There’s just something magical about spotted dog breeds. It could be that Disney set us up from childhood to find these dogs remarkable, or it could be the fact that we don’t see spotted dogs as often as we see other colored or patterned canines.
Although spotted coats have been identified in over 25 different dog breeds thus far, there’s still something remarkable about a dog with that unique coat pattern we can’t get enough of.
So, if you’re a lover of dogs and an enthusiast of spotted dog coats, then you’re going to love today’s article.
Join us as we uncover the mystery behind spotted dog breeds and take a look at 15 spotted dog breeds that are sure to take your breath away!
What Are The Genetics Behind Spotted Coats In Dogs?
The gene that causes this remarkable pattern in a dog’s coat is a recessive gene known as the piebald gene.
Spotted dog breeds are some of the most popular throughout the world, but they’re also some of the most unique.
There’s a reason we don’t see many dogs with uniquely spotted coats, and it all has to do with genetics.
The gene that causes the spotting pattern in dogs is what is known as the piebald gene. This is a recessive gene, which means that a piebald puppy cannot be produced without having two piebald parents.
For the most part, health issues have not been too heavily associated with the Piebald gene, and spotted dog breeds with this gene are just as likely to suffer from any of the normal health issues as any other dog.
With that being said, there are cases where extreme piebald gene and fairly white coated dogs (the merle coat) has been associated with inherited deafness.
This can be tested for early on, but if you do have a dog that is deaf due to the piebald gene or his spotted coat, you’re not to worry.
Raising a deaf dog is not that different from raising a hearing dog, and there are plenty of tips, tricks and queues you can easily learn to help make communicating with your deaf dog more effective.
So there’s really no reason not to considere a spotted dog breed. So now, without further ado, let’s meet our 15 spotted dog breeds below!
15 Of Our Favorite Spotted Dog Breeds
Dalmatians are some of the most popular spotted dog breeds, but they’re certainly not the only ones.
We cannot write an article about spotted dog breeds without talking about the star of spotted coats. That’s right folks, the Dalmatian is on the top of our list!
Of course, that’s not to say he should overshadow the other spotted dog breeds that come after him.
As we mentioned briefly above, there have been over 25 dog breeds identified as having piebald coats. But these are just the purebreds.
Remember, because the piebald gene is recessive, it will take two parents carrying this gene to produce a litter of spotted puppies. Even then, some puppies may have spotted coats while others may not.
Outside of purebreds, it’s also possible for mixed breeds carrying the piebald gene to create spotted puppies. But for the sake of today’s article, we are sticking with purebreds you have to see to believe.
These spotted dog breeds include:
- The Dalmatian
- The Australian Cattle Dog
- The German Shorthaired Pointer
- The Catahoula Leopard Dog
- The English Springer Spaniel
- The Cocker Spaniel
- The Australian Shepherd
- The Dogo Argentino
- The English Bulldog
- The Border Collie
- The Cardigan Welsh Corgi
- The Brittany Spaniel
- The Great Dane
- The Dachshund
- The Chihuahua
Are you surprised by some of the dog breeds on this list? As amazing as it seems, all of these dogs can be born with spotted coats, resulting in an incredible and exotic look you may never have expected.
Keep reading to learn more about each of the above spotted dog breeds listed and find out if one of these spotted dogs is the ideal dog for you.
1. The Dalmatian
Dalmatians are some of the most popular spotted dog breeds, and the only dog breed with their unique pattern.
As we mentioned above, we certainly couldn’t write an article on spotted dog breeds without highlighting the star of these canines – the Dalmatian.
Thanks to movies like Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, generations of children have grown up enamored with spotted dog breeds like the Dalmatian.
But these dynamic dogs aren’t only famous for starring in one of Disney’s most spectacular animated films. In fact, many of us already know that Dalmatians are synonymous with firemen.
Hailing from Croatia, Dalmatians were originally bred as hunting dogs. Their incredible look made them somewhat of a symbol for noblemen and women, and they soon became carriage dogs designed to run alongside carriages as a symbol of status and guard these carriages while their owners were away.
Eventually, Dalmatians became known as what they are known for today – devoted and affectionate companion dogs to the right owner.
When it comes to spotted dog breeds, no dog can compete with the Dalmatian. This dog is the only one of his kind with perfectly placed spots all over his body. And while Dalmatians are primarily famous for their black and white coats, many come in liver colored spotting as well.
2. The Australian Cattle Dog
Also known as the Blue Heeler, the Australian Cattle dog is not only a gorgeous spotted dog breed, it’s also an incredibly intelligent one.
Considered one of the most intelligent dogs in the world, the Australian Cattle dog is a famous herding dog originating from Australia. This beautiful dog is known for his piebald coat, making him another one of the most recognizable spotted dog breeds on our list.
Also known as the Blue Heeler, the Australian Cattle Dog comes in two coat colors including red and blue, but he almost always has spots and patterns regardless. Depending on the dog, some spots can be more pronounced than others, with some dogs looking almost like they have leopard skin coats.
Though quite intelligent, Australian Cattle Dogs can be difficult dogs to maintain for novice dog owners. They require routine mental stimulation and consistent exercise, and are best suited for experienced dog owners. They also do well in homes with large, securely fenced yards where they can run and play freely.
3. The German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointers are bred hunting dogs.
The beautiful yet rustic German Shorthaired Pointer is a bred bird dog haling form, you guessed it, Germany. This beautiful dog can come in a variety of coat colors including black and white, liver and white, solid brown, liver roan, and white chocolate, but he is most popular for his spotted coat, as seen in the image above.
These spotted dog breeds commonly have solid colored ears, and sometimes even solid colored upper bodies, while the rest of their body is covered in those glorious spots.
Aside from their incredible spotted dog coat, the German Shorthaired Pointer is famous for being a friendly, affectionate companion dog who gets along well with children and other pets.
Of course, he could have a high prey drive, especially towards smaller animals. Experts warn against walking your German Shorthaired Pointer outside of an enclosed area without a leash and harness.
4. The Catahoula Leopard Dog
This dog is bred for herding and is quite smart. He is named for his incredible coat which comes in a variety of colors and spotted patterns.
The Catahoula Leopard Dog is named for his incredible spotted coat, but he’s famous for more than just his appearance. This purebred dog is the only dog breed known to have originated in Louisiana, and his name hails from the Choctaw people and translates to “Sacred Lake”.
Available in an incredible array of coat colors, the Catahoula Leopard Dog almost always comes with unique, leopard-like spots all over his body. Many of these dogs have gorgeous blue eyes that are described as human-like and friendly.
Overall, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is one of our spotted dog breeds that is highly lovable, gentle, affectionate and friendly, though like all dogs this is a breed that requires routine training, socialization, mental stimulation and exercise to ensure he is happy, healthy and well-rounded.
5. The English Springer Spaniel
The Springer Spaniel is a beautiful and adventurous spotted dog breed.
Agile, cheerful, and always ready for a game, the English Springer Spaniel is a spotted dog breed you won’t want to overlook.
Hailing from England, Springer Spaniel dogs were bred for flush hunting, which means they generally chased small game and helped flush them out of hiding spots for their masters.
Overall, English Springer Spaniel dogs are easy to train and eager to please. They are energetic, cheerful and alert, and they get along well with people and other pets when properly trained and socialized.
And while they don’t always come with fully spotted coats, they often come with at least a few spots along their back, legs, muzzle and underbelly.
6. The Cocker Spaniel
Many people think of solid or dual colored cocker spaniels, but these dogs can come in spotted coats.
The sweet-natured Cocker Spaniel is likely another dog that is last to come to your mind when you think about spotted dog breeds. However, this darling canine does carry the piebald gene and is available in a number of coat colors and patterns, some of which are spotted!
While we do love this dog’s spotted coat, we love this dog’s temperament even more. Cocker Spaniels are famous for being affectionate and gentle. They do especially well with children and are some of the more mild-mannered spotted dog breeds on our list.
7. The Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are stunning dogs with uniquely spotted coats.
When you think of spotted dog breeds, do you ever think of the Austlrian Shepherd? Since the Aussie comes in so many different coat colors and patterns, it’s easy to forget that this is a dog breed that has spots.
However, if you look closely at the above picture, you’ll notice an incredible amount of spots and patterns on the Australian Shepherd that do indeed support this dog’s place on our list of spotted dog breeds.
Are you interested in an Australian Shepherd? Despite his name, the Aussie is actually considered an American dog that was bred and perfected by settlers and ranchers in California.
In fact, Australian Shepherds are still considered some of the most common ranch-hand dogs in the US.
They are friendly, devoted and clever, though they can be a bit much for the novice dog owner. Australian Shepherds are one of our spotted dog breeds that require routine exercise and mental stimulation every day to help prevent behavioral issues stemming from boredom.
8. The Dogo Argentino
Many dogo argentinos are all white, but some come with spots or, as you see in the image above, a single spot.
You may be surprised to find the Dogo Argentino on our list of spotted dog breeds, especially considering many of these dogs seen are all white. However, the Dogo Argentino is one of our spotted dog breeds that carries the piebald gene, which can lead to spotting on his coat from time to time.
For the most part, Dogo Argentino dogs that are spotted may only include a single spot, typically on the eye like in the image above.
Other times, these dogs are primarily a gorgeous, snowy white color from nose to tail.
As his name suggests, the Dogo Argintino hails from Argentina, where he was bred for big-game hunting. Throughout history, the Dogo Argentino has gotten a bad rep based primarily on his history in blood sports and big-game hunting.
However, the modern-day Dogo Argentino is a relatively mild-mannered, friendly, patient and affectionate dog who can do well with a variety of owners so long as he is properly raised, trained and socialized.
9. The English Bulldog
English Bulldogs come in several coat colors and patterns, and many of them are spotted.
English Bulldogs are difficult to miss. Their stocky bodies, flattened faces and lazy disposition make them the ideal dog for laid back dog owners who love spotted dog breeds.
This is a dog that is available in a wide range of coat types and colors, and one of those is the unique piebald coat that has landed this dog on our list.
Some English Bulldogs are more spotted than others, with many coming in a variety of colors like black and white, blue and white, tan, silver, and beige. Their spots can range from speckling their entire bodies to sprinkling just their limbs and underbelly, like the English Bulldog above.
While we do love the low-key English Bulldog, it’s important for owners to keep in mind that this is a dog prone to some major health concerns. Due to their flattened skull and their skeletal development, English Bulldogs can be prone to suffering from brachycephalic airway syndrome as well as bone and joint issues.
10. The Border Collie
Border Collies can come in a few different colors, but sometimes their patterns are spotted.
Another incredible dog on our list of spotted dog breeds is the Border Collie. Often coming in black and white, many people don’t realize that the Border Collie is also available in an incredible spotted coat type.
This is yet another canine known for his intelligence and agility, and Border Collies often rank as top dog when it comes to work and show. They are amazing herding dogs and are still some of the most commonly used working dogs today on farms and ranches.
Border Collies also make wonderful companions to more experienced dog owners. However, they can easily outsmart novice dog owners and may be overwhelming for small children.
Their herding instincts will need to be worked with at an early age, and Border Collies will be happiest when they have a job to do around the home.
11. The Corgi
Though not common, Corgi dogs can come with a spotted coat pattern.
We bet you didn’t expect to find a Corgi on our list of spotted dog breeds! But alas, here he is! The Corgi type you’re most likely to come across with that spotted coat is going to be the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, who is the lesser known cousin of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi’s are vibrant and agile herding dogs, known for their lively temperament and intelligence.
Most Cardigan Welsh Corgis come with spots at least somewhere on their bodies, with many of them covered nearly head to paw in this gorgeous pattern.
Though Cardigan Welsh Corgi dogs do make wonderful companions for the right family, they are quite active and do best with more experienced dog wonders. They need plenty of mental stimulation, exercise and attention to ensure they grow up happy and healthy.
They can also suffer from some unique health issues due to their elongated spines and shorter legs.
12. The Brittany Spaniel
The Brittany Spaniel may not be spotted all over like the Dalmatian, but this dog does often have spots on his legs and muzzle.
The Brittany Spaniel is a bird hunting dog hailing from Brittany, the largest French Peninsula. This is a dog that is well-known for having a spotted dog coat, though most people tend to focus less on that and more on this dog’s temperament.
Brittany Spaniel dogs are intelligent, agile, affectionate, good-natured and friendly. They are best suited for active owners and families with children and other pets.
But why does the Brittany Spaniel’s spotted coat often go unrecognized? This is likely due to the patterning of this dog’s fur. Many Brittany Spaniel dogs have large spots and markings along their backs, and more subtle spots along their legs, muzzle and underbelly.
Of course, that doesn’t make this spotted dog breed any less inspiring! Brittany Spaniels are absolutely stunning with their gorgeous long ears, human-like eyes, and feathered coats.
Along with coming in spotted coat types, Brittany Spaniels are available in a wide range of colors including liver and white, black and white, roan, orange and white, and tri-color.
13. The Great Dane
As one of the largest dogs in the world, the Great Dane also comes with a wide variety of coat patterns and colors.
The Great Dane is eye-catching enough as is. This massive canine is considered the largest dog breed in the entire world, standing at a towering 34 inches and weighing up to 200 pounds.
What else could make a Great Dane stand out more than he already does? A spotted coat, of course!
That’s right, the Great Dane is one of our 15 spotted dog breeds that carries the piebald gene and is common for being born with beautiful spots.
Great Danes have short, smooth coats that can come in a variety of colors and patterns, but when a Great Dane is born with a spotted coat, those spots are generally black or liver colored.
Considered gentle giants, Great Danes make excellent dogs for families and committed owners. Though large, they don’t require too much extensive exercise and are friendly, affectionate and endearing.
However, due to their size, they can be cumbersome in smaller spaces and overwhelming for very small children. Great Danes are also prone to suffering from some serious health issues, especially when it comes to their bones, joints and muscles.
14. The Dachshund
Both long and short haired Dachshunds can come with what is known as dappled coats.
The Dachshund is one of the world’s most adored dogs thanks to his unique body shape, short legs and outrageous personality, but did you know this already adorable dog can come with a spotted dog coat?
A natural comedian, Dachshund dogs, also known as Doxies, weiner dogs and sausage dogs, hail from Germany. It was there they were originally bred as badger hunting dogs. Their long bodies, paddle-like paws and pointed muzzles made them excellent diggers, and their fearless personalities gave them an edge against the fearsome and sharp-toothed badger.
Over time, Dachshunds were bred down in size and are now available in two size varieties and three coat types. All size varieties and coat types can include the piebald gene, which means that if two Dachshund parents carry the gene, a litter can easily be born with spotted coats.
When it comes to spotted dog breeds, the Dachshund is certainly one of our favorites. However, he’s not the right dog for everyone. Dachshunds make ideal companions for dedicated owners who won’t mind barking and digging.
Otherwise, Dachshunds can do well with children and other pets, (especially other Dachshunds) when properly raised and socialized.
15. The Chihuahua
DId you know the spunky chihuahua comes in spotted coat types?
You may be surprised to learn that the tiny Chihuahua is on our list of spotted dog breeds, but it’s true!
Considered the smallest purebred dog in the world, the Chihuahua often stands no taller than six to nine inches and often weighs just three to six pounds.
Though tiny, the Chihuahua is packed with personality. This little dog is feisty, which is a trait that likely helped the breed to survive it’s mysterious and amazing history in Mexico.
The national dog of Mexico, the Chihuahua has been made famous in the United States thanks to years of Hollywood promotion like television commercials and movies. But while this tiny spotted dog breed is coveted, he’s not the ideal dog for everyone.
Chihuahuas are known to be somewhat temperamental and impatient, and they are not the ideal dog for homes with small children. They do not tolerate being played with or handed too roughly and can be known to snap at youngsters if they feel threatened or scared.
Chihuahua dogs are also attention hogs, and many owners report that these dogs prefer to be the only dog in their household. They love being the apple of their family’s eye and ruling the roost.
Along with coming in a spotted coat, Chihuahuas are also available in a wide range of other colors and patterns, as well as two different coat types.
Is One Of Our Spotted Dog Breeds Above Right For You? Here’s How To Decide
Choosing the right dog for you should go beyond picking a dog based on his appearance.
It can be difficult to decide which of the above spotted dog breeds is right for you. They’re all so beautiful!
However, experts warn against choosing a dog based solely on its appearance. Sadly, this could lead to you choosing a dog that is not the right fit for your lifestyle or family, which is not fair to you or the dog.
If you’re having a difficult time choosing which of the above spotted dog breeds would be best for you, we suggest doing a bit more research on the dog that caught your eye.
Consider your lifestyle, your schedule, and what you’re hoping to get out of a relationship with your dog.
You should also consider not only if that dog is the right dog breed for you, but if you’re the right owner for that dog.
Many of the above dogs come with specific exercise requirements and grooming needs, and all dogs need training, socialization and mental stimulation in order to stay happy and healthy.
Once you have decided which dog is the best dog for you, make sure you go through reputable sources to obtain your puppy or rescue.
Although buying through certified breeders can be more costly, it can help save you money and heartache in the long run by ensuring you purchase a healthy and responsibly bred puppy.
Avoid going through backyard breeders, uncertified sellers, online sellers, or anyone offering one of the above spotted dog breeds for much more or much less than their average cost.
If you prefer to rescue one of the above spotted dog breeds, remember that there will still be fees associated with adoption. Of course, there are endless benefits to rescuing a dog that far surpass the price.
Last but not least, be sure you’re ready to commit. Every last one of our spotted dog breeds above requires plenty of love and attention from a quality owner.
Is that owner you?
Tell us what you think about our above spotted dog breeds in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.