out of Engold and Loheland lines - parents were "pure (fawn) as the driven snow."  Were they shocked when Colonel Sapt (a blue) appeared - and so embarrassed about him that they didn't even put their kennel name on him, just called him Colonel Sapt.  That dog was so heavily linebred on the great Dolf vd Saalburg, it wasn't funny - and he must have been an absolutely incredible dog. What a contribution to the breed (and not just to Blues) he would have made.

Let's not forget that the mantle and harlequin were not always "accepted"  breed standard colors. Mantles were added in the late 90's because of their importance in a harlequin breeding program. They are a great breeding partner to harlequins as they won't produce any double merle puppies and they have the same pattern as desired in a show marked harlequin.  

This recessive black gene (chocolate) can impact the five recognized colors as follows:
Blue - A dilute (silver/blue) chocolate
Black - A solid chocolate
Brindle - Pale peach color with darker chocolate mask and stripes
Fawn - Pail peach color with darker chocolate mask
Harlequin - A white dog with chocolate patches
NOTE:  Since this color is caused by a recessive gene, a dog of any breed standard color may carry this hidden recessive gene!



Reading the above posting I found on a Dane forum I am amused by the fact these people have nothing better to do with their lives than to sit at a computer and gossip about me and my dogs.  They are so desperate to be the center of attention as to state it irritates them that I name many of my Danes and their pups after candy bars and other things that have to do with chocolate, however, I guess it's okay for them to name their puppies after "flowers, colors in the sky, minerals, people, expensive cars, etc."  Forgive me but what makes their names more acceptable than mine???  

Furthermore, I find it ironic many show people have admitted the designer colors are beautiful, they just would never breed for them; and some even own or want to own one!!  These wagging tongues need to remember the conformation of an off colored Dane only gets better if people like me choose to continue to work on it despite all the ridicule so that hopefully one day chocolate too will be a "standard" color just as the harlequins and mantles were eventually accepted.

From looking at the pictures of Butterscotch above and the chocolates below, I'd say designer/off colored Danes do have good conformation and size so, I guess they can not compete in AKC conformation classes simply because of their color?  Is this the KKK (Krazy Kanine Kult) of the dog world?  Well, at least other registries now allow these beautiful colors to compete and recognize these Danes for the beautiful creatures they truly are. 

Personally, I believe, like a good Texas Longhorn, a good Great Dane cannot be a bad color, and I hope that some day the AKC will decide/describe in the Great Dane standard, as they now do with Whippets, that "color is immaterial."   Why is it AKC properly calls some things "patterns" in Doxies all the while calling them "colors" in Danes?

I've been emailed by show people and have read on forums where their main concern is... "The last thing we need is another color in the ring!"  Ha! Finally, they are showing their true colors….defending their own perceived self-interest at all cost. It’s those showing points they are so worried about!"

And yes, I'm aware the 2 males below are not  stacked properly...
they are not show dogs or "someone's trophy items," they are loving family members to those they live with.


photo courtesy of:  Christy Kostoulas   Chocolate stud 180 #s @ 18 mo.
At 3 yrs of age he was 201. 2 pounds!
One of our KMC pups: 153 pounds @ 8 months   An 8 wk old KMC puppy

To learn more click on picture above or
Call  800-474-7044
  Use Order Code:  46033

A 6 wk old KMC puppy    


A friend told me, "When properly bred, an adult chocolate Dane with its size, structure, majesty and expression will "knock your socks off" when you first see it. They have a confident and stable personality, along with playfulness and a "zest" for life; they are the very epitome of a GREAT Dane!"

For those that still say chocolate Danes do not exist after reading this far:


As far as I'm concerned rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools and accepted by idiots.  Bottom line, change happens and those opposed to the chocolate Dane being a breed standard color better prepare themselves.  One must let go of the past to create a great future. 

Lol, even the cosmetic world recognizes how GREAT Chocolate Danes are!


For those who would like to find out just how over-simplified this has been, you'll get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in a book called "The Inheritance of Coat Color in Dogs," by Dr. Clarence C. Little. It's available from the Howell Book House, 730 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10019. The early issues of Great Dane International, back in 1970 and 1971, had a series of most comprehensive articles on genetics leading up to the complicated matter of coat colour, by Dr. Frances Greer. So there has been plenty of research and documentation on the subject.



When a Bird is alive... It eats Ants,
When the Bird is dead... Ants eat the Bird!

Time & Circumstances can change at any time...
You May be Powerful Today... But Remember,
Time is More Powerful Than You!

One tree makes a million match sticks...
But when the time comes...
Only one match stick is needed to burn a million trees...

It takes one Chicken to lay an Egg...
Faulting a Dane purely for it's Color, well...
Don't get caught with Egg on Your Face

When Chocolate becomes a Breed Standard Color!



Coat Color Genetics   Coat Color Alleles in Dogs
Drapp Farbung: A Lost Color in the Great Dane? (article moved so I could not use it to SUPPORT the fact CHOCOLATE Danes have been around for centuries!)   Great Dane Pedigree Data Base
Inheritance of Great Dane Coat Color
(Article moved so I could not use it to SUPPORT the fact CHOCOLATE Danes have been around for centuries!)
  Standard Coat Color
(article moved so I could not use it to SUPPORT the fact CHOCOLATE Danes have been around for centuries!)
The Strip Tease Show by Jill Evans
  VetGen DNA Testing
Test if purebred, for color, etc.
Harelquin Gene Discovered! (Canine Nutritional Consultant)
The Dilution Gene   Coat Color






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