Calico Dog Breeds & Characteristics

The word calico, used mostly for cats, refers to the pattern in which an animal’s coat gets colored. Brindle is used interchangeably with calico, and the other reference is tiger-striped. Here are the top 19 calico dog breeds:

1. Alaskan Malamute

2. Basenji

3. Blue Nose Pitbull

4. Boxer

5. Cairn terrier

6. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

7. Catahoula Leopard Dog

8. Dutch Shepherd

9. French Bulldog

10. Great Dane

11. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

12. Greyhound

13. Irish Red Setter

14. Liver-Ticked German Shorthaired Pointer

15. Mastiff

16. Merle Australian Shepherd

17. Panda German Shepherd

18. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

19. Treeing Tennessee Brindle

Top 19 Calico Dog Breeds And Their Characteristics

1. Alaskan Malamute: 

This breed boasts of having one of the unique coats. If you want to know a brindle Alaskan malamute, you need to look for unusual face markings. Here are some of its characteristics:

a) It has a mostly-white pointed cap over its head. On the face, you see the confident contrast of white and black – the brindle thing.  

b) It has a thickly bushy tail.

2. Basenji

Have you seen the paintings on the inside of Egyptian tombstones, those where pharaohs mummies got laid? The dogs painted there resemble the Basenji.  It was not until 1980 that brindled Basenjis started appearing in the United States. The new-look Basenjis came from Central Africa. Here are their features;

1. The dogs are calm, loyal, and have gentle personalities.

2. They are quiet and clean.

3. Sometimes, they react aggressively with strangers.

4. The Basenji is an agile climber who finds a way to entertain themselves by going up. 

5. It has a smoothly short brindle coat.

6. The chest, tail tip, and feet are all white.

7. The legs, collar, and blaze may be white.

8. It has a tail that curls over onto their back.

9. They usually need lots of exercises. 

3. Blue Nose Pitbull

Apart from being loyal and lovable, brindle blue nose Pitbulls have beautiful coats. The coat’s color ranges from greyish-blue to dark-charcoal shades. They are dazzling to the eye. 

4. Boxer

Many Boxers have brindle markings. Here are the Boxer’s characteristics:

1. It is intelligent and energetic.

2. As good pets, they are affectionate and fun-loving. 

3. It is overly exuberant – it gets up and running many times. So, it needs exercise and walks.

4. It has a square-built body and a flat face. Also, its muzzle is blunt.

5. With hot temperatures, it may get overheated easily, and it drools fairly.

6. The brindle coloring covers a short and shiningly smooth coat.

5. Cairn Terrier

This breed of brindle is widespread. The terrier dogs have shaggily, wiry coats. As the dog grows old, the brindle color patterns become lighter.  Here are the dogs’ features:

1. They are loyal and confident.

2. The dog is smart, independent, and adaptable.  

3. They love to dig. So, organize a sandbox for the dogs so that it doesn’t hurt their paws.

4. Their wiry outer coat has a wide range of colors.

6. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Aren’t corgis the cutest dog breeds? What makes the dog adorable is their shades of sable, red, and brindle. The incredibly popular pups are the ones that have marbled gray and black coats. Here are their characteristics:

1. They have a particular devotedness to their families.

2. The dogs are intelligent and fun-loving.

3. It may act up around strangers, so beware of its alert barking.

4. It has a sturdy build – its body is deep-chested and low-set.

5. Its tail is large, full, and is like a brush.

6. It has erect ears.

7. Catahoula Leopard Dog

The brindle pattern of this dog is like that of a leopard, hence the name.

8. Dutch Shepherd

On this list, this dog is the only breed that has brindle markings. Here are some of its characteristics:

1. The species is of highly intelligent dogs.

2. The dog is easy to train and has high energy levels.

3. It is affectionate and pleases most people. For this reason, they are good family animals.

9. French Bulldog

Being one of the most famous breeds, the French bulldog with brindle markings is very common. Apart from their unique appearance, they are loving, goofy, and friendly. Here are some of its features:

1. The dog is squat, small, and muscular.

2. It has a broad head and a short and large snout.

3. Its ear are bat-like

4. In brindle, the dog’s coat is smooth.

10. Great Dane

Who doesn’t love this elegant, distinguished, influential, and super sweet breed? These doggy giants are one of the most popular species, notes AKC (the American Kennel Club). The brindle Dane is known as the Harlequin. It looks stunning, and the coat has an attractive patchwork pattern. The brindle color mix gives a black and white Dane.

Here are the dog’s features:

1. The dog is sentimental, warm-hearted, and eager-to-please.

2. They warm up to respectful owners and other pets.

3. The dog is muscular and regal, and it has a deep muzzle.

4. The Harlequin is a white Dane with black patches.

11. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

This heavily-boned pup looks dignified with its tri-colored cat. It is known for being a kind, faithful, and charming canine.

12. Greyhound

This dog breed has a short coat. So, the brindle (calico) markings look very distinct. Here are some of their features:

1. The dogs have incredible bursts of speed.

2. They are affectionate and have happy-happy inclinations.

3. The pups have prey drives, meaning that they may engage in territorial fights with smaller dogs. Put them on a leash to prevent this wild side of theirs from coming out.

4. It has long and athletic legs.

5. The head is long and narrow, and its muzzle pointed.

6. Its coat is shortly smooth with both brindle and solid colors.

13. Irish Red Setter

This iconic setter has one of the most beautiful coats. Its brindle pattern consists of a richly-red color, setting it apart from all the other calico dog breeds. It is naturally sweet and friendly, and its coat is straight and glossy.

14. Liver-ticked German Shorthaired Pointer

The beautiful coat of this pointer is thickly water-repellent. Also, its color combinations are super distinctive. The breed is of highly intelligent and overly energetic dogs. The dog breed is pure class.    

15. Mastiff

This English-dog often appears to have striped markings. The breed consists of calm, affectionate, loyal, and protective human companions.

1. They eat a lot and take up a lot of space.

2. They need socialization and proper training so that their handling isn’t hectic.

3. The dogs are prolific chewers.

4. They have shortly sleek coats. Apart from brindle, the other colors are apricot and fawn. Whichever the color of the skin, the dogs have dark ears, noses, and muzzles.

16. Merle Australian Shepherd

The coats of this breed come in the following colors: blue or red merle, red, or black. Whichever the color, the skin often has white markings. This breed consists of gregariously industrious dogs who are great human companions. 

17. Panda German Shepherd

As a panda, this shepherd is black and white. 65% of its coat is tan-black, while 35% is white. The white part includes the following body parts: face/head, feet, chest, legs, and tail tip. You have a tough canine that looks so enchanting.

18. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

This breed has brindle markings whose shades get very dark. They have a particular devotedness to their owners and are good with affection. Many times, the bull will rest on your lap to get your attention. They are anti-lonely dogs, meaning that you should never leave them alone for long.

The bulls are powerful-looking and medium-sized. They have shortly smooth coats that may be brindle or any of the following colors: fawn, solid red, black, white, or blue. Also, they have a shortly muscular neck that holds a sizeable head.   

19. Treeing Tennessee Brindle

This laid-back, uncommon breed is pleasing to the eye. Being a family-friendly canine, the dog loves outdoor exploration, probably to flaunt its gorgeously-looking coat. 

What Is A Chimera Dog?

Most people who look up calico dogs always find this exciting topic: chimera dogs.  A chimera, a Greek mythology creature that had the following characteristics:

1. A lion’s front and mane (although the creature was female)

2. A goat’s back

3. A snake’s tail

The chimera was a genetically complicated creature, seeing that it is a combination of several animals.

In dog terms, a chimera is one dog with two dogs in it, get it? Most chimeras are sterile.

How Can I Know The Breed Of My Dog?

1. Browse The Internet And Look Up Breeds: Websites like the American Kennel Club ( have an extensive catalog. The catalog is thickly rich in dog breed information. As you click and scroll, use the details of your dog’s muzzle, tail, and ears as the base of your research.     

2. Please, Get To The Vet And Know Your Pet: Veterinary officers are book-smart when it comes to animals, and especially the dog. In school, they get exposed to lots of dog breed knowledge. Indeed, you will get some insights about your dog. Write down the physical features of your dog. Then, call a vet and describe what you have written.

3. DNA That DOG: Yes, there are DNA tests for Dogs. The tests help you to know the exact genetic makeup of your dog. To get your dog tested, you can start at, a reputable source. The experts may ask to pick samples of your dog’s skin cells. The genetic data runs against a database of at least two hundred and fifty dog (250) breeds.

4. Use The Fetch! App: If you’re tech-savvy, then this is your option. This downloadable app requires you to take a picture of your dog. Then, you upload it. The app then does something like Google’s reverse image search to make an educated guess. This option may not work very correctly, but it is worth trying.

My advice: First, use the Fetch! App. Then, browse the internet and go through at least three online catalogs. If you are still unsuccessful, call your vet, and if the vet doesn’t help, get the DNA test done.      

Types Of Calico Cats

Standard calicoIt is white-coated, with large orange and black spots
Dilute calicoIt has lighter color patterns. These patterns result in a white-coated cat which has large smoky-gray spots and an almost strawberry-blonde color 
CalibbyThis cat is a mix of a tabby and calico cat. So, the black-orange calico patches have striped/spotted tabby markings. 

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