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Which dogs are black and brown?

Which dogs are black and brown?

Many dogs have coats that feature both black and brown fur. Some breeds are well known for their black and brown coloring, while others may display these colors in unique patterns. When evaluating which dogs are black and brown, it’s important to understand both solid coat colors as well as multi-colored patterns that feature black and brown.

Some key factors to consider when determining which dogs are black and brown include:

  • Breed standards – Many breeds list accepted coat colors and patterns that are considered characteristic for the breed.
  • Common coat colors – While not limited to specific breeds, some colors like black and tan are common across many types of dogs.
  • Unique markings – Individual dogs may display distinctive black and brown markings not defined by their breed.
  • Coat changes – Some dog coats change colors over time, transitioning from all black to mixed black and brown.

Looking at both established breed traits as well as individual variances can provide a good overview of which dogs typically display black and brown fur.

Solid Black and Brown Coat Dogs

Some dogs have solid black or brown coats without any additional markings. These single-color coats may be standard for certain breeds or unique to individual dogs.

Solid Black Coats

There are many dog breeds for whom a solid black coat is typical. Some examples include:

  • Poodles – Solid black is a common poodle coat color.
  • German Shepherds – Black German shepherds are recognized in breed standards.
  • Labrador Retrievers – Common Lab coat colors include solid black.
  • Scottish Terriers – Black coats are very common for Scotties.

Other breeds that commonly have all-black coats include Doberman Pinschers, Collies, Schnauzers, and some Spaniels. Certain mixed breeds like Labradoodles and Maltipoos also often have black coats.

For these solid black dogs, their coats remain entirely black throughout their lives without growing in brown fur. Puppies are born black and their coats simply get thicker and longer as they mature without changing color.

Solid Brown Coats

There are fewer dog breeds for whom solid brown is the more common coat color. Examples include:

  • Chocolate Labradors – A variation of Labrador Retrievers with brown fur.
  • Havanese – Brown and chocolate coats are acceptable for this breed.
  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers – Brown coats are one of three allowed colors.

Certain mixed breeds like Goldendoodles and Cockapoos can also have solid brown coats, depending on their lineage. These brown coats remain fixed throughout the dog’s life.

Black and Brown Coat Patterns

Many dogs have coats that mix black and brown fur to create unique patterns and markings. Some coat patterns with black and brown coloring include:

Black and Tan

The black and tan coat pattern features primarily black fur with light brown or tan markings. These tan markings are often found on the dog’s muzzle, eyebrows, chest, and legs.

Breed Coat Description
Rottweiler Black body with tan eyebrows, muzzle, chest, and legs.
Dobermann Black coat with tan markings on the face, chest, legs, and feet.
German Shepherd Primarily black with tan accents on the face, chest, legs, and paws.

Other breeds like Beaucerons and some Pointers also exhibit classic black and tan coats.


Tricolor coats contain three colors – usually black, brown, and white. The black and brown patches can be solid or blended. Examples include:

Breed Coat Description
Bernese Mountain Dog Black and white fur with tan accents around the eyes, mouth, chest, and legs.
Australian Shepherd Features black, brown, and white marbling throughout the coat.
English Cocker Spaniel Black or brown patches mixed with white fur.

Other tricolor breeds are Border Collies, Harriers, and English Setters.


Brindle coats have black tiger-like stripes over a brown base. Examples of brindle dogs include:

Breed Coat Description
Boxer Fawn base with darker brindle stripes.
Plott Hound Brindle stripes over brown, black, red, or yellow base colors.
Cane Corso Grey, black, fawn, or red base with brindle striping.

Other brindle breed examples are Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, and Greyhounds.


Merle coats feature mottled patches of black and brown over a lighter base color. The merle gene can create unique blended black and brown coats.

Breed Coat Description
Australian Shepherd Patches of black and brown merling over white, tan, or grey.
Catahoula Leopard Dog Grey, black, brown, red merle coats.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Black, red, and brown merle mixes possible.

Other merle coated breeds are Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Dachshunds.

Breeds with Variable Black and Brown Coats

Some breeds have highly variable coats that range from solid black or brown to mixes of both colors. The coat colors expressed can differ significantly between individuals of the same breed.

German Shorthaired Pointer

GSPs can have black, brown, or mixed black and brown coats in ticked, patched, or mottled patterns:

  • Solid liver (brown)
  • Black with brown ticking
  • Mottled brown and black
  • Black with brown patches (tricolor)

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkie coat colors include:

  • Black and tan (most common)
  • Solid black
  • Solid chocolate brown
  • Black mixed with brown hairs


Pug coat patterns can be:

  • Black – Solid black coats
  • Fawn – Light brown/fawn coats
  • Black and fawn – Mixed black and fawn fur

The ratio of black to fawn coloring varies widely between individual pugs.

Changes from Black to Black and Brown

Some dogs are born black but develop brown shading in their coats as they mature. This progression from solid black to mixed black and brown happens in certain breeds.


Poodle pups are often born jet black. As adults, their coats can turn:

  • Pure black
  • Dark gray and black mix
  • Silver and black mix

This silvering results from the growth of non-pigmented grey or white hairs mingled with the original black.


Schnoodle puppies are usually black, while adults have:

  • Black coats
  • Salt and pepper grey and black coats
  • Phantom coats with black and brown points

As Schnoodles mature, their fur can develop a mix of darker and lighter hairs.


Born black, Cavapoos transform through:

  • Solid black
  • Black with white markings
  • Black fading to gray
  • Black mixed with white and brown hairs

Their puppy coats gradually incorporate more shades as they age.

Importance of Genetics

Genetics play a key role in determining what color and pattern a dog’s coat will be. While some traits, like merle or brindle, are linked to specific genes, not all coat colors are as straightforward. Multiple genes can interact to influence whether a dog is black, brown, or a mix of both.

Some important genetic factors influencing black and brown coats include:

  • The B locus – Controls the production of brown (chocolate) pigment.
  • The K locus – Involved in whether a dog is solid black or has red/tan points.
  • The E locus – Determines whether black pigment is present or replaced by yellow/red.
  • The A locus – Influences how well black pigment is distributed in the coat.

The inheritance patterns between parent and offspring for these traits are complex. Two solid black parents can sometimes produce brown puppies if hidden recessive genes are carried by the parents. Extensive research on dog coat genetics continues to better explain why certain breeds and individuals exhibit the black, brown, and blended fur patterns that they do.


When evaluating which dogs are black and brown there are a few key considerations:

  • Some breeds like Poodles and Scotties routinely produce solid black coats.
  • Other breeds like Labs and Goldendoodles commonly have solid brown coats.
  • Many breeds exhibit signature black and brown patterns like black and tan or brindle.
  • Breeds like Yorkies display highly variable black, brown, and mixed coloring within the breed.
  • In some dogs, coats start black at birth and progressively silver or lighten to mixed black and brown with age.
  • The genetics underlying color and pattern inheritance are highly complex in dogs.

While there are many breeds that consistently exhibit the same black and brown patterning, there is also considerable variation between individuals. The influence of multiple interacting gene loci continues to be researched to better understand why we see such tremendous coat color diversity across all dogs.