Sometimes called tiger-striped dogs, these brindle breeds have some of the most uniquely colored coats in all of the animal kingdom.
A dog’s coat is one of its most striking features. There are solid-colored white dogs and black dogs, multi-colored breeds, including these black and white dogs, and, perhaps somewhat less well-known, brindle dogs. Sometimes described as tiger-striped dogs, brindle pups have a subtly striped pattern that can come in a range of colors such as red, fawn, brown, silver, and black. Unlike more distinct stripes—such as the ones you might see on a zebra—brindle stripes are more blended and sometimes blotchy.
A brindle color dog’s stripes and base color don’t vary much in hue. Usually, they have dark stripes and a base color that is only somewhat lighter. When there are light-colored stripes on a darker coat, it’s called a reverse brindle. These striped dogs can have the brindle pattern all over their bodies or just in certain spots. Interestingly, brindle coats can appear on other types of animals as well, including cats, guinea pigs, cattle, and horses.
Why are some dogs brindle?
A dog’s genetics determine if it will have a brindle coat. To be brindle, a dog must carry the brindle gene—and only certain breeds do. However, the brindle gene is recessive to the black-colored gene, which means that many dogs that carry the gene will be black or multicolored.
Similar to blue-eyed dogs and dogs with green eyes, simply choosing a dog breed that carries the brindle gene doesn’t guarantee that your dog will have a brindle coat; it just means that there’s a possibility it will. Additionally, mixed breeds and mutts can also carry the brindle gene. A brindle coat can develop as your dog ages, and so a solid-colored pup could develop stripes as it gets older.
While a brindle coat can certainly make your pup stand out from the crowd, it won’t change his personality. Before adopting a pup, you’ll want to make sure that the breed’s general character and temperament suit your lifestyle. Ahead, find the cutest dog breeds that carry the brindle gene. Looking to adopt a new pet? These are the best dog breeds for families.
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Brindle boxers are fairly common. In fact, brindle is one of three colors recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a breed standard (the other two colors are fawn and white). Adorably, these pups often have white feet and bellies, even if their coats are primarily brindle. Frequently used as cattle dogs, police dogs, guide dogs, and watch dogs, boxers are playful, loyal, and patient with children. Most years they even make it onto the AKC’s list of the top ten most popular dog breeds.
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2. French bulldog
The American Kennel Club recognizes these playful pups in nine coat colors and patterns, including brindle. Some Frenchies also have cream brindles, or “fawn brindle,” coats. Originally made popular by society ladies in Paris as the quintessential city dogs, these flat-faced pups are currently the fourth most popular dog breed in the United States. They’re known for their oversized bat ears and charming, adaptable personalities.
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A greyhound is guaranteed to outrun all the other pups at the park. These graceful hounds have coats in various shades of brindle, including blue brindle, red brindle, white and blue brindle, and white and red brindle. Originally bred as hunting dogs in Egypt, this quick-footed breed can still be found on racetracks around the world today. They have a reputation for being gentle and independent. And while they’re perfectly happy lounging at home during the day, they require the regular opportunity to run full out. After all, they are the fastest dog breed in the world.
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Another speedy dog, the whippet lives up to its name. Similar to the greyhound, these dogs have an inverted S shape and a trim waist. They’re affectionate, playful, and calm, and do just as well with a large backyard as they do in the city (although they will need adequate exercise). An interesting fact? This breed rarely barks. You can find whippets with blue brindle, fawn brindle, red brindle, and black brindle coats.
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5. Dutch shepherd
Often seen in a gold brindle and silver brindle, these intelligent brindle pups are frequently used as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and guide dogs. They’re known for their athleticism, independence, and lively personalities. In addition to two brindle colors, Dutch shepherds can also have three different coat types: short hair, long hair, and rough hair. Rough-haired Dutch shepherd’s coats are so curly that the brindle pattern is hidden.
6. Great Dane
These gentle giants have coats in an array of colors and patterns, from black and white to fawn and brindle. But obviously, the great Dane’s most noticeable characteristic is its size. Standing up to 32-inches tall and weighing up to 175 pounds, these sizable pups, one of the world’s biggest dog breeds, tower over most other dogs. Great Danes are friendly, dependable, and great with kids. They also make formidable watchdogs (their size alone will deter most intruders).
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The Akita is one of the fluffiest brindle color dogs. Originally bred as hunting dogs in Japan, these pups hold a special place in Japanese culture. When a child is born, the parents will often receive a small Akita statue to signify health, happiness, and long life. Hellen Keller is credited with bringing the first Akita to the United States; the disability rights activist received a pup as a gift while visiting Japan. These muscular dogs are loyal, dignified, and somewhat wary of strangers and other animals.
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8. Jack Russel terrier
Brindle coats are slightly more rare in Jack Russel terriers than other brindle breeds, but when they do occur, they’re beautiful. The terriers sometimes brindle in the face with white colorings on the remainder of their bodies. Intelligent and agile, these cuties make great companions for jogs, hikes, and obedience activities (seriously, they’d learn a new trick every day if you taught them). Here are more of the smartest dog breeds that make training easy.
9. American Staffordshire terrier
American Staffordshire terriers have glossy short-haired coats that are seen in a range of colors, such as black, white, bronze, fawn, red, and brindle. They’re also seen with many different patterns, from patches and spots to face masks. These muscular, sturdy dogs are known for their confident and good-natured personalities. Adopt one and you’ll have a friend ’til the end.
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You know these pups from their short stature and floppy ears. But did you know about their coats? Dachshunds are found in a variety of colors and color combinations from black and cream and black and tan to blue and cream and chocolate and cream. They’re also frequently seen with a brindle pattern. Dachshunds are spunky, curious pups, and require moderate amounts of exercise to keep their adorably long backs strong and healthy. Not to mention, they’re one of the cutest dog breeds with short legs.
11. Cane Corso
If we had to choose one word to describe the cane Corso, it’d be majestic. At nearly 28-inches tall and weighing more than 100 pounds, this working group brindle dog is an intimidating protector. This Italian dog’s name roughly translates to “bodyguard dog” in Latin. These dogs are smart, loyal, and eager to please, although their assertive nature makes them a no-go for novice owners. They’re most frequently seen with black, black brindle, and chestnut brindle coats.
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Another gentle giant breed, bullmastiffs are the result of bulldog and mastiff crosses. Members of the working group, these muscular pups were originally used to pursue and hold poachers in England. Today, they’re known for their affectionate, loyal, and courageous personalities. They have various colored brindle coats, including fawn brindle, red brindle, and red fawn brindle.
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13. Bull terrier
The bull terrier’s most notable feature is its head, which the AKC lovingly calls egg-shaped. These big-boned pups are playful and charming; in the mid-1800s, they were the breed of choice among stylish young gentlemen in Britain. You can find bull terriers in a range of colors and patterns, including black brindle and white with black brindle spots. Their coats are short and coarse with a slight glossy sheen.
14. Plott hound
The Plott hound is named after the man who bred them, a German immigrant named Johannes Plott who raised the dogs in North Carolina. They’re descended from German Hanover hounds and were bred to hunt large game animals such as bear and wild boar. The German dog breed comes in a range of brindle colors, including black brindle, blue brindle, brown brindle, gray brindle, red brindle, and more. Plotties are loyal, alert, and intelligent, and have lots of energy to spare. Because of their history, they’re also North Carolina’s official state dog.
15. Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Did you know corgis are short for a reason? Originally bred as herders, the corgi’s low-to-the-ground stature allows them to nip at the heels of cattle without getting kicked. However, while they were bred to work hard, they also make affectionate and loyal companion dogs. Sometimes seen in brindle and white, the cardigan Welsh corgi has pointy ears, a long body, and a deep chest. And unlike the Pembroke corgi, these guys have tails.