Strikingly beautiful, tricolor breeds certainly turn heads, with their classic color-block combination bringing their coat to life. Typically black, tan and white, although blue, black and gray are not uncommon, you get three clearly defined colors in a pattern that is distinct to each breed. Not to be confused with brindles or blue merle, tricolor is also one of the most common color schemes found in dogs, with over 20 breeds renowned for their three-color patterns. If you are looking to add some color to your dog-owning life, then we take a look at 10 of the most popular tricolor breeds.
Originally herding dogs, the Australian Shepherd is believed to actually originate from Spain and was developed in the States to become the breed we know today. Also known as the Aussie, they are similar in looks to the Border Collie and English Shepherd breeds and display a stunning tricolor coat with a luxuriant fur. Their coat comes in two tricolor variations – red/white/copper and black/white/copper. However, in some pups due to their genetics, the copper color doesn’t develop, and so they are known as a bicolor Aussie. A medium-sized dog that’s both hardy and agile, Australian Shepherds are very intelligent, and can be known to run rings around a timid or less experienced owner.
- Exercise: high energy dogs, the Aussie needs around two hours exercise a day
- Grooming: as continual shedders, they need regular grooming, ideally daily
- Life expectancy: 12-15 years
- Ideal for: very active, pet-confident households
One of the US’s most popular multi-colored dog breeds, the Beagle is renowned for its loving, friendly nature, scent-driven behaviors and its sometimes stubborn personality. As a pack dog, they love the company of their human family and thrive on being the center of attention, but they do need patience when it comes to training. And with its tricolor coat, and distinct black ‘saddle’ across their back, the Beagle is also an instantly recognizable breed. The classic colors for Beagles are black, tan and white, but they can also come in other tricolor variations, including red and blue. The Beagle coat also has a distinct odor that’s unique to the hound breeds.
- Exercise: Beagles love to sniff and have fun, so need at least an hour’s exercise a day
- Grooming: regular grooming will help control those shedding hairs
- Life expectancy: 12-15 years
- Ideal for: for families and confident first-time dog owners
Originally bred to be guard dogs, the Boxer is an exuberant pooch that makes a wonderful if high energy family pet. In fact, with all their boundless playfulness, a Boxer is not considered fully mature until around three years of age. With their muscular medium to large sized bodies and square heads, softened by large brown, mischievous eyes, the Boxer is also a stunner, and with a short-haired coat, are easy to groom. Boxer coat colors include brindle and all fawn or tan, and they can also be the most stunning pets with three colors, including a variety of black and white markings to define their eyebrows, muzzle and body shape.
- Exercise: An energetic fun-monster, a Boxer will need around two hours exercise a day
- Grooming: With its easy-care short coat, a weekly brush with a rubber mitt is recommended
- Life expectancy: 10-12 years
- Ideal for: for active families with older children
Papillon is French for butterfly and this tiny, big-hearted black, white and brown dog is so named due to the butterfly shape created by its pert feathered ears. The breed is thought to go back as far as the 16th Century and is descended from toy spaniels. But the Papillon is no passive mini lap dog. Despite, its mini size, the Papillon has a large personality, and is active, intelligent and loves his humans. As a breed standard, their coat is flowing and fine haired, with a base color of white, typically defined by patches of black and brown on their face, around their nose and ears.
- Exercise: Two-three 20-minute walks or playtime sessions a day is ideal
- Grooming: brush once or twice a week to keep their fur in top condition
- Life expectancy: 14-16 years
- Ideal for: for families or as a fun companion pet
The Corgi comes in two breeds, the Pembroke Welsh and the Cardigan, and despite their shorter stature, both were originally bred as a cattle dog. This heritage means that the Corgi is an energetic little fellow requiring plenty of exercise and stimulation. Their size, temperament and appetite for play also makes the Welsh Corgi a super pet for families with children. They are also very intelligent, stubborn and vocal, so early and consistent training is required. Both breeds have a lush double coat and come in a variety of colors, including a beautiful tricolor in combinations of red, sable, black, white and fawn.
- Exercise: At least one hour of walking per day
- Grooming: With their undercoat, Corgis are prolific shedders so regular grooming is required.
- Life expectancy: 12-13 years
- Ideal for: for families with children
The English Bulldog is built as a stocky little powerhouse with the flat, squashed face of a typical brachycephalic breed. Thought to date back to the 13th Century, where he was used as a bull bait dog in England, today this laid-back dude with his sweet personality makes him a great family dog or individual companion. His coat is short and low maintenance and comes in a variety of coat colors, including a rather stunning tri. The dominant color in most Bulldogs is fawn or white, enhanced by large patches of black or brindle.
- Exercise: A sofa lover, the Bulldog needs around 15-30 minutes of exercise or active play per day.
- Grooming: With a fine, short-haired coat, he’ll need brushing once or twice a week
- Life Expectancy: 8-10 years
- Ideal for: Apartment dwellers and families
Sensitive and intelligent, the Collie is renowned for its luxuriant fur, which always turns heads. With the long-haired breed known as a Rough Collie, the breed also comes in a shorter haired variety. When it comes to Collie coloring, there are four: a stunning tricolor coat pattern in black and white with tan shades as well as sable, blue merle and white. Made famous in the 1950s TV series, Lassie, the Rough Collie breed is a native of Scotland and was originally used for herding animals. Today, these athletic tri colored dogs make lovely pets, thanks to their loving and loyal nature, although their herding nature is not too far beneath the surface!
- Exercise: Energetic dogs, the collie needs around two hours exercise per day
- Grooming: The Rough Collie needs brushing at least twice a week
- Life Expectancy: 10 – 14 years
- Ideal for: Families with active children
Australian Cattle Dog
Hardworking, active and intelligent, the Australian Cattle Dog is a hardy breed, with a short coat that has a water-resistant outer and dense inner coat. The Australian Cattle Dog is either blue or red mottle, with partial coloring of tan and black to create the tricolored dog look. Bred by Australian setters to work their cattle, the breed is still being used as a herding dog today. They should be socialized early and need plenty of mental stimulation. In return, you get a dog that is extremely loyal but does have a tendency to herd members of his own family.
- Exercise: At least two hours a day; agility classes are also a good idea
- Grooming: Brush weekly unless he is shedding, when he needs more frequent grooming
- Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
- Ideal for: homes with plenty of outdoor space
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Considered by many the ultimate companion pet, the elegant Cavalier King Charles Spaniel also likes to get active, so is definitely not just a lap dog. They get their athleticism from their spaniel heritage, so these gregarious dogs make good family pets as they are as happy playing as they are snoozing at your feet. With gorgeous silky fur, the markings on the Cavalier are distinctive and come in a choice of colors, including a stunning tri pattern of black markings on a white coat, with adorable tan markings over their eyes and tail. And there is nothing cuter than a Cavalier tri color puppy!
- Exercise: A daily short walk on the leash, with some access to an outside space for play
- Grooming: Brush 3-4 times a week, paying particular attention to the longer fur on their ears and tail
- Life Expectancy: 9-15 years
- Ideal for: Companion dogs or for less active families
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Closely related to the Bernese Mountain Dog, this gorgeous mountain of a canine boasts a distinctive coat pattern, making it one of the most popular tri colored dogs. His double coat is dense, with a typical coat pattern of a black outer with white and rust-colored markings on his face and body. Bred to be a working dog in the mountains of Switzerland, the ‘Swissie’ is considered to be a good family as well as watchdog, as he is loyal and loves being busy. But they are strong animals due to their sheer size (over 100 pounds) so training is essential.
- Exercise: Daily walking sessions plus access to large, enclosed outdoor space
- Grooming: Brush a couple of times a week, more when he comes into his shedding season
- Life span: 7-9 years
- Ideal for: Active households with plenty of space