Did you recently see a beautifully striped dog and wonder “what kind of coloring is that?” That type of coloring is called brindle, and there are many different types of dogs that have this type of coat color. There’s a gene required for a dog to fall into the brindle dog breeds, and we will look at that and more below.
A dog’s brindle coat can come in two ways – brindle or reverse brindle. There’s some examples of both below, and both are absolutely stunning in color. It’s similar to the tortoiseshell coloring for cats, but just reflective in dogs instead. They can also come in several brindle color types, which include blue brindle, red brindle, fawn brindle, brown brindle and a mixture of white with any of the four.
Below you fill find a non-exhaustive list of brindle dog breeds that have a brindle coat. Many mixed breed pups come equipped with this beautifully colored and striped coat as well. Before we get into our favorite striped breeds, let’s look at the different types of brindle and how the coloring came about.
What Does Brindle Coloring Mean?
The brindle coat has been around as long as dogs have been running around on the earth. The Brindle color coat is one of the recessive genes on the K locus. It’s charactarized by either having black coloring/stripes on an orange background where the orange occasionally peeks through, or light stripes over a darker background or coat, almost resembling a tiger’s striped coat in some ways.
The darker or heavier brindle coloring is the traditional color that’s typically the most discussed. The lighter brindle coloring is called a “reverse brindle.” This type of coat has the lighter color being more prominent on the darker background of the dog’s coat.
Some breeds can carry a more grey or “blue” looking color of the brindle color. The orangeish/reddish color coats are “red” brindles, while the fawn colors are a lighter orange, almost tan color. The pictures below will give you a good idea of the many different coat colors you can expect.
What Breeds Carry the Brindle Gene?
There are many brindle dog breeds that carry the color gene, and all of them can look equally beautiful. While there’s only one breed that’s guaranteed to carry the brindle color every time, many breeds carry the genes in with other mixed colors, most notably a merle coloring which is almost like a marbling of solid colors mixed with a brindle coat.
We’ve carved out over 20 different breeds that can carry the brindle gene, and have pictures of these stunning pups for you to take a look at with each breed. While this coat coloring does seem slightly more common in some breeds of dogs like the molosser dogs, it can creep up in many other breeds we look at in detail below.
One of our favorite brindle coated pups is the Dutch Shepherd. As you can see by the featured image in this article above, the dutch shepherd in brindle can be absolutely striking in how they look. They carry the brindle gene, and often carry amber colored eyes with this coat color combination to boot.
Dutch Shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs and are often used for police work and military work. This breed can be harder to train for less experienced dog owners, so make sure you are prepared to invest time and money into the training of your pup to ensure you have a well-behaved family companion.
The Bullmastiff carries the brindle gene. These gentle giants have a relatively high likelihood of having this coat color. Similar to the English masttiff, this color combo can make them look more imposing than smaller brindle dog breeds.
This breed is like the English Mastiff: Stubborn, Headstrong and can be a bit lazy when they want to be. They like to downplay their intelligence and can drive any new dog owner crazy with their refusal to listen. On the plus side, they are amazing with kids and other animals if properly socialized. They will also protect their family with their life, making them a great family companion.
English & American Mastiff
Both the English Mastiff and the American Mastiff can carry the brindle gene. These huge dogs commonly carry the gene, and the coloring is quite a popular color in the mastiff community. This coloring combined with their size can make mastiffs look even more imposing than the other breeds in this list.
Mastiffs aren’t the best dogs for first time dog owners, and you should only get one if you are a firm leader with your dog and can spend time training them. Mastiffs are extremely stubborn, and they like to enact that stubbornness regularly which may lead you to think they are stupid. Make no mistake, they are smart and use it to their advantage at any chance they get.
The Irish Wolfhound will often fall into the reverse brindle category. Their wiry coats are always on the lighter side, but you’ll see some tiger striping come through which means they still fall into the reverse brindle bucket. Seeing the Irish Wolfhound with reverse brindle coloring is quite common for the breed, although it’s slightly harder to see because their coat is somewhat rough and dense.
The Irish Wolfhound is another dog that’s not recommended for first-time dog owners. They are similar to mastiffs in where they can be somewhat standoff-ish with strangers, but open up to them once they are known and invited to be part of the family. This is another giant dog breed, and they are beautiful with their brindle coloring.
Glen of Imaal Terrier
This is a lesser-known dog breed to most common dog lovers in the United States. This breed is in the terrier category, and it’s one of four Irish terrier breeds. It’s quite common for the Glen of Imaal to carry the reverse brindle coat and like the Irish wolfhound, they have a rougher and more dense coat.
The Glen of Imaal is a dwarf breed with curved legs, and has more moderate exercise requirements when compared to other terriers in the same class. These pups are extremely smart, making them a decent choice for first-time dog owners. They run with a medium activity range, so you won’t be throwing the ball for hours on end like you will if you bring home a Lab puppy. They are smart and stubborn though, so be prepared to start training right away. The picture above is what you’d consider a blue brindle pup.
The french bulldog is one of the more popular small breeds in the United States. They resemble a full-sized bulldog minus the fact that they look a little like batman with their ears, which happen to be their strongest feature. These little guys make great family companions and are affectionate with their owners.
This particular Frenchie has a true brindle coat with some merle blended in. The coloring is beautiful and is offset even more with the yellow eyes that the pup carries. Brindle french bulldogs are quite common when it comes to coloring, so there’s a good chance you can snag one at your local breeder if frenchies are your thing!
American Stafforshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terriers are a terrier breed and it’s commonly interchangeable with the American Pit Bull Terrier. English Staffordshire Terriers were brought up in the 1800s as fighting dogs, which were used for baiting bulls during animal fights.
Am Staffs are the American version of the Staffordshire Terrier and are generally taller and leaner than the English counterpart. In the US, the Am Staff is most commonly used for field work on farms and are largely kept as a house pet. This Am Staff has a beautiful red brindle coat.
The boxer is another American Favorite that carries a beautiful brindle coat. Boxers are usually pretty upbeat dogs and make for great family pets. They like to jump up with their front paws, which is how they were labeled a “boxer” dog. They are muscular and powerful dogs, despite not having the size of a giant breed.
Boxers are protective in nature but great with their families. They are not as stubborn as mastiffs, and are both intelligent and easier to train than some of the breeds that take more repetitions to learn tricks. This boxer has a beautiful red brindle coat, and brindle boxers are pretty common when picking your pup.
Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russel Terriers are another dog that many people don’t realize have the ability to have a brindle coat. This JRT has a beautiful brindle face, with white colorings on the remainder of the body. Having a brindle coat is slightly more rare in the JRT than other breeds, but it makes for a stunning combination of color and energy.
These pups are extremely smart! They are one of the smartest dogs you can own, and they train as easily as a Golden Retriever, if not easier. Jack Russells are also great family dogs and have become one of the more popular breeds in the United States. They are small and agile and make great companions for hikes or other outdoor activities.
The Plott Hound is a beautiful hunting dog that falls into the coonhound breeds. They are descendants from German Hanover hounds, and are excellent water fowl dogs. The Plott Hound is highly intelligent and can be very energetic. It’s good to walk this breed or give it an outlet for regular exercise.
They also have beautiful brindle and reverse brindle coats, as you can see by the image above. They are athletic dogs and are extremely resilient. If you decide to adopt a Plott Hound, you’ll just want to stay aware of the tedious exercise requirements you’ve signed up for.
Greyhounds are the most popular racing dog in the United States. They also carry the brindle gene, although the color combination is less frequent in this breed than some of the other more traditional merle, white, black and apricot coat colorings.
The greyhound is a family favorite. They are great with kids and other family members. They are also good with outsiders if they are properly introduced and socialized at an early age. Greyhounds can be big couch potatoes, enjoying long afternoons being lazy on the couch. The greyhound above has a blue brindle coat.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
The Welsh Corgi is a smaller breed that carries the brindle gene. Merle coloring is popular as well. This color combination is less frequent than other color combos, like white, black or tri-colored Corgis. Having a brindle corgi is somewhat more rare, meaning the price tag it carries is slightly steeper as well.
Corgis are great family pets. They are intelligent, and they are easily distinguished by their tails which most times are docked at birth. They have adorable little backsides and are frequently the focus of social media, including several corgi Instagram pages dedicated just to a single Corgi. The corgi breed actually comes with two different types, the Cardigan Welsh and the Pembroke Welsh – both have similarities and differences.
The Great Dane can carry the brindle gene. It’s less frequent than their other colors, but similar to Mastiffs, these giant pups can look quite imposing when you see their size with this color combination. Brindle Danes can fetch a higher price tag as well.
Danes can be imposing enough due to their size. They’ve been cross bred with other smaller breeds to create more size friendly versions, like the labrador great dane mix. They are sweet pups with their family, and like other giant breeds, can be lazy and enjoy their time at home. Just make sure you have the space to keep a giant breed dog and the Great Dane could be the exact friend your family needs!
The brindle gene is rarer than other colors in the Cairn Terrier breed, but these little wire coated furballs look adorable and have personality to boot. Because the brindle coloring is a little more rare on this breed than the other color combos, they may carry a slightly higher price tag.
The Cairn Terrier is an old terrier breed and originated from the Scottish Highlands as a working pup. They were bred to aid hunters, and became scrappy dogs with a purpose. These pups are extremely intelligent and they learn quickly, making them a good option for first time dog owners.
During the 1980’s, there were few animals more well known than Spuds McKenzie. He was the white and black pup that was used in an advertising campaign for Bud Light. This brought the bull terrier back into the limelight, and with that comes the fact that a small population of them carry the brindle color gene and can be a brindle dog breed.
Bull terriers are stubborn, but loving pups. They are not recommended for first-time dog owners, but if you have a steady hand and can be patient with training, they are some of the most loyal pups to their families and will protect them with their life.
The Akita is known to carry the Brindle gene, making a fine specimen of this canine that bears resemblance to the siberian husky. While the brindle gene is more common in this breed than some others on this list, it’s still not the most common color in the Akita coat.
The Akita is known as a national dog of Japan. They were bred for many uses which include hunting, guarding, sled work and military or police assistance. This is a headstrong breed that needs a firm owner in order to maximize the personality benefits your Akita will bring to the table. The Akita picture above is considered a brown brindle.
The dachshund has been known to carry the brindle gene on occasion. It’s definitely not as common with this breed as it is with pups like the American Mastiff or any type of bulldog or american pitbull terrier.
Dachshunds can have long or short hair, and both coat lengths can carry the brindle gene. It’s a popular color combo, but you typically won’t see a higher ticket price for a brindle pup from a breeder because the coloring is not as common as the traditional black and tan or brown and tan.
Part of the mastiff family, the Cane Corso is an Italian Mastiff and carries the brindle gene. It’s quite common to see the Corso with a brindle coat when comparing them to other breeds. The corso in the above picture carries orangeish yellow eyes, which is actually less common than the coat color with this particular breed.
The Corso is similar to the English Mastiff with its patience and temperament, but they can be more devoted guardians and more aloof with strangers. You will need to train your Corso from a very early age to learn who’s the boss in your relationship with your dog.
Presa De Canario
Presa Canarios also carry the brindle gene. They are part of the mastiff family and carry some of the same genetic traits that other Molosser dogs do. The breed is Spanish, and it comes from the island of Gran Canaria. They are large pups, like other breeds coming from the same line.
The Presa Canario is also known as the Canary Mastiff and is part of the mastiff family from the ancient Molosser type dog breed. They were originally bred to work with livestock. They can be a challenging breed to manage for first-time dog owners, so it’s recommended that you start training early and often if you adopt one of these colorful pups.
The Mountain Cur is also known for having a beautiful brindle coloring. The mountain cur is a member of the hound group, and they are easily trained and make great family companions. Their beautiful coats make them sought after, and they are great hunting dogs.
Mountain curs are great with kids if socialized properly. They will defend their home and family to the death if they feel threatened, making them an extremely loyal dog breed. If they do not get enough exercise, they can become destructive, so make sure to have plenty of energy outlets for your pup! The Mountain Cur above is considered a brown brindle.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a headstrong dog that was bred to protect livestock. They infrequently will be seen with the brindle coat, and are usually fawn or apricot in coloring. You can expect to pay a premium for this coloring of Anatolian, and their size can make them look somewhat intimidating.
Anatolians are known to be protectors and are dedicated to their families. They are reserved with strangers, making them ideal guardians. Because they are headstrong, you’ll need to brush up on your training skills if you plan to own one of these dominant pups.
The American bulldog is a breed that’s descended from the old English bulldog. Like English Bulldogs, they carry the brindle color gene because they are from the same family of dogs. They are strong and durable dogs, mostly used for farming, show and sports.
The American Bulldog is a headstrong breed, similar to their cousin, the English bulldog. They need to be socialized early on and can be difficult to train. It’s recommended that you enlist a professional trainer if you are a first-time dog owner to make sure proper socialization is taught from puppyhood.
Whippets are often referred to as “mini greyhounds.” They are actually their own breed, and while they share similar ancestry, they are they have some unique differences. One of the things they do share in common with the greyhound is the brindle coat coloring.
Whippets are generally smaller pups, but they do have lots of energy. Be prepared to spend lots of time exercising these loyal pups if you bring them into your home. They tend to be slightly more anxious than a normal greyhound if they are not socialized properly as pups, but this goes with many breeds. The Whippet brindle coat is one more breed that has this striking tiger-striped pattern.
Treeing Tennessee Brindle
The Treeing Tennessee Brindle is primarily popular as a hunting dog. Their name represents what they are often used for, which is chasing and trapping certain types of small game in trees. They carry the brindle gene and this color combination is quite common for this breed.
The Treeing Tennessee Brindle is an energetic dog breed. They have plenty of energy because the breed started off being exclusively bred for hunting. They are high energy dogs, so if you plan to bring one into your home, be prepared to give them adequate exercise every day.
We can’t forget about all the mixed breed pups out there that can carry this beautiful coat. Any of the purebred variants above mixed with any other breed, will have the ability to produce a brindle coated offspring. The chances may be less depending on the dog it’s mated with. But there’s still a chance of brindle colors coming through as long as one parent has the gene.
Here’s a quick list of some “Designer Dogs” that have the ability to be cross-bred into one of our brindle dog breeds:
- Rottweilers mixed with Pitbulls
- Doxie & Chihuahua Mix
- Labs mixed with Pitbulls
- Mastiffs mixed with Pitbulls
- Mastiffs mixed with Labs
- Danes mixed with Labs
- Doxies mixed with Corgis
- Boxers mixed with Pitbulls
- Mastiffs mixed with Boxers
No matter what breed of pup you are planning on adding to your family, there is one thing for certain – any of these pups listed combined with the brindle color combination can be extremely striking in color. This list isn’t exhaustive, but we’ve captured a few of our favorite breeds with tiger-striped appeal.
If we missed one of your favorite breeds, feel free to drop a comment below, or drop us a note on our contact page. We will be sure to add any that you point out that we missed out on! Happy hunting for your next Brindle Pup!