Coat Colors in Dogs
(Dog Colors and Coat Patterns)
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Coat Colors

Apricot: color can be anything ranging from orange to faded looking yellow.

Blue: there are four types of blue:
Blue (dilute): a genetically black a dark becomes metallic blue-gray in appearance (blue Great Dane).
Blue: black puppies become blue-grey in adulthood (Kerry blue terrier).
Blue (ticking): black roaning on white.
Blue Merle: marbled grey on black.

Chocolate: a brown color ranging from dark to milk chocolate. Chocolates may also have reddish tones and be very light in color. This color is sometimes called "liver" in other breeds.

Cream: Pale yellow to broken white or ivory.

Deadgrass: tan or dull straw color.

Fallow: a pale cream to light fawn color that is the color of sandy soil in fallow fields.

Fawn: there are two types of fawn: EITHER a brown, red-yellow with hue of medium brillance, often with shadings of red or even black tips on the hairs, OR, a pale greyish brown dilution of brown and blue.

Gold: any color from reddish-yellow, as in a Golden Retriever, to yellow-gold, lion-colored, wheaten (pale yellow),straw, mustard, sandy, honey.

Grizzle: bluish-grey color.

Isabella: fawn or light bay color.

Lemon: a very pale yellow or wheaten colour which is not present at birth (the puppies are born white) but gradually becomes apparent, usually during the first six months of life. Lemon dogs are sometimes registered as either red (who has a liver nose) or golden (for example, English Cocker Spaniels). A lemon with any other coat pattern will be registered with "lemon" in the name such as lemon roan.

Liver: a brown color ranging reddish to chocolate, always with a brown nose and paw pads.

Lion color: tawny (Ibizan Hound).

Red: reminiscent of reddish woods such as cherry or mahogany.

Silver: an extreme dilution of blue, which appears as the color of an aluminum can or silver coin.

Wheaten: pale yellow or fawn color.

Yellow: blond

Coat Patterns

Belton: a white color with very tiny sports, usually all over the body in clors of black giving the imporession of a blue color, lemon, orange or liver.

Bi-colored: a coat of two colors.

Blenheim: the red-and-white variety of the English Toy Spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Blue merle: marbled blue and grey mixed with black.

Boston: white and black pattern, similar to that of the Boston Terrier. Synonymous of Mantle in Great Danes.

Brindle: a fine, even mixture of black hairs (stripes) on a lighter background, usually tan, brown, red, grey or gold. Brindle occurs in many breeds, for example, Bulldog, Great Dane, Boston Terrier, Irish Wolfhound, Scottish Terrier, etc, but is considered a fault in many other breeds. Some brindled dogs, such as French bulldogs or Bostons, might appear almost black at first sight, whereas in others, brindling may be rather subtile, as in the Irish Wolfhound or Cairn Terrier.

Calico: a specific type of tri-color dog with random patches of red and black over a white body.

Dappled: mottled markings of different colors, no one predominating.

Harlequin: a patched or pied coloration of black or blue on a white background (different from spotted), only seen in Great Danes.

Hound-marked: white coat market with tan and/or black patches on the head, back, legs and tail.

Mantle: a white background with a second color covering the body, part of the neck, head, tail and legs in the same way as a mantle or blanket would. A color pattern seen in Great Danes, where the mantle can be black, blue, fawn or merle.

Merle (merling): the most common type of merle is the "blue merle" (black patches or streaks on a blue-gray marbled background), but there is also liver merle, also called red merle.

Parti-color (Pied, Piebald): two colors that are in variegated patches. Ideally, the irregular patches of color are well defined and cover the head as well as one-third of the body.

Peppering: the admixture of white and black hairs, which in association with some entirely black and some entirely white hairs gives the 'pepper and salt' appearance in some Schnauzer breeds.

Roan: a fine mixture of colored hairs with white hairs. Blue roan, orange roan, lemon roan, etc. (Cocker Spaniel).

Sable: Sable dogs have black-tipped hairs on a (usually lighter) background of silver, grey, cream or tan. Sable dogs usually have black masks.

Ticked, speckled, flecked: Flecks or dots of dark-colored hair on a white background. May be lightly or heavily ticked. Common in many of the hound breeds.

Tortoiseshell: a particular form of tri-colored, but with black, red (brown) and fawn and no white.

Tri-colored (Tri): traditionally used to describe a black-white-and tan dog, but recently also any two colors plus white. Varying shades of tan colored point markings on the cheeks and over the eyes are typical in some tri-colored dogs (Rat Terrier). Particular forms of tri-colored dogs are calico (black-red and white) and tortoiseshell dogs (black-red and fawn).

Trout-marked: a coat with small reddish markings like those of a trout on a light background. Characteristic of the coats of some breeds.

Tuxedo: solid (usually black) colored dog with white patch on the chest (shirt front) and chin, and white on some or all of the feet (spats). The darker color extends down the legs resembling a tuxedo with a white shirt front, long sleeves and pant legs.

Whitelies: a white body color with red or dark markings (Pembroke Welsh Corgi).


Beauty Spot: a distinct spot, usually round, of colored hair, surrounded by the white of the blaze, on the topskull between teh ears. (Blenheim Spaniel, Boston Terrier).

Blaze: a white stripe running up the center of the face, usually between the eyes.

Collar: the marking around the neck, usually white.

Domino: reverse facial mask pattern on some breeds.

Flare: a blaze that widens as it approaches the topskull.

Kiss marks: tan spots on the cheeks and over the eyes.

Mantle: dark-shaded portion of the coat on shoulders, back and sides, as in the St. Bernard.

Mask: dark shading on the foreface, including the muzzle up to the eyebrows. (Mastiff, Boxer, Pekingese, Pug).

Muzzle band: white marking around the muzzle (Boston Terrier).

Penciling: black lines dividing the tan on the toes (Manchester).

Points: color on face, ears, legs and tail when correlated. Usually white, black or tan.

Saddle (Blanketback): a large patch of color across the back of the dog, where a saddle or blanket would be placed. The dog can be bi-colored or tri-colored. These patterns differ from the Tuxedo where the color extends down the legs.

Spectacles: shadings or dark markings over or around the eyes or from eyes to ears.

Thumb marks: black spots on the region of the pastern.

Trace: a dark stripe down the back of the Pug. If the trace is diluted it is called a 'saddle' (see higher), which is considered a fault in the Pug.

Vent: tan-colored hair under the tail (Manchester Terrier).
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