Basic Pattern Guide

Need to know the basic coat patterns for dogs? We've got you covered.

Today we will be going through some of the most common colour patterns you will see on all your fur babies:

  • Solid
  • Bicolour
  • Tricolour
  • Sable
  • Merle
  • Brindle

With the Solid coat pattern, one colour will be present throughout the entire coat. Colours may vary between dog breeds. They can have a black, blue, brown, red or tan coat; even different shades of these colours. 

The dog breeds that most commonly have solid coats are:

  • Irish Setter
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Poodle
  • Chihuahua
  • Maltese

Before we continue...

Let's talk a bit about Piebald. Piebald refers to unpigmented spots (white) on top of pigmented hair/fur. Therefor a piebald dog with black & white, will be a black dog with white spots.


A Bicolour coat has two distinct colours. The Primary & Secondary colours can be various combinations of black, brown, blue, tan, white, etc. The Piebald gene can be present in a number of bicolour dogs. Colour combinations can vary between breeds.

The dog breeds that most commonly have bicolour coats are:

  • Rottweiler
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • French Bulldog
  • Boston Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Dobermann 

  


A Tricolour coat has three distinct colours. The Primary, Secondary & Tertiary colours can be various combinations of black, brown, blue, tan, white, etc. The Piebald gene can be present in most tricolour dogs. Colour combinations can vary between breeds.

The dog breeds that most commonly have tricolour coats are:

  • Beagle
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • English Bulldog
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Biewer/ Biro Terrier


A Sable coat has Black-tipped hairs; the root colour will most commonly be tan, red & grey. Sable can be expressed in three common patterns: clear sable, tipped sable and shaded sable. Sable can also appear on Piebald and Merle dogs, with the markings appearing over the colour.

The dog breeds that most commonly have sable coats are:

  • Basenji
  • German Shepherd
  • Boxer
  • Great Dane
  • Shetland Sheepdog

The Merle coat has random splotches of dark pigment, that are overlaid over a solid or piebald coat. The Merle gene modifies eye color and the coloring of the nose and paw pads. It can alter the dark pigment in the eyes, changing dark eyes to blue, or partially blue. Colour on paw pads and nose may be mottled pink and black.

The dog breeds that most commonly have merle coats are:

  • Border Collies
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Dachshund 
  • Great Dane

A Brindle coat has a mixture of black, brown, tan or gold in a "Tiger Stripe" pattern. The thickness of the stripes can vary. A dog with the brindle gene can be solid brindle or black, liver, blue or isabella with brindle points. Brindle can also appear on piebald dogs, with the markings appearing over the colour. 

The dog breeds that most commonly have brindle coats are:

  • Staffordshire Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
  • Whippet
  • Mastiff
  • Pitbull
  • Akita



These are some of the most common coat patterns in dogs. Hopefully this guide helped you identify your dog's coat or helped you learn a little more about it. 








Posted in All, Breeder Tips, General on Jan 18, 2021

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