What are brindle dogs? Brindle Dog Breeds


What Is Brindle?

Brindle refers to the coloring of fur which can happen in various breeds of dogs. Brindle dog breeds have the appearance that resembles something similar to a tiger if it were dark brown to black. The markings are usually black stripes on tan to a dark brown base. This coloration is sometimes referred to as trindle or tri-coloration.

The word brindle derives from the word brinded, which translated literally to mean “as if with fire”. This brindle pattern can also occur in other species such as cats, horses, cows, and rodents.

The brindle gene is a recessive part of the K series/K Locus of genes which is dominantly black, recessive brindle and recessive non-solid black genes. Dominant black genes usually stop the development of brindle, but the following recessive color genes can produce different variations of the brindle colors. Although, recent studies have shown that even with the dominant black gene present the brindle still appears. This means it’s still possible that other genes or gene modifiers could prompt the brindle pattern in some breeds.

Brindle genetics can be looked down upon in some breeds, such as greyhounds and can be disallowed by the AKC standard for showmanship, although for the most part, it’s a naturally occurring color that is beautifully displayed.

Brindle Dog Breeds

Below is a list of brindle dog breeds that commonly have the coloration occur in their fur.


boxer with brindle - dog dojo

Hailing from Germany, Boxers are well known for their short-haired brindle colors. Some boxers have so much brindle that it’s sometimes referred to as ‘reverse brindle’. The brindle originated when a German citizen named George Alt crossbred a brindle colored female with an unknown cross-breed, resulting in what we know as the Lechner’s Boxer.

Great Dane

great dane with brindle - dog dojo

Also originating from Germany, the brindle coloring also commonly occurs in the Great Dane breed. Great Danes that have a golden base to their brindle are usually more desirable than other types of brindle, and a yellow gold with strong black stripes is the AKC standard for Great Danes. The ideal brindle is a bright or intensive base color with defined and clean brindle.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Corgi with Brindle - dog dojo

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is one of two dog breeds apart of the Welsh corgi family. Cardigan’s are double coated which means they come in a variety of colors, including variations of brindle and blue brindle.

English Mastiff

English Mastiff with brindle - dog dojo

The English Mastiff is a short haired breed which often has a dark brown or black occurring brindle. Again, the desired brindle marketing should be clean, even stripes with dominant markings. The brindle is dominant in solid colors and can occur in black, blue brindle, and chocolate. The history of the English Mastiff goes back to 1883 when T.V.H Lukey bred an Alpine Mastiff with a black Mastiff resulting in offspring which later mated with a brindle dog.


Bullmastiff with brindle - dog dojo

Bullmastiffs are a large dog breed with short dense and slightly rough coat. They often come in brindle, fawn or red, with black markings on the head. The history of the Bullmastiffs originates in England as early as 1795, where they were used as gamekeeper’s dogs to track and take down poachers. The dark brindle was considered great camouflage in the night.

Boston Terrier

Boston terrier with brindle - dog dojo

Boston Terriers come in either black, brindle or seal with white markings. Other colored Boston Terriers are often considered undesirable although sometimes are pawned off as rare and sold at high prices. This is not the case. These breeds usually come in a red or seal color, which takes the appearance of black. These colors are undesirable to breeders because it dilutes the breed and could potentially change the breed altogether.

French Bulldog

french bulldog with brindle - dog dojo

French Bulldogs come in a wide range of colors except for solid black, liver, mousse, and black with white. Same with Boston Terriers, some breeders may try to pawn these colors as rare and try to sell at high prices. These breeders should be avoided, as they are disqualified colors according to AKC and may promote bad breeding.


greyhound with brindle - dog dojo

Although gray is in the name of the breed, greyhounds come in various different brindle colors, including blue brindle, light brindle and more. Brindle coloring on Italian Greyhounds, however, is a disqualifying feature according to AKC breed standards.


whippet with brindle - dog dojo

The Whippet is a small sized hound dog with similar coat characteristics as the greyhound. They also come in various colors such as red, black, white, cream and brindle.

Treeing Tennessee Brindle

Treeing Tennessee Brindle - dog dojo

With brindle in the name, it’s a given that the Treeing Tennessee Brindle would be included as a brindle dog breed. The Treeing Tennessee is apart of the cur family, which refers to being a generally mixed breed.  This breed stands out from other trailing dog breeds because of it’s strong brindle coloring and it’s strong tracking abilities.

Plott Hound

Plott hound with brindle - dog dojo

Plott Hounds derive from the coonhound group and are a fairly unknown breed across the United States. The Plott Hound is also somewhat unique in color because of the short brindle coat and it’s the only coonhound that is not a descendant of the foxhound.

Cane Corso

canecorso with brindle - dog dojo

Similar to the Bullmastiff, the Cane Corso is a great companion dog that was originally bred to help guard and protect properties. The Cane Corso comes in two basic colors, which include black and fawn. The brindle effect is common in both the basic coat colors. Statistically speaking, black brindle Canes are the longest living out of the breed color variation.

Mountain Cur

Mountain Cur with Brindle - dog dojo

The Mountain Cur and Treeing Tennessee Brindle breeds use to be the same dog breed, but as time goes on they achieve more individuality to justify being their own breed. Mountain Curs are a rustic medium-sized dog breed usually coming in a short, rough brindle coat.


Akita with brindle - dog dojo

This faithful Japanese breed is one of the few Asian brindle dog breeds. Akita-Inu’s often come in various colors which are all permitted in breeding standards, including sesame brindle and fawn.


Basenji with brindle - dog dojo

The Basenji breed is a hunting dog coming from central Africa. They are usually small in stature with short smooth hair. All Basenji’s have white feet and come in a few coloration, including red, black, tricolor and brindle.

Cairn Terrier

Cairn terrier with brindle - dog dojo

Cairn Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds around. They got their popularity after the showing of Wizard of Oz, with Toto’s star role, who was a Cairn Terrier. Cairn Terrier’s coat comes in many standard colors, such as cream, deep red, light gray, and of course brindle. Their brindle coat is somewhat unique because as they get older, their brindle tends to get darker with every passing coat.

Dutch Shepherd

Dutch Shepherd with brindle - dog dojo

The Dutch Shepherd is a medium to large sized herding dog originating from the Netherlands. In the early days of the European Shepherd breeds, there wasn’t much that distinguished them from each other. It was decided that the brindle coat would distinguish this breed from the German and Belgian Shepherd.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffie with brindle - dog dojo

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier descends from the family tree of the bulldog. The Staffie has a short smooth coat that often comes in brindle or brindle with white. The breed is coupled with its affectionate nature, its quietness and trustworthy stability, make it a great all purpose dog.