The boxer dog is a large and distinctive looking breed that is also very popular, being ranked 32nd out of all dog breeds and types in the UK. Their lean builds, deep chests and of course, flat faces make dogs of the breed very handsome and appealing, and they also have lovely temperaments and this too helps to make the firm favourites among dog lovers from all walks of life.
Boxer dogs can be seen in quite a range of different colours and colour combinations within their breed standard, and one of the most common and in-demand breed colours is brindle. However, there can still be a lot of variation in the appearance of different brindle boxers, due to the different ways in which brindle colouration is expressed, and the fact that it can be mixed with another colour too.
If you own or are considering buying a brindle boxer, this article will provide some background on the brindle colouration, its variants, and how the colouration comes about. Read on to learn more.
Brindle is a coat colour and pattern combination that consists of two different colours forming a pattern of stripes across the coat. Generally one of the colours involved is a shade of brown or beige, and the stripes formed by the colours might make up long and distinct stripes like a tiger, or a more disruptive pattern of shorter or narrower stripes.
As well a being a pattern formed from two separate colours, brindle can also form in patches or specific areas of your dog’s coat, with self-coloured or all one colour patches of another shade, such as white.
All of this means that the appearance of individual brindle dogs an be quite variable, and makes for a lot of different looks and coat patterns across the boxer breed as a whole.
As well as brindle describing a wide range of different mixtures of colours and stripe styles, brindle dog coat patterns also come in two core variants – brindle and reverse brindle.
A normal or more common type of brindle consists of a lighter shade of background colour with stripes in a somewhat darker shade. The other variant is usually known as reverse brindle or inverted brindle, and this colour consists of a darker background with lighter stripes, and this is rather less common.
How prominent or obvious the brindle colouration is depends on the contrast between the two colours involved in it, and the width and length of the stripes. Some boxer dogs with brindle coats will be quite obvious, while others may look to be a uniform colour until you view them up close.
There is a reasonably long list of different colour and coat pattern combinations found within the boxer breed standard in the UK, and many of these involve a full or partial brindle coat.
Some of the boxer dog colour variants of brindle include:
Like all coat colour and pattern variants that can be found in dogs, the ultimate colour that any dog possesses is dictated by the genes that they inherit from the two respective sides of their parentage and how these genes work together to either enhance or cancel out a certain trait.
A boxer dog that doesn’t actually have a brindle coat themselves might still carry the brindle gene but as a hidden or recessive trait, and pass it on to their own pups; and the colouration and patterning of those pups will depend on the combined genes inherited from both parents.
Brindle coats also dictate the colour and pattern of the dog’s skin as well as their fur, and brindle boxers may have stripes or patterns on their skin too, particularly if the two shades that make up their brindle are very different, constituting a mix of light and dark.
In the boxer dog breed, the brindle coat colour is a dominant one above the other common shade of fawn, which means that if one parent dog in any mating match is brindle, the chances are high that their puppies will too. The fawn colour gene in boxers, on the other hand, is recessive – and so the litter of a brindle and a fawn boxer will themselves have brindle in their coats.
However, if you take a fawn-coloured parent dog out of the equation, the colour of the litter of pups bred from a brindle and a boxer with no brindle can be variable. The brindle gene is as a rule recessive (aside from when paired with fawn) and so in order to ensure a brindle litter, both parent dogs would need to be brindle themselves.
As is the case when breeding a litter of any recognised pedigree breed, knowing what colours the pups will be can be something of a lottery, and this is part of the fun and excitement of waiting for a new litter. However, if you are keen to breed a brindle boxer, knowing the basics of how different colour genes combine and work together to dictate the ultimate shade of the dog itself is very handy.