Brindle dogs have striking coats with a brown foundation featuring black or browns stripes overlaid.
Now, many different breeds come with a distinctive brindle coat, and it’s caused by a recessive gene as we’ll outline below.
When brindle coloring is heavier and darker, this is the traditional brindle. When the coloring is lighter, it’s known as reverse brindle. With reverse brindle, the lighter color is more pronounced against the darker background.
Some brindles have a hue of blue, while others are reddish brown.
What this means is that anyone looking for a brindle dog first needs to consider the breeds most likely to exhibit this coat before doubling down on the type of pattern that most visually appeals.
Today’s roundup of the best brindle dog breeds covers all the dogs most likely to be brindle. You can also find striped coloring in other breeds.
What about this recessive gene, then?
I. What Causes The Brindle Pattern on Some Dogs?
The brindle coat pattern is caused by a genetic trait just like other coat colors.
The gene series on a dog’s DNA strand determines his color pattern. These are lettered with the mutation found at the K locus responsible. There are three different gene variations at this locus. One of these makes the dog all black. One is a default option from one of the parents. The other of these makes a dog brindle. With this mutation, although brindle is dominant over yellow, it remains recessive to the dog’s black gene.
So, if you like the idea of bringing one of these eye-catching beasts into your home, stick with any of the following breeds and you’ll maximize your chances of finding a brindle fur baby.
II. 20 Best Brindle Dog Breeds
- Great Dane
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Bull Terrier
- Boston Terrier
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi
- Treeing Tennessee Brindle
- Cairn Terrier
- Dutch Shepherd
- French Bulldog’
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Irish Wolfhound
- Jack Russell Terrier
Greyhounds are one of the most breeds most commonly associated with brindle coats.
This breed features dogs with a variety of brindle colorings from black and blue to red and fawn, as well as different combinations within that palette.
You might imagine these dogs are always on the go, and they certainly are active. They require 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day, but they are prone to lengthy spells on the couch, too. Greyhounds make relaxed and loving pets.
If you find a rescue greyhound, you may find that maltreatment over the years leaves these dogs rather shy and retiring, possibly problematic for first-time owners looking for a more interactive pup. If you want a lovable and charismatic brindle beast, a greyhound should be one of your go-to options.
Akitas come in assorted colors, several brindle combinations included.
These dogs were bred for hunting and tracking, so make great guard dogs. This wolf-like breed is stubborn and independent but has a fiercely protective streak. They will need careful socialization to stop their aggressive nature coming to the surface. This breed also has a powerful prey drive, meaning they often react unfavorably to other dogs in the house.
Like rescue greyhounds, Akitas are challenging pets for first-time owners, but they make a solid choice for anyone experienced raising dogs.
Boxers are either fawn or brindle. The brindle trait is dominant in this breed, so only one copy of the recessive gene is required to bring about a brindle boxer. As such, brindle boxers are commonplace.
Sensitive and friendly, boxers form close, strong bonds with their families. They are super-patient around children and babies, too.
This breed demands a reasonable amount of input. If you’re prepared to spend plenty of time playing with your boxer as well as meeting his energy demands, he’ll bring you bundles of joy, and there’s every chance he will be brindle in color.
4) Great Dane
One of the world’s largest breeds, great Danes weigh up to 200 pounds and they can stand almost 3 feet tall. Given these supersized dimensions, this breed is a poor choice if you live in an apartment or cramped house.
One of the major drawbacks of this breed – aside from the food bill – is the amount of drool they produce. Not only do some people find these unappealing or distasteful, but it also tends to get all over the floors and furniture if you’re not careful.
That said, these dogs are remarkably lovable and they are calm around the house despite that towering size.
Owning a great Dane is an experience, but it’s an experience you need to be ready to embrace head-on. Among the nine differently colored great Danes, you’ll find brindle.
Up until the 1980s, the Basenji in the United States did not come in brindle form. As a result of the health conditions afflicting this breed, some breeders imported Central African Basenji, dogs with the brindle gene.
Calm and quiet, Basenji have an enduring reputation for loyalty. These dogs might not be the most common breed but they make a smart choice for new dog owners looking for an easy introduction to pet parenting.
The mastiff comes in fawn, apricot, and brindle color patterns.
As long as you have plenty of space at home, a mastiff will slot neatly into any family. Although they are large and bulky, you won’t need to devote too much time to exercise. Mastiffs are perfectly content to loll around at home for extended periods. This makes them pretty low maintenance pets, and they would also be ideally suited to new owners prepared to deal with a dog that can weigh north of 200 pounds.
If you’re up for the challenge, a mastiff will soon endear himself to the whole family.
7) Pit bull
Pit bulls have suffered over the years from a sustained attack in the media. While these dogs can be vicious, they are among the more lovable breeds when they are properly trained and part of a loving home.
Small and stocky, these dogs are like a bullet of pure muscle and energy, with tails constantly wagging and eyes filled with fun.
Brindle is one of the more common color patterns in this breed, so if you’re prepared to act in the face of the hype, a pit bull makes a great pet.
Wiener dogs or dachshunds are characteristically low dogs with a friendly and outgoing nature.
The American Kennel Club does not recognize brindle among the colors dachshunds display, but many breeders have introduced this variety of wiener dog.
These dinky dogs are great if you have kids in the house. Their scaled-down dimensions also make them perfect dogs for apartment dwellers. That said, they can be extremely vocal, so they don’t make the best if you like a quiet, calm home base.
9) Bull Terrier
Bull terriers are medium-sized dogs with a very peculiar appearance and bags of character.
You’ll find this breed with 13 different color patterns. Among these are several brindle patterns.
Although you might imagine these brawny and muscular furballs are standoffish, they are friendly and amazingly loyal, even by exacting canine standards.
10) Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier is informally known as the American gentleman. He is named thus for his polite manner and coat resembling a tuxedo.
Among the five standard color patterns found in Boston Terrier, there are three different brindle varieties.
This breed is prone to overheating when the mercury rises, just like other short-faced breeds. That said, they also have very short coats and small statures, rendering them less than suitable for cold climates.
Boston terriers are pocket-sized, weighing anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds. They make a great dog if you live in an apartment or anywhere with limited space.
11) Cardigan Welsh Corgi
The cardigan Welsh corgi was bred for herding duties.
These dogs come in a handful of color patterns, brindle included. Their coats are very dense and prone to shedding, so make sure you’re aware of this before adding one of these dogs to your home.
House training this breed can be awkward, so first-time owners should think twice.
While you may not imagine this when you see their stubby legs, these dogs are very active and agile, so be prepared to give them plenty of exercise to prevent restlessness.
The Plott hound was originally bred to track and corner game like boar and bear. Today, the dogs are still extensively used for this purpose. They have also become quite common as pets.
If you’re an inexperienced dog owners, we would suggest exploring other brindle dogs.
Plott hounds need plenty of room to roam and stretch their legs. They are also likely to manifest destructive behaviors unless you give them enough exercise on the daily. You’ll need to make sure you have the right dog fence in place if you bring one of these hounds home.
As long as you’re up for the challenge, a brindle Plott can be a rewarding pet. Sweet and loving, they also usually get along well with other dogs. This breed is simple to groom, too, and they don’t shed profusely either.
13) Treeing Tennessee Brindle
As the name makes abundantly clear, the Treeing Tennessee Brindle comes with a distinctive brindle coat pattern.
For the majority of owners of this breed, the brindle coat pattern is not the key selling point, but rather its inbred tracking characteristics. They can tree game with incredible precision.
First created in the Ozarks, the dogs were used to track and then tree a variety of game species. Today, they are occasionally found as pets, but their extremely vocal nature makes them a bad fit for anyone looking for peace and quiet at home. For many people looking for a brindle dog, this breed makes the default choice purely due to its name. Make sure, though, this dog is the right fit before committing to purchase.
Whippets, just like greyhounds, were historically used for racing as well as for rabbit-hunting.
It was soon discovered that these dogs required much less food and space than greyhounds, making them ideally suited for lower class coal miners.
Despite these roots, most whippets today are household pets, and you can find these dogs with brindle coat patterns.
According to the AKC, there are 18 different coat patterns found in whippets. These span the spectrum from white through to black with all colors in between. Six of these color patterns are classified as brindle.
Whippets are friendly dogs, and they are also very sensitive and ready to shower their owners with affection. Of all the brindle breeds we highlight today, whippets are among the strongest choices for first-time owners. Tidy, whippets don’t drool or shed too much. They also typically enjoy robust health.
These dogs have highly refined prey drives, so they might not react well around other animals at first.
15) Cairn Terrier
You’ll find many brindle cairn terriers. Where they have shaggy and wiry coats, it can be slightly more difficult to determine the pattern.
The color tones of these terriers tend to get lighter as he advances in age.
Cairn terriers have oodles of confidence and character, but they tend to bark and dig regularly, so be prepared for these traits to come to the fore. Careful training is key.
16) Dutch Shepherd
This breed of dog is exclusively brindle. The most common varieties are red gold or silver.
Although Dutch shepherds once exhibited different colors, the breed standard changed to create a distinction between this arresting breed and the Belgian Malinois and German shepherd.
The Dutch shepherd makes a wonderful addition to the home, assuming you have some confidence and experience around dogs. Although they are easy to train and eager to please, you’ll need to show this dog who is in charge through demonstrating calmly controlled confidence.
17) French Bulldog
Among the most popular breeds in the United States, French bulldog are lovable, cheeky pets.
The French bulldog is frequently found with brindle coat markings.
While these dogs look incredibly cute, their truncated noses lead to breathing problems and overheating. They don’t thrive in warm climates. If you take on one of these dogs, make sure you get adequate insurance and prepare yourself for some potentially stiff vet bills along the way.
18) Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire bull terriers frequently sport brindle markings. Often, the shades of brindle are extremely dark.
Staffies act more like cats than dogs, despite a somewhat misguided reputation. They commonly climb onto your lap looking for some extra attention.
These dogs love company, so they don’t make a smooth fit if you live along and spend lots of time away from home. They can suffer from separation anxiety. If you have a family looking for an interactive and loyal addition, consider a brindle Staffie.
19) Irish Wolfhound
Many Irish wolfhounds are reverse brindle. These dogs always have pale coats, but you’ll often notice tiger stripes throughout the wiry fur.
This is another breeds that’s inadvisable for beginners. They need careful training and socialization. With this taken care of, they’ll soon integrate into a family home. New dog owners should consider a less challenging introduction, though.
20) Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terriers can sometimes gave brindle colors on their coat. This is quite rare in this breed, making brindle JRTs highly desirable.
One of the smartest doggies out there, it’s super-simple to train a JRT and they are unsurprisingly one of the most popular breeds in the US today. Energetic and always ready to embrace the great outdoors, take your brindle Jack Russell Terrier hiking or walking and he’ll be in his element.
The breeds we outline today are not the only ones featuring brindle colorways, but they are the most common.
We’ve tried to draw your attention throughout to any breeds that first-time owners should consider avoiding. It takes a while to become confident owning a dog and asserting your authority over him in the right way. Why make things harder on yourself than necessary when you’re starting out?
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