15 Popular Brown Dog Breeds

Brown miniature dachsund standing on a tree stump in a forest

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From the famous Labrador to the tiny Mini Dachshund, there are lots of breeds that come in brown shades.

Of course, there is so much more to deciding which breed to introduce into your family than just their coat color. You need to consider whether you have the time and energy to commit to looking after any dog. Plus, each breed has typical traits and characteristics that need to be considered.

Here’s a list of fifteen popular brown dog breeds for you to peruse. If you see one you like, be sure to check out their full breed profile to see if they are likely to be the right kind of fit for you and your family.

  • 01 of 15

    Labrador Retriever

    A brown Lab dog with its tongue hanging out laying in the grass with a tennis ball.

    Purple Collar Pet Photography / Getty Images

    Those who have a Labrador Retriever know how amazing these pups are. Their goofy personalities, playful temperaments, and kind souls make them a popular choice for companion pets among families all over the world. Labs are big, bulky dogs who love to run, play and, especially, swim. They are best suited to active family homes.

    They come in a variety of solid coat colors including chocolate shades.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Sporting

    HEIGHT: Males, 22.5 to 24.5 inches; females, 21.5 to 23.5 inches

    WEIGHT: Males, 65 to 80 pounds; females, 55 to 70 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Short, dense double coat in black, chocolate, or yellow

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 12 years

  • 02 of 15

    American Staffordshire Terrier

    Head shot of an American Staffordshire Terrier type

    Melanie Florez-Kratunis / Getty Images


    American Staffordshire Terriers, sometimes known as “Staffies” or “Am Staffs,” are generally affectionate goofballs, despite their tough outward looks and often unfairly negatively stereotyped reputations.

    Staffies have long been used in dogfighting, and the breed’s history can be traced back to 1800s England where they were sometimes called pit dogs. Now Amstaffs, along with some other bully-type breeds are referred to generally as Pit Bulls.

    While careful intros are sometimes needed with other pets, they are often unfailingly loyal dogs with lots of energy, making them a perfect fit for the right active family.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Terrier (AKC)

    HEIGHT: 17 to 19 inches at the shoulder

    WEIGHT: about 50 to 80 pounds

    COAT AND COLORS: The short coat appears in a variety of colors, including black, brown, blue, fawn, red and liver. Brindle pattern and or white markings are also seen in combination with these colors.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 14 years

  • 03 of 15


    A brown weiner dog with big, brown eyes.

    Teresa Lett / Getty Images

    If you’re looking for a smaller companion pooch, consider a dachshund. Also known as wiener dogs or doxies, dachshunds are sweet, loving pups in a tiny package. They’re longer than they are tall, but they make up for their lack of height with their bright personalities.

    This breed is said to have originated in Germany where they were bred to be hunting dogs. Their short stature and fierce nature made them excellent at hunting badgers. Nowadays, they’re popular as pets due to their striking good looks and affectionate personalities.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Hound

    HEIGHT: 8 to 9 inches (standard); 5 to 6 inches (miniature)

    WEIGHT: 16 to 32 pounds (standard); up to 11 pounds (miniature)

    COAT AND COLOR: Coat varieties include smooth (shorthaired), longhaired, and wire-haired. Colors include (but not limited to) black, tan, fawn, beige, blue, chocolate, and red with various markings such as dapple, piebald, brindle, and sable.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 16 years

  • 04 of 15


    Brown standard Poodle standing in the dunes in front of the sea

    Cavan Images / Getty Images


    The popular Poodle comes in three different sizes. Standard are the largest of the variations, measuring at over 15 inches tall. Next is the Miniature standing between 10 and 15 inches tall, and, lastly, the Toy Poodle at less than 10 inches tall.

    Poodles are generally delightfully playful and affectionate. Because of their fierce intelligence and athletic prowess, they are best suited to a home that can offer them enough physical and mental enrichment.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Non-Sporting Group

    HEIGHT: Standard: over 15 inches; miniature: 10 to 15 inches; toy: 10 inches and under

    WEIGHT: Standard: 45 to 70 pounds; miniature: 15 to 18 pounds; toy: 5 to 9 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR:  Curly, dense single coats. One of many solid colors, including but not limited to white, black, grey, brown, and apricot. Parti-colored poodles are accepted by some registries.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 18 years

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15


    A boxer dog laying in the grass and looking into the distance.

    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Energetic and lovable, the Boxer is a wonderful companion pet. Just make sure you have enough room and energy to exercise an athletic and large pup.

    These dogs have a history of being fighting dogs, but have since strayed away from that field and have become popular in the United States thanks to their lovable personalities and strong loyalty.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Working

    HEIGHT: 1 foot, 9 inches to 2 feet, 1 inch at the shoulder

    WEIGHT: 55 to 70 pounds

    COAT AND COLORS: The coat is short. Fawn and brindle are the standard colors, while all-white is typically not recognized by many kennel clubs. Standard markings include a black mask; black mask with white markings; and white markings.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 12 years

  • 06 of 15


    Brown long-haired Chihuahua sitting in a park

    Kurt Pas / Getty Images


    The Chihuahua originated in Mexico and it dates back to ancient times. The tiny breed became popular in America in the 1900s and has since gained momentum, even starring in fast food commercials and popular movies.

    Chihuahuas may be tiny, but they make up for it in attitude. They are confident and affectionate and make perfect companions for people who don’t have time or energy to exercise a large breed athletic dog. Despite that, Chihuahuas still need regular walks or play sessions to stay happy.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Toy

    HEIGHT: 6 to 9 inches

    WEIGHT: 2 to 6 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Chihuahuas can have smooth coats or long coats. They are seen in many colors, either solid or a combination of two colors. Most common colors include black, tan, fawn, cream, white, blue, silver, chocolate, and red.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 20 years

  • 07 of 15

    Basset Hound

    A Basset hound out in the woods.

    James Heifner / EyeEm / Getty Images

    With big, floppy ears and a distinctive body shape, the Basset Hound easily steals the hearts of pet lovers around the world.

    The unique breed was first bred in France and Belgium to be scenting hounds. Their short stature aids in that as they are effortlessly able to sniff the ground constantly in order to track wild animals.

    Known for being affectionate and mild-mannered, you might have to work hard to achieve a solid recall with this breed-type, especially as they can have a stubborn streak. Their long ears and the folds in their skin can also mean they are prone to skin and ear infections, so extra cleaning and care may be required.

    Although it is possible to see Bassets in solid brown coloring, this is not accepted in the AKC breed standard. A white and tan mix is the most common coat markings.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Hound

    HEIGHT: Up to 15 inches

    WEIGHT: 40 to 65 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR Short with color combinations of black/mahogany, white, brown/tan, red, and yellow.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 13 years

  • 08 of 15

    Shiba Inu

    A Shiba Inu dog standing in the sand with his mouth open.

    chendongshan / Getty Images

    Standing at an average of 15 inches tall, the Shiba Inu is a happy medium for those who can’t decide between a big and a little pet. They are an ancient Japanese breed that was used in hunting.

    Eventually, the popular breed was brought to the United States where they steadily gained traction as a top companion pet thanks to their intelligence and quiet nature - Shibas rarely bark. That doesn't mean they are the right breed for everyone, though, as they can be rather aloof and strong-willed.

    While they don't come in dark brown shades, they most commonly come in shades of red and rarely black and tan combos.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Non-Sporting

    HEIGHT: 14.5 to 16.5 inches (male); 13.5 to 15.5 inches (female)

    WEIGHT: Around 23 pounds (male), Around 17 pounds (female)

    COAT AND COLOR: Stiff and straight outer coat and a soft and thick undercoat with three color types: red, black and sesame, black and tan

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 13 to 16 years

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Australian Shepherd

    A brown Australian shepherd running in the grass.

    MATTHEW PALMER / Getty Images

    Pure athleticism. That’s the best way to describe Australian Shepherds, affectionately known as Aussies. This breed is medium-sized, but they need more exercise than most dog breeds.

    Aussies love working, whether it be herding sheep or zipping through agility courses, so they are ideal for active dog trainers or farmers who need a helping hand.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Herding

    HEIGHT: 18 to 23 inches

    WEIGHT: 40 to 65 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Medium to long coat in blue merle, red merle, black, or red; all colors may have white markings and/or tan (copper) points

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 13 to 15 years

  • 10 of 15


    A fluffy Pomeranian sitting in the sand.

    Ekaterina Goncharova / Getty Images

    Poms are adorable-looking fur balls that can be amazing companion pets for the right owners. This breed isn’t for everyone—they can be quite bossy—but they make great pals with the right training along with a thoughtful owner.

    Pomeranians are quite recognizable because of their long, puffy coat that comes in a variety of colors, especially brown, black, and cream. Their grooming regime is, understandably, quite high maintenance too.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Toy

    HEIGHT: 6 to 7 inches

    WEIGHT: 3 to 7 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Long, double coat that comes in many colors, though the most common are red, orange, cream, sable, black, brown, and blue.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 16 years

  • 11 of 15

    Great Dane

    Fawn Great Dane lying in the grass

    Bigandt_Photography / Getty Images


    If you’re in the market for the biggest pet possible, look no further. Towering Great Danes top the list of the Guinness World Records for the world’s tallest dog. They typically measure at about 30 inches high at the shoulder and can weigh up to 200 pounds.

    Despite their size, these dogs are generally all-around friendly pups with lovable traits. They love to play and exercise, but perhaps as equally, they love to laze around on the sofa (if there is room) with their humans.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Working

    HEIGHT: 28 to 34 inches at the shoulder

    WEIGHT: 100 to 200 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Short hair in brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin (white with black patches), or mantle (black and white)

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 6 to 8 years

  • 12 of 15

    Saint Bernard

    A big Saint Bernard dog laying in the grass.

    Filip Micovic / Getty Images

    Another big, lumbering pup that’s popular in the U.S. is the lovable Saint Bernard.

    The breed dates back more than 1,000 years to the Swiss Alps and is classified as a working dog. They have a history of being search and rescue dogs, and thus, are still used in that field still today.

    They’re also lovable companions who are loyal protectors of their favorite humans. Just be prepared for their size, the breed can weigh up to 180 pounds, and their habit of excessive drooling.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Working

    HEIGHT: 25.5 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder

    WEIGHT: 130 to 180 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Coat may be short and smooth or long and silky. Colors include white with red, brown or brindle markings. A black "mask" is typically seen.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 8 to 10 years

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15


    A long-haired collie dog standing in a misty field.

    关心 / Getty Images

    Many people know Collies because the breed was used to depict one of the most iconic dogs on the television. Lassie, the loyal and intelligent pup whose heroic actions save his family members on the regular is a Rough-coated Collie.

    The breed is generally considered to be gentle and sweet, but alert, intelligent and courageous. They are herding dogs that originated in the Highlands of Scotland, where they worked hard on farms. These dogs are not going to be suited to families that lead a sedentary lifestyle.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Herding

    HEIGHT: 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder

    WEIGHT: 50 to 75 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Rough: The outercoat is straight, harsh, and abundant; the undercoat is soft and furry; smooth on the face and lower legs. Smooth: A short, hard, dense, flat outercoat, with an abundance of soft and furry undercoat. Colors include sable and white, tri-color, blue merle, or white.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 15 years

  • 14 of 15

    Chow Chow

    Close up of a Chow Chow face

    Iurii / Getty Images


    Chow Chows are instantly recognizable because of their voluminous, fluffy coat, lion-like appearance, and purple-black tongues.

    Known for being calm, low-activity for a bigger breed, and loyal. They are also independent thinkers, don't always get on with other dogs, and not usually the best choice for novice dog owners. Be sure to do your research before you welcome a Chow Chow into your home.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Non-sporting

    HEIGHT: 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder

    WEIGHT: 40 to 70 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Coat can be rough or smooth. Colors may be black, blue, cinnamon, cream, or red.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 8 to 12 years

  • 15 of 15

    German Shepherd

    A German shepherd dog laying in the fall leaves.

    Kristin Castenschiold / Getty Images

    The German Shepherd Dog known today was first introduced in 1899 in Germany and was developed from old shepherd and farm dogs, acting as both servants and companions. The breed gained popularity in America in the 1900s and remains one of the most popular breeds in the country.

    These dogs are often utilized as working dogs, especially in law enforcement and search and rescue. They are also well suited as service animals, like guide dogs for the blind. 

    They are intelligent, athletic, and unfailingly loyal, but early and ongoing socialization and training are important for this powerful breed with strong guarding traits.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Herding

    HEIGHT: 22 to 26 inches

    WEIGHT: 60 to 100 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Coarse, medium-length double coat. Most colors are acceptable, such as bicolor, black and tan, black and cream, black and red, black and silver, solid black, gray, sable. Note that blue or liver is unfavorable based on breed standard. White is not an acceptable color based on breed standard.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 7 to 10 years

Don't forget that there are lots of wonderful brown mutts that are also waiting for loving homes in shelters across the United States.