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Coat Color Test for Great Dane

Great Danes occur in a wide variety of coat colors. Although the alleles causing all the coat colors have not yet been identified, DNA tests are available to identify the presence of some of these, which are outlined below. There are two common alleles in Great Danes at the E locus: EM and E. EM produces a melanistic (dark) mask. It is only visible on fawn or brindle dogs. So the mask is not visible on Harlequin, Mantle, merle, or white Danes, and is not distinguishable from the body color on black and blue Danes. Since the presence of mask is dominant to its absence, one does not know if a dog with a mask is EME or EMEM, unless one parent did not have mask without DNA testing.

Blue in Great Danes is caused by the presence of two d alleles. Blue is carried by some black, fawn and other colored Great Danes. A dog with only one d allele is never blue, but can produce blue. A dd genotype would cause a fawn Great Dane to have a blue mask instead of a black mask if the EM allele is present. A dd genotype would cause a brindle Great Dane to have blue instead of black stripes on a pale fawn. All Great Danes are ayay at the agouti locus so there is no need to test for alleles at the agouti locus. Although DNA tests are not yet available for alleles of the K locus, recent research has shown that black or blue dogs have at least one K allele. At the present time there is no test to distinguish which black or blue dog might carry brindle or fawn, which is caused by the presence of recessive alleles at the K locus.

Brindle dogs have at least one copy of the kbr allele (they may have two). Fawn dogs do not carry brindle because they are kk. There is also no DNA test for Harlequin at this time. It has recently been proven that Harlequin dogs all carry at least one copy of the merle allele. Learn more…