These unique dogs feature a captivating tiger-striped coat pattern passed down through a recessive gene. Their brindle coats showcase a stunning blend of red, black, fawn, or gray colors, creating an eye-catching appearance. They are among some of the most popular dog breeds, but before you go and buy yourself one alongside all the essential bits like the best dog treats, we can give you a full lowdown on these unique canines.
Often compared to the tortoiseshell pattern in cats, brindle dogs exhibit irregular streaks of darker color that contrast with their base coat. Dr Joanna Woodnutt, who holds a degree in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Nottingham, describes the brindle coat as 'complicated'. "It comes from a recessive gene, but can also be changed by several other genes."
While not every dog can possess this distinctive marking, you'll be surprised by the number of popular breeds that do. Join us as we delve into the realm of brindle coat dogs, exploring 10 of the most sought-after breeds. Discover their individual personalities and traits that perfectly complement their enchanting coat patterns.
If you want to find out more about the gene make up behind brindle breeds we also got Dr Woodnutt to explain more for us further down.
After graduating as a veterinarian from the University of Nottingham, Dr Joanna Woodnutt went on to practice companion animal medicine in the Midlands, UK. Dr Woodnutt is specifically interested in consulting and helping her clients understand their pets better, whether it’s around medical problems such as dermatology, behavior, and nutrition.
1. Great Dane
The majestic Great Dane is well-known for being a gentle giant who's fiercely loyal to his or her owners. Standing as tall as 32 inches at the shoulders, it's difficult to think of anything beyond their towering size, but their appearance also includes a range of distinctive colors including black, blue, fawn, harlequin, mantle, merle and brindle.
Arguably one of the most unique color patterns, the brindle Great Dane typically has jet black stripes upon a golden yellow coat.
2. Pit Bull
While there are a number of breeds that sit within the Pit Bull family, a brindle Pit Bull is typically an American Pitbull Terrier or a Staffordshire Terrier that has a brindle coat. While the base color ranges from a fawn to a dark brown color, the stripes can be either yellow and red or black and brown, almost giving them the appearance of a tabby cat.
While it's common to think of a Boxer being fawn or white in color, there's actually over 15 different combinations to their coat, including a brindle pattern. Typically a Boxer's brindle coat will be fawn-colored to the base, with light or dark striping. A Boxer with a standard brindle coat is usually white on his chest, paws and ankles with a black muzzle.
Some Boxers, however, are heavily striped which is commonly referred to as "reverse brindling" but they still feature the trademark fawn base color with black stripes.
You may know them for their trademark narrow face, muscular body and long skinny legs, but there's actually so much more to the Greyhound's appearance than you think. For a start, they aren't always gray in color, as their name suggests. In fact, a Greyhound can also be fawn, black, red, blue or white-colored; there's actually a staggering 18 primary colors and 55 different color combinations.
While brindle on a Greyhound is not always common, there's a huge range of colored markings to be found on this popular breed.
5. French Bulldog
It's likely you think of a black-colored French Bulldog but this loveable breed actually comes in a few colors including fawn, white and brindle. A brindle French BullDog may be either light or dark-colored with some coats featuring the pattern all over, while others display it only in certain areas.
A well-known French Bulldog coat type is white and brindle which is typically has a white or cream colored coat with patches of dark-colored hair.
A breed of hunting dog that originated in central Africa, the Basenji has a short and fine coat that typically features a few colors. These include chestnut red, black, tricolor or brindle, with brindle usually consisting of black stripes on a chestnut red base. The breed can also be tricolor with brindle markings, which is frequently referred to as 'trindle' by Basenji breeders.
7. Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Thanks to Her Majesty The Queen, it's most common to think of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi with its warm red color, but there are actually multiple colors and markings amongst all the Corgi sub-breeds. One of the most unique, in terms of coat pattern, is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi which can feature a brindle pattern. Their coat can come in shades of red, sable, and black; with or without tan or brindle points.
Perhaps the most striking and lesser known version of the majestic Akita breed, a brindle Akita typically features black and brown stripes but it can also be white or fawn. Their unique appearance may be also be attributed to the fact that the Akita breed itself is not widely owned; while their adorable good looks has made them popular stars across social media they can be a challenging dog breed for first-time owners.
9. Plott Hound
While many dogs are better known for colors and markings other than brindle, the Plott Hound mostly features this. Their thick double coat, developed as a way to protect them from the cold weather in the mountains of North Carolina, is often tan, chocolate, yellow, orange, gray, blue, liver, brown, or black in color. More unusually you may find them with a buckskin color that ranges from a light cream to hues of red and golden brown.
If you've never heard of this breed, that's because they're rare, and are most commonly found as working dogs rather than kept as pets.
The Mastiff may be one of the largest breeds of dogs out there, but they're also one of the most loveable. While there's several breeds that come under the Mastiff bracket, surprisingly one featuring a brindle coat is not that common.
While any type of Mastiff can feature a brindle coat, it's the African Boerboel that's most likely to feature the distinctive markings.
Usually, a brindle Mastiff features a base color of either apricot or fawn while their entire body is covered in black stripes. The breed also has a black muzzle, ears, eye rims and snout.
Where does the brindle color of dogs come from?
Understanding the brindle coat color in dogs can be a bit complex, but Dr Woodnut was able to help us break it down for you. The color comes from a recessive gene, which means it needs to be inherited from both parents for the dog to have a brindle coat. However, other genes can also influence the appearance of the coat.
At the K locus, which is a specific location in the genetic code, there are three possible genes: black (dominant), brindle (somewhat recessive), and non-solid black (very recessive). Another important locus, called the A locus, comes into play when the dominant black gene is not present at the K locus.
Dogs with one or two black genes will express that gene strongly because it's highly dominant. On the other hand, dogs with a brindle gene and a non-solid black gene, or two brindle genes, will have a brindle coat. This means that any red in the coat will have brindle markings, but the amount of red depends on the gene expressed at the A locus and other genes that affect how the black and red pigments are shown.
"Coat color in dogs is complex, and we’re still finding the genes responsible for all the coat colors", notes Dr Woodnutt, "For instance, we haven’t yet identified the gene for the thickness of the brindle stripe, which can vary from thin black stripes over the red base all the way to stripes so thick the red is barely visible."
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Ashleigh is Digital Editor on PetsRadar. With over 8 years of experience in print and digital media, she has acted as an editorial lead on a variety of projects, with animal themes a keen interest. As an avid animal lover, you can often find Ashleigh checking out the newest trends in animal care or looking at cute cat videos on TikTok.
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