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best brindle dog breeds

13 Brilliant Brindle Dog Breeds: Striped & Loving It!

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Is brindle the best? Quite possibly – but beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Today we’re discussing brilliant brindle breeds, and exploring how this unique coloring came about.

What is Brindle Dog Coloring?

Brindle is the name given to a coat color pattern characterized by a brown base color, overlain with dark brown to black stripes. These markings often form a vaguely tiger-like pattern, but it can appear blotchy in other specimens. It’s probably best to just show you, so here:

brindle dog breeds

Also known as striped coloring, brindle is a great looking color pattern, with plenty of fans. My favorite color pattern in dogs is undoubtedly the black-and-tan look sported by Rotties and Dobbies, but brindle is a close second.

But brindle color patterns do not occur in all breeds; so, if you decide that you want a dog with a brindle coat, you’ll need to select from a few different options. We’ve compiled some of the most amazing brindle breeds below to give you a head start.

Breeds That Display the Brindle Trait (Sometimes)

Note that not all brindles are created equally: Some are entirely clad in the color pattern, while others have large patches of brindle pattern interspersed with areas of other color (usually white).

Additionally, there is variation in the degree of striping and contrast from one dog to the next. This means that if you are on the hunt for a brindle dog, you must not only select a breed that displays the trait, you’ll need to select an individual that expresses the trait well.

There’s also potential for other breeds to have striped coloring as well, but it’s most common in the breeds we discuss below.

1. Akita

brindle akita

image from flickr

Akitas come in a Baskin-Robins-like assortment of colors, including a few different brindle combinations. Robust dogs, Akitas were originally developed to track and hunt boar, bear and other dangerous animals. They have a willful mind and a protective instinct, so they require proper socialization and training to prevent them from becoming aggressive.

Akitas are probably not the ideal choice for a first-time owner, but they are great for those who have the necessary patience and confidence. It can also be challenging to raise Akitas around other pets, as Akitas have a very strong prey drive, and they may view roommates unfavorably.

2. Bull Terrier

brindle bull terrier

Bull terriers are modest-sized dogs that pack an incredible amount of personality into their somewhat-unusual-looking package. The AKC perhaps puts it best, describing them as “playful, charming, mischievous.” Bull terriers occur in 13 different color patterns, including a few different brindle combinations. Despite their impressive, muscular appearance, bull terriers are among the friendliest and loyal breeds.

Bull terriers are often destructive chewers, so it is important to provide them with plenty of safe chewing toys. Opt for toys at the super-rugged end of the spectrum when shopping for bull terriers, as flimsy toys won’t last long at all.

3. Boxer

brindle boxer

Boxers come in either of two color patterns: fawn (brown) and brindle. The brindle trait is dominant in boxers, meaning that if they have one copy of the brindle gene, they’ll display the trait. This tends to cause the trait to spread through the gene pool fairly rapidly, making striped colored Boxers quite common. Boxers are celebrated for their friendly nature, abundant energy and exceptional patience with children and babies.

Boxers are sensitive dogs, who bond strongly with their families; so, they aren’t the best choice for families that spend a lot of time away from the home. Most boxers demand daily play sessions and plenty of snuggling time with their owners.

4. Boston Terrier

brindle boston terrier

image from flickr

Often known as the “American Gentleman,” for his tuxedo-like coat and polite demeanor, Boston terriers occur in five different color forms, including three different brindle variations. A rather small breed, Boston terriers range from about 10 to 25 pounds, making them a great choice for apartment dwellers.

Like many other brachycephalic (short-faced) breeds, Boston Terriers can overheat in hot weather, so they aren’t ideal for those living in hot climates. However, their small size and short coat length also means that they’re not particularly well suited for cold climates either.

5. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

brindle corgi

image from flickr

Members of the herding group, cardigan Welsh corgis are affectionate little balls fur, available in a variety of colors, including brindle. Smart but stubborn, cardigan Welsh corgis quickly learn new commands, but house training them is sometimes difficult. They are surprisingly athletic, despite their stubby legs, and some are skilled Frisbee dogs.

Corgis have an incredibly dense, long coat that sheds profusely, which may be off-putting to some owners, so be sure you can handle a foot-deep layer of fur in your home before selecting one of these cuties.

6. Dachshund

brindle dachshund

Colloquially known as wiener dogs, these long, low and lean pups are extremely friendly and appear to have an optimistic view of life in general. Interestingly, the AKC does not recognize brindle as one of the colors dachshunds display, but several breeders produce dogs that resemble striped brindles and use the brindle moniker when discussing them.

Dachshunds are great with kids, and their small size makes them suitable for apartment living, provided that they still receive ample exercise. However, they are quite alert, protective and vocal, so they don’t make sense for people who demand a calm, quiet home.

7. Great Dane

brindle great dane

image from flickr

Regal and ridiculously big, Great Danes are one of the world’s biggest breeds. They reach about 200 pounds and sometimes stand nearly 3-feet-high at the shoulder, so they aren’t a great choice for people living in apartments, to say the least (from simple space logistics, you won’t have much room to move with a Great Dane around). They are also famous for the buckets of drool they produce on a daily basis, so be sure you consider this before adding a Dane to your home.

Despite their impressive size and intimidating appearance, Danes are lovable, gentle dogs with a calm, dignified demeanor. They occur in nine different color forms, including brindle.

8. Mastiff

brindle bull mastiff

Mastiffs are gigantic dogs that are available in striped brindle, apricot and fawn color patterns. If you’ve got the space available, mastiffs make great companions, courtesy of their loving nature and gentle spirit. Mastiffs have relatively modest exercise needs, and they are often content to lounge about for long periods of time.

Mastiffs aren’t always a great choice for new owners, who may not truly understand what it’s like to deal with a dog that may exceed 220 pounds in weight. Nevertheless, mastiffs are very endearing dogs who love to become members of the family.

9. Pit Bull / American Staffordshire Terrier

brindle pitbull

Whether you consider these dogs two different breeds or not, brindle-colored individuals are common among the group. Pits and American Staffordshire terriers vary pretty widely in size, with some barely reaching 40 pounds and others exceeding 80 or more. They both have stocky builds and tails that never seem to stop wagging.

Pit bulls and staffies are widely misunderstood, and they are victims of a decades-long smear campaign by sensationalistic media outlets seeking eyeballs and page clicks. Well raised and loved pits and Am staffs are exceedingly friendly, loyal and loving dogs that make great pets for most homes.

10. Treeing Tennessee Brindle

Given that the word brindle is in this breed’s name, it isn’t surprising that these tracking dogs are available with a brindle coat pattern. However, most treeing Tennessee brindle owners love the breed for their ability to effectively tree game, rather than their attractive coat patterns.

Treeing Tennessee brindles were originally created in the Ozarks, where they were used to track and tree a variety of different game species. They have very strong noses, and they tend to vocalize continuously while in pursuit of prey. Accordingly, they are often quite popular among hunters who like to work alongside dogs.

However, many of the traits that make these dogs so effective in the field cause challenges in the home. These dogs have high energy levels, and they don’t tolerate being alone very well at all. Additionally, although they’re pretty intelligent, they aren’t especially easy to train.

11. Plott

plott brindle

Photo by Mary Bloom via VetStreet

The Plott is a big and handsome tracking dog, who was originally developed to track and corner formidable game, including bear and wild boar. Plotts are still used extensively for hunting and tracking, but some people also keep them as pets. However, it is important to understand that Plotts can be a bit of a handful, and they’re not suitable for novice owners.

For starters, Plotts need a lot of room to run around. They have tons of energy and they need a lot of exercise to prevent destructive behaviors (like problem chewing or digging) from manifesting. Accordingly, they’re only really suitable for owners with large fenced yards – the Plott is positively inappropriate for apartment life.

However, there is plenty to like about Plotts too. They’re very sweet and affectionate, and they usually get along well with other dogs. They’re also easy to groom and they won’t coat your home in a layer of shed hair.

12. Greyhound


Photo via Wikimedia

Greyhounds are another breed that occasionally displays a brindle color pattern. In fact, the breed can display any of several different types of brindle color pattern, including black, blue, red, fawn, liver and combinations thereof.

Although they’re famous for being fleet of foot, greyhounds are typically couch potatoes, who love nothing more than snuggling up with their people while snoozing. They certainly need exercise and the chance to run around for 20 to 30 minutes on a daily basis, but they don’t have as much energy as many people would think.

Note that while greyhounds are typically very sweet, affectionate dogs, those who’ve retired from the racing circuit may have been mistreated for years. This can leave them shy or reactive, which can cause problems for first-time owners.  

13. Whippet


Photo via Wikimedia

Like their ancestors the greyhound, whippets were originally used for racing and rabbit-hunting. But, as they required less space and food than greyhounds, they were much better-suited for the working-class coal miners who created the breed. However, modern whippets are rarely used in such contexts, and they usually serve as family pets.

The AKC recognizes 18 different color patterns for the whippet, ranging from white to black and everything in between. However, six of the colors – blue brindle, fawn brindle, red brindle, white & blue brindle, white & fawn brindle, and white & red brindle – feature at least some brindle areas in their coats.

Whippets are sensitive, affectionate and friendly, so they make good pets – even for relatively inexperienced owners. They are quite tidy, as they neither shed heavily nor drool very much, and they are generally healthy animals. They do have quite a serious prey drive, so caution is advised when introducing them to cats or other small pets.     

What Causes the Brindle Coat Pattern?

Just like other coat colors and patterns, the brindle color pattern is a genetic trait, caused by a particular combination of genes.

There are a handful of different places (loci) along your dog’s DNA strand that determine her color pattern. These are referred to as gene series, and they are labelled by a letter.

The mutation for the brindle trait is located at the K locus. There are three different variations of genes (called alleles) at this locus. One makes the dog all black, one essentially defaults to other alleles, and, as you may have guessed, the other one makes the dogs brindle. Brindle is dominant over the yellow (default) coloration, but recessive to the black gene.

dog brindle coloring

We should also point out that many different species display a similar color pattern, including cattle, horses, guinea pigs and some lizards. This doesn’t mean that the conditions are related; it just means that they are visually similar. Horses usually (but not always) display the brindle color pattern when two embryos fuse – the resulting chimera exhibits multiple colors because it is essentially multiple horses living in the same body.


Do you like the brindle color pattern? Have you ever had a brindle dog? Let us know all about him or her in the comments below!

About the Author Ben Team

Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.

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Leave a Comment:

An Than says June 7, 2017

Hi Ben, I have a brindle dog, fawn or brownish and black stripes with black mask. He’s a Phu Quoc Ridgeback.

Ben Team says June 7, 2017

That sounds beautiful, An! But we’re gonna need to see a photo to know for sure!

Janice says June 14, 2017

I babysit this adorable Brindle named Bruno. He was a rescue. He is very sweet, non-aggressive, but very strong and fast! I don’t know his breed.

Kylee says July 7, 2017

My dog is a miniature schnauzer mix. I got him from second chance 4 years ago and i have always been wondering what else he is. He has a soft long brindle coat and a tail that curls up over his back. He weighs exactly 15 lbs and is a healthy weight for his size. He looks just like a schnauzer except his snout is a little shorter. If anyone has any ideas on what he could be mixed with please let me know.

    Diana F Duell says September 23, 2018

    I have a brindle schnauzer too!

Kim says July 23, 2017

No Dutch Shepherds?

Kelsey Page says August 8, 2017

Referring to the paragraph about how brindle is recessive to the black gene – my dog is a medium haired lab mix. She’s black but has brindle points. How did that come about genetically?

Teri says September 1, 2017

You missed the best brindle dog of all – the Dutch Shepherd (aka Hollands Herder), considered a rare breed. Related to German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. Smart as all get out. Often used in K9 training. We had a beautiful Dutchie. Smart, faithful, funny, good with children and other dogs.

    Meg Marrs says September 4, 2017

    Sounds like a wonderful breed, thank you for bringing it to our attention!

    MiTmite9 says April 9, 2018

    Teri: Thank you for posting about Dutch shepherds along with your great photos. I already posted my comment (a few moments ago), before reading through this thread. Thanks to your comment, I know that the dog I saw a few days ago is part Dutch shepherd. Makes sense. I hope I see her and her owner again so that I can tell him what I’ve discovered about his beautiful dog.

      Teri says April 9, 2018

      That’s so cool! Dutch Shepherds (or “Hollands Herders”) are considered a rare breed dog. They are not AKC registered; breeders do not want to “ruin” the breed by having the AKC dictate conformity standards. So unfortunately, they probably won’t find any books about them. The only info we could ever find was online.

Nada says September 21, 2017

I have a beautiful brindle “Curgi.” She is a Mountain Cur/Corgi mix. She loves to climb the tree in my backyard in her quest to catch a squirrel.

sue noble says September 21, 2017

My dog is brindle. She is mostly ibizan hound and golden retiever and about 2% dogo, bull mastif and sharpei.

RealAgentSRK says November 10, 2017

My dog had puppies 5 weeks ago, 8. Both parents are mixed rescues. Mom is a GSD mix and Dad is a Lab mix. 4 of the pups have beautiful brindle coats. I’m not sure where they got it from.

    Meg Marrs says November 10, 2017

    They sound beautiful! Maybe the brindle skipped a generation. GSD/Lab is an awesome combo.

    Teri says November 10, 2017

    Here is our Roxie girl, Dutch Shepherd. Click through to see 4 pictures. Your GSD mix may have some Dutch Shepherd in her. Dutchies, GSD and Belgian Malinois are all closely related.

Baunie says December 31, 2017

Hey, you forgot the Galgos (whippetes, greyhounds, italian galgos, spanish galgos)…

Gina Frontiero says January 7, 2018

My black female and blue male Pitt made blue brindled and a black brindled puppies in one litter. They are beautiful!

MiTmite9 says April 9, 2018

The other day I met a dog who was definitely part German shepherd, but had much brindling of her fur on her legs. She didn’t look like she had any Pitbull in her. Now I am wondering if she may be part Akita. Her owner had no clue why she was brindled. Truly one of the prettiest combinations I have ever seen in a “composite” dog.

Christel Harden says April 15, 2018

Brindle basenjis are beautiful! How could you omit them?

    Meg Marrs says April 15, 2018

    Thanks for the suggestion – we’ll add them next time we update the article!

Jeremy says April 17, 2018

I have a super cute brindle Australian shepherd / golden retriever mix: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhrX1A2A1ml/?taken-by=jkazzaz

    Meg Marrs says April 17, 2018

    Wow, what a cutie! Can we add him/her to our list?

Cheryl Breedlove says April 26, 2018

My Lucy was found in a 500 acre cow pasture starving. She is my beautiful sweet girl… But no one seems to know what breeds she may be. Any ideas?

    Meg Marrs says April 26, 2018

    Aw what a cutie! I wonder if anyone has a guess?

    Teri says April 27, 2018

    Is she full-grown or still a puppy? About how tall is she at the shoulder and how much does she weigh? Her body looks like our Dutch Shepherd did as a puppy, but her head looks more like a Jack Russell Terrier. Maybe get a DNA test done! That could be interesting.

Colleen Morton says May 26, 2018

You didn’t mention Greyhounds and Whippets!

    Meg Marrs says May 26, 2018

    Thanks for the heads up!

Robert E Walker Jr says May 31, 2018

I had a pit lab mix brindle father was my yellow lab mother was the neighbors pit lol I ended up with 3 of the litter lost the brindle he got shot in my yard looking for a female brindle pit and another yellow lab male puppies loved the size temperament and loving quality of the dog I had if I can’t find another I’ll breed my own

    Jeannine Dukes says October 21, 2018

    I have a female tri pit lab. She’s solid black. She is 5 years old and is an awesome breeder. Never know what you get in a litter. However, she is too friendly.lol I call her our forever puppy. She digs in our plastic pond and bites at the splashes while barking insanely. We don’t try to stop her natural personality traits no matter how annoying this activity can be. Anyone else have a pit/lab with these personality traits or know if they are comon for her breed?

Sher says June 3, 2018

Don’t forget the Plott Hound! An amazing, gentle, smart family dog and a boar and bear hunter. Beautiful brindles.

Deborah says June 28, 2018

What type of dog is in the last frame? It looks just like my dog and I’ve been trying to figure out her breed.

Marta O says July 21, 2018

I have a white brindle Shih Tzu. We always get comments on how pretty she is when we are out.

Kathie D. Parker says July 28, 2018

I need some confirmation if a female brindle miniature dachshund is bred with a dappled brown & cream miniature male and they have had their litter born on the 23rd of July she had 6 babies, 1 died at birth (a male) 1 is struggling being hand fed a male, 1 has a stub of a tail and the rest look normal, mom is a great mom and feeding them all except the little male which she brings to owners so that they can bottle fed him:). My concern is are they considered a double dappled bred puppies? I have first choice of pick and am a little worried about the genetics of them, I have have miniature dachshunds all my life since I was 2 years old and now I am 61 and have 2 picked choices of 2 wire-haired dachshunds, I a 3-1/2 year old male wire-haired reddish blonde coat ( at birth named a Wild Boar coat and 4 month old tri-merle male absolutely gorgeous and a 9 year old definitely Wild boar coat and a stud dog up until I received him fixed him and now he is in his forever home, but comes with serious kennel issues and we are patiently working with him:). He is a good boy and I love him to death. My question is do you think that this litter is going to be normal? I have first pick and want to be very cautious with my decision. Thanks for your help & time. Kindest Regards, Kathie Parker

Joy says August 3, 2018

We have a brindle chiuaha. He has a fabulous temperament and is unbelievably cute.

Glenda Brumbalow says August 9, 2018

Ben, I enjoyed your piece about 13 Brilliant Breeds of Dogs: Striped & Loving it! I want to own a small one cause I just lost my 15 yo Cheegal in Jan this yr. and I have always loved the brindle coat & color dogs. I was hoping you might know someone who breeds small ones that I can have in my large duplex as my husband & I are both disabled and with my RA I need to walk every day and would love to take he/she with us as an incentive to keep us all healthy & happy.I read somewhere that smaller dogs (especially those well taken care of) seem to live longer than larger dogs. Is there such a thing as cats with the brindle coat? I hope you write back with a breeder of Boston Terriers, Boxers & Bull Terriers as they are my favorites and just the right size & temperament for our enjoyment & large duplex with a brand new sidewalk for exercise. I’m so glad I found your article and I sure do hope you can send me in the right direction for a dependable breeder. Either way I am grateful for the knowledge & education you have graciously bestowed upon me. Thank you and kindest regards to you and yours. Waiting for your return comment. Glenda (GiGi)

Bobby Sevier says August 17, 2018

Need help ideing my dog. Brindle color but matches no brindle I have never seen. Wish I could send pictures.

    Meg Marrs says August 17, 2018

    Hi Bobby – we don’t identify dogs. Ask your vet!

Jeremy says August 19, 2018

You said, “it’s probably best to just show you, so here:” then there is a pic of a dog with a brindle coat. That dog is not identified. Is he one of yours? Do you know the breed?
Thanks, Jeremy

    Meg Marrs says August 19, 2018

    Hey Jeremy, that’s a stock photo of a brindle dog, so we don’t know the breed. Looks like a pittie mix to me, but that’s just a guess.

Andrea Kramer says August 22, 2018

My dog Lilly is a beautiful brindle. I haven’t done a DNA but I’m pretty sure she is a Pit Bull and maybe a mix. she is 80 pounds of pure love. I got her at the local animal shelter at age 5 months. Today she is 5-1/2 years old. I adore her and do everything I can to make her life a wonderful experience.

Sary says September 4, 2018

I have a pup from the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. His mom is a Border Collie and Catttle Dog mix so he is black and white with blue tick but he is also black and brindle and I cannot figure out where the brindle comes from. Do you know what breeds would render a black and brindle/black and blue tick?

Angela says September 8, 2018

I have a question about a terrier mix I adopted when she was 1-yr-old. I know she’s part Rat Terrier, but her soft, fawn/brindle coat has everyone stumped. I prefer not to do the DNA test unless absolutly necessary, but it’s best to know common health issues related to certain breeds. There’s a photo of her at the bottom of the ‘Making Paradise’ page.

Diana says September 23, 2018

I have a brindle schnauzer…

    Marti says October 1, 2018

    I have a schnauzer that started as a brown and white pardi. Still has some,brown and whit bur has turned silver in some,places. Now has developed a couple of black stripes in his,fur. The,longest is maybe three inches. Very strange. I thought maybe he has brindle in there,somewhere

Ann Mummert says October 22, 2018

I recently adopted a puppy from East Coast Adoptions. She is brindle in color with a mask on her face. We
aren’t sure of her breed but think she is of the terrier /greyhound family.

    teri says October 22, 2018

    Do you have a picture you can post?

Narfpel6 says November 1, 2018

I inherited my sweet girl who was a petsmart rescue. Says lab mix on her paper work but don’t see any lab at all in her. I think she looks like a Tennessee treeing hound. Vet thinks she has some malanois in her. She is 8 mos old and weighs 57 lbs. super energetic and very affectionate!!! She is completely brindle.

Heidi Brown says November 4, 2018

We have a year and a half old Anatolian Shepard who has a lovely long brindle coat. While not the common color for the breed it is still seen often enough and meets breed requirements. He is beautiful! Wish I could include a pic!

Ite Offringa says November 12, 2018

You forgot to mention the Dutch Shepherd which ONLY comes in brindle! Smooth, rough or long coat.
They look and act a lot like a Belgian Malinois but with a brindle coat.

    Meg Marrs says November 13, 2018

    Thanks Ite – I’ll work on adding that to our list next time we do an update!

    Jacqueline O. says December 10, 2018

    Yes, was going to make same comment and also wondering if the Dutch Shepherd is the only breed that has exclusively brindle coat.

Yvonne coffey says November 18, 2018

I have a reverse Brindle pit,

JoLynn Grigsby says November 24, 2018

I have a beautiful brindle. Im completely sure wat bread she is. I found her on the main Ave in the town my family lives and who ever left her had neglected her and abused her she was literally all skin and bones. She was in so much pain and wouldn’t leave her food dish. But I got her checked and taken care of now she’s been part of our family for 4 years she’s very protective but we love her

nolan turco says November 25, 2018

I adopted what I now believe to be a “Treeing Tennessee Brindle” however she has a completely white belly, white paws, white encompassing half way around her neck, and a white tipped snout. She is brindle everywhere else. Can anybody help me get a better understanding of what exactly her breed might be?

    Jenna says December 1, 2018

    Sounds like the dog could be part boxer with the white feet and belly.

    Bill says January 4, 2019

    Wow! Your pup sounds exactly like ours. She is a rescue from Alabama with the same markings. She is the only pup with long hair and is the smallest of the litter. She has a great demeanor. The shelter has her listed as a mastiff mix. However, her face and fur appear most similar to an Australian Shepherd.
    We are considering having the dog DNA test done when she is older. Currently she is 13 weeks.
    Has anyone had this test run?
    Any clue of accuracy or if worthwhile?

Lynn says December 27, 2018

We have a 13 week old puppy who is the offspring of a black pug and a fox red lab. He has the brindle coloring. He comes from a litter of seven and all the rest of them are black like their father…the black pug.

Karen Trace says December 28, 2018

I have a brindle puppy. I saw her mother. She is a border collie cross. I have no ide about the father as Willow is a rescue pup. Her colouring is beautiful. She has a white spot on her nose, white spot on her chest and white on the tips of her back feet. She had 2 sisters who were blonde coloured and twice the size. Willow has very fine features compared to them. I wonder what her mix is. Anyone?

    Jlo says December 28, 2018

    I also have a border collie cross that is a brindle. Mother was bc not sure of father. Can you send a picture

Rob says December 31, 2018

I just got a brindle pup who is almost 4 months, 23lbs, and the shelter had her listed as a Shepherd/Retriever mix but everyone has their own opinion – Plott/Mountain Cur being one…given her velcro attitude I’m guessing the shelter was right 🙂

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