Brindle Lab – Everything You Need To Know About This Unique Pattern
The color of your dog’s coat is determined by the amount of pigment cells in its fur. Pigment cells are found in all mammals, but they’re most abundant in dogs because their coats tend to be thicker than those of other animals. These pigments protect the hairs from damage caused by the elements and provide them with a distinctive pattern that helps distinguish individual members of the pack from each other.
In humans, brown hair tends to have darker undertones while black hair tends to have lighter undertones. Dogs’ colors are determined by the combination of these two pigments: melanin (brown) and eumelanin (black). Melanin is responsible for making the hairs white or “silver” in color; eumelanin makes them black.
Both types of pigment cells exist in equal amounts throughout the body except where damaged or removed through surgery.
Males have more melanin than females, so males will generally have a greater number of black hairs. Females usually have more eumelanin than males, which explains why some female dogs may appear almost entirely gray at birth. However, even after neutering or castration, some male dogs retain their natural coloring and will still display a small amount of silver hair in their underbellies and legs.
The color of a brindle coat is the result of an uneven distribution of black and brown pigment, which creates the stripe pattern. The stripes are not all created equal and they can range anywhere from light and reddish-brown to almost black. Some dogs may even appear to be just a mix of red and black hairs with no distinct pattern at all.
It’s not currently known why some breeds display this striping while others do not.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Challenges to curing primary brain tumours (K Aldape, KM Brindle, L Chesler, R Chopra… – Nature Reviews …, 2019 – nature.com)
- Predicting risk of type 2 diabetes in England and Wales: prospective derivation and validation of QDScore (…, C Coupland, J Robson, A Sheikh, P Brindle – Bmj, 2009 – bmj.com)
- Monitoring reproductive aging in a 5-year prospective study: aggregate and individual changes in luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone with age (RJ Ferrell, KA O’Connor, DJ Holman, E Brindle… – Menopause, 2007 – journals.lww.com)