14 Adorable Brindle Dog Breeds You Need to Know

Updated: Apr. 23, 2024

Sometimes called tiger-striped dogs, these brindle breeds have some of the most uniquely colored coats in all the animal kingdom

A dog’s coat is one of its most striking features, whether it’s long-haired, short-haired or somewhere in between. There are solid-colored white dogs and black dogs, multi-colored breeds and, perhaps somewhat less well-known, brindle dogs.

What are brindle dogs?

Sometimes described as tiger-striped dogs, brindle pups have a subtly striped pattern that can come in a range of colors such as red, fawn, brown, silver and black. Unlike more distinct stripes—such as the ones you might see on a zebra—brindle stripes are more zagged and sometimes blotchy.

A brindle color dog’s stripes and base color don’t vary much in hue. Usually, they have dark stripes and a base color that is only somewhat lighter. When there are light-colored stripes on a darker coat, it’s called a reverse brindle. These striped dogs can have the brindle pattern all over their bodies or just in certain spots. Interestingly, brindle coats can appear on other types of animals as well, including cats, guinea pigs, cattle and horses.

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Reviewed for accuracy by: Caroline Coile, PhD, an award-winning journalist specializing in canine breeds, health and science. She’s the author of 34 books, including Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds.

Why causes brindle in some dogs?

A dog’s genetics determine if it will have a brindle coat. To be brindle, a dog must carry one or two copies of the brindle gene—and only certain breeds carry this gene at all. The brindle gene is dominant, but it can be covered up by colors regulated by genes at other locations in the dog’s genetic makeup.

For example, if a dog is a color called dominant black, it will be black all over. If it has a gene that doesn’t allow any black at all to show through, it will be cream colored, even if it has a brindle gene. If a dog is spotted, the white parts will cover up what would otherwise be brindle. So brindle can “hide” for generations and then pop up unexpectedly, depending on what other colors the dog is. That’s part of what makes it so fun!

Similar to blue-eyed dogs and dogs with green eyes, simply choosing a dog breed that carries the brindle gene doesn’t guarantee your dog will have a brindle coat; it just means there’s a possibility it will. Additionally, mixed breeds and mutts can also carry the brindle gene. A brindle coat can develop as your dog ages, so a solid-colored pup could develop stripes as it gets older.

While a brindle coat can certainly make your pup stand out from the crowd, it won’t change his personality. Before adopting a pup, you’ll want to make sure the breed’s general character and temperament suit your lifestyle. Ahead, find the cutest dog breeds that carry the brindle gene.

1. Boxer

A brindle Boxer mixed breed dog with a red collarMary Swift/Getty Images

Brindle boxers are fairly common. Brindle is one of three possible boxer colors registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The other two are fawn and white, but the whites are not allowed to compete in the show ring. Adorably, these pups often have white feet and bellies, even if their coats are primarily brindle. Frequently used as cattle dogs, police dogs, guide dogs and watch dogs, boxers are playful, loyal and patient with children. Most years they even make it onto the AKC’s list of the top 10 most popular dog breeds.

2. French bulldog

French Bulldog, Male standing on Grassslowmotiongli/Getty Images

The AKC recognizes these playful pups in nine coat colors and patterns, including brindle. Some Frenchies also have cream brindle, or “fawn brindle,” coats. Originally made popular by society ladies in Paris as the quintessential city dogs, these flat-faced pups are currently the most popular dog breed in the United States. They’re known for their oversized bat ears and charming, adaptable personalities.

3. Greyhound

Brindle Greyhound on a beachginastancel/getty Images

A greyhound is guaranteed to outrun all the other pups at the park. These graceful hounds have coats in various shades of brindle, including blue brindle, red brindle, white-and-blue brindle and white-and-red brindle. Originally bred as hunting dogs in England, this quick-footed breed can still be found on racetracks around the world today. They have a reputation for being gentle and independent. And while they’re perfectly happy lounging at home during the day, they require regular opportunities to run full out. After all, they are the fastest dog breed in the world.

4. Whippet

Close-Up Of Whippet DogNicole Hammond/Getty Images

Another speedy dog, the whippet lives up to its name. Similar to the greyhound, these dogs have an inverted S shape and a trim waist. They’re affectionate, playful and calm dogs, and do just as well with a large backyard as they do in the city (although they will need adequate exercise). An interesting fact? This often-brindle dog breed rarely barks. You can find whippets with blue brindle, fawn brindle, red brindle and black brindle coats.

5. Dutch shepherd

Dutch Shepherd DogCristina Corduneanu/Getty Images

Often seen in a gold brindle and silver brindle, these intelligent brindle pups are frequently used as police dogs, search and rescue dogs and guide dogs. They’re known for their athleticism, independence and lively personalities. In addition to two brindle colors, Dutch shepherds can also have three different coat types: short hair, long hair and rough hair. Rough-haired Dutch shepherd’s coats are so curly that the brindle pattern is hidden.

6. Great Dane

Great Dane Puppy with MotherJim Craigmyle/Getty Images

These gentle giants have coats in an array of colors and patterns, from black-and-white to fawn and brindle. But obviously, the Great Dane’s most noticeable characteristic is its size. Standing up to 32-inches high and weighing up to 175 pounds, these sizable pups, one of the world’s biggest dog breeds, tower over most other dogs. Great Danes are friendly, dependable and great with kids. They also make formidable watchdogs (their size alone will deter most intruders).

7. Akita

Brindle Akita standing on the grassSVphotography/Getty Images

The Akita is one of the fluffiest brindle dogs. Originally bred as hunting dogs in Japan, these pups hold a special place in Japanese culture. When a child is born, the parents will often receive a small Akita statue to signify health, happiness and long life. Hellen Keller is credited with bringing the first Akita to the United States; the disability-rights activist received a pup as a gift while visiting Japan. These muscular dogs are loyal, dignified and somewhat wary of strangers and other animals. The American Akita, now considered a separate breed by the AKC, can also have a brindle coat.

8. American Staffordshire terrier

American Staffordshire terrier dog standing outsideOlga Ovcharenko/Getty Images

American Staffordshire terriers have glossy short-haired coats that are seen in a range of colors, such as black, white, bronze, fawn, red and brindle. They’re also seen with many different patterns, from patches and spots to face masks. These muscular, sturdy dogs are known for their confident and good-natured personalities. Adopt one and you’ll have an outgoing friend.

9. Dachshund

Red brindle dachshundMartin Belli/Getty Images

You know these pups from their short stature and floppy ears. But did you know about their coats? Dachshunds are found in a variety of colors and color combinations, from tan-pointed blacks and browns to solid red, piebald (or patched) and merle (or dapple). They’re also frequently seen with a brindle pattern. Dachshunds are spunky, curious pups and require moderate amounts of exercise to keep their adorably long backs strong and healthy. Not to mention, they’re one of the cutest dog breeds with short legs.

10. Cane corso

cane corso dog with brindle coat standing outsieeslowmotiongli/Getty Images

If we had to choose one word to describe the cane corso, it’d be “majestic.” At nearly 28 inches tall and weighing more than 100 pounds, this working group brindle dog is an intimidating protector. This Italian dog’s name roughly translates to “bodyguard dog” in Latin. These dogs are smart, loyal and eager to please, although their assertive nature makes them a no-go for novice owners. They come in black, gray, red and fawn, all with or without brindling.

11. Bullmastiff

Outdoor portrait of a sitting BullMastiff dogLakatos/Getty Images

Another gentle giant breed, bullmastiffs are the result of bulldog and mastiff crosses. Members of the working group, these muscular pups were originally used to pursue and hold poachers in England. Today, they’re known for their affectionate, loyal and courageous personalities. They come in red or fawn, with or without brindling, and usually with a black mask.

12. Colored bull terrier

Bull terrier walks on grassFoto-front/Getty Images

The bull terrier’s most notable feature is its head, which the AKC lovingly calls egg-shaped. These big-boned pups are playful and charming; in the mid-1800s, they were the breed of choice among stylish young gentlemen in Britain. Bull terriers come in two varieties: white, which is all-white but can have some color on the head, and colored, which can be colored on the body. Brindle is the preferred color for them. You can find bull terriers in a range of colors and patterns, including black brindle and white with black brindle spots. Their coats are short and coarse with a slight glossy sheen.

13. Plott hound

Plott Hound Dog Close-uptracielouise/Getty Images

The Plott hound is named after the man who bred them, a German immigrant named Johannes Plott, who raised the dogs in North Carolina. They’re descended from German Hanover hounds and were bred to hunt large game animals such as bear and wild boar. This coonhound breed had German ancestors but is considered an American-made breed. It comes in a range of brindle colors, including black brindle, blue brindle, brown brindle, gray brindle, red brindle and more. Plotts are loyal, alert and intelligent, and they have energy to spare. Because of their history, they’re also North Carolina’s official state dog.

14. Cardigan Welsh corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Dog on walk in bright Sunny dayMaksim Kamyshanskii/Getty Images

Did you know corgis are short for a reason? Originally bred as herders, the corgi’s low-to-the-ground stature allows them to nip at the heels of cattle without getting kicked. However, while they were bred to work hard, they also make affectionate and loyal companion dogs. Sometimes seen in brindle and white, the cardigan Welsh corgi has pointy ears, a long body and a deep chest. And unlike the Pembroke corgi, these guys have tails.

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At Reader’s Digest, we’re committed to producing high-quality content by writers with expertise and experience in their field in consultation with relevant, qualified experts. For this piece, Juliana LaBianca tapped her experience covering dog breeds, and then Caroline Coile, PhD, an award-winning journalist specializing in canine breeds, health and science, gave it a rigorous review to ensure that all information is accurate and offers the best possible advice to readers. We verify all facts and data, back them with credible sourcing and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.