How to Determine Dog Breed by Brindle Coloring

Are you looking to figure out what breed your new furry friend is? You might be pretty sure, but just need to know the difference between boxers and pit bulls, or your only clue might be the color of your dog's coat.

Brindle Boxer Dog Mix
Brindle is a specific coloring in dogs, specifically brownish or tawny with streaks of other colors.
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Many dogs have a unique coloring called a brindle, which appears as either brown or a dusky tawny color with streaks of other colors mixed in. 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.

Dog with mouth open
A dog with a brindle coat.
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If you have a dog with a brindle coat and are looking to learn what breed your new pup is, great! You're already starting with a great clue.

Close-up of a person operating a laptop
Learn about all the different types of breeds that can have brindle coats.
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Look up a comprehensive list of dog breeds with brindle coats. Its Dog Breeds has an extensive list on their website with many pictures and helpful details so you can narrow down the possible breeds for your pet. American Kennel Club also features thousands of possible dog breeds with brindle coats.

Chihuahua and Boxer
Determine the size of the dog in question.
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Check your 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.

Woman walking several dogs
Look at the dog's coat.
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Once you know your dog's size, look at the coat and determine whether it is a short-haired or long-haired breed.

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

Greyhound Looking to the Side
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.

Studio shot of bulldog
English bulldogs may have a brindle coat.
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Visit the website of the parent club for each breed standard 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 your dog and find your best possible match.

Line of purebred dogs in obiedience class
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 can be incredibly helpful and knowledgeable, as they 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. If you're still unsure about your dog, you can also contact your local veterinarian to get their professional opinion.