Brindle is a distinctive coat pattern in dogs that’s described as tiger-striped, though the variations of color are more subtle and blended than distinct stripes. Dogs born with this coat pattern carry a particular recessive gene. Typically, the pattern features shades of red as the base color with black stripes on top. However, the coloring can vary considerably, depending on other coat genes that are present. Here are 10 dog breeds that carry the brindle gene.
A brindle coat doesn’t have any bearing on a dog’s personality. So, if you’re attracted to a dog with this coat pattern, it’s important to consider whether the breed’s typical traits are right for your lifestyle.
The Basenji is an ancient breed that bears a striking resemblance to dogs painted on the tombstones of Egyptian pharaohs. Up until the ’80s, the Basenjis found in the United States didn’t come with brindle markings. Breeders were looking to extend the gene pool of their dogs to combat health problems. So several dogs were imported from Central Africa, and they brought the brindle gene with them. Basenjis are typically loyal, calm, and gentle. They also tend to be clean and quiet.
- Height: 16 to 17 inches
- Weight: 20 to 25 pounds
- Physical Characteristics: Smooth, short coat in chestnut red, black, brindle, or tricolor; all have white feet, chest, and tail tip; may have white legs, blaze, and collar; tail is curled over onto the back
Brindle markings are very common on one of North America’s most popular dog breeds: the boxer. Known for being fun-loving, energetic, clever, and affectionate, boxers can be great family pets. But, given their power and size, encouraging calm behavior and working on leash skills are important. Moreover, boxers are a flat-faced, brachycephalic breed and thus can overheat easily in hot temperatures. Be prepared for a fair amount of drool, too.
- Height: 23 to 25 inches (male); 21 to 23 inches (female)
- Weight: 65 to 80 pounds (male); 50 to 65 pounds (female)
- Physical Characteristics: Medium-size, square-built dog; short muzzle; short, shiny, smooth coat most commonly seen in fawn or brindle coloring; white coat is possible
Brindle cairn terriers are fairly common. But, because their coat tends to be wiry and shaggy, the pattern isn’t as distinct as it can be on breeds with short coats. The color tones can also lighten as a dog ages. Confident, clever, and loving, these dogs are full of character. But they can be prolific barkers and diggers, and they love to chase small rodents.
- Height: 9 to 10 inches
- Weight: 12 to 15 pounds
- Physical Characteristics: Double coat with a wiry outer coat; comes in a wide range of colors, including brindle
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Considered one of the oldest breeds from the British Isles, the Cardigan Welsh corgi is commonly found with brindle markings. The brindle gene was thought to have been introduced when these dogs were crossed with the now-extinct brindle herder. Cardigans aren’t as popular as their slightly smaller Pembroke relatives, but they’re devoted to their family, clever, and playful.
- Height: 10.5 to 12.5 inches
- Weight: 25 to 38 pounds
- Physical Characteristics: Low-set, deep-chested, sturdily built; full, brush-like tail; large, erect ears; medium-length, dense, water-resistant double coat that comes in red, sable, brindle, black, or blue merle; with or without white markings on the neck, chest, legs, muzzle, tail, and face
Dutch shepherds are only found with brindle markings. They’re usually shades of silver or red gold. These dogs were originally found in other coat colors, but, in the early 20th century, the breed standard changed in an attempt to distinguish them from the German shepherd and Belgian Malinois. Dutch shepherds are a highly intelligent, energetic, and driven breed. They also tend to be very trainable people-pleasers.
- Height: 22.5 to 24.5 inches (male); 21.5 to 23.5 inches (female)
- Weight: 45 to 75 pounds
- Physical Characteristics: Short, long, and rough-coated varieties; brindle coloring
French bulldogs are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, and they’re commonly found with brindle markings. Their popularity stems from their unique appearance and goofy, fun-loving, friendly natures. Unfortunately, their appearance also creates problems. Their squat faces mean they’re prone to breathing difficulties, which can cause them to overheat easily. This breed isn’t suited to living in hot climates.
- Height: 11 to 13 inches
- Weight: 19 to 28 pounds
- Physical Characteristics: Small, squat, muscular; wide head; short snout; large, bat-like ears; short, smooth coat in brindle, fawn, white, or combination of brindle and white or fawn and white
Great Danes come in an array of coats, including the brindle pattern. These huge dogs are known for being loving, friendly, and eager to please. Despite their size, they tend to get along well with respectful children and other household pets. However, living with a Great Dane can have its drawbacks. You’ll need plenty of space and a considerable budget for their food. Their lifespan also is considerably shorter than the average dog.
- Height: 30 to 32 inches (male); 28 to 30 inches (female)
- Weight: 140 to 175 pounds (male); 110 to 140 pounds (female)
- Physical Characteristics: Regal and muscular stature; large, square head; short coat in brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin (white with black patches), or mantle (black and white)
Because of their short coats, the brindle markings sometimes found on greyhounds are very distinct. Despite their bursts of incredible speed, this affectionate breed can be a wonderfully chill housemate. Once a greyhound finds a comfy spot on the sofa, it tends to be quite happy. However, greyhounds generally have a strong prey drive. They often don’t live peaceably with smaller household pets, and they instinctively want to chase wildlife.
- Height: 25 to 30 inches
- Weight: 60 to 80 pounds
- Physical Characteristics: Long legs; athletic, thin body; long, narrow head; pointed muzzle; short, smooth coat in many different solid and brindle colors
Gentle and giant mastiffs can often be found with brindle markings. Despite their intimidating size, mastiffs can make wonderfully affectionate, calm, protective, and loyal family members. However, these dogs won’t suit every household. They need lots of space and a large food budget. Plus, training and socialization from a young age are essential to manage these powerful dogs. And they are known for being prolific chewers.
- Height: 30 inches and up (male); 27.5 inches and up (female)
- Weight: 150 to 220 pounds (male); 120 to 180 pounds (female)
- Physical Characteristics: Short, sleek coat; colors are fawn, apricot, or brindle; dark mask on the muzzle, ears, and nose
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire bull terriers are often found with brindle markings, and sometimes the shades can be very dark. Known for being devoted to their families and incredibly affectionate, it’s not unusual for a Staffie to climb onto your lap seeking attention. Staffies thrive in company, and they aren’t suited to living in a household where they are left alone often. Separation anxiety can be a problem with this breed.
- Height: 14 to 16 inches
- Weight: 24 to 38 pounds
- Physical Characteristics: Muscular build; deep chest; square head with short muzzle; short, smooth coat in solid red, fawn, white, black, blue, or brindle