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Dog Coat Patterns

By Paige

Although there are a wide variety of dog colors, the patterns give us an even broader range of colors & combinations. Some patterns are breed-specific, while others can be found across many breeds.

The genetics of color is beyond us, but here are some of the basic patterns those genes produce with real examples.

Belton

Belton colored dog

Image from vetrobeck

A white base coat with tiny spots over most of the body giving the impression of blue, yellow or orange colors.

Bi-Colored

Bi-Colored dog

A coat with two colors.

Blenheim

Blenheim colored dog

Image from jeff-o-matic

Refers to the red and white coloring of certain spaniel breeds.

Blue Merle

Blue Merle colored dog

Image from mara

Marbled blue, grey & black.

Brindle

Brindle dog

Image from neil k.

A lighter background with a fine and fairly even mix of black stripes.

Dappled

Dappled dog

Image from Fenchurch!

Mottled markings of several different colors.

Harlequin

Harlequin dog

Image from jumping lab!

Large black or blue splotches on a white background coat.

Hound Coat

Hound coat dog

Image from Justin Beckley

White base coat with tan and/ or black patches on the head, back, legs & tail.

Mantle

Mantle colored dog

Image from jumping lab

A white base coat with a second color blanketing the body, & part of the neck, head, tail & legs.

Peppering or Sesame

Peppering colored dog

Image from LesPaulSupreme

A fairly even mixture of black and white hairs which give a salt and pepper look to the coat.

Roan

Roan dog

Image from bktaylor

An even mixture of colored & white hairs

Sable

Sable dog

Image from Trehorn

A light background coat (usually gold, silver or tan) with black tips – often accompanied by a black mask.

Tri-Color

Tri-Color dog

Image from Ian Hampton

A coat with three distinct colors.

Tuxedo

Tuxedo colored dog

Image from daphenator

Black dog with white pattern on chest, chin and feet resembling a tuxedo and spats. Most commonly found in the Boston Terrier.

Phantom

Phantom colored dog

Image from Big DumpTruck

Markings similar to those of Rottweilers or Dobermans, with a different color on the legs, eyebrows, beard & mustache, inside of ears and under tail.

Parti-Colored

Parti-Colored dog

Has a white foundation coat with spots or patches of another color. They can be found in a variety of different colors.

Need More Color?

Be sure to check out the basic dog colors too.

22 Responses to “Dog Coat Patterns”

  1. rae says:

    what about phantom, and parti-color?

  2. Paige says:

    Hi Rae,

    Thanks for the info, we’ll be sure to add them. :)

  3. rae says:

    Thanks <3 I have a phantom poodle and I could lend pictures if you like.. Or if you look them up you can find some really nice ones phantom and parti are mostly poodles/shihtzu & poodle mixes I believe. Phantom can stem from parents who are parti-colored or brindle. Or one of each. Phantom looks like the markings of a rotty/rottweiler. But isnt just red and black. Can be any coloration. The dog could be white and the markings could be brown, or the dog could be grey and markings black? ect. Parti-colored is mostly white, with patches of color.

  4. rae says:

    good photos btw

  5. Paige says:

    Rae you are awesome, thank you! :)

  6. rae says:

    No problema I love Poodles <3

  7. krystyna says:

    I have a dog that I rescued and he looks very similar to the dog in the photo for the brindle coat submitted by Neil K. would anyone know what breed this dog is? I would really like to know.

  8. rae says:

    Thanks for adding my phantom & parti-colored suggestion!

  9. Paige says:

    yw rae. :)

    @krystyna the pic says it was taken in Chile, could be a Chilean breed or could be a mutt. He’s pretty cute though. :)

  10. Donna Blend says:

    I also rescued a puppy that looks like the picture submitted by Neil K. They told us it was a shepherd but we are not sure. She is so cute. Her ears stick up and her nose is long and black.

  11. Donna Blend says:

    try dutch sheperd dogs
    Our little dog looks like them.
    I suspect that she may only look like them.
    too cool she looks exactly like them.

  12. Teresa says:

    I rescued a grown boy dog who looks just like the cutie Neil K. took a pic of too! Sad so many are letting them go, but I’m so glad we are all glad to get the info.

  13. Bracha says:

    Re: Donna Blend query about a dog similar to Neil K’s photo but with a LONG black nose and ears that STICK UP.

    Another possibility is a COATED Xoloitzcuintli. Often confused by shelters with GSD mix their body line, smaller head but longer slimmer nose, plus delightful large (can) stick up ears and dark/black mask sets them apart.Oh, and they tend to have very distinctive “Wrinkles” on the brow between the eyes that are most noticeable when they are concentrating. They come in 3 sizes … mine is a standard and there are 2 smaller versions.

  14. Caiti says:

    For the Neil K picture, the little girls I used to babysit had this same pooch. Very Cute and not all that common :)

  15. Lindsay says:

    I was wondering if any of you could tell me what breed of dog is the one in the Brindle picture? Thanks!

  16. snakey says:

    Phantom in poodles is the tan-point or cream-point pattern in other dogs. Dapple in dachsunds is merle in other dogs–some countries are starting to ban registration of doxies with 2 dapple parents, as the merle gene can have severe health effects in its homozygous form no matter what the dog’s breed. Harlequin in Great Danes is trickier; it’s merle plus a “helper” gene that wipes the lightened background color out. And there are a ton of variations on sable patterns–masked (look for Leonbergers & B. Malinois), saddled (find Dunker hounds for saddled sable merles), merled, “silver” as seen in huskies & malamutes…not to mention liver, blue, and lilac sables in lots of breeds. Brindles also come in many variations. Whippets are a good breed for checking out brindle options–cream, fawn, red, blue, liver, they’re all there. Most of the “trindle” dogs I’ve seen in photos or in person (black or red & tan but with brindle on the tan points) have been mixed breeds. As for merled colors, Australian shepherds pretty much have them all: black (bi blue is what I see dogs like mara’s blue merle above called), black tri (traditional blue merle with tan points), liver (called red with or without tan points), dilute blue (slate), dilute liver (lilac), and sable. What is called “belton” only in the English Setter is found in many breeds, especially the hunting dogs such as pointers, and is elsewhere called “ticking”. The most spectacularly lovely ticked-and-roaned dog I ever saw was a black-and-tan longhaired mini dachsund pup. I’m not a dog breeder, trainer, or expert, but I do spend many hours keeping my OCD at bay by surfing breeder sites for fun.

  17. MariJoy says:

    My Shih-tzu/Yorkie mix is a reverse brindle color – tan stripes on a black background with gray legs – giving the overall appearance of a dark chocolate & gray color from a distance.

  18. Linda says:

    How about adding pictures of “seal”… side by side in the shade and in the sunlight so the different appearance is clear.

  19. Susan says:

    I believe the brindle dog pictured is a Plott hound.

  20. Heidi Lyon says:

    The dog pictured in the brindle spot by Neil K. is a Plott Hound or Plott mix. They are nearly 100% brindle (red, brown, and some black). They are a beautiful dog :)

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