Coat Colors and Patterns: Dog coat varieties of colors and patterns

Black and tan, liver and tan, blue and tan: Coat has both colors but in clearly defined and separated areas, usually with the darker color on most of the body and tan (reddish variants) underneath and in highlights such as the eyebrows. Black and brindle and liver and brindle, in which the same pattern is evident with brindling in place of tan, are also possible, but less common. Bicolor (also called Two-color, Irish spotted, Flashy, Patched, Tuxedo) Any color or pattern coupled with white spotting. This can range anywhere from white toes and tail tip to a mostly-white dog with color around the base of the ears and tail. Some breeds have special names for the color combinations; for example, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel uses Blenheim for reddish brown (chestnut) and white. Irish Spotted or flashy pattern is symmetrical and includes a white chest, white band around the neck, white belly, and white feet or “boots.” This pattern is commonly seen in herding dogs, and Boxers, among others. Tricolor: Three clearly defined colors, usually either black, liver, or blue on the dog’s upper parts, white underneath, with a tan border between and tan highlights; for example, the Smooth Collie, the Rough Collie, the Papillon, or the Sheltie. Tricolor can also refer to a dog whose coat is patched, usually two colors (such as black and tan) on a white background. Merle: Marbled coat with darker patches and spots of the specified color. Merle is referred to as “Dapple” with Dachshunds. Tuxedo: Solid (usually black) with a white patch (shirt front) on the chest and chin, and white on some or all of the feet (spats.) Common coloration in Labrador mixes that may stem from the St. John’s Water Dog ancestral breed. Harlequin: “ripped” splotches of black on white. Only the Great Dane exhibits this coat pattern. Spotted: Most often dark pigmented spots on a light background. The spotting on dalmatians is unique as it involves mutations in at least three different spotting genes. Flecked, ticked, speckled: also called belton in English Setters Brindle: A mixture of black with brown, tan, or gold; usually in a “tiger stripe” pattern. Saddle or blanket: A different color, usually darker, over the center of the back. Sable: Black-tipped hairs; the background colour can be gold to yellow, silver, gray, or tan. The darkness of the coat depends on how much of each hair is black versus the lighter color.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Elf [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (],  via Wikimedia Commons Entlebucher Mountain Dog: By Elf [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (],  via Wikimedia Commons Australian Shepherd: By sannse (Photo taken by sannse) [GFDL (],  via Wikimedia Commons Catahoula Hound: By Leslie Bickel of her dogs Ana (puppy) and Cate-E. Sent to Elf for use in Wikipedia [GFDL (],  via Wikimedia Commons