Tri Colored Dog Breeds: Uncover Unique Canine Companions

Tri Colored Dog Breeds.

Unleashing the Colors: The Ultimate Guide to Tri Colored Dog Breeds

Dog enthusiasts and prospective pet owners alike often find themselves entranced by the uniquely stunning patterns of tri colored dog breeds. With their distinct coats, these breeds make each dog a walking piece of art.

The term ‘tri colored’ refers to a dog's coat with three distinct colors. This naturally occurring phenomenon adds an extra layer of intrigue to a dog's appearance. Their diverse shades, from the darkest blacks to the softest creams, are a true testament to the spectacular diversity within the canine kingdom. 

So, whether you're a lifelong dog lover, a potential dog owner, or simply intrigued by the world of canine color genetics, sit back, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and let's embark on this colorful journey together!

The Science of Spots: A Look Into Tricolor Dogs Genetics

Let's take a short journey into the dynamic world of canine genetics. The 'tricolor' term refers to a stylish mix of white with two other hues. Usually, our furry friends flaunt tan or red accents atop their primary color — be it black, blue, brown, etc.

Some genes instruct cells to create eumelanin, a pigment that paints fur in shades of black or brown. While others produce pheomelanin, resulting in splashes of red or yellow. 

But what about the third color in tri-color dogs? Well, that's where it gets interesting. A gene known as the ‘spotting’ gene adds white patches by preventing other colors from reaching certain fur areas.

Then, we have the ‘tan pointing’ gene. The tricolor coat pattern doesn’t have to be expressed by either parent for a tricolor puppy to be born. However, both parents must carry this gene to give birth to a tricolor puppy.

In essence, tricolor dogs are tan-pointed canines with white spotting.

15 Tri Colored Dog Breeds

1. Beagle

tri colored dog beagle.

The Beagle is one of the most popular tri colored dog breeds. These energetic hounds are well known for their playful, friendly nature and strong sense of smell. Traditionally bred for hunting, Beagles are now favorite family pets, perfect for active households.

Today, these dogs are more likely to be seen cuddling on a sofa than chasing rabbits. Yet, their keen sense of smell and inquisitive nature still hint at their hunting ancestry.

With a heart full of love and a nose for adventure, Beagles are an awesome choice for families with kids, outdoorsy individuals, or anyone who appreciates an active, affectionate companion.

2. Bernese Mountain Dog

tri colored bernese mountain dog.

The Bernese Mountain Dog, a treasured gem among tri colored dog breeds, makes a distinctive mark with their rich coat colors and gentle nature.

Originating from Switzerland, these dogs were bred for hard work in the cold mountains. Today, they still carry this industrious spirit, excelling in obedience, tracking, and herding tasks. Despite their size, they’re surprisingly swift and nimble, which makes them great pets for active households.

Besides their striking appearance, Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their incredible loyalty, intelligence, and innate love for children. This gentle giant surely ranks high when it comes to a loving, hardworking, and gorgeous pet.

3. Rat Terrier

tri colored dog rat terrier.

An American classic known for their lively and affectionate nature. However, don't let their small size trick you, Rat Terriers are sturdy, tough, and ready for any adventure.

This pup comes with a compact, muscular frame, sporting a coat that may vary from bi-colored to a distinct tri-colored pattern. Their alert expression is a telltale of their keen intelligence and curiosity, which makes them exceptional companions and reliable guardians.

The Rat Terrier's diverse lineage includes Terriers, Beagles, and Hounds, contributing to their versatile abilities. Although these lively tri colored dogs need frequent exercise, they’re ideal for families of all sizes because of their adaptability and love of human companionship.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

tri colored dog cavalier king charles spaniel.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is another stunning example of tri colored dog breeds. 

Bred for companionship, these Spaniels are renowned for their friendly, gentle nature and devotion to their families. They're small, but their hearts are enormous — they love nothing more than cuddling on the couch or playing fetch in the backyard.

With their expressive eyes and silky-soft coat, the Cav epitomizes both elegance and charm.

5. Australian Shepherd

tri colored dog australian shepherd.

Australian Shepherds are a lively breed known for their intelligence and agility. Their coat often sports a variety of combinations, including blue, black, red, and white, making them one of the most distinctive tri colored dogs.

While the Aussie originated from Spain's Basque Country, the breed we’re familiar with today was developed in the United States. Originally bred as a herding dog, this pooch's remarkable endurance and work ethic are as vibrant as their stunning tricolor coat. 

These canines need plenty of exercise to keep their intelligent minds occupied, but they’re a perfect fit for active households.

6. Papillon

tri colored dog papillon.

Papillons are charming, intelligent, and highly trainable. Thanks to their luxuriant coat and distinctive butterfly-like ears, they’re among the most identifiable tri colored dogs.

Despite their small size, the Pap is athletic and excels in agility and obedience training. Their energetic demeanor and friendly disposition make this breed a great addition to any family. With a captivating appearance and delightful temperament, the Papillon is a top choice for dog lovers everywhere.

7. Border Collie

tri colored dog border collie.

Welcome to the world of the Border Collie, the pinnacle of tri colored dog breeds. This herding dog is widely considered to be one of the most intelligent canines out there.

Don't be fooled by their beauty — these tri colored dogs aren’t just about looks. They’re workaholics, initially bred for herding sheep in the hilly border region between Scotland and England. Thus, they're often called the world's greatest herders.

Their sharp senses, intellect, and trainability stand out from other breeds. If you're seeking an energetic, devoted friend, the Border Collie is ready and waiting for you.

8. Welsh Corgi (Pembroke & Cardigan)

tri colored dog welsh corgi.

The Welsh Corgi is an adorable breed that comes in two distinct types — the Pembroke and the Cardigan. Both breeds share a charming and outgoing personality that makes them great companions.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are known for their distinctive short legs and fox-like appearance, while Cardigan Welsh Corgis have a longer tail and more rounded ears. They both come in various coat colors, including tricolor, a popular choice among dog lovers.

These lively and intelligent tri-colored dog breeds are excellent candidates for agility and obedience training. Corgis also make wonderful family pets because they get on well with children.

9. Cocker Spaniel

tri colored dog cocker spaniel.

The Cocker Spaniel has a cheerful and affectionate temperament. And, these tricolor dogs are known for their long, silky coats.

Because of their high trainability, Cockers are great pets for both inexperienced and seasoned dog owners. Their lively personalities and eagerness to please ensure they're always the life of the party. 

In addition to their stunning coat, they’re renowned for their big, expressive eyes and floppy ears. These attributes, along with their love for their humans, have earned them a reputation as a true ‘Velcro’ dog. Don't be surprised if this tri-colored pup becomes your constant shadow!

10. English Setter

tri colored dog english setter.

These stunning tri colored dogs have long, flowing coats and are often white with black or brown ‘ticking.’ They can be lightly ticked, meaning they’re primarily white, or heavily ticked, known as roan, or anywhere in between. However, it's also possible to have blue/orange tri, chestnut/orange tri, and even lemon/orange tri colored coats.

Originally bred as a hunting dog, they have an instinct for tracking and pointing. With their striking appearance and gentle demeanor, it's no wonder why English Setters have become a popular choice for families and sportsmen alike.

English Setters have long coats that require regular grooming to keep them looking their best. But don't let their history deceive you — these dogs are known for their gentle and affectionate nature and love nothing more than spending time with their human family.

11. Jack Russell Terrier

tri colored dog jack russell terrier.

The Jack Russell Terrier is a lively and intelligent breed known for its quick wit and infectious energy.

Originating in England, these tri colored dogs bring together the best traits of Terriers — tenacity, intelligence, and an unwavering sense of adventure. The Jack Russell is hard to resist with their bright, alert expressions and compact size.

They’re highly adaptable, which means they’re suitable for various living environments. Jack Russells are also superb hunters, popular among individuals looking for a Terrier due to their incredible sense of smell and agile nature. However, they’re mighty dogs in little bodies, requiring ample exercise and mental stimulation.

12. Shetland Sheepdog

tri colored shetland sheepdog.

The Shetland Sheepdog, affectionately known as the Sheltie, is an enchanting member of the tri colored dog breeds. 

Originating from the Shetland Isles in Scotland, this breed is renowned for its intelligence, agility, and breathtaking beauty. These qualities contribute to their status as ideal family pets and working dogs. In fact, they excel in various dog sports, such as agility, obedience, and herding trials.

Their long, double coat requires regular grooming to keep them looking their best. One thing to note is that Shelties have a strong herding instinct, which can sometimes lead them to be overly protective of their family. Plus, they have a propensity to bark, so you should address this sooner, rather than later.

13. English Bulldog

tri colored dog english bulldog.

The adorable English Bulldog is known for their distinctive, wrinkled face and powerful, muscular build. These canines are typically bi-colored; tricolored coats are more uncommon. Yet, Tri Bulldogs are a magnificent addition to the breed and come in four distinct color variations: black tri, chocolate tri, blue tri, and lilac tri.

The breed is an excellent family pet because of their loving, sensitive temperament. Despite their rugged appearance, they're known for their sweet disposition and undying loyalty. This canine isn't particularly energetic, which makes them ideal for apartment living.

The English Bulldog is a testament to the diversity and beauty of tri colored dog breeds — a perfect blend of looks, temperament, and adaptability.

14. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

tri colored greater swiss mountain dog.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, affectionately known as the ‘Swissy,’ is a robust and athletic cousin of the Bernese Mountain Dog. 

Originating from the Swiss Alps, these large tri colored dogs — black topcoat, with white and red markings — were bred to be versatile working dogs, excelling in herding, guarding, and cart pulling.

The Greater Swiss is intelligent and easy to train, although they can sometimes be stubborn. They require daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy, but their calm demeanor makes them a joy to have around. They're perfect for families who love outdoor adventures.

15. American Foxhound

tri colored dog american foxhound.

The American Foxhound is an athletic and spirited breed known for its exceptional hunting skills and charming personality. 

Descendants of the English Foxhound, they’re a versatile breed, excelling in various activities like hunting, tracking, and agility. With their lean and muscular body, this tri colored hound is built for endurance and speed.

Inheriting the lively nature of hound-group breeds, the American is friendly, loyal, and loves an active lifestyle. Don't be surprised if they lead the pack during your morning jogs; they’re born to run!


These dogs, with their tri colored coats, are a testament to the fascinating diversity within the canine world. Their distinctive markings not only add to their appeal, but also contribute to their individuality. Each breed carries a rich history and a set of traits that make it uniquely suited to different types of homes and families.

As a dog lover, learning about different breeds and their characteristics is always exciting. Whether you're considering bringing one of these breeds into your home or simply intrigued by their beauty, we hope you've enjoyed this journey through the world of tri colored dog breeds as much as we have. 

Let's spread the word about these uniquely beautiful canines and inspire others to explore the diverse world of tri colored dog breeds. Feel free to share our guide with other dog lovers.

Tri Colored Dog Breeds FAQs

What Are Some Common Health Issues in Tri Colored Dogs?

Tri-colored dogs, like any other dogs, can suffer from various health issues. However, potential medical conditions are generally breed-specific rather than color-specific. Always check with a reputable breeder or a vet for potential health issues.

Are Tri Colored Dogs Rare?

The rarity of tri colored dogs depends on the breed. Some breeds commonly have tri-colored coats, while for other breeds it might be rare.

Does the Color of a Dog’s Coat Affect Its Behavior?

No, the color of a dog's coat doesn't affect their behavior. Behavior is more influenced by breed, upbringing, training, and individual personality.

How Do Dogs Get a Tri Colored Coat?

The color of a dog's coat is determined by their genes. A tri-colored coat results from specific combinations of color genes being passed down from the parents to the puppy.

Are Tri Colored Dogs More Expensive?

The price of a dog depends on various factors such as breed, pedigree, and the breeder's reputation. The coat color, whether it's tri colored or not, can sometimes factor into the price, but it's not the only determinant.