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Dog Coat Colors and Patterns

Updated on September 10, 2016

In order to buy the best grooming products for your dog you must know the type of dog coat your dog has. In addition there are grooming products that are made for certain colors that will bring out certain colors on a dog. Patterns and color descriptors may be used as a descriptor for the breed in a show for instance a Brindle Boxer or a Blue Merle Australian Shepherd.


  • Belton: white with tiny spots
  • Blenheim: red and white varietals of certain breeds.
  • Boston: black and white pattern as in the Boston terrier.
  • Brindle refers to striping ranging from a few to completely cover in stripes. Usually black on a lighter background such as brown or tan.
  • Dappled: markings of different colors no one color more than any others.
  • Merle refers to a coat that has a base color with parts of the color of the coat diluted to different degrees. A lot of Australian shepherd are merle.
  • Double Merle refers to a coat that has two transitions of colors. For instance black to blue, blue to white.
  • Peppered: mix of white and black hairs giving a salt and pepper look.
  • Ticking describes spots that will form on a white base coat. Dalmatians are born white and the spots form over time.
  • Roan is the mixing of white and colored hairs instead of spots forming. The hair starts out white and gradually other colors of hair mix in. A dog can be both Ticked and Roan.

Some dogs grow lighter in color over time. Kerry Blue Terriers are born black and lighten to a bluish color as they mature.


  • Black
  • Blue:
  • Blue (light): a metallic blue-gray.
  • Blue: black puppies that lighten up as they mature such as the Kerry blue terrier.
  • Blue Ticking: black roaning on white
  • Blue Merle: grey on black marbled
  • Chocolate: Milk to dark chocolate tones with possibly some reds. Called 'liver' sometimes.
  • Cream: Range of yellow to white
  • Fallow: a sandy to cream color.
  • Fawn: Brown to red with red or black tips on hair or a pale grey brown
  • Gold: reddish yellow to yellow gold such as Golden retriever.
  • Grizzle: grey blue color
  • Lemon: pale yellow usually registered as golden or red unless associated with a pattern such as lemon roan.
  • Liver: brown ranging from chocolate to red brown.
  • Red: such as wood colors like cherry.
  • Silver: extreme diluted blue.
  • Wheaten: pale yellow
  • Yellow


  • Blaze: white stripe running up the face between the eyes.
  • Collar: usually white, around the neck
  • Flare: a blaze that widens.
  • Mantle: Dark part of the coat on the shoulders, back and sides.
  • Mask: Dark shading on the face like a mask
  • Saddle: a large patch of color on the back.

Know what type of coat your dog has you will always get the best dog shampoo and grooming products for your dog's particular coat. Some shampoos and conditioners are made specifically for certain colors and are blended to bring out those colors.

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd


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    • Healthyannie profile image

      Annie Messeri 4 years ago from Spain

      Nice hub - I almost got a tri- colored setter recently but a German family beat me to it. They paid the rescue kennels a large sum of money and shipped the dog back to Germany for breeding. I hope it is okay. I was going to make him a family pet and he would have made a great friend for

      my little Yorkshire terrier. Unfortunately the German family had first refusal.

    • datahound profile image

      datahound 6 years ago from USA


      Thank you for reading and commenting. You have many good hubs I am reading. I look forward to digging in.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      A great hub and I am sure that many will enjoy this one.

      I vote up all the way.

      Here's to many more hubs to share.

      Take care