Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

20 Red Dog Breeds: History, Pictures & Facts

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

three red rhodesian ridgeback outdoor

There are many breeds of red dogs out there, but “red” refers to a rich brown color that has hints of rust. The exact shade can vary, though. Some of these dog breeds are much lighter, while others are much darker.

We’re going to go over 20 of the most common and popular red dog breeds below. If you’re set on getting a breed of this color, consider one of these breeds.


What Are Red Dog Breeds?

A red dog breed is one that can come with red or reddish-brown fur. These dogs can have a coat that is mostly red or a shade of red. However, they often come in different colors, too. Sometimes, red may be the most prominent coat color, or it may be rather rare.

Some dog breeds are known for their solid red coats, like the Irish Setter. Others are only occasionally red, like Dachshunds. We’ve included both types of breeds on our list below.


The 20 Red Dog Breeds

1. Irish Setter

irish setter lying on the ground
Image Credit: TMArt, Shutterstock
Origin: Ireland
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 27–29 inches

Irish Setters are medium to large-sized dogs with a very red mahogany coat. This is their primary coat color, so they (of course) landed at the top of this list. This breed is known for being very athletic and agile. They’re also very friendly, which makes them good family dogs.

They’re intelligent canines that are easy to train. However, because they are so active, they do best for active families.

2. Vizsla

vizsla lying on grass
Image Credit: photohun, Pixabay
Origin: Hungary
Lifespan: 10–14 years
Height: 21–24 inches

Vizslas are exceptionally active and were originally bred for hunting purposes. Therefore, they’re like most hunting dogs—very eager to follow their query and perhaps not so eager to listen to commands. They are probably one of the redder dog breeds on this list.

Despite their hunting instincts, these canines are also very intelligent and loyal—they just aren’t the most obedient.

3. Golden Retriever

golden retriever with a dog toy on grassy park
Image Credit: Ben Pitasky, Unsplash
Origin: Scotland
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 21–24 inches

Golden Retrievers may not be what you consider “red.” However, their golden coats can come with some red hues.

This breed is intelligent and very eager to train, making them great family dogs for even new dog owners. They’re also friendly and love being around people. However, they are exceptionally active and need plenty of exercise to thrive.

4. Australian Shepherd

Red merle Australian Shepherd dog sitting on the grass
Image Credit: SeippelStudios, Shutterstock
Origin: United States
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 18–23 inches

Australian Shepherds can have many coat colors and patterns. One of these is red—or, at least, mostly red. They’re an exceptionally intelligent breed with a high energy level. These traits make them great working dogs. However, it can make things a bit challenging for your average dog owner. Therefore, they’re really best for experienced owners or those who have a job for them to perform.

They’re also herding dogs, which makes them unsuitable to keep with children.

5. Shiba Inu

red shiba inu sitting near the sea
Image Credit: Lim_as_333, Shutterstock
Origin: Japan
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 13–17 inches

Shiba Inus are pretty red with fairly thick coats. They’re often described as looking “fox-like,” though they act more like cats than anything. They’re known for being very clean animals, and they don’t tend to get that “dog” smell.

They’re exceptionally independent (like a cat), which makes them hard to train. However, they are also more willing to spend time alone and aren’t as needy for attention.

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

red cavalier king charles spaniel in green background
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock
Origin: United Kingdom
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 12–13 inches

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the first small breeds on this list. Their long, silky coat can come in many colors, including red. This breed is pretty low-energy, making them great for more laidback families. They don’t need much exercise.

They’re also a very gentle breed with an affectionate personality. Therefore, they’re often recommended as companion dogs.

7. Cocker Spaniel

english cocker spaniel dog inside a pet-friendly hotel
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock
Origin: United Kingdom
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 14–15 inches

Cocker Spaniels have long, silky coats that can come in many different colors, including red. These dogs are pretty active despite their smaller size. They need regular exercise and do their best with active families (or those with plenty of kids for them to play with).

These dogs tend to be very playful, though they like affection, too.

8. Dachshund

Brown smooth-haired dachshund standing in a studio
Image Credit: Xyo, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 12–16 years
Height: 8–9 inches

The Dachshund is a small-sized dog breed with a long body and short legs. They are known for their independent and stubborn personality. Dachshunds are not always easy to train, but they can be loving and loyal companions once they bond with their owners.

They are prone to some back issues due to their long back and short legs. It’s important to adopt from a quality breeder and prevent them from jumping.

9. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback on the beach
Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock
Origin: South Africa
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 24–27 inches

These dogs are rather large, but they do have a very short, red coat. They were originally bred as hunting and guard dogs, so they function best when given a job to do. They’re very active and need plenty of exercise. They also require lots of training, which is luckily pretty easy thanks to their intelligence.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks vary in shade and can sometimes look more brown than red. However, some do have a very clear red tint to their coat.

10. Poodle

brown toy poodle on couch
Image Credit: Servando Juvera, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 10–18 years
Height: 15–22 inches

Red Poodles are extremely rare. You can find them, though they are usually more expensive. These dogs have a curly coat that doesn’t shed much at all, but they do require regular trips to the groomer.

Poodles are also extremely active dogs. They were originally bred as retrieving dogs, so they need hours of exercise each day. They are also intelligent, which can make them a bit harder to deal with for first-time owners. Therefore, we only recommend them to those with plenty of experience.

11. Pomeranians

Pomeranian sitting in the grass
Image Credit: skorchanov, Pixabay
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 12–16 years
Height: 6–7 inches

Pomeranians are known for their exceptionally fluffy red coat. These companion dogs are playful and energetic. They love their people, which makes them very affectionate. However, they can also be clingy and prone to separation anxiety.

While these dogs can make great companion animals, they can also be rather yappy and require plenty of grooming.

12. Akita

happy akita inu
Image Credit: TatyanaPanova, Shutterstock
Origin: Japan
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 24–26 inches

Akitas have thick, double coats that commonly come in red. While these dogs are loyal and loving companions, they can be exceedingly hard to train and independent. They’re also protective, which increases their need for socialization. They can be harder dogs to care for, so we only recommend them for experienced dog owners.

Of course, these dogs are also rather large, so ensure you have plenty of space for them.

13. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever
Image Credit: Chiemsee2016, Pixabay
Origin: Canada
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 21–24 inches

Labrador Retrievers were the most popular dog breed in the United States until very recently (they were overtaken by the French Bulldog). They have a very short, dense coat that can come in a golden-red color. However, they aren’t nearly as red as some of the other breeds on this list.

These dogs are rather intelligent and easy to train. They’re very obedient and love to make their people happy. They can be a great dog for your average family. However, they are also very active, so they require plenty of exercise.

14. Bullmastiff

bullmastiff walking on the grass
Image Credit: Vitaly Titov, Shutterstock
Origin: United Kingdom
Lifespan: 7–10 years
Height: 24–27 inches

Bullmastiffs are exceptionally big dogs with short, brindle coats. They can come in a brownish-red tone on many occasions. Of course, the exact shade varies widely.

These canines are intelligent and very protective. They aren’t the most obedient, though, preferring to make their own decisions. Therefore, they require plenty of training and socialization to prevent them from trying to protect you against your friends and neighbors!

15. Basenji

Basenji outdoor
Image Credit: Verbitskaya Juliya, Shutterstock
Origin: Africa
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 16–17 inches

Basenjis are rather small dogs, and they have short coats that come in many different colors. These dogs are often referred to as “barkless dogs.” However, that does not mean they don’t make noise. In fact, they are quite yappy, but they are more yodel than bark.

These dogs are pretty energetic, so they require quite a bit of exercise. However, they are also intelligent and easy to train. Therefore, they can be great companion dogs if you can meet their exercise needs and don’t mind the noise.

16. Miniature Pinscher

miniature pinscher
Image Credit: PxHere
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 12–16 years
Height: 10–12 inches

Usually, this dog breed does not come in red. However, it does on rare occasions, and these “rarer” colors are becoming more popular. Their short, smooth coat is easy to take care of, though they do shed.

Miniature Pinschers are known for their high energy level and intelligence. They’re easy to train, but they are also very alert and protective. They aren’t your average small dog, tending to have more of a “big dog” personality and temperament.

17. Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terrier
Photo credit: sevenpixx, Pixabay
Origin: England
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 10–12 inches

Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of the Norfolk Terrier. They tend to be rare in the United States. However, they do have a rough, wiry coat that can come in red, and they are absolutely adorable. Their playful personalities make them great for those who want a smaller dog that can still keep up with an active family.

These canines are pretty intelligent and easy to train, making them suitable companions for people of all ages. Just be sure you can keep up with their activity needs.

18. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

nova scotia duck tolling retriever on the field
Image Credit: Sonja Kalee, Pixabay
Origin: Canada
Lifespan: 10–14 years
Height: 17–21 inches

This breed is also rare, but they also come in a red color occasionally. They’re very versatile dogs despite their name. Of course, they are mostly used for waterfowl hunting and haven’t become very popular as companion dogs. However, they can make a great companion for more active families, especially those that like to hang out around water.

These dogs are also pretty intelligent, making them easy to train.

19. Irish Terrier

irish terrier dog standing in the park
Image Credit; Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock
Origin: Ireland
Lifespan: 12–16 years
Height: 18–20 inches

Irish Terriers almost exclusively have a red coat. They’re medium-sized dogs known for their intelligence and loyalty. They make excellent guard dogs and tend to be a bit aloof with strangers. Therefore, they need plenty of socialization.

They’re also a fairly active breed, so plan to exercise them regularly.

20. Welsh Springer Spaniel

Welsh Springer Spaniel
Image Credit: dexter_cz, Shutterstock
Origin: Wales
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 17–19 inches

Welsh Springer Spaniels are known primarily for their excellent flushing and hunting abilities. They’re often owned by hunters, but they can make good companion dogs to the right people. Their medium-length, wavy coat comes in a few different colors, including red.

These dogs are purpose-bred, so they tend to be quite active. Therefore, they work best in families that are equally as active.



There are many red dog breeds available. There are huge red dogs (like the Bullmastiff) and very small red dogs (like the Pomeranian). Some of these canines are bred and kept primarily for hunting, while others are almost exclusively companion animals. The vast majority of these breeds can be found in the United States, though some are quite rare.

No matter what breed you pick, be sure to select one mostly based on its needs and temperament. Don’t get an active dog if you’d rather spend the day cuddling—even if the dog is very pretty.

Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database