How to Determine Dog Breed by Brindle Coloring

By Molly Sawyer

Brindle dogs have black stripes running across their body in the same direction as the ribs. Technically brindle is a marking pattern, but for ease of use most people refer to it as a color. Many breeds display a brindle coat, so determining the breed of a brindle dog depends on other factors.

Visit the American Kennel Club (AKC) website.

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Visit the American Kennel Club (AKC) website and search for “brindle.” You will get a list of various dog breeds that include the brindle color in the breed standard.

Determine the size of the dog in question.

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Check the dog’s size. Is it a small, medium or large breed? Brindle dogs come in all sizes and this will help you narrow your choices by eliminating breeds that are a different size.

Look at the dog's coat.

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Look at the dog’s coat and determine whether it is a short-haired or long-haired breed. Again, this will help you eliminate some breeds.

Evaluate the head structure.

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Evaluate the head structure. Some breeds that carry brindle, such as the boxer, have distinctive heads. Note whether the ears are floppy or upright and the length of the tail.

A greyhound with a brindle coat.

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Compare the above factors to the AKC standards to narrow down your list of possible breeds. Most standards are laid out so that there are specific sections on size, coat, head and body, so you can quickly review the relevant traits.

English bulldogs may have a brindle coat.

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Visit the website of the parent club for each breed (there is a link on the breed standard page) and view the photos of the breed. If they don’t have many photos, follow their links to a regional club or a local breeders’ website. Compare these photos to the dog you’re evaluating.

If you are still having trouble determining the breed, contact the breed parent club.

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Contact a member of the parent club for the breed the dog most closely resembles if you’re still not sure. Parent club members have been involved with dogs for many years and will be able to tell you whether the dog looks like their breed, a mixed breed or another breed entirely.