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White Great Dane: Characteristics and Care Tips - PawSafe
Dog Breeds

White Great Dane: Characteristics and Care Tips

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

white Great Dane

The White Great Dane is one of the rarest Great Dane dog color variations. These dogs are often sought after for their calm, loving personalities and striking appearance. And, one of tne of the most distinctive features of White Great Danes is, of course, their spotless white color.

While they may be intimidating at first glance due to their size, White Great Danes are typically very friendly. Their striking coats need extra gentle shampoos because they’re already so delicate. Like all Great Danes, they need joint supporting supplements with the vet’s guidance. 

While Great Danes come in various colors, including black, fawn, and brindle, the white coat is relatively rare and highly sought-after. We will refer to some professional sources and breed experts for a complete White Great Dane guide and breed profile. 

Another challenge of getting a white Great Dane is the cost. White Great Danes are often more expensive than other Great Danes due to their rarity. However, it’s important to be wary of breeders who charge exorbitant prices for white Great Danes, as this could be a sign of unethical breeding practices.

Note that White Great Danes are susceptible to extra issues like skin problems, deafness, and blindness. You can also find these health issues in Harlequin Great Danes since they have a predominantly white coat. You can check out these pups in our linked article.

Overall, while getting a white Great Dane may require some extra effort and expense, it can be a rewarding experience for those willing to put in the time and effort to find a reputable breeder and properly care for their dog.

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Is a White Great Dane The Same As An Albino Great Dane?

White Great Danes and Albino Great Danes are often confused with each other due to their similar appearances. However, there are some key differences between the two.

Pigmentation

The main difference between a White Great Dane and an Albino Great Dane is their pigmentation. A White Great Dane has a white coat but still has pigmentation in their skin, eyes, and nose, so they’ll have a black nose.

Albino Great Danes, on the other hand, have a complete lack of pigmentation in their skin, eyes, and nose. The result is a pink nose and blue eyes. So, if you want to tell apart an Albino and a white dog, just check their noses.

Health Concerns

Albino Great Danes are also more prone to health issues than White Great Danes. This is because the lack of pigmentation in their skin makes them more susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. Additionally, their lack of pigmentation in their eyes can cause vision problems and extreme sensitivity to light.

History & Origins of White Great Danes

White Great Danes have a long and interesting history. Great Danes are believed to result from crossing the English Mastiff, the Irish Wolfhound, and the Greyhound. The breed initially hunted wild boar, deer, and bears but quickly became valued pets due to their gentle natures.

In 1887, the AKC recognized Great Danes, including white-colored ones (code 199). Many kennel clubs worldwide recognize white Great Danes, including the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC).

Despite their popularity, white Great Danes have faced some controversy over the years. Some breeders are under scrutiny for breeding for white coats at the expense of the breed’s health and temperament. 

Understanding White Coat Genetics in Great Danes

First off, all white dog breeds are white for different reasons and different responsible genetics. For example, the genetics behind a White French Bulldog are vastly different from those of a Great Dane. 

Some theorize that White Great Danes result from the extreme white spotting “sw gene. However, the catch is that the extreme spotting gene is that they at least have some color on the head, even if it is faint. However, color on the head is not the case with white Great Danes.

Unfortunately, the more likely way to get White Great Danes is by doubling up on the dominant Merle gene (M). This means that most White Great Danes are actually double merles (MM) Great Danes or (MM/Hh) with one Harlequin gene. 

Double Merles are very prone to health problems because the two merle genes increase their chances of blindness, deafness, or both. Additionally, they may have eye defects like extremely small eyes, underdeveloped retinas, and even optic nerves.

However, the good news is that research observes that double merles with a low piebald frequency (the s gene) are observed to have fewer auditory and visual issues.

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Physical Characteristics of White Great Danes

White Great Danes are a majestic breed of dog known for their large size and gentle nature. They have a well-muscled body with a deep, broad chest, giving them impressive athleticism. Despite being massive, White Great Danes must never be overly bulky.

They have a large, blocky head and a well-proportioned muzzle. White Great Danes have adorably floppy ears, although some people crop them for the intimidation factor. Their noses must be black to prove they aren’t albinos.

These dogs have a pure white coat that is soft and smooth to the touch, and they often have striking dark, blue, or green eyes that add to their unique appearance.

How Big Is A White Great Dane?

White Great Danes are one of the largest breeds of dogs, standing at 28 to 34 inches (71 to 86 cm) at the shoulder and can weigh between 140 to 175 pounds (64 to 79 kg) or more.

Coat Type: Is A White Great Dane Hypoallergenic & Do They Shed?

White Great Danes have a short, smooth coat that is easy to maintain. They are not hypoallergenic and do shed, but their shedding is minimal compared to other breeds.

Temperament and Personality Traits

White Great Danes are known for their gentle and affectionate personalities, giving them the nickname “gentle giants.” They are loyal and devoted to their families and are known to be patient and tolerant of children.

Despite their size, White Great Danes are not aggressive dogs. They are generally friendly with strangers and other animals and are not known to be barkers. However, they do have a protective instinct and will bark if they feel their family is in danger.

White Great Danes are averagely intelligent dogs eager to please their owners. They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and are quick learners. They are also known to be sensitive dogs and do not respond well to harsh training methods.

White Great Dane Suitability With Children & Other Animals

White Great Danes are known for being patient and tolerant with kids. However, due to their massive size, it is important to supervise interactions between children and Great Danes to ensure the safety of both parties.

When it comes to other animals, White Great Danes can get along well with cats and other dogs if socialized properly from a young age. However, their size and strength can be intimidating for smaller pets, so it is important to introduce them slowly and carefully.

Health Concerns of White Great Danes

Since we have concluded that White Great Danes are almost always double merles, they suffer from double-merle health issues like blindness and deafness. They also suffer from problems affecting the Great Dane breed.

  • Deafness: Deafness is a common health concern in white Great Danes. According to studies, about 10% of Great Danes will be fully deaf, and 15% will be partially deaf due to merle gene doubling. 
  • Vision problems: White Great Danes are also prone to vision problems such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and glaucoma. Merle dogs have a high chance of partial or complete blindness.
  • Skin Conditions: White Great Danes are more prone to skin conditions than other colored Great Danes due to their lack of pigmentation. They are more susceptible to sunburn, skin cancer, allergies, and skin infections. 
  • Eye defects: White Great Danes are susceptible to abnormal eyes like extremely small eyes (microphthalmia), having no eyes (Anophthalmia), and retina and optic nerve issues.
  • Wobbler syndrome: A neurological condition that affects a dog’s spine at the neck region. About 4.2% of Great Danes have wobbler syndrome.
  • Bloat (gastric torsion): Bloat causes the stomach to twist on itself. Research shows that 42% of all Great Danes might experience this condition. 
  • Heart issues like dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart).
  • Cancers like osteosarcoma (bone cancer).
  • Hip dysplasia (hip and joint don’t connect properly) and arthritis. 
  • Thyroid issues
  • Moderate issues like dental problems, obesity, ear infections, and allergies.

Caring for a White Great Dane

Diet

A white Great Dane requires a balanced, high protein (30%) diet formulated for giant breeds. Puppies must never eat adult food as that could cause them to grow too fast and have joint and bone issues. 

Great Danes are prone to bloat, a life-threatening condition when the stomach twists and traps gas inside. It is best to feed your dog smaller meals (2 meals) throughout the day instead of one large meal. Also, avoid feeding your dog immediately before or after exercise.

Related:

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Exercise

White Great Danes are large and energetic dogs that require regular exercise for one hour every day to stay healthy and happy. Choose low-impact workouts like walking and swimming to keep those joints in good condition.

Great Danes are also prone to joint problems, so it is important to provide them with comfortable bedding and avoid activities that put excessive strain on their joints, such as jumping or running on hard surfaces.

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Grooming

White Great Danes require minimal grooming. They have short, smooth coats that shed moderately throughout the year. Here are a few White Great Dane grooming tips:

  • Brush them twice a week to remove loose hair and prevent matting.
  • Clean their ears with canine wipes twice a month.
  • Clean their eyes every few days with quality eye wipes to prevent boogers and staining. 
  • Trim their nails with a pet clipper every two weeks.
  • Bathing should be done monthly or only when necessary with a gentle shampoo, as frequent bathing can strip their coat of its natural oils.
  • Brush their teeth twice a week and also use a dog mouthwash.

Due to light sensitivity, you may need to expose these dogs to sunlight much less than other breeds. However, they still need some sun exposure, at which point you can use canine sunscreen. 

Training a White Great Dane

Training a White Great Dane can be a challenging task due to their large size, but they are eager to please and gentle. With patience and consistency, it is possible to train them effectively.

When training a White Great Dane, starting at an early age is important. Socialization is crucial for this breed, so exposing them to different people, animals, and environments will help them become well-adjusted and confident dogs.

Positive reinforcement is the most effective training method for White Great Danes. Rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, and affection will encourage them to repeat the behavior. Avoid punishment and physical correction, as it can cause fear and aggression in this breed. 

You can read our articles on how to discipline your dog and how to correct your dog for pooping in the house for tips on gentle pawrenting.

Training sessions should be short and frequent to keep the dog’s attention and prevent boredom. Consistency is key, so using the same commands and training techniques will help the dog understand what is expected of them.

Some basic commands to teach a White Great Dane include sit, stay, come, and heel. Leash training is also important for this breed due to its size and strength.

Where to Get a White Great Dane

Breeders

When looking for a breeder, it is crucial to do your research and find one that is reputable and responsible. Note that Double Merles are quite unhealthy, so it’s best to opt for adoption whenever possible to minimize their breeding. 

If breeding is still your ideal path, go for certified breeders from major clubs. Luckily, the AKC accepts white as a valid Great Dane color. The AKC has a list of breeders that have met their standards for responsible breeding practices. 

Additionally, the Great Dane Club of America (GDCA) has a breeder referral program to help you find a reputable breeder.

When you find a breeder, be sure to ask about their dogs’ health history, breeding practices, and if they socialize their puppies. It is also important to visit the breeder in person and meet the puppies and their parents before deciding. Ensure they present all genetic health tests on the parents for offspring health.

Rescue and Adoption

Rescue and adoption can be a great way to give a loving home to a White Great Dane in need. There are many breed-specific rescue organizations that specialize in Great Danes, including those that focus on White Great Danes.

Adopting a White Great Dane can be a rewarding experience, but it is important to remember that rescue dogs may come with their own challenges. Working with a reputable rescue organization that conducts thorough evaluations of their dogs and provides support and resources for adopters is crucial.

Some reputable Great Dane rescue organizations include:

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a white Great Dane puppy cost?

The cost of a white Great Dane puppy for sale can vary depending on various factors, such as the breeder, location, and lineage. On average, a white Great Dane puppy can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000.

What are some common health problems for Great Danes?

Great Danes are prone to certain health issues, such as hip dysplasia, bloat, heart disease, and cancer. It is important to have regular checkups with a veterinarian and to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine for your Great Dane.

What is the rarest color for a Great Dane?

The rarest color for a Great Danes is blue and other recessive colors. This is because it is a recessive gene and requires both parents to carry the gene for a puppy to be born with blue fur. However, Harlequin is arguably the most expensive. 

What are some common Great Dane colors?

Some common Great Dane colors include black, fawn, brindle, and harlequin. These colors can also have variations, such as mantle or merle.

How common are white Great Danes?

White Great Danes are less common than other colors, but the American Kennel Club still recognizes them. They are often sought after for their unique and striking appearance.

What are some unique coat patterns for Great Danes?

Some unique coat patterns for Great Danes include merle, harlequin, and mantle. These patterns can create a beautiful and distinct look for your Great Dane.

What are some factors to consider when buying a Great Dane?

When buying a Great Dane, it is important to consider factors such as the breeder’s reputation, the dog’s lineage, temperament, and the amount of space and exercise the dog will need. It is also important to be prepared for the financial responsibilities of owning a giant breed dog.

Final Thoughts

The White Great Dane is a magnificent breed well-suited for families with ample space and time to devote to their pets. They are gentle giants with a calm and patient demeanor, making them ideal for households with children. However, they suffer health issues from being Great Danes and also due to being white dogs, so they must get constant medical checkups.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.