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Glossary of Terms Used in Relation to Dog Coat Colours and Patterns

Agouti banded hairs; deeper colour at the tip than near the base, and some are black at the tip and have one or more bands of brown, red, yellow or cream colour as you move toward the base of the hair; ticked

Belton a name for ticking in the English Setter

Bicolor a dog that has some shade of black or brown and also white but no tan in breeds like the Shetland Sheepdog

Black & Silver this colour pattern generally follows the same pattern as the Salt and Pepper (see below), however the entire Salt and Pepper section must be black; as in Schnauzers

Black & Tan coat has both colours but in clearly defined and separated areas; usually the top and sides are black and lower legs and underside are tan, reddish, or chestnut.

Blenheim a name for red coat colour with white markings in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Blue a coat colour that is typically a solid grey (note that a Blue Belton is a black ticked/roan dog however)

Blue Fawn a reddish beige or tan base coat with grey hairs and mask. Eyes are blue or amber. Nose is blue (grey); as in APBT

Brindle a pattern of alternating stripes of eumelanin and phaeomelanin pigmentation, i.e. yellow and black, red and black, cream and grey, etc. A mixture of black with brown, tan, or gold; usually in a “tiger stripe” pattern

Brown
includes dark mahogany, mid-tone brown, grey-brown, and very dark brown

 Buckskin A pale fawn with more black pigment in the facial region and down the spinal area and tail. Eyes are light to dark brown. Nose is black; as in APBT

Buff can vary in shade from the palest cream to a deep strawberry-blonde

Calico a tri-colour dog with random patches of any two differing colours over a white body. May or may not have the distinct tan point markings commonly seen. Redheaded calico is a term sometimes used to describe a dog who has a patch of red/tan on the top of the head, which is rarely apparent at birth, but develops as the dog matures. One of the colours of the American Rat Terrier

Champagne pale tawny yellow, the colour of champagne.  Yellow undertones. Champagne coats can be beige from light to deep intensity. In some registries (AKC) Cream and Champagne are combined as one colour.

Chocolate
a coat colour that is typically brown, used in breeds such as the Labrador Retriever; can vary in shade from light to dark chocolate.

Cream depending on the breed and individual, ranges from white through ivory and blonde, often occurring with or beneath lemon, yellow, and sable; the colour of dairy cream or almonds

Deadgrass
without any red tone in either the light, regular or dark variations. Deadgrass can vary from almost yellow to tan. One of the colours of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Dilution
an effect on a coat colour that causes it to become a paler shade like blue or cream

Eumelanin
a melanin pigment that causes some shade of black or brown coloration

Fawn a cool colour ranging from tan and buff to light brown shades

Gold rich reddish-yellow, as in a Golden Retriever; often includes colours such as yellow-gold, lion-coloured, fawn, apricot, wheaten, tawny, yellow-red, straw, mustard, and sandy.

Grey pale to dark grey, including silver; can be mixed with other colours or various shades to create sandy pepper, pepper, grizzle, blue-black grey, or silver-fawn

Harlequin a coat colour pattern of ragged black spots on a white background. “Torn” patches of black on white; only the Great Dane exhibits this pattern

Irish Spotting a pattern of white markings that include white undersides, a white blaze and usually a white collar
Lemon a very pale yellow or wheaten colour which is not present at birth (the puppies are born white) but gradually becomes apparent, usually during the first six months of life

Liver a coat colour that is typically brown but is occasionally used to describe a shade of orange or phaeomelanin pigmentation; a reddish brown somewhat the colour of cinnamon or bronze; the breed often determines whether “liver”, “chocolate”, “brown”, or “red” is used to describe the colour, as in a liver German Shorthaired Pointer or a chocolate Labrador Retriever.

Mask a pattern in which the muzzle and perhaps as far back as the ears are pigmented by eumelanin, resulting in a black or brown face

Merle a pattern which reminds one of marble in which the melanin pigment is swirled and patchy amongst many white areas. Marbled coat with darker patches and spots of the specified colour; for example, a blue merle is marbled grey and blue with black and sometimes white patches; a red (or liver) merle has deep red or brown on lighter red, often with white or black mixed in

Palomino shades range from a pale, almost cremello color to a dark chocolate color; a golden body with silver tail – Chinese Cresteds are often this colour (crest and tail may vary from very pale flaxen, flaxen, or reddish-gold, or silver)

Particolour any coat colour with a foundation of white and spots or patches of another colour. Two-coloured coat with the colours appearing in patches in roughly equal quantities (in breeds where this is an allowed coat colour; in breeds where patches of white are considered undesirable, a dog showing even a small patch of white might be classified as a particolour)
 Phaeomelanin a melanin pigment that causes some shade of red, orange, gold or yellow coloration
Piebald random spots of colour on a white background
Red a coat colour that is typically the result of phaeomelanin pigmentation, however in some breeds such as Doberman Pinschers brown is called red; reminiscent of reddish woods such as cherry or mahogany; also tawny, chestnut, orange, rusty, and red-gold

Roan a pattern of intermingled white and coloured hairs on some part of the body – “having the base colour (as red, black, or brown) muted and lightened by a mixture of white hairs.”

Ruby solid colour; a rich chestnut red

Sable black-tipped hairs; the background colour can be gold, silver, grey, or tan. Sometimes referred to as “Wolf Colour”

Saddleback

Blanketback a large patch of colour across the back of the dog, where a saddle or blanket would be placed. These patches are usually separated by another colour at the neck and base of the tail. The dog can be bi-coloured or tri-coloured.

Salt & Pepper
characterized by banded hair, and may be any shade of grey; as in Schnauzers

 Sedge almost a strawberry blonde coloration. Definite reddish undertones on a relatively light coloured coat. One of the colours of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Silver puppies are born black and start to lighten at about 4-6 weeks of age. As the dog matures, the coat will lighten to varying shades of silver from pale platinum, sterling and pewter to deep grey. The coat change is usually complete at approximately 12-15 months of age.

Silver Beige a chocolate that has silver-white hairs throughout the brown base (roaning). Ears, face, legs and tail usually remain dark brown or mahogany

Tan Points a coloured dog with tan cheek spots, eyebrows and feet, forelegs and tail vent. (marked similarly to a Doberman)

Ticked a pattern of many small pigmented spots on a white or roan background; flecks or speckles of dark-coloured hair on a white background;
agouti

 Tricolour a combination of some shade of black or brown, some shade of red often called tan and some white. Therefore both eumelanin and phaeomelanin pigmentation occurs on the same dog. Consisting of three colours; usually black, tan, and white or liver, tan, and white; for example, the Smooth Collie or the Sheltie.

 Tuxedo a predominately dark coloured dog with some white on the chest. The darker colour extends down the legs resembling a tuxedo with a white shirt front, long sleeves and pant legs. May also ave a white blaze on the face and tan or rust eye spots and cheeks. One of the colours of the American Rat Terrier.

 Wheaten pale yellow or fawn, like the colour of ripe wheat

Yellow Yellows may range in colour from fox-red to light cream;
with variations in shading on the ears, back and underparts of the dog; yellowish-gold
tan, as in a yellow Labrador Retriever