One of the reasons why dogs are man's best friend and family favorites around the world is their beautiful coats.
They come in all different lengths, textures, and – of course – colors. A dog's loyalty, often cuddly nature, and goofy personality might also have something to do with it. Different breeds have standard coat colors as specified by the American Kennel Club but that doesn't mean these colors are the only ones they can have.
There are many different dog colors and here are 20 of our favorites!
What to think about when it comes to coat color?
For many pup parents, a dog's coat color is an important factor when it comes to adoption. It's only natural for us to prefer one over the other.
While you’re cooking, suddenly, your dog looks at you. You want to give them a little treat but wonder if they can eat the food you are holding in your hand.
With our vet-approved magnet, you’ll know the answer at a glance! Plus, you can quickly scan our QR code to access the full article with all the explanations.
However, there are a number of different things to think about when it comes to adopting a pup and many of them come before coat color. The dog's health is the most important. It's essential to do your research and to make sure that the color of your dog is a natural color for the breed. Unethical breeding standards can lead to white dogs (that shouldn't be white) or double-merle dogs (that can have many different health problems).
What's more, if you haven't done your research you may be paying much more money for a dog that doesn't actually exist! A breeder may advertise a breed that can't genetically have that coat color because they know it's in demand.
What about the kennel clubs?
Are you thinking about entering your dog into a competition or a show? Then you need to make sure your pup has the coat color and markings of a standard pup. Dog colors can vary between the different kennel clubs, so it's worth checking around to make sure.
Temperament and trainability
Even we have our favorite coat colors (and they're all going to be on this list)! But it's much more important to think about the personality of a dog and your lifestyle. Some dog breeds need huge amounts of exercise and mental stimulation and won't be happy in a small apartment or with an owner who doesn't get out much.
Likewise, some dogs have high prey drives and shouldn't be around other pets. It's important to make sure the dog you want to adopt is a good match for your family's experience and lifestyle.
20 amazing dog colors
There are so many different coat colors and markings when it comes to dogs. They can have solid coats and even patterned ones. These are 20 of our all-time favorites with example breeds to choose from.
Black dogs are particularly striking pups and a lot of breeds can have this wonderful color. It's also a color that appears on many patterned or tri-colored dogs. Although a really beautiful color, black dogs often have a bit of a bad reputation and are considered ‘fierce' or even aggressive.
This isn't true and the color of your pup won't change its personality. The coat color may, however, change how people react to the dog. They might be more reserved and even wary. Black dogs make great guard dogs though!
Black dog breeds include:
A solid white dog is a very beautiful pup. These pooches are not to be mixed up with albino dogs. Albino pups have no coloring at all and will likely have pink eyes and skin. White dogs, however, can have black eyes, noses, and paw pads.
Many white dogs were originally bred in snowy regions and grew white coats to help them camouflage in their surroundings. Whilst a beautiful color, you'll need to brush and clean white dogs more to keep them looking their best.
Dog breeds with this coat color include:
When many people think of a standard dog color, they think of brown. That's because there's a huge spectrum of ‘brown' dogs. They can range from very light to very dark and everything in between! Rich brown coats are very attractive and a huge amount of dogs can have this coat color.
Brown dog breeds include:
Gray is one of our absolute favorite dog colors. Although common in many breeds, a gray coat has something so unique about it. As with many dog coat colors, gray can be almost solid black or a very light silvery gray.
Breeds with this coat color are:
OK, so these dogs aren't actually blue. They're a very beautiful shade of gray which gets its own specific name thanks to the unique genetics of the pup. For your pooch to be a blue dog it must inherit the dilute black gene from both parents – but both parents don't need to be blue. They can just have the gene.
Blue dogs can have a solid blue coat, or a ticked, merle, harlequin, or brindle coat. It's a stunning gray color which, in the right light, can look grayish-blue!
Blue dog breeds include:
Cream is another really popular dog color and many adorable canines have this wonderful coat. Whilst these dogs are usually a slightly yellowish/white color, many consider darker colors as cream too. Some may refer to this color as fawn.
Pups with this coat color include:
If you're lucky enough to own a dog breed with a red coat, then you'll know just how popular these pups are! It's difficult to even go for a walk without someone mentioning how stunning their coat color is.
Red dogs have beautiful rust-colored coats which change color depending on the light. They can be light (some consider them also cream) or a very rich, deep red color.
Some red dog breeds are:
Of course, when it comes to gold dogs most of us think of the Golden Retriever straight away.
But actually, there are many dog breeds that can have this stunning coat color. In a lot of cases, ‘gold' is used as a general term to cover other, similar dog colors such as honey, mustard, wheaten, fawn, and apricot.
Some breeders, however, will differentiate between the various shades.
Gold dog breeds are:
It's very difficult to differentiate yellow dogs from cream and golden. In fact, many don't differentiate them at all. There is, however, a slightly different spectrum of yellow dogs. Many yellow pups are actually born white and develop this beautiful shade as they grow older. They can be a rich lion-yellow color or a pale lemon color.
Dogs with a yellow coat include:
Black and white dog
Black and white dogs are one of the most popular bi-color combinations. Many breeds can have this beautiful monochrome canine coat color and they can be in spots, stripes, patches, or even on the same hair.
Some breeds may have a more dominant base coat and then colored markings across their bodies, or they may only have the odd spot in certain locations.
Some pups (such as the Boston Terrier) have specific coat patterns which are black and white. One such one is called tuxedo where the dog looks like they're wearing a dinner jacket with a white shirt underneath!
Black and white dogs include:
Blue and white dog
These pups are very similar to black and white dogs except they carry the black dilute gene and therefore the black patches are actually blue. They too can have stripes, spots, or patches of these colors and they may have a predominant base color.
Pups with blue and white coats are:
Brown and white dog
Many popular dog breeds have this wonderful coat color. They may be predominantly brown or white with stripes, spots, or patches of the other color over their entire body or just in one place.
The brown may be very deep chocolate or even a light reddish wheaten color. It's quite common for some dog breeds to have black with this combination too.
Pups with brown and white coats include:
- Basset Hound
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Jack Russel Terrier
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- English Springer Spaniel
Black and tan dog
A lot of incredible and very beautiful dogs have this striking combination of coat colors. Most black and tan dog breeds have a black base coat and may have large tan patches or just little tan eyebrows!
It's common for many breeds to also have some white on them.
Black and tan pups include:
Black, tan, and white dog
Many popular breeds can have tri-colored coats and one of the most common is black, tan, and white. The ratio between the three colors can vary a lot between different breeds. Some will have a predominant base color and smaller patches of the others, or they may be a good mix of all three! In many breeds, it's common for dogs to have tan markings on their faces, paws, and chests.
Some black, tan, and white dog breeds are:
The merle pattern is arguably the most attractive of all canine coats. It's not a specific color but rather a pattern that can come in many different colors.
A dog with a merle coat will have uneven patches of dark color on a lighter base coat color. It's a completely unique look and no two merle dogs will look the same!
If you love merle dog colors just as much as we do, it's essential you do your research to make sure you're getting a healthy and well-bred merle pup.
Dogs with a single merle gene are usually just as healthy as those with a solid color. The problems come for some breeds when two merles are bred together and the puppy is therefore a double merle. They can have many eye and ear problems.
Dogs with this beautiful coat pattern are:
Dogs with a harlequin coat could also be considered white and black dogs except they have a unique coat pattern.
These pooches have a white base coat with black patches that have an uneven border. To many, harlequin and merle dogs look very similar – and they are!
However, a merle dog will have black patches that include white or gray hairs whereas a harlequin dog will have only black patches. They're also likely to be irregular and differ a lot in size.
Harlequin is a rare coat pattern in pups, in fact, there are only two breeds that can have this wonderful coat! They are:
Spotted dogs have amazing coats with a really unique look. Canines with this coat pattern have small and irregular spots of a particular color mixed in with the main coat color.
They can also be referred to as flecked or speckled and look like someone has sprayed them with a paintbrush!
Dogs with this stunning coat pattern are:
These pups are also known as tiger dogs thanks to their unique and stripey coats!
Their stripes tend to be subtle and more blended than regular stripes and often have a reddish-brown base coat.
Their coats can be a mixture of black, brown, tan, and gold. Many dog breeds can have this beautiful coat color and it really is a show-stopper!
Some brindle dogs are:
Sable is another amazing pattern for your dog's coat. Rather than patches of colors or markings, sable dogs have different colors on a single hair. The hair is usually a lighter color at the base and gets darker toward the tip. The tip is often black (although it can be brown) and the base color can be anything from cream to black.
In some breeds the sable marking is very noticeable and in others, it can look as if they have a single solid color. The sable gene is dominant meaning only one pooch needs to have the gene for the puppy to also have it.
Dogs that can have a sable coat are:
Piebald coats are beautiful and, luckily, many breeds can have this wonderful combination. They're distinguished by a predominantly white coat with patches of darker color and some ticking. In fact, this coat pattern is sometimes referred to as a cow!
Dogs that can have a piebald coat are:
Does color affect the temperament of a dog?
Your dog's coat color won't affect how they behave or their personality.
The most important thing is to train and socialize them from a young age so that they learn to respect you.
It's also essential to get your pup from a respectable breeder whose aim is to improve the health of the dog breed. Spending lots of time with your dog playing and interacting will also affect its personality.
Does color affect the health of a dog?
You need to make sure your pup gets enough exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Trips to the vet and a nutritious diet will also contribute to their overall health.
Most colors will not affect the health of your pup as long as they are considered standard and ‘natural'. However, some breeds with white coats and double merles can suffer from health issues. Trustworthy breeders will only breed for the good of the dogs, not for ‘popular' coat colors.
Conclusion: beautiful dog colors
Our furry best friends can come in a number of different coat colors, textures, lengths, and patterns. It's one of the things that make dogs so unique!
You can get a cream Chihuahua or a black Great Dane – it really is quite diverse.
Which of these coat colors and patterns is your favorite? What color is your little pooch? We'd love to know!
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!