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Chocolate Great Dane: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

Chocolate Great Dane Dog lying on the floor

As the name suggests, a chocolate Great Dane is a Great Dane that has a brown coat. They’re also called “lilac,” which is a word commonly used to describe brown dogs. They’re known for being very muscular and large. However, they are also very cuddly. (You’ve probably seen a Great Dane hilariously trying to sit in someone’s lap!)

Read on below for more about this gorgeous pooch.


Height: 28–34 inches
Weight: 110–200 pounds
Lifespan: 6–10 years
Colors: Brown
Suitable for: Families with plenty of space
Temperament: Gentle, loyal, calm

While these dogs are a unique color, their temperament and other traits are the same as any other Great Dane. Therefore, which color you pick is largely dependent on your personal preferences. We’ll dive into this color variation more below.

Chocolate Great Dane Breed Characteristics


hepper-dog-paw-divider2The Earliest Records of the Chocolate Great Dane in History

Chocolate is not a coloration that is recognized by the AKC. Furthermore, it is extremely rare and doesn’t appear all that often. In likelihood, these dogs have existed for at least the last 25 years. However, we do not know exactly how or when it originated.

The Great Dane itself has a fairly long history, though. It has a history that dates back to ancient times when it was originally used for boar hunting. Before the gun was invented, the dog would have to hold the boar in place while the hunter killed it.

However, the gun eliminated this need, practically taking the Great Dane out of the field overnight. Luckily, this dog was well-liked by many nobles and found its way into their homes as guard dogs. They were later refined by English breeders, who crossed them with Greyhounds to provide a more “elegant” appearance.

Chocolate Great Dane dog looking up
Image Credit: Vojce, Shutterstock

Why Is the Chocolate Great Dane Not Recognized by the AKC?

The chocolate Great Dane is not recognized by the AKC. However, there are many official breed colors that these dogs can come in. These include blue, black, brindle, harlequin, merle, fawn, and mantle. While that is a lot of colors, they are the only ones allowed in AKC-registered Great Danes.

Any other color (including chocolate) would be disqualified from all shows. However, these dogs can still be registered with the AKC and participate in other events, like agility and obedience.

The chocolate color is exceedingly rare, which is likely why it isn’t accepted by the AKC.

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Top 5 Unique Facts About Chocolate Great Danes

1. These dogs require a recessive gene, which makes them very rare

For a Great Dane to be chocolate, an otherwise black dog must inherit two copies of the recessive gene from its parents. This gene is recessive, which means that it takes two copies for the gene to activate. One copy doesn’t do anything at all. Because it’s challenging to find Great Danes with the dilute gene at all, the chocolate Great Dane is exceedingly rare.

2. Chocolate isn’t considered an “official color”

The AKC doesn’t recognize chocolate as an “official color.” Therefore, these dogs cannot be shown in official AKC shows. Finding breeders that specialize in this coloration is difficult as most breeders choose an “official” color.

3. Most chocolate Great Danes have white markings

These dogs are not typically all chocolate. Instead, they often have white markings on their limbs, face, and chest. Some may be more chocolate than others, though. It all depends on the dog’s genetics.

4. They usually have brown eyes

Chocolate Great Danes usually have brown eyes. However, they can also have hazel or yellow eyes. There are many genes that affect a dog’s eye color, so looking at their parent’s eyes won’t always give you a clear indication of what the puppy’s eyes will be.

5. They aren’t much different from other Great Danes

Despite looking different, these dogs are extremely similar to other Great Danes. They have the same temperament, personality, and needs. The only difference is that they are brown.

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Do Chocolate Great Danes Make a Good Pet?

Chocolate Great Danes can make wonderful pets for the right owners. They’re extremely loyal, calm dogs that do well in families of all sorts. While they were originally hunting dogs, this breed has been inside the home for a very long time. Therefore, they have many traits that people seek out in a companion animal.

For instance, they’re very friendly and get along with just about everyone. They’re also affectionate and very people-oriented. You can expect them to follow you around the house and greet you at the door.

However, no dog is perfect. Great Danes are extremely large, as you probably know. They require a lot of space. While they only have moderate exercise needs, they do require a lot of space to meet these needs. They’ll need longer walks and bigger areas to run. Furthermore, these dogs are prone to several health problems and have a short lifespan. Therefore, they’re not necessarily great for someone looking for a dog that will be around for the next 15 years.

Chocolate Great Danes don’t really work well for those living in an apartment or for people who spend a lot of time away from home. They need room and attention. If you can provide these things, they may make a great companion.

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Chocolate Great Danes are not an official color recognized by the AKC. They’re extremely rare, requiring two recessive genes, so it can be challenging to find a chocolate Great Dane puppy. If you aren’t set on a color, then it’s often best not to get stuck on looking for a chocolate puppy (as your odds of finding one are low).

Great Danes do need a lot of room and attention, but they are also very friendly. They’re known for being affectionate and loving, which often makes them fit in well to many homes.

Featured Image Credit: Vojce, Shutterstock

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