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13 Brilliant Brindle Dog Breeds: Striped & Loving It!

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Breeds By Ben Team 10 min read April 8, 2021 139 Comments

best brindle dog breeds

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

brindle-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

brindle-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!

Also, if you have a new brindle pup, check out our guide to brindle dog name ideas for clever naming inspiration for your stripped cutie!

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Ben Team

Ben is the senior content editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.

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139 Comments

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Juanita Cullen

I just adopted a Brindle dog from Riverdale Dog Shelter. I don’t know what breed he is but he is a bundle of energy. He is 10 months and we do call him Tiger. He looks like the last picture on your web page.

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Lexie

I have a brindle shih tzu bichion mix!! However I’m going to be doing a DNA test on her to figure out if there is any other breeds in her!! I’m fascinated at her coloring it’s so unique!! I love this article about the brindle color!!

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Ben Team

Glad you enjoyed the article, Lexie!
We’re big fans of brindle coats too!

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Robin Maizer

I never had a brindle dog until 8 years ago. He was mix, Mastiff/Boxer. I had dogs over the years and they were all females. Then 25 years later we got Ruckus. He was the best dog I ever had and also my only male dog I had. Sorry to say he passed 4-21-2020. 3 months shy of his 15th birthday. I wish I could leave a photo of him

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Ben Team

Hey, Robin.
Ruckus (great name, by the way…) sounds like he was wonderful. And we’d love to see a photo!
Just head over to our photo uploading page.
Thanks for sharing!

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Sheeya Ryan

We just rescued a hound/lab mix with the brindle coat. She is 7 months old. Her name is Brockton. The rescue in Alabama told me she was born in May & that they suspected she was a hound/lab but I’m not sure and am very intrigued to find out more. Maybe if I understand more about her I can give her the best quality of life.
She’s been with us since September and seems to be adjusting very well. She is very smart and alert but is also very fearfull. She loves to run and she’s very fast. She nips a lot but we’re getting her training for that.
Brockton is currently about 30lbs. & is very healthy. She has large almost webbed paws but is afraid of water so we’ll see if she can have fun when we get to enjoy the ponds, streams & beaches again. She really hates being alone, which doesn’t happen often, and has a real howl-like bark. She loves to play with a neighbor’s dog who is a beautiful one year old Whippet. It’s cute to see them play together.

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Ben Team

She sounds lovely, Sheeya!
If you’re interested in her breed makeup, you may want to check our article about Dog DNA kits.
And don’t throw in the towel on swimming yet, lots of dogs are initially afraid of the water (including mine, who now loves swimming more than she loves me!)
🙂
Thanks for sharing!

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Terrence S Jennings

I am the proud owner of a beautiful 8 year old Treeing Tennessee Brindle Mountain Cur.

Roxi is a relentless tracker, trees groundhogs and anything else that would be treed.

Catches squirrels, climbs trees, has a spider plant dance to flesh out moles, super fast; when young chased deer for miles, to show up at the door later that night.

I watched her eject a groundhog from my yard she was very serious.

She is gentle, and loves to cuddle; her hair especially after a shower is super silky.

Roxi is super smart and understands alot of English too.

She is my baby and knows family and friends by name.

Office, shower, water, mommy, daddy, are just a few of the words she knows.

Roxi has been an amazing addition to our family and is loved throughout our neighborhood. “Everybody Loves Roxi”

I’d love to find another puppy now so Roxi can train her and if I could, become a breeder of this amazing, wonderful dog.

Alert: you must have a yard it would be great if you had some wood and trees for a Treeing Tennessee Brindle to be happy and stay in great health.

Roxi has been 48 lbs for the last 4 years. She eats dry Dog food and we give her boiled chicken and alot of tuna, cheese and eggs too.

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Ben Team

Thanks for sharing, Terrence! Roxi sounds lovely!

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Eve

I liked your article on Brindle breeds.
I have a a Brindle Chorkie
she is chihuahua,York terrier mix about 13 lbs. She was the only one in the litter that was Brindle.
I haven’t seen to many small breeds in Brindle why is that?
Thank you

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Ben Team

Hey, Eve.
Brindle just isn’t a terribly common trait among many breeds, so the little guys and gals just get left out (mostly).
Thanks for reading!

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Tina Orman

We have a brindle dog . He’s about 8 months old . We found him at about 4 months old as a starving stray . Brought him home fed & bathed him . Took him to the vet for check up . So far he’s doing good. . Very easy to house break . But got lots of puppy in him .

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Gwen

I just adopted a dog with Rottweiler markings, except the areas that would be tan are brindle. Her previous owners did a DNA test and she is pit bull, Rottweiler, lab, and golden retriever, so the markings make sense.

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Lisa R Lorance

Half Yorkie and half polmarani an
Brindle
11 lbs
How’s this possible

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Lindsay Schwegel

I have a brindle mix. I have no idea what she is mixed with, I guess all the time. She has a black mask and strips all over with a white chest and long snout

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Rory

I have a treeing Tennessee Brindle, named Sheba. Her contender name was Ninja because she’s unbelievably coordinated fast and sharp. We live in a one bedroom apt and run at the park twice a day aside from shorter walks and she’s the sweetest most well behaved easy to train babe in the world. A total snuggler ❤️

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April

I’m not sure what kind of brindle I got cud you help.

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Ben Team

Hi there, April.
We’d love to see photos of your pooch! Just visit our photo uploader and start sharing!
Thanks!

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Wanda Kohl

I have been the lucky human for the most beautiful blue brindle Afghan Hound. Morning Call Candyman was my boy for 18 years. Imagine if you will soulful eyes surrounded by silky hair that began with white at the top of his head and ended with half a chevron of blue at the end of each ear…pure heaven. His saddle was blue and the coat falling from it was blue and white brindle. When he ran it looked like a wave. I miss him terribly.

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Ben Team

Sounds like he was a wonderful pup, Wanda.
Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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Melissa Coleman

We’ve rescued one of the sweetest most loving fur baby we’ve ever rescued. She stole the hearts of all of my family. When she sleeps she wedges herself right up against my son and is out like a light—not moving till the morning. Mild mannered and gets along with the all the other dogs—dogs fromac 15 pounds to ac huge dog that is 125+ pounds. She weighs about 24 pounds.
We’d love to try to determine what breed or breeds she could possibly be. How would I post a picture of her?

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Ben Team

Hey, Melissa. She sounds lovely. 🙂
You can submit her photos here. We’re happy to take a look (and share them with our readers), but be aware that it is impossible to determine a dog’s ancestry by simply looking at her.
We can give you some guesses, but that’s really all they are.
We still want to see the little cutie though!

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Karen Chapman Lenz

My Brindle is a Mexican Immigrant rescue with very pointy , stand up ears, a Frenchie face, but very muscular, longer legs than Frenchie, and looks like she might have some Australian cattle dog along with her brindle coloring. She barks almost never…only one when she is on leash and sees another dog on leash. She does fine in the dog park off leash, not much interested in “playing” but not bullied. Recently she has started to paw the ground with all 4 when being investigated by another dog. Rarely runs from this. She looks like she has mothered quite a few puppies.

I am 80 and do not yet know how to put pictures from my phone onto email.

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Cindy

We adopted an injured rescue when he was 2 months old. He’s brindle with white down nose/throat/tips of paws and tip of tail.
We later found out he is a Pitchi (aka Chipit)….. Pitbull and Chihuahua. He’s a smaller sized very sweet dog with a beautiful brindle coat

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Meg Marrs

Sounds adorable!

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Ann Thompson

I’ve also seen this trait in German Shepards.

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Andie Jackson

I have a reverse brindle mixed breed. She is about 40 pounds at 10 months old. I rescued her very young, so I don’t know the breeds in her, but she is good natured, shy, and very smart. How do I post a photo of her?

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Ben Team

Hey, Andie. Just send it to me via email, and I’ll see if we can add it next time we update the article.
Ben(at)K9ofMine.com
🙂

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Mindy Shapiro

I recently adopted a Pointer mix with a beautiful brindle coat.

Do you have any thoughts on what her mix would be?

IMG_0579.HEIC

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Ben Team

Hey, Mindy. Just send the image to my email: Ben(at)k9ofmine.com.
I’ll take a look!

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Marlene

4 weeks ago my daughter and family got 2 pups from same litter. Mother is a registered Treeing Walker Coonhound. The people said she mated with a Black Lab. The pups have some tri-color markings, but the female was black on back and face, and is turning quite brindle. With more brown then black. The little oy has much more black with little spots of brindle, but his hair is alot softer then his sister. Can a lab and normal tri color Walker make a brindle color or is it probly a boxer mix. Ears are houndish. Boy are they strong. The female at 9 weeks climbs the fence. Its crazy. Thanks. MARLENE

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A.Barden

Was never a fan of Brindles till 2 weeks ago, when our daughter found a beautiful 6 week old Boxer online she feel in LOVE with!! He’s been home with us 3 days now. And he’s one of my children now!! My baby boy “Big Mac”
All our dogs are named after food. LOL. From behind he reminds me of a tiger a little. They are a unique and amazing to look at.

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Robert

I still don’t really know what breed my Jake E. Dog is, but I did enjoy reading your page.
Thank you!

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Sarah Albright

We have just adopted two rescue pups. They both have a brindle coat. We aren’t sure what breeds they may be.

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Carter Denton

The Dutch shepherd is brindle. Some brindle, has a black base coat and gold or silver stripes. The Borzoi can have a brindle coat also.

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Sherry

I enjoyed your article thank you! We just adopted this beauty, she’s from Mississippi… we are unsure of what breed type she is, do you recognize her breed? If so, would you kindly give feedback? Thanks

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Ben Team

Hey, Sherry.
I was going to tell you to email me the photo, but I see you already did!
My professional opinion is that she’s 100% cutie pie. 🙂
Seriously, that is one adorable pupper — so happy for you guys!
Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to determine what breeds are lurking in the genes of a mixed-breed pooch by just looking at her. And for that matter, most mutts have multiple breeds in their family tree — they’re mutts of mutts, so to speak.
All that said, her ears look pit-like to me, but her muzzle and eyes look pretty Lab-like.
Whatever she is, just give her some scritches for me!
Thanks for sharing.

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Gayle F Jackson

I have a mountain cur Brindle, she is about 86 pounds and Beautiful

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Jennifer Binder

Great article, but sadly, you have omitted the Mountain Cur. “A Mountain what?” Those who have them, myself included, tend to say… “I never knew anything about them until I got him / her. Greatest dog I’ve ever had!” My brindle guy, Clyde, is incredibly well-rounded and the most respectful and gracious dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of living with. As a service dog, he’s been instrumental in making my world a better place. As a therapy dog, we both help around our community. I truly couldn’t ask for a better partner.

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Jill Arnel

No one has mentioned Cairn terrier. I currently have one who’s a medium cream brindle with black mask. My previous two were also brindles— red brindle and gray brindle.

They have thick double coats, but if you shaved them, their coloration would be similar to a greyhound’s, for example.

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Valerie

I adopted a brindle hound mix. Not sure how to upland pic…

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Ben Team

Hey, Valerie. There’s no way for our readers to upload photos directly, but you can email it to me: Ben(at)K9ofmine.com. We may be able to add it to the article when we update it in the future.
Thanks!

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Angela

I’m looking for a Tree Tennessee Pitt Brindle Puppy. Do have any idea where I can buy one. I had one he passed away he was old. I love that breed of dog. Please let me know if you can locate a breeder selling brindle puppies.

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Mary Mills

I have a brindle chow mix. Can’t figure out what the other bread is. Im not sure how to post a picture on here

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Mary Mills

I have a brindle chow mix. Can’t figure out what the other bread is. Im not sure how to post a picture on here

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Kathy G

I have a black and brindle dog, not sure what breed, but some sort of hound in the mix. From the back she almost looks like a Doberman, but her face is definitely hound. She has a typical black & tan pattern, except the tan is actually brindle. I’ve never seen anything like it!

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Kathy G

I have a black and brindle dog, not sure what breed, but some sort of hound in the mix. From the back she almost looks like a Doberman, but her face is definitely hound. She has a typical black & tan pattern, except the tan is actually brindle. I’ve never seen anything like it!

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ANN THOMPSON

Love my brindle pit/bully mix!

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John Marcoccia

We have a brindle, but unknown. Is there anyway to post pictures?

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Don

Is there a way to post pics? I would love to see other people’s brindles.

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Don

Ben,
My wife and I have two brindles, one is an Amstaff and the other is a Boxer/Amstaff/Shepard/Huskie mix .

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Erin Mac

You didn’t include The FMD = Formosan Mountain Dog from Taiwan – I have one, they are quite delightful…

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Jenni

I adopted a short hair brindle from a rescue shelter, she was 4 months old when we got her. She looks to be full grown at this time and weighs in at 20 pounds, not sure on her breed, as the rescue center thought she was puggle but I don’t think that is the case. She is super friendly, fast as lightening and her tail wags constantly. She makes a great little sister to our Golden/Retriever mix who weighs in at 120 pounds.

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erin Mac

Look up Formosa Mountain Dogs from Taiwan :)))

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Sandra

Are Jack Russells considered a brindle breed?

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Ben Team

Hey, Sandra. According to the AKC breed standard, brindle is a disqualification for Jack Russells. That said, we’ve seen some photos of dogs that generally look like Jack Russells that have brindle-like markings.

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Pamela Pavesi

I have Datsun terrier mix that is brindle. He has perfect tiger stripes on him. I’m not crazy about brindle but I do like the tiger stripes thank you so much for the information you posted.

Pam

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Cathe Lieb

I had a gorgeous boy who was tagged a pit bull mix when we got him from the shelter. He was 75 lbs of pure muscle and hunting drive. He had blue eyes, a blk/brn/ brindled body and a midnight black saddle that looked as if he was wearing a coat. We did DNA testing on him and got back Old English Sheepdog and Brussels Griffon. (???) We often got suggestions from people that he was Catahoula or Plott Hound. He certainly had that stubborn Cat personality. He was smart, devoted and I will miss him forever.

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Laurel

I had a British Alaunt, a Mastiff dog, who was black as a puppy, but who developed beautiful gold brindle stripes as he aged. We live in a military town, so we said he “earned his stripes” as he aged. When we put him down due to cancer, his body stayed on base until the funeral home got him. We said his soldiers were protecting him in death. He loved people in uniform. We had gotten him at the Army Animal Shelter. I miss him every day, and his ashes will be buried with mine.

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