What is a Brindle Dog? Traits, Breeds, and Fun Facts!

What is a brindle dog?

Brindle coats are a unique pattern on dogs similar to tiger stripes, although the color differences aren’t as prominent and tend to blend when compared to the bold stripes of big cats.

If a dog with a brindle coat is what you’re after, many incredible dog breeds can be found that sport this elegant and attractive coat. 

Our guide has everything you should know about brindle coats and popular brindle breeds to help you determine which one is right for you. 

What is a Brindle Dog?

Brindle dog with a prominent pattern
Brindle coats are a unique pattern on dogs similar to tiger stripes.

This recognizable pattern is typically characterized by a lighter base color with darker stripes over the top. With this coat, the stripes are primarily black or dark brown and appear feathered on top of the base color. 

Although the light base and dark stripes are most common, genetics play a huge role in the end coat color result. In rare cases, the reverse is observed. A dog with a brindle coat pattern that has a dark base color and light stripes is referred to as a reverse brindle.

What Causes a Brindle Coat?

The striking nature of a brindle coat is due to a recessive gene the dog carries. For this reason, the brindle coat isn’t exclusive to one breed, nor does a single breed exclusively have brindle coats. 

This means that just because a breed has brindle-coated pups available doesn’t mean they all will – and the good news? A dog’s temperament and care needs are completely unaffected by a brindle coat. 

So, if you’re drawn to a beautiful brindle-coated dog, remember it’s the breed that matters, not the color of its coat. Make sure the breed’s characteristics are a good fit for your lifestyle. 

Brindle-Coated Dog Breed Size and Features

A popular myth is that brindle coats are only seen on particularly large dog breeds, such as muscle-bound breeds like Great Danes and Boxers. 

Even though these breeds are known to carry the brindle coat gene, it’s found in breeds of all sizes. However, when it comes to brindle coats, the feature they all seem to share is that they’re virtually all short-haired breeds. 

What Are the Most Common Brindle Dog Breeds?

Just because a breed has a higher chance of carrying the brindle coat gene does not guarantee every dog in that breed will have it.

That said, we made an informative list of the best dog breeds with brindle coats, each having its own unique set of breed characteristics and personalities.

Here’s a brief look at some of the most common brindle dog breeds: 


Boxers are intelligent, sweet dogs who get along well with kids. They’re vibrant, expressive, and have youthful exuberance. While this might make them a valuable asset to your home, most boxers are unaware of their strength. 

It’s worth noting that their energetic attitude and robust body may overwhelm little kids, mistaking playfulness for something else that could lead to a few tears being shed. For this reason, ensuring your Boxer gets plenty of quality exercise is the best practice to keep them happy, healthy, and calm. 

Boxers frequently sport brindle coats, which can accentuate their already beautiful look. While exercising your Boxer, make sure they have plenty of water and have a cool place to rest because short-haired coats increase the risk of heatstroke.

Great Dane

Growing up to 3 feet tall on all fours and weighing over 140 pounds, Great Danes are the gentle giants of the dog breeds. Despite their size, Great Danes are renowned for their pleasant, affectionate, and submissive nature.

They blend in very well with families and keep calm (even with small kids around) as long as they receive plenty of obedience training during puppyhood. Considering their great size, they require quite a bit of space to comfortably house them. On top of this, they are not the most budget-friendly of breeds to feed and take care of.

Regardless, they are truly gorgeous animals and definite head-turners, especially the brindle-coated ones. 


Compared to other breeds, Greyhounds don’t have as many brindle markings, but due to their incredibly thin coats, a brindle Greyhound is extremely noticeable. Because the stripes come in various colors, a brindle-coated Greyhound has a very appealing look.

Greyhounds are most recognized for being the Olympic track runners of all the dog breeds as they can reach speeds between 40-45 miles per hour. Yet, this breed is relatively laid back and content cuddling with you on the couch while you watch your favorite shows.

Don’t be fooled by their chill disposition, because they still need their exercise and training. Daily activity – around 30 minutes – should be enough to prevent them from developing destructive behaviors. You can make good use of a no-pull harness to keep them from chasing anything in sight while out on walks.

It’s worth noting that if your greyhound pup was once a full-time racer, there’s a possibility they were mistreated in the process. This can lead to temperament challenges in the long run. So, for first-time dog owners, consider your own limitations before you commit to buying a brindle-coated Greyhound. 


Mastiffs are humongous dogs that can reach over 200 pounds. Although their coat colors are commonly beige or apricot, they can also be found with a brindle coat. They are also one breed where it’s just as common to see a reverse brindle coat as the regular brindle one.

Aside from their stunning coat features, they are exceedingly affectionate, cuddly, and loyal. This is why they make for great family dogs, provided they have plenty of room to roam around and enough to eat to fill their belly. 

Of all the dog breeds, mastiffs aren’t the most energetic and will happily slumber for long periods of time. That isn’t to say they don’t need exercise, though. A daily hour walk will help them stay in tip-top shape.

It will definitely be a learning curve if you’re not used to handling large dogs but rest assured their loving and gentle demeanor is worth the extra work to learn. 

Staffordshire Bull Terriers (Staffies)

Because of their history with dogfighting, Staffies are often seen negatively. The fact is, yes, they can be combative if they are abused, but with proper training, exercise, and socialization, they are a fiercely devoted, loving, and affectionate dog breed.

The Staffy thrives when given plenty of love, attention, and companionship. They cannot be left alone for the entire day. They need companionship and attention to stave off destructive boredom. Staffies are among the most prominent breeds with brindle coats in various colors and patterns.

Read More: Why Are Staffies Always in Shelters? Here’s why Staffies are commonly surrendered.

French Bulldog (Frenchies)

Brindle coats are common in French Bulldogs, and they look fantastic. The Frenchie’s mighty physique reflects their playful and engaging disposition.

They are excellent family dogs because of their upbeat personality, and they get along well with children of all ages. Nevertheless, they can become overly excited, so it’s best to always keep an eye out when surrounded by little kids. 

As affectionate and gentle as they can be with their owners, Frenchies have a strong hunting instinct that can get them into trouble. They get along with animals they are accustomed to but tend to bolt after the first unfamiliar small creature they encounter.

Another difficulty is that French Bulldogs suffer from heat exhaustion. A cooling pad for dogs will go a long way with preventing this from happening, but it’s generally accepted that Frenchies must have air-conditioned shelter during hot, humid summer months.

Brindle Coats and Health Concerns

Brindle dog with red and black pattern
Brindle dogs come in all shapes and sizes and experience various health concerns.

Health issues have nothing to do with brindle coats but can be present in dogs with a genetic predisposition to disease based on breed. However, issues may arise when a brindle-coated dog is bred with a dog that holds a different coat-related gene.

For instance, when crossed with brindle, the merle gene can produce lovely coats, but it can also cause vision and hearing issues. Like any dog breed, brindle dogs require great care and respect when breeding and testing to avoid problems like these. 

This specific issue is related to the gene that creates the merle coat and not to genes that result in a brindle coat.

Aside from that, your brindle dog is just as susceptible to developing any health issue typically associated with whatever breed he or she is. 

Final Thoughts

What is a brindle dog? By now, you should be familiar with this coat pattern and the dogs it appears in.

From your mastiff tanks to your fun-size Frenchies, brindle coats can be found on dogs of many breeds. Even though these dogs have distinct and often stunning appearances, each has a unique personality, which means their care and maintenance needs will vary. 

When picking a brindle dog breed, the most important consideration is whether it’s a suitable match for your home and work life, as well as your place of residence. So, whichever breed you choose, they’ll be a perfect fit as long as you have the time, love, and care to devote to them daily. 

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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