Brown dogs make beautiful pets and companions! Fur color doesn’t affect a dog’s personality, but it can affect how we perceive their temperament.
Brown dogs are sometimes called chocolate or liver colored.
Some dogs have a solid brown coat, but others just have brown patches. Black and brown dogs are super popular!
If you want to welcome a brown dog breed into your family, take a look at some of the dogs in our list.
Top 20 Brown Dogs
Our top 20 brown dogs are:
- Labrador Retriever
- Border Collie
- Treeing Cur
- Basset Hound
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- St. Bernard
- Belgian Malinois
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Mountain Cur
- Great Dane
- Siberian Husky
- English Cocker Spaniel
First, we’ll take a look at what causes a brown coat in dogs. But, if you’re keen to get stuck right in, just click these links to jump to your favorite brown dog breeds!
Brown Color Genetics
There are two pigments that affect coat color in dogs. These are pheomelanin (red) and eumelanin (black).
Brown coats are actually produced by the black pigment eumelanin.
Dogs which carry the genes for a brown coat produce less eumelanin in their fur, which makes it appear brown.
But the gene for brown fur is masked by the gene for black fur.
Which means dogs need to inherit the brown fur gene from both their mom and their dad, in order to actually express it.
And it’s not just fur that can be affected by this gene. It can also change the color of your dog’s nose and foot pads!
How Many Brown Dogs Are There?
This top 20 is by no means a complete list of every single brown dog breed. Some of these dogs have solid brown coats, but some only have partly brown coats.
There are so many dogs with brown fur. And some of the breeds on this list can come in a wide spectrum of colors other than brown.
But, we’ve tried to include a range of big and small dogs in our list. You’ll find dogs with long fur, and dogs with short fur. Plus, a huge variety of temperaments.
The chocolate Labrador Retriever is probably one of the most well known brown dogs!
Labradors are America’s favorite pet dog breed, but are also used as service dogs and working dogs.
The Labrador Retriever is a medium sized breed that grows up to 23 inches tall, weighing between 50 and 80 pounds as an adult.
This brown dog breed is friendly, affectionate, and confident, especially when well-socialized from a young age.
They are known for making great family pets. But, they need lots of exercise and interaction, every day! And, they are heavy shedders.
You can read more about the Labrador Retriever breed as a whole here.
The Poodle is another beautiful breed that can come with a gorgeous brown coat. This dog has distinctive curly fur that generally doesn’t shed.
But, they have high grooming needs to prevent tangles.
The Poodle comes in two sizes: Standard and Miniature.
But, no matter their size, this breed is intelligent, active, and loving. They take well to training, and need lots of socialization as a puppy to minimize aggression and a strong prey drive.
Poodles need active families that can spend lots of time interacting with their dog.
We’ve looked at two big brown dogs, but now let’s move to a smaller breed – the Dachshund!
This is a small German dog with a long back and short legs.
Their body shape can result in increased health problems, such as slipped disks in their back. So, bare this in mind before choosing this breed.
Dachshunds are vocal, intelligent, and loyal. But, they can have a strong prey drive.
So, if you’re considering this breed, make sure to train and socialize your puppy from a very young age. And, be prepared for possible health issues.
Take a look at our complete guide to the Dachshund for more information.
English Springer Spaniel
The Springer Spaniel is a beautiful dog with brown markings, often mainly on its face and back. The rest of their body is white.
They weigh 40 to 50 pounds as adults, growing up to 20 inches tall. This breed is a really popular gundog, but will make a great show dogs or pets for an active family.
Springers are friendly, loving, and intelligent. However, they can range from attentive to curious when they’re outdoors. So, practicing strong recall is important.
This brown dog breed is also very high energy. So, they need plenty of exercise every single day.
Take a look at our full guide for more information on the Springer Spaniel.
The Puli is a Hungarian breed with a very distinctive coat. This dog has corded fur that can come in a beautiful brown color.
As adults, they weigh 25 to 30 pounds, and they grow up to 17 inches tall.
They are watchful, loyal, and intelligent dogs. But, they do have quite high needs as a pet.
The Puli brown dog has high energy needs, so has to be exercised every day. But, they can easily overheat due to their thick, corded fur. It also has specialized grooming needs.
You can find out more about this unique breed here.
The Border Collie breed is most common in black and white. But, it is also available in tri-color, or brown and white.
Their fur can be long, or smooth and sleek.
This is an energetic, intelligent, and social breed.
But, they can have herding instincts, so it is important to socialize them from a young age to guarantee the best temperament.
Border Collies are often bred for working ability, so their appearances can vary a lot. But, if you have the right lifestyle, this could make a great companion for you.
They need lots of exercise every day, as well as mental stimulation. Boredom in this breed could result in unwanted destructive behaviors.
The Treeing Cur brown dog breed comes from North America that is often used for hunting and herding.
This is an energetic breed that is also intelligent and protective. It will grow up to 24 inches tall and weigh somewhere between 30 and 60 pounds.
The Treeing Cur has quite a varied appearance, as it has a huge spectrum of colors, including brindle!
If you’re considering this breed, you will need to train and socialize your puppy from a young age.
You will also need to make sure they get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
We have a full guide to the Treeing Cur if you would like to find out more!
Most people know exactly what a Basset Hound looks like! It has a low slung chest, long back, and droopy ears and face.
The Basset Hound breed comes in a variety of colors, including brown! You can even find individual Basset Hounds with multiple shades of brown.
This dog breed is calm, patient, and sometimes stubborn! So, you will need to be consistent with training and socializing.
Unfortunately, this breed is also prone to some serious health problems, that result from its face and body structure. So, you may find yourself paying out for lots of vet fees.
You can take a closer look at the Basset Hound breed in this article.
The brown dogs we’ve been looking at so far have been medium and large breeds. But now let’s move to a toy brown dog!
The Chihuahua is a tiny pup, weighing 3 to 6 pounds, and growing up to 15 inches tall as an adult.
Chihuahuas can be stubborn and feisty, but they are also often friendly and loyal.
Socialize and train your Chihuahua consistently from a young age to encourage the best possible temperament.
As a smaller dog breed, a Chihuahua will need less living space and lower amounts of exercise than the other breeds we’ve looked at. So, this could suit a family living in a city or an apartment.
Take a closer look at the Chihuahua breed in our full guide.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
This brown dog breed is another one that comes from America. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is tireless, attentive, and great at scent-work.
But, they can also be stubborn and protective. So, training and socialization are vital from a young age.
This breed has a wavy coat that often comes in a beautiful chocolate brown. There are plenty of other shades to choose from too.
The Chessie will need a lot of active time each day. So, they aren’t suitable for families who will be spending most of their time indoors, or who have very small living spaces.
We have a full guide to the Chesapeake Bay Retriever for people considering this breed.
The Saint Bernard is one of the biggest brown dogs on this list. This huge dog can weigh between 120 and 180 pounds fully grown.
Training is a must with a breed this big. So, this dog needs a dedicated owner.
This breed will come in white and brown, but shades of the color can vary.
It can come in a short or long coat variety, but both shed and need grooming.
The Saint Bernard is eager to please, patient, and kind, so it will take well to training. However, this breed isn’t suited to apartment living.
You can read more about this huge dog here.
The Belgian Malinois looks a lot like the popular German Shepherd! Its coat ranges from fawn to mahogany.
This breed is athletic, loyal and protective. So, it makes a great working dog or guard dog. But, will need plenty of training and socialization as a young puppy.
This breed needs a lot of exercise. Plus, it can get bored really easily, like a lot of the breeds we’ve looked at today.
So, make sure you can commit to keeping this dog busy and entertained before you commit to bringing one home.
Read our full guide to the Belgian Malinois here.
This brown dog breed comes from Italy! The Lagotto Romagnolo is most often used for sniffing out truffles.
It isn’t well known in America, but is a beautiful dog. This breed grows up to 19 inches tall, weighing between 24 and 35 pounds.
It has a double coat with a wooly texture. It can come in solid brown, or brown and white, as well as other colors.
This breed is intelligent, active, and affectionate. But they will need training and socializing from a young age to control their protective traits.
Take a closer look at this unique breed in our complete guide.
The Mountain Cur breed weighs 30 to 60 pounds as an adult, but will have a slim, athletic appearance.
Among other colors, this dog can be brown, or brindle, all over!
Without lots of exercise, interaction, and mental stimulation, this dog will become depressed and bored.
They often don’t get along well with other pets either.
With proper socialization and training, the Mountain Cur can be curious, eager, and loyal.
To find out more about this brown dog, take a look at our full guide.
The Great Dane is another one of the biggest brown dog breeds on our list. This dog can weigh up to 175 pounds, growing up to 34 inches tall!
So, training and socialization is vital, as this dog could easily out-muscle its owners.
The Great Dane short coat comes in a huge variety of colors, including beautiful brown!
This dog is often calm, patient, and quiet.
They are great with kids, but can accidentally knock them down due to their huge size!
Find out more about the impressive Great Dane here.
This is another extremely popular brown dog breed. The Husky comes in a huge range of colors, including brown.
This medium sized breed is often social, vocal, and loyal. However, they can have strong natural instincts.
So, you will need to train and socialize a Husky puppy from a young age. Huskies love to be in the company of other dogs, too.
If you are considering this breed, you will need to provide it with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
Take a closer look at the Siberian Husky in our full guide.
Another small brown dog that deserves a place on this list is the Havanese.
This tiny pup will grow up to 11.5 inches tall, weighing between 7 and 13 pounds as an adult.
The Havanese has a beautiful flowing coat that can be either straight or wavy. This feature often earns them the title: teddy bear dog!
Their temperament is great for families.
They are loving, happy, and intelligent, getting on with just about everyone! Still, training and socialization will encourage this.
As a smaller breed, they won’t need as much space or exercise as a much bigger dog. So, this is a great choice if you live in the city.
Find out more about the Havanese puppy here.
The Pomeranian is a small dog breed with an enormously fluffy coat! They have a pointed nose and little triangular ears, giving them a fox-like appearance.
Although they can differ in shades, this dog can come in a beautiful brown color.
Pomeranians are usually bold, loyal, and loving, but they can be stubborn! So be consistent with training.
They will need regular exercise and interaction, as well as daily grooming. But, they can still suit city-dwellers.
Check out our complete guide to this tiny dog here.
English Cocker Spaniel
The Cocker Spaniel is an English dog breed that can come in a gorgeous brown shade.
This breed is the smallest of the gundogs, growing only up to 16 inches tall.
Cockers are loyal, loving, and affectionate dogs that love to be around their families.
But, they will need plenty of exercise. They may also be prone to barking and chasing smaller animals. So work hard on consistent training and socialization from a young age.
And be prepared to groom this dog every week!
There can be quite a distinction between Cocker Spaniels bred for work and those bred for show. But you can find out more about that divide here.
The Boxer is the last brown dog breed on our list. It can come in a brown coat with white and black markings. It has a short, smooth coat that won’t need much grooming.
Boxers are devoted, enthusiastic, and energetic. But, make sure to socialize and train them from a young age to minimize any aggressive tendencies.
Because these dogs are so intelligent, they can get bored very easily. So make sure to keep them occupied with exercise and games!
Boxers have shortened skulls. But this trait contributes to some serious health issues. So make sure you read up on these before bringing this dog home.
Take a look at all you need to know here.
Brown Dogs Summary
So, there are our top 20 brown dog breeds! Which ones are your favorites?
Of course, there are plenty of other brown dogs in the world. So make sure you tell us which ones you love in the comments.
Have you ever owned any of the ones on our list before?
References and Resources
- Fratkin, J. & Baker, S. ‘The Role of Coat Color and Ear Shape on the Perception of Personality in Dogs’, Anthrozoos (2015)
- Sponenberg, D. & Rothschild, M. ‘Genetics of Coat Color and Hair Texture’, The Genetics of the Dog (2001)
- Buzhardt, L. ‘Genetics Basics – Coat Color Genetics in Dogs’, VCA Hospitals (2016)