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Coat (dog) facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Greyhound fur brindle
Close up of a greyhound's coat.

A dog's coat is the hair covering its body. A dog can have a double coat that has short, soft hair underneath a layer of long, coarse hair, or a single coat that has only the long, coarse hair. A dog's coat may also be called its hair or fur.

Colors, patterns, lengths and textures

Dog coats can come in many different colors, patterns, lengths, and textures.

Coat colors

Dog coats come in four main colors: black, brown, white, and red. The same main color can have many shades. These shades are sometimes common enough that they are given their own color names, such as gold, yellow, cream, blue, and grey.

There may be several of these colors on one dog.

Brown Chesapeakebayretriever01-l.jpg
Brown Chesapeake Bay Retriever
AustrKelpieChocolate wb.jpg
Dark chocolate Australian Kelpie
Red Seter irlandzki profil 5o899.jpg
Red Irish Setter

Red Chow Chow
Black Galibalticstorm.JPG
Black Newfoundland
Black Labrador Retriever portrait.jpg
Black Labrador Retriever
White American Eskimo Dog.jpg
White American Eskimo Dog
Bichon Frise 600.jpg
White Bichon Frisé
Gold Apricot Poodle, Roxy.jpg
Gold Poodle
GoldenRetrDark4 wb.jpg
Golden Retriever
Yellow MuttShepherdRetriever 72.jpg
Yellow mixed-breed dog
Yellow Labrador Retriever
Cream FrenchBulldog.jpg
Cream French Bulldog
Yuki and Branca - Japanese Akita.jpg
Cream Akita
Blue Kerry Blue Terrier.jpg
Kerry Blue Terriers
Australian Shepherd 600.jpg
Blue Australian Shepherd
Grey Weimaraner wb.jpg
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Grey Miniature Schnauzer

Coat patterns

Dog coats can also have many different patterns based on spots, patches, and mixing colors.

Black and tan, brown and tan, blue and tan: This pattern has two colors, with a dark color on most of the body and tan patches on the belly, legs, chest, face, and eyebrows. Australien Kelpie.jpg
Brown and tan Australian Kelpie
Black and Tan Coonhound
Bicolor (also called Two-color, Irish spotted, Flashy, Patched, Tuxedo): This pattern can be found with any color or even other pattern as long as it includes white spots. These spots can be on the feet, tail, nose, and neck, or even cover most of the dog. Sometimes special patterns of white have special names. For example, the Irish Spotted pattern is the same on both sides of the dog and includes a white chest, a white ring around the neck, a white belly, and white feet. Border Collie 600.jpg
Black and white Border Collie
CavalierKgChas2 wb.jpg
Blenheim (Red-brown and white) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Tricolor: This pattern has three clear colors. The body of the dog is usually black, brown, or blue. Its belly is white, and it has tan patches. EntlebucherBall2 wb.jpg
Black tricolor Entlebucher Mountain Dog
Beagle 600.jpg
Tricolor Beagle
Merle: This pattern happens when a dog's colors are mixed in with white in spots and patches. Australian Shepherd 600.jpg
Blue merle tricolor Australian Shepherd
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Red merle Catahoula Leopard Dogs
Tuxedo: This pattern is when a dog is mostly one color, but has a white patch on its chest, a white spot on its chin, and white on its feet. Little Man Chihuahua by David Shankbone.jpg
Tuxedo Chihuahua.
Harlequin: This pattern is when a white dog has black patches with an uneven border. Great-Dane wo Background.jpg
Harlequin Great Dane
Spotted: This is when a mostly white dog has any color of small spots. Dalmatian b 01.jpg
Spotted Dalmatian
Flecked, ticked, speckled: This is when a dog has very small spots of one color mixed in with its main color. GermanShorthPtr wb.jpg
Brown-ticked German Shorthaired Pointer
AustrCattleDogBlue wb.jpg
Blue speckled Australian Cattle Dog
Brindle: This pattern is when a dog's coat is a mix of black with brown, tan, or gold. It sometimes makes a "tiger stripe" pattern. BostonTerrierBrindleStand w.jpg
Brindle and white Boston Terrier
Brindle Galgo Español
Brindle Mountain Cur
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Brindle Great Dane
Saddle or blanket: When a dog has a large colored patch on its back. Dunker.jpg
Norwegian Dunker with black saddle
Sable: This pattern happens when a dog has black tips on its fur. Pomeranian orange sable 600.jpg
Red sable Pomeranian
Shetland sheepdogs.jpg
Brown sable Shetland Sheepdogs

Coat lengths and textures

Puli 600
The Puli's coat forms cords as it grows.
Hairless and coated half
Hairless and Coated Xoloitzcuintli.

A dog's coat can be long or short. For most dogs, their hair reaches one length and then stops growing, but there are some dogs whose hair will keep growing longer and longer.

Some breeds of dog do not grow hair on parts of their bodies. These dogs are called "hairless". Examples of "hairless" dogs are the Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog), the Peruvian Inca Orchid (Peruvian Hairless Dog) and the Chinese Crested.

Additional reading

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