Dog Coat Color Genetics

The K and A Series

Black, Recessive Black and Seal

 

The B Series

Liver

The D Series

Dilution (Blue and Isabella)

 

The A Series

Agouti, Sable, Tan Points and Saddles

The K Series

Brindle

 

The E Series

Masks, Recessive Red and Domino

 

The I and C Series

Red Intensity and Albino

 

The G Series

Progressive Greying

The M Series

Merle

The H Series

Merle Modifiers (Great Dane Harlequin)

 

The S Series

White spotting

 

The T Series

Ticking and Roaning

 


 

Dog Coat Colors

TermBreed(s)What it is
AlbinoDoberman Pinscher, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, BeagleA dog with very diluted pigment which is a type of partial albinism.
ApricotSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
ASCOBAmerican Cocker SpanielAny solid Color other than black
AshSeveral BreedsIsabella (liver dilute, bbdd) or very washed-out red
BadgerSealyham TerrierGreyish patches, most likely black or dark sable with greying gene
BandingSeveral BreedsWhen hairs have bands of more than one Color. Associated with agouti (aw), but some banding may also occur in sable dogs
Beauty spotVarious, but mainly Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and King Charles Spaniel (English Toy Spaniel)Colored spot in the middle of the forehead blaze on a piebald dog
BelgeAffenpinscherSable with black tipping
BeltonEnglish SetterRoan or heavy ticking in any Color
Bi-blackShetland SheepdogBlack and white with no tan markings (caused by recessive black gene)
Bi-blueShetland SheepdogBlue merle and white with no tan markings (caused by recessive black gene with merle)
BiscuitSamoyed, American EskimoCream (light red), appearing either as patches or on the whole of the dog
Black and silverSeveral BreedsBlack with tan points (atat) which have been diluted to off-white by the Intensity gene
Black brindleSeveral BreedsHeavily brindled dog (i.e. with thick black stripes, so very little red shows through)
BlenheimCavalier King Charles Spaniel and King Charles Spaniel (English Toy Spaniel)Deep, clear red (recessive red, ee) with white markings in the piebald pattern. The same Color as the Red and White Setter
Blue fawnBasenji, Rat TerrierSable with blue (diluted black, dd) pigment, or sable with isabella (diluted liver, bbdd) pigment, giving a grey/blue cast to the coat
Blue roanSeveral BreedsBlack-pigmented dog with roaned white, which appears a bluish Color
BostonGreat Dane, Boston TerrierBlack (or brindle) dog with white markings in the irish spotting pattern
BrindlequinGreat DaneHarlequin with brindle patches
BronzingSeveral BreedsA brownish cast to the coat of a longhaired black dog, usually caused by sun bleaching
BuffSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
Butterfly noseSeveral BreedsPartly pink nose on a merle
CharcoalSeveral BreedsVery dark blue dilute (dd), often appearing almost black
CheckBoxerBrindle or fawn (sable) boxer with the piebald white pattern
ChestnutSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
ChocolateVarious, but particularly the LabradorLiver (bb)
CinnamonSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
Clear-ColoredSeveral BreedsOne solid Color all over (i.e. no sabling on a red dog). Clear-Colored dogs may still have white markings (white is not a Color)
CopperSiberian HuskyReddish liver (bb)
CreamSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
Creeping tanSeveral BreedsPattern inbetween traditional tan points and saddle. Generally the tan covers the whole of the muzzle and eyebrows, most of the legs, and the front of the chest. Caused by the RALY modifier
DappleDachshundMerle
Dark merleSeveral BreedsA merle dog with a dark grey base coat (rather than the usual light grey). This is caused by intermingled black hairs
DeadgrassChesapeake Bay RetrieverLight liver-pigmented red. A duller shade than sedge.
DeerSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
Dilute spotSeveral BreedsPatch on a merle that is lighter than the other dark patches
DominoAfghan HoundUsually a dog with a greyish/brown back and cream/white underparts, caused by the domino/grizzle gene (Eg). Note that “domino” as used in Afghan hounds refers to a specific variation of the actual domino gene, and not all genetic dominos will be referred to as domino.
Dorsal stripeSeveral BreedsDark line along the back, often caused by sabling
Dudley noseSeveral BreedsPink or liver nose
FallowSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
FawnSeveral BreedsClear sable, usually with a black mask
FawnDobermannIsabella (dilute liver) with tan points
FawnSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
Fawn merleSeveral BreedsSable merle. In clear sables, merle may only be visible on the mask (if present)
FawnequinGreat DaneHarlequin Great Dane with sable (fawn) patches rather than black. Black patches may still appear on the muzzle, where most Danes have black masks
FlashySeveral BreedsA dog with more white than normal for its breed, or a dog with clear white (no ticking)
FleckingSeveral BreedsTicking
FloweredShar PeiPiebald
FormentinoCane CorsoFawn/sable with a blue mask
Ginger merleCardigan Welsh CorgiBrindle merle with an orangey base coat
GoldSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
GrizzleSalukiBlack/brown with tan points/underparts. Caused by grizzle gene Eg, as in domino Afghan Hounds
GrizzleTerriersIntermingled brown and black hairs (usually on a saddle). Not caused by the grizzle or domino gene.
HarlequinBeauceronBlue merle with tan points
HarlequinGreat DaneMerle modifier which dilutes the grey parts on a merle to white, leaving jet black patches on a white base. Overall appearance is similar to a Holstein cow
Havana BrownHavaneseBlack brindle (brindle with very thick black stripes). When the coat grows in, such dogs can appear to be a brownish Color, like liver but without liver pigment
IsabellaSeveral BreedsDilute liver (bb on the B locus and dd on the D locus)
IsabellaShar PeiA light, dullish red dog with a blue mask and blue sabling (so a blue dilute sable, dd)
IsabellaSiberian HuskyOff-white (light cream), caused by dilution of phaeomelanin (red). May have a black or liver saddle.
IvorySeveral BreedsA solid white dog with a slight cream sheen
King CharlesCavalier King Charles Spaniel and King Charles Spaniel (English Toy Spaniel)Black with traditional tan markings (atat)
LavenderShar PeiLight purplish tongue Color on a dilute Shar Pei
LemonSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
Light red (and red)Siberian HuskyLight reddish liver (bb). Dark liver is called copper in this breed.
LilacShar PeiIsabella
LionIbizan HoundLight red
MahoganySeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
Maltese blueSeveral BreedsBlue (diluted black, dd)
MantleGreat DaneWhite markings in the irish spotting pattern (muzzle, neck, chest, lower legs and tail tip)
MaskSeveral BreedsBlack (or liver, isabella, or blue) on the muzzle area (may include the eyebrows and the ears), caused by the Em gene
Merlequin (aka merlekin, merlikin)Great DaneDouble merle. The double merle causes broken patches of merle on a white base, giving a pattern similar to harlequin (but more regular)
Minimal merleSeveral BreedsMerle dog with very little visible merling. In effect, an almost completely black (or liver, etc) dog with just a small patch of diluted fur. Often caused by mosaicism
Mosaic spotDalmatianA red or tan spot on an otherwise black-spotted Dalmatian. Caused by a mutation
Muddy merleSeveral BreedsBlue merle with a brownish sheen to the grey parts of the coat
MustardDandie Dinmont TerrierLight tan (probably sable) with white furnishings and head
Onyx brindleSeveral BreedsBlack brindle (thick black stripes)
OrangeSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
PartiColorSeveral BreedsAny dog with two distinct Colors in its coat
PearlRat TerrierIsabella (diluted liver, bbdd)
PencillingSeveral BreedsBlack lines on the toes of a tan-pointed dog
PepperDandie Dinmont TerrierBlack with tan points (atat) diluted to white by the Intensity gene. The black is diluted to silver by the progressive greying gene (G). Appearance is of a light grey dog with white underparts.
Phantom merleSeveral BreedsDog that has the merle gene, but is solid red because of the recessive red gene (ee) or clear sable. As there is no visible merling, it can be impossible to tell the dog is a merle
PintoAkitaPiebald
PipsSeveral BreedsTan markings above the eyebrows and on the cheeks on a tan-pointed dog
PlatinumSeveral BreedsSilvery white, usually caused by extreme dilution of phaeomelanin (red), but can also refer to a partial albino
PlattenhundeGreat DanePiebald
PointsSeveral BreedsMarkings (usually tan, or a variant of) on the sides of the muzzle, the neck, chest, eyebrows, lower legs and vent
PointsPoodleNose Color
PorcelaineGreat DaneHarlequin with patches of any Color other than black
Powder merleSeveral BreedsPale-Colored merle with only a few dark patches
Prince CharlesCavalier King Charles Spaniel and King Charles Spaniel (English Toy Spaniel)TriColor (black with tan points and white markings)
RedSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
Red speckleAustralian Cattle DogRed roan
Reverse brindleSeveral BreedsBlack brindle (very heavy black striping)
RubyCavalier King Charles Spaniel and King Charles Spaniel (English Toy Spaniel)Deep, clear red (recessive red, ee)
RussetSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
RustSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
SableGerman Shepherd DogAgouti or wolf grey (aw)
Salt and pepperSchnauzerWolf grey (agouti, aw, with very strong dilution of phaeomelanin, turning the red to white). Appears as a grey dog with white points in the traditional tan point pattern. On longer fur, banded hairs are visible
SandySeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
SealSeveral BreedsAppears black with a brownish tinge. Genetic basis is unknown.
SedgeChesapeake Bay RetrieverLiver-pigmented sable, sometimes with a liver mask
SesameShiba InuShaded red sable with urajiro markings
Silver brindleSeveral BreedsBrindle with greyish stripes (but not a blue brindle – silver brindles are not dilutes)
SlateSeveral BreedsDark blue (which is diluted black, dd)
Slate merleSeveral BreedsMerle with diluted pigment, dd (i.e. a proper ‘blue’ merle!)
SootySeveral BreedsSable with black sabling “muddying” the red. Sometimes called a sabled fawn.
SpectaclesKeeshondCream Color around the eyes on a wolf grey dog
Splash coatSiberian HuskyPiebald
StagSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
TanSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
TawnySeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
Tiger brindleSeveral BreedsLight brindle with sparse stripes
TriColorTerriers and houndsTan dog with a black saddle and white markings (to any extent)
TriColor (tri)Several BreedsLiterally “three Colors”. Usually a black and tan-pointed dog with white markings (to any extent), although liver, blue and isabella tris occur too
TrimSeveral BreedsA small amount of white on the chest, muzzle, toes and/or tail tip
TrindleSeveral BreedsBrindle triColor (i.e. black with brindle points and white markings. Brindle never appears as the main Color on a tan-pointed dog)
UrajiroShiba Inu and othersWhite markings on the underside, roughly following the same pattern as tan points. Urajiro is caused by a specific gene and affects only phaeomelanin (red)
Vent markingSeveral BreedsTan patch under the tail on a tan-pointed dog
WheatenSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany
White collarSeveral BreedsWhite reaching all the way around the neck
Widow’s peakSeveral BreedsBrown or black marking running down the middle of the forehead on a shaded sable dog
Wolf greySeveral BreedsAgouti (aw) with phaeomelanin dilution turning the base coat to grey and the points to cream, leaving some black on the back. This is the Color of the Keeshond and Norwegian Elkhound.
YellowSeveral BreedsDescribes various shades of red, from the light cream to the darkest mahogany

 

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