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7 Spotted Dog Breeds (With Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Dalmatian dog with red collar

Was it your childhood dream to own a dog named “Spot?” While there’s no law saying you can’t give this name to a Labrador Retriever or German Shepherd, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for a dog with spots of its very own?

But wait—did you know there’s only one dog breed with genetically spotted fur? (Hint: you’ll find it at the top of our list!) Instead, most spotted dogs have ticking, speckling, or flecking coat patterns.

Genetics aside, numerous breeds have spots on their skin, fur, or both. We think all these breeds are worthy of the name “Spot.” Here are some of our favorites.

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The 7 Spotted Dog Breeds

1. Dalmatian

Image Creidt: Rebecca Schönbrodt-Rühl, Pixabay
Height  19–24 inches
Weight  45–70 pounds
Lifespan  11–13 years
Place of origin  Dalmatia, Croatia

It would be a crime to start with anything but the Dalmatian on a list of spotted dog breeds. In centuries past, the Dalmatian accompanied horsedrawn carriages belonging to nobles and miscellaneous travelers, guarding the horses and cargo. Today, this standout breed is most famous for their role as a firefighter’s companion and Disney movie star.

Because of the breed’s history, the Dalmatian still has strong guarding tendencies, even as a household pet. They tend to be unsure around strangers and prefer to act as guard dogs rather than social butterflies. However, in the comfort of their family, the Dalmatian is incredibly loyal, intelligent, and affectionate.

2. Brittany

Image Credit: TanyaCPhotography, Shutterstock

Height  17.5–20.5 inches
Weight  30–40 pounds
Lifespan  12–14 years
Place of origin  Brittany, France

The Brittany might not be the first breed to come to mind when thinking of spotted dogs, but their patterned coat is a trademark of the breed. The spotted coat, officially known as a roan pattern, closely resembles a cow’s and is adorned with orange- or liver-colored patches. Bred as hunters, these dogs have the energy to keep up with even the most active households.

Whether used as a hunting companion or not, the Brittany requires ample mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy. If you bring one of these beautiful pups into your home, consider enrolling them in a canine sport like agility or dock diving.

3. American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrier
Image Credit: nika174, Shutterstock

Height  12–16 inches
Weight  12–16 pounds
Lifespan  14–16 years
Place of origin  Louisiana, USA

Unlike most spotted dogs, the American Hairless Terrier does not have a spotted coat. Instead, this dog has spotted skin. They are bright-eyed and possess all of the spunk of the Terrier lineage. They also make an excellent companion for allergy sufferers (though some American Hairless Terriers have fur).

While the breed’s lack of hair is a godsend in some ways, it can pose a handful of problems for the dog. For example, the breed is prone to sunburn and must be bundled up in cold weather. If you’re willing to take care of this dog’s unique needs, they can make an incredibly playful and loving pet.

4. Australian Shepherd

australian shepherd puppy
Image Credit: Michael Morse, Pexels

Height  18–23 inches
Weight  40–65 pounds
Lifespan  12–15 years
Place of origin  California, USA

If you thought this gorgeous spotted dog originated from Australia, think again. According to most reputable sources, the Australian Shepherd likely emerged on 19th-century ranches in the United States! However, the breed probably had some ancestors who hailed from the island nation.

Not all Australian Shepherds have spots, but the prevalence of the merle gene increases the chance they will. The merle gene affects how color is expressed in a dog’s coat, leaving them with spotted fur and striking blue eyes. Beyond their aesthetic beauty, Australian Shepherds make excellent companions for those who want a high-energy, hard-working dog.

5. English Setter

English Setter
Image Credit: Pixabay

Height  23–27 inches
Weight  45–80 pounds
Lifespan  12 years
Place of origin  England

While the first known reference to the Setter, then called the “Setting Spaniel,”  comes from France, the English Setter truly settled into their identity in 15th-century England. The breed quickly became one of the most skilled gun dogs, with a separate hunting strain known as the Llewellin Setter emerging in the 18th Century. Today, they serve as household pets, competitive sporting dogs, and hunting companions.

The English Setter’s coat is uniquely described as belton, referring to the speckled mixture of white, yellow, orange, liver, and other hues. While their face and back are fairly sleek, they typically have long, curly fur along the chest, stomach, ears, legs, and tail. Regular grooming is critical to keeping your English Setter healthy and comfortable.

6. Bluetick Coonhound

Bluetick Coonhound
Image Credit: Pixabay

Height  21–27 inches
Weight  45–80 pounds
Lifespan  11–12 years
Place of origin  Louisiana, USA

Spots aside, the Bluetick Coonhound boasts a unique coat. Its fur is made up of tan, black, and grey spots—all atop a base layer of ticked blue-gray fur. Even if you haven’t seen a Bluetick Coonhound in the area, you’ll likely know there’s one in the neighborhood by its melodic nighttime baying.

Like most hounds, the Bluetick Coonhound is intelligent and driven. Because of their extensive history as hunting companions, it’s important to consider the breed’s prey drive before introducing them to a household with smaller animals. Once they form a bond with their family, however, this dog is incredibly affectionate and loyal.

7. Great Dane

Spotted Great Dane
Image Credit: Public Domain Pictures

Height  28–32 inches
Weight  110–175 pounds
Lifespan  7–10 years
Place of origin  Germany

No, not all Great Danes have spots. However, there’s one recognized coat pattern that makes the gigantic breed resemble a Dalmatian. The Harlequin-coated Great Dane has a white basecoat with black patches across their entire body.

While it should be obvious, committing to a breed of this size is a unique feat. Not only do you need the space to accommodate such a large creature, but you also need the training know-how to keep them under control. With a little work and plenty of socialization, the Great Dane can grow into a well-rounded canine companion.

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Of course, this list includes only the most popular spotted breeds. While the Dalmatian is the only breed with an officially spotted coat, numerous other dogs have spot-like coat patterns. Some other spotted breeds you might want to check out include:

  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Catahoula Leopard Dog
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Chihuahua
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

And, again, many dogs can develop one-of-a-kind spots depending on their genetics, even when the breed isn’t known for having a spotted coat. Do you own any of these spotted breeds? Is there a standout breed you think we overlooked? Let us know in the comments!

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Featured Image Credit: Pxfuel

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