Most Colourful Dog Breeds

Group of twelve dogs sitting in front of a white background

If you are in search of the most beautifully coloured dog breeds, you’ve come to the right place. We have scoured high and low in order to bring you our picks of the top 10 most colourful dog breeds out there.

We’ve chose some breeds because of their vast range of colours and others because of one particularly outstanding colour and/or pattern. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so not everyone may agree with our choices!


Dog coat colours explained

Dog coats come in a wide range colours: black, brown, white, red, yellow, gold, cream, grey, blue… Just a handful of breeds come in one single coat colour, while the majority come in a variety of colours, shades and patterns.

The most common colours of dog coats are black, brown and white. Note that a red coat is not the red of Clifford the Big Red Dog; it is more like a bright brown, orange or tan with a reddish hue. Likewise, blue is not the blue that you normally think of; it’s a grey, silver or slate colour with a blue tinge (blue dog breeds are quite rare but a blue coat can be found in the Kerry Blue Terrier, Weimaraner and Great Dane).

The diversity of coat colours and colour patterns of domestic dogs is all because of genetics. A dog’s coat colour is determined by the genes it inherits from its parents. However, genes work in complicated ways, so a litter of pups will not necessarily have the same colouring as their parents, nor as each other. For example, it’s entirely possible for two black Labradors to produce a litter of black, chocolate and yellow puppies!


Coat colour and patterns terminology

Dog coat pattern


Common breeds

Solid One single colour throughout the coat Labrador, Golden Retriever, Weimaraner
Bi-colour, two-colour, tuxedo White and one other colour Border Collie, Boxer, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Black and Tan Solid black coat with tan markings Rottweiler, Dobermann
Tri-colour Three clear colour combinations such as brown, black, and white or blue, black, and gray Beagle, Australian Shepherd, Bernese Mountain Dog
Spotted, ticked, roan, flecked, speckled, mottled A mostly white coat with spots in any other colour or very small spots of one colour mixed in with the main colour Dalmatian, Cocker Spaniel, Australian Cattle Dog, German Shorthaired Pointer
Brindle Dark brown to black cross stripes on a solid brown base colour which resembles a ‘tiger stripe’ pattern or gives a blotchy appearance Akita, Bull Terrier, Boxer, Boston Terrier, Greyhound
Merle, dapple A marbled, swirly pattern with dark patches of colour on a lighter shade of the same colour (dogs with two merle parents have an increased risk of blindness and/or deafness, therefore mating of two merle dogs is highly discouraged) Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, Shetland Sheepdog, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Great Dane
Harlequin White with uneven black patches Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, Great Dane, Australian Shepherd
Sable Fur that is lighter in colour toward the roots with black tips on the ends German Shepherd, Pug, Chihuahua, Pomeranian
Piebald White with patches of colour on head, body & base of tail Collie, Italian Greyhound, Bull Terrier, Border Collie


Our top 10 most colourful dog breeds


1. Poodle

Group of red, apricot, silver and black standard poodles standing on a wall

The Poodle is a highly intelligent and energetic dog with an athletic body and a thick, curly, non-shedding coat that grows profusely all over the body. Poodles come in three sizes: Standard, Miniature and Toy.

The Poodle coat can be any solid colour (there are 27 colours and combinations listed on the AKC breed description) including black, white, cream, brown, silver, blue, and apricot. While the solid Poodle is the most common, there is a less common but highly desirable Poodle coat type known as the Phantom Poodle. This refers only to Poodles with specific markings on a solid background, which is usually black, cream, apricot, red, white, silver or brown. The Poodle is born with these markings which must be situated above each eye, on the sides of the muzzle, across the chest, down the legs and under the tail.

Another special kind of Poodle colouring is the Parti, which describes a Poodle that is at least half white, with a secondary colour of black, brown, red, or blue that appears anywhere on the dog. While not rare, Parti Poodles are less common than solid colour ones.

If you are considering this breed, be aware that the Poodle coat does not shed and is hypoallergenic, so they are suitable for people who have allergies to dog hair. On the down side, because they don’t shed, the Poodle’s grooming requirements and costs are high with daily brushing and professional clipping and/or shearing recommended every 6 to 10 weeks.

Temperament: Active, loving, loyal
Weight: Standard: 21 to 32 kg, Miniature: 6 to 12 kg
Height: Standard: greater than 38 cm, Miniature: 28 to 38 cm
Activity level: High
Life span: 12 to 16 years
Coat length: Long
Pros: Highly intelligent & love to please, so easily trained
Cons: High grooming needs & costs



2. Great Dane

The Great Dane is a giant-sized dog that embodies the phrase “gentle giant”. A true people pleaser, Danes are incredibly affectionate, sweet, friendly and patient. Physically imposing in height, weight and strength, they tower over most other breeds and are taller than most people when standing on their back legs. They have the elegant and balanced appearance and smooth, graceful stride of a noble breed.

Great Danes have a short, thick coat that comes in eighteen different colours and patterns, including fawn, brindle, black, black and white, harlequin, merle, mantle, white and blue. Fawn is the most common and one of the most popular colours, while white is the rarest (it tends to be associated with certain health problems). The most expensive and unique is the black-and-white patchwork pattern known as “harlequin”, a patchwork pattern. Pictured above is the merle coat, similar to the harlequin but with grey as the base colour instead of white, and spots around its whole body that can be black and white.

If you are considering this breed, note that because of their friendly and gentle nature they are great with children and thrive on lots of human contact and affection from their families. Their sheer size can create complications, however, from fitting them in the car to the amount of food they require.

Temperament: Gentle, friendly and laid-back
Weight: Male 63 to 79 kg, female 49 to 63 kg
Height (max): Male 76 to 81 cm, female 71 to 76 cm
Activity level: Medium
Life span: 6 to 8 years
Coat length: Short
Pros: Their sweet, affectionate and patient nature
Cons: Their short life span



3. Australian Shepherd

Four Australian Shepherd running over the lawn

The Australian Shepherd – also known as the Aussie – is loveable, medium-sized working dog with a huge amount of energy. Intelligent, adventurous and athletic, they were bred as herding dogs and thrive on always having a job to do.

The Aussie – known as the chameleons of the dog world – comes in a multitude of colours including black, red, or blue mixed with white or brown. The coat may be a solid colour or a patterened triclour or merle, and may be with or without white markings. As the puppy begins to age their long straight to slightly wavy coat usually becomes darker. Their eyes can be a variety of colours including blue merle, red merle, red, and black. Their eyes may differ from each other in colouration.

If you are considering this breed, note that Aussies are ideal for an active owner who can provide them with plenty of physical and mental stimulation. One of the ultimate working dog breeds, if you don’t give them a job to do, they may just find themselves one. This can make Aussies too much for a sedentary pet owner to handle. At minimum, they should have a large, fenced-in yard to run around in for at least an hour or two daily.

Temperament: Intelligent, alert & affectionate
Weight: 23 to 29 kg
Height (max):  53 cm
Activity level: Very high – frequent, vigorous exercise
Life span:  13 to 15 years
Coat length: Medium to long
Pros: Fast learner
Cons: If you don’t give an Aussie a job to do, he will find one that you may not like!



4. Chihuahua


The Chihuahua is the world’s smallest dog and the oldest dog breed in North America. Small, dainty and compact, the breed is characterised by an apple-domed head, large, round, luminous and very expressive eyes, and large, erect, flaring ears.

The Chihuahua coat can be long or short and comes in one of the largest varieties of colours of all breeds.  In fact, 31 colours (solid and combinations) and 11 different markings are listed on the AKC breed page, some of the most interesting being black sabled silver, blue brindled fawn, chocolate blue and gold and white. The most common colours, however, are black, chocolate, red, fawn and cream, while blue, silver and pure white are some of the rarest.

Chihuahua pups can change colour as they mature, and because coat colour is determined by dominant and recessive genes, you can’t determine a puppy’s mature coat colour by looking at its parents. Only at the end of their first year will you know their actual coat colour.

If you are considering this breed, be aware that they are very loyal and are often fiercely devoted to one of their owners; however, this devotion can sometimes become over-protective, leading the dog to become snappy or reserved around strangers.

Temperament: Lively, loyal, courageous
Weight: 1.7 to 3 kg
Height: 15 to 23 cm
Activity level: Low to moderate
Life span: 10 to 18 years
Coat length: Long or short
Pros: Big personality & attitude in a tiny body
Cons: Not recommended for families with young children



5. Australian Cattle Dog

Beautiful two australian cattle dog

The Australian Cattle Dog – also known as the Blue or Red Heeler, depending on its coat colour – is an athletic, energetic and intelligent herding breed developed to work with cattle in the vast cattle stations of outback Australia.

Australian Cattle dogs come in two equally striking primary coat colours: blue speckle, comprised of black hairs interspersed with white hairs, and red speckle, comprised of red hairs interspersed with white. They are often tricolour, with brown markings on their legs and face and a white marking on the forehead. The puppies are born white, but you can sometimes the eventual colour of their coat through the pads on their paws.

If you are considering this breed, note that Aussies are ideal for an active owner who can provide them with plenty of exercise and activity. If they aren’t given enough exercise, they will become bored, destructive and may be prone to excessive barking.

Temperament: Intelligent & loyal
Weight:  18 to 22 kg
Height (max): 43 to 51 cm
Activity level: Very high – frequent, vigorous exercise & stimulation
Life span: 12 to 15 years
Coat length: Short, double coat
Pros: Good family dog
Cons: Become bored if not given an outlet for their energy



A pet insurance policy with Bow Wow Meow will help ensure you can always afford to give your pet the best treatment.




6. Beagle

Beagle pack in a grassy meadow

Similar in appearance to the larger Foxhound, Beagles are sturdy, solid and big for their height. They have long, ‘houndy’ ears set low on a broad head, and an adorable face featuring large brown eyes and a pleading expression.

The Beagle coat comes in a huge range of colour combiations – 25 variations in fact – including black, tan, white, blue, brown, lemon and red in all combinations and ticked (freckled) or spotted patterns. Beagles are typically multi-coloured dogs; it’s extremely rare to find a solid single colour Beagle. Most common is the classic tricolour combination of white, black and tan. Interestingly, as pups they are just white and black, with some of black fading into tan after a few months. Despite all the variations in the Beagle coat, there is no such thing as a merle Beagle, although the bluetick Beagle looks very similar.

If you are considering this breed, note that Beagles are happy dogs with a good sense of humour, but be aware, they are curious and can be distracted easily. Their superior nose can often lead them astray when not supervised.

Temperament: Gentle, reliable loyal
Weight: 8 to 14 kg
Height:  33 to 41 cm
Activity level: High
Life span: 12 to 15 years
Coat length: Short
Pros: Excellent with both kids and other pets
Cons: When left alone they are prone to howling and suffering from separation anxiety



7. Pomeranian

Pomeranians are cute, extroverted and energetic small size dogs that are very popular companions. They are highly alert and love being part of a busy yet attentive family.

The Pomeranian combines a tiny body, a glorious fluffy coat and a smiling, foxy face, giving it a distinctive appearance. The abundant double coat, with its frill extending over the chest and shoulders, gives the Pom its “ball of fluff” appearance. The under-coat is very short and thick, while the outer coat is long and soft.

The coat comes in the widest variety of any dog breed – 24 colours and 9 standard patterns and markings according to the AKC breed standard – but is most commonly seen in orange or red. They can be one solid colour without any markings or a combination of two or three different colours either with or without markings. Interestingly, the coat often changes colour between 4 to 6 months and sometimes throughout the Pom’s life, and this change can be slight or dramatic, with many Pom puppies starting out a completely different colour from what they finish up with!

If you are considering this breed, be aware that Poms are an independent breed who will not agree with everything you want them to do, especially not to being left home alone. They may well have a melt down when their owners leave and they realise that they can’t go with them!

Temperament: Friendly, playful, independent
Weight: 2 to 3.5 kg
Height: 13 to 28 cm
Activity level: High
Life span: 12 to 16 years
Coat length: Long
Pros: Easy to train and highly entertaining
Cons: They often bark when encountering new environments, people and animals



8. Cavoodle

Cavoodles, also known as Cavapoos, are cute, smart and energetic small to medium size dogs that are a hybrid of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle breeds. The Cavoodle comes in a range of sizes but is typically a small to medium-sized dog with a soft,feathered or curly coat, floppy ears and soft brown eyes.

As it is not an officially recognised breed, there is no clearly established standard for the Cavoodle’s appearance and there can be a great deal of variation between individual dogs. No two Cavoodle puppies, even if they are from the same litter, look exactly the same.

Cavoodles have inherited a wide variety of colours from their parent breeds, including gold, tan, cream, black, brown, white, red, ruby and apricot, combinations of these colours such as chestnut and white and black, white and tan, with or without markings which are most often solid in colour, though can also be phantom, parti or tuxedo pattern. Cavoodles can also change colour as they age. One of the most popular colours is red, ruby or chestnut, which usually stays consistent as the dog ages.

If you are considering this breed, be aware that Cavoodles are lively, fun-loving dogs who love to play. If they don’t get enough stimulation, they will most likely fing themselves something to do, which might not be something you are happy about!

Temperament: Affectionate, playful, eager to please
Weight: 5 to 12 kg
Height: 35 to 38 cm
Activity level: High
Life Span: 10 to 14 years
Coat: Long
Pros: Smart, enthusiastic, eager-to-please and obedient – traits that make them highly trainable
Cons: Should not be left alone for long periods of time as they require constant company



9. Border Collie

4-border-collie-adults-sitting-in-grass Border Collie Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance

Demanding, energetic and extremely smart, Border Collies are workaholic herding dogs who thrive when have a job to do and excel at dogsports such as herding, agility or obedience work. Their eyes have an intelligent expression and an intense gaze and their eye colour is usually brown or blue, but some (especially merles) often have two different coloured eyes.

The Border Collie is a medium sized, muscular dog with a thick double coat that varies from smooth to rough. The rough coat is longer and feathered, while the smooth coat is shorter and coarser. Many peope think of the Border Collie as a black and white dog, and indeed this is the most common and most popular colouring. However, both coat types come in a wide variety of colours and patterns, including brindle, gold, slate, lilac, white ticked and saddleback sable. The AKC breed standard states that the Border Collie appears in all colours or combination of colours and/or markings  and their breed description lists 21 colour options and 8 different markings for the breed.

If you are considering this breed, be aware that Border Collies have boundless energy and love to run, making them well-suited to active owners. Highly intelligent, they also need lots of mental stimulation and enjoy endless games of fetch.

Temperament: Intelligent & obedient
Weight: Male 17 to 20 kg, female 12 to 19 kg
Height: Male 48 to 56 cm, female 46 to 53 cm
Activity level: Very high – frequent, vigorous exercise & stimulation
Life span: 13 to 16 years
Coat length: Medium
Pros: Highly intelligent, eager to please & a fast learner
Cons: Doesn’t like negative feedback or any form of punishment!


10. Louisiana Catahoula Le opard Dog

three catahoula dogs posing together in the beach Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog

No “Most Colourful Dog Breed” list would be complete without the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog. Uncommon in Australia, the “Catahoula” or “Cat” is a working breed with a striking and unique appearance. A notable feature are the eyes, which may be blue, green, brown or amber in colour, and each eye may each be a different colour or  they may even have two different colours within the same eye.

Also unique features is the Catahoula’s short to medium length coat with its many varied colours and patterns that imbue a spotty and blotchy appearance. Apart from the popular leopard pattern, with a base colour and contrasting spots of one or more other colours, the coat may be solid, brindle, merle, or patched in many colours. Solid coat colours are typically black, blue, chocolate, red and yellow. Tan markings and a white or coloured trim may be found on the chest, cheeks, legs, underbody, above the eyes or under the tail.

If you are considering this breed, be aware that it is only recommended for those wanting a working dog, canine sports competitor or companion for demanding outdoor adventures, because the Catahoula requires large expanses of land to roam and/or a very large amount of exercise. Sadly, because of the many behavioural problems that can occur in the breed, the Catahoula is over-represented in animal shelters and rescue centres across southern America.

Temperament: Loyal, independent, protective
Weight:  25 to 40 kg
Height: 51 to 71 cm
Activity level: Very high – needs frequent, vigorous exercise
Life span: 10 to 14 years
Coat length: Short to medium length
Pros: Strong sense of family loyalty and protectiveness
Cons: Definitely not suitable for novice or timid owners



A pet insurance policy with Bow Wow Meow will help ensure you can always afford to give your pet the best treatment.




This article is written by

Nicky Klugman

Nicky is our Marketing Communications and Content Specialist. She is an animal-lover who is particularly interested in animal behaviour and the relationships between humans and their pets. While growing up, dogs were always an integral part of the family. Nicky is mum to three human sons and a rescue pup called Dobby.

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*Please note, any pet insurance advice provided is general only. Refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement for details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover.
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