Puppy Colors & Markings

I built this page to help folks learn about the different puppy colors, markings, patterns, and how they may change as your puppy grows into adulthood. 

I will include descriptions and examples to demonstrate:

Keep in mind that just about all of the non-shedding breeds will lighten to some extent in color. You cannot tell how much that will be until they are about 2 or 3 years old. If you do want a dark color & that is high priority for you,  it would be best for you to get a regular shedding breed of puppy. They stay the color that they are born with throughout their lives.

Designer Puppy Colors

Chocolate & Cafe-Au-Lait / Silver Beige

Brown, chocolate, tan, cafe au lait, silver beige, or liver are all terms used to describe variations of brown depending on the exact shade. They will all have green / hazel colored eyes and brown noses.

Chocolate Color Dogs

Cafe Au Lait / Silver Beige Dogs (looks like milk chocolate or coffee with lots of cream)

Then oftentimes the puppies change like these photos below.

This is the same puppy “Remy” from 8 weeks to adult.
Bernie & Charlie : Chocolate at birth -Silver Beige as adult

Black Color may Lighten to Silver

On the left below is a picture of “Charlotte” from Echo’s litter who was black tux as a puppy she lightened up to a beautiful silvery charcoal with darker points. Her buddy on the right is “Henry”. He was one of Lily’s puppies dark chocolate at birth, now a soft silvery brown/beige also with darker points. Again, with non-shedding breeds, you cannot know ahead of time whaat color they will be as adults – and they may change again either with age or with a hair cut! If you want a particular dog and you want it to stay that particular color, it would be best for you to get a regular shedding breed of dog as they almost always stay the color that they are born.

Charlotte (Black) & Henry (Chocolate)

Here is a dog that was solid black as a puppy with this beautiful color as an adult! You just never know but you do know that it will always be a surprise!

Black Puppy change to Charcoal / Gray Adult


Merle is a fascinating and varied coat pattern, (some folks call it “Confetti”) and there is no doubt that they are are beautiful, unusual and exotic. No two are alike. The dogs coat pattern is more distinct when their hair is shorter, with a more blended look when longer. Its really fun to see what you can do with them with their groom styles! Stunning! Merle puppies occasionally have blue or partially blue eyes, and pink or partially pink noses. Most have full heads unlike these darn pictures!  🙂

(Please read below about the blue/partial blue eye color.)

Variation in Patching
Variation in Base Color

White Markings: Tuxedo / Parti

White markings can range anywhere from white toes and tail tip to a mostly-white dog with color around the base of the ears and tail. The amount and pattern of white in dogs may be called “Tuxedo”, “Piebald”, “Irish Pied”, and “Parti” depending on the breed it occurs in and the amount of white present. Whichever white pattern a dog has, its white will always follow the same rules of spread. White starts on the farthest “edges” of the dog – the tail tip, the tip of the muzzle, the paws and the tip of the breastbone. This is known as the Tuxedo pattern. From there it spreads to cover the muzzle and forehead, the front of the chest, belly, the lower legs and more of the tailtip, creating Irish Pied. Next it spreads round from the front to the back of the neck, and creeps up the legs and tail. On a Parti (sometimes called Piebald) dog, only the head, back and tail base may still be colored.

Tuxedo or Irish Pied

Parti or Piebald


Sable varies and usually lightens as puppy grows into adulthood changing from dark brown w black points (muzzle, head, and paws) to light tan/blond w charcoal points. Black-tipped hairs; the background color can be gold to yellow, silver, grey, or tan. The darkness of the coat depends on how much of each hair is black versus the lighter color.



Brindle is a coat coloring sometimes described as “tiger-striped”, although the brindle pattern is more subtle than that of a tiger’s coat. The streaks of color are irregular and usually darker than the base color of the coat. The shorter the hair, the more distinct the pattern shows.


Red / Yellow / Blonde / Golden / Apricot / Cream

These are all shades of red and vary from the yellow of a Golden Retriever to the deep red of an Irish Setter. They will all have black noses and brown eyes.


Black & Tan / Chocolate or Liver & Tan

Coat has both colors but in clearly defined and separated areas, usually with the darker color on most of the body and tan (reddish variants) underneath and in highlights such as the eyebrows.

It is quite intriguing to learn about the science / theories of dog coat & color genetics! Much of it is still not clearly understood as yet but it is always interesting and exciting! Here is a place to start if you would like to learn a little more. Colors, patterns, lengths, and textures

Designer Puppy Eye Color

The chocolate (chocolate without black or sable) puppies/dogs have green/hazel eyes which is lighter than the normal dark brown eyes of the average dog. The light blue / partial blue only comes with a merle pattern – and then only very rarely. All puppies are born with blu eyes like a human baby, then change over the next several months into the color they will be as adults. If you ask me whether a puppy has blue eyes before you purchase it – I cannot be sure on whether or not they will be blue at 6 or 8 weeks old. They may be blue at that time, then change and be hazel or brown later. For this reason, please don’t buy a puppy from me for solely based on eye color. Both Pajamas & PolkaDot have one eye partial blue and occasionally their merle puppies will as with dark brown eyed Cheerio. (It is associated with the merle pattern)

-This may help you with your decision on which puppy waiting lists are your favorites:

Designer Puppy Gender: Male vs Female?

This can be a hard decision for some families! Your pet is going to be a member of your family for many years to come, so you want to get a pet that will fit into your lifestyle. As a pet owner who has always had both males and females (both intact, neutered, and spayed), I have written a whole page on the subject to help you with your decision! Male VS Female – Making Your Choice