There seem to be a lot of voices out there that repeat without evidence that the Blue Danes have lots of fur coat issues. I’m not so sure that these assertions are true, though they are widely believed.
Most people don’t know–even many show judges don’t know–that the coats of blues are often harsher in texture than those of other colors of Danes. I feed the exact same diet that a friend feeds his fawn Dane (which is roughly the same age as Kunga), but his dog’s coat is much smoother and softer.
In addition, I think the blue and black puppy sheds are particularly awful compared to those of other Danes, since the old fur turns brown and unsightly before it falls. There can be odd black-looking dots or patches that are simply the new hair shining through, but which look like the dog has a pox. This isn’t a coat problem, it’s just the price we pay for those gorgeous steel-blue adult coats.
The only scientific evidence I’ve been able to find about blue Dane coat problems is that some of them suffer from “color mutant alopecia,” which sounds dreadful, doesn’t it? Blue dogs carry a gene that dilutes the color black to their blue color, making them a “color mutant.” In some breeds the dilution is associated with this skin/coat problem. Alopecia means hair loss, and the condition results in bald spots, dry skin, infected hair follicles, and brittle hair. The problem is huge in blue Dobermans, but well-bred blue Danes do not generally have it. It seems to be genetic, though there are many factors at the color gene site on the DNA that can cause it. Here’s another argument for buying your Dane only from a responsible breeder that does health checks and understands pedigrees.
It’s unfortunate that people think blue Danes are unhealthy in this way. There’s even a strand of discussion on Yahoo’s “answers” that asserts that almost all blue Danes suffer from alopecia! I’d invite that responder to come visit any reputable blue Dane breeder to see those spectacular, glossy coats and reconsider that answer.