Depending on where you usually hunt, the color of your hunting dog may or may not matter.
For example, if you predominantly hunt in the snow cover, getting a dog with a (partially) white coat can make you cross your eyes.
In that case, rather than playing “Where is Waldo” with your pointing dog, you would like to know right away where he stopped to point the bird.
Likewise, with duck hunting, if you rather sit in the open than under the blind, your white-ish pup will be somewhat visible even with a neoprene camo vest.
Have you ever thought about a brown hunting dog? Some breeds come in a brown coat variation, but some hunting breeds have only brown coats.
German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointers, in short GSP, are a versatile hunting breed initially developed in Germany in the late 1800s. They are very energetic and always happy to work.
The coat of the GSP is short and sleek, always straight. It has a single layer, and although it gets dense in winter, sometimes, they need extra protection during cold days. The color is predominantly liver due to the breed carrying only the recessive b gene.
There are a few GSPs with a black coloration. It means another breed was added to the gene pool, carrying a B gene, responsible for the black coat. Although, in America, even though black pointers are now recognized as true GSPs, they are not allowed on the show ring.
Any red, orange, lemon, tan, or black area on the coat is not recognized as a purebred german shorthaired pointer and disqualified by judges.
The pattern variation of the German Shorthaired Pointers are solid liver, liver and white, liver and white patched, liver and white patched and ticked, liver and white ticked, liver roan, or any combination of all or few the patterns. However, the liver roan is not recognized as a color of its own, rather a version of liver and white.
The coloration may vary in shade, from light milk chocolate to very dark liver.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chesapeake Bay Retriever, or CBR and Chessie, is a native American originating in Maryland from two puppies rescued from a sinking ship in 1807. Since then, the breed was “fine-tuned” with local breeds to resemble the dog of today.
At first sight, the CBR resembles a Labrador Retriever. The coat of the CBR is slightly curly or wavy on the back and tail. It has two layers. The fluffy undercoat is waterproof and somewhat oily.
Chessie’s coat comes in three primary colors, brown, sedge, and deadgrass. A little white on the chest and feet is permitted, but any black is not. There is no one preferable color. The idea behind their coats is to blend with their surroundings as best as possible.
The deadgrass color is not very popular outside of the breed and is often called yellow by “outsiders.” It is, in fact, a mix between yellow and tan, hence the mistake. The shades of deadgrass can vary from light, almost white, to dark straw color. The ash-colored coat is one of the shades of deadgrass. It is not desirable and scarce.
The sedge color is sometimes mistaken for dark deadgrass color. There is, however, an important distinction. The sedge coat of the Chessie contains red coloration. The shades of sedge color vary from reddish yellow to bright red and chestnut.
The brown color of the Chessie is very similar to the chocolate lab. The varied shades can include anything from light cocoa to deep chocolate.
Self-coloration is preferred. It means that the dog should have one color throughout the body, with or without shading. Other variants of the coat color are also acceptable as long as they are of brown, sedge, or deadgrass shades, like masking, saddle marking, agouti hair, and tan points.
Field Spaniel originated in England as a show dog in the late 19th century. Not popular with hunters due to its primarily black coloring and then short legs.
Unlike other spaniel breeds, the Field Spaniel has a single coat with long hair. The coat comes in only two colors, black, and liver. There are also only two patterns acceptable for this breed and only one marking.
The original for this breed black coat is usually jet-black, but it can also come with liver or brown undertones.
The “new” addition to the field spaniel appearance, the liver coat, comes in all shades from light to dark with a reddish or golden cast. According to the breed norms, there is also a golden liver color, which is a separate color, but it is usually treated as a liver for practicality.
The Field Spaniel’s coat patterns can be either self-colored, which means solid black or solid liver, or bi-colored, which is black and white, or liver and white. White markings on the chest are often present in the solid color of the coat.
The Field Spaniel can also come in black and tan coat coloring, with tan colors ranging from light tan to russet and gold.
Canadian born as St. John’s water dog, refined in Great Britain, the Labrador Retriever is the most known hunting dog breed.
The Labrador Retriever has a short but thick coat in three primary coat colors: black, yellow, and chocolate. A small white spot on the chest is permissible but not desirable. All three colors can occur in one litter.
Different genes determine the color of Labrador Retriever. The B genes are responsible for black color, D for chocolate color, and E – yellow.
Black Labs are usually black or charcoal. The black color is dominant, and every Black Lab has the BB or Bb gene. Two Black Labs can have Yellow or Chocolate puppies. The Black Lab is the most popular of the three color variations as a hunting dog.
There can be slight brindle or tan markings on Black Lab’s coat, but they are a disqualification on the AKC ring.
Yellow Labs may range in color from red, often called a Fox Red Lab, through champagne yellow, to light cream, almost white in appearance, called White Lab. The E gene is recessive, and therefore two Yellow Labs will always have only yellow puppies.
The shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog are common and perfectly acceptable.
Chocolate Labs can vary in shade from light to dark chocolate and liver. The B gene also determines the color of the Chocolate Lab. It will show as bb.
Like Black Labs, they can also have brindle or tan markings, and just the same are considered a disqualification by AKC.
Labrador Retrievers also come in silver color. Silver is considered by many people a diluted shade of chocolate color. One of the genes of Chocolate Lab, the D gene, could be responsible for the dilution of the color, and it would appear as dd.
On the other hand, many breeders consider Silver Labs mix-bred dogs, and their coat colors a result of crossing the Lab with Weimaraner. The Silver Lab is not recognized on the AKC show rings, although allowed a registration.
The Redbone Coonhound is an American Southern Beauty. It originated from foxhounds and bloodhounds brought to America by Scotts and the Irish.
The Redbone Coonhound is the only hound that comes with a solid-colored coat.
The hair on Redbone Coonhound has a deep red color, although early breed used to have a dark saddle on the back thanks to the Bloodhound and red Foxhound ancestors. The saddle was bred out of the Coonhound by selective breeding in favor of the solid red color.
The shade of the coat can vary from dark fawn to deep chestnut red.
The Redbone’s muzzle is often darker in color than the rest of the body, and the chest and feet can sport a white marking. Although the coat of Redbone Coonhound should be a solid red color, the black hair is sometimes spotted on the back and withers.
The coat is smooth and always short but coarse enough to provide warmth.
Basset Fauve de Bretagne
The smallest of the French hounds, Basset Fauve de Bretagne, or Fawn Brittany Basset, originated in Brittany in France.
Although small, Fawn Brittany Basset is a great hunter with a lot of stamina and a perfect nose. It is used to hunt foxes, rabbits but also deer and boar.
The coat of the Fawn Brittany Basset is rough and wiry and requires stripping from time to time. The hair repels dirt and doesn’t mat so easily. It is usually shorter and darker on the ears than the rest of the body.
Like the name suggests, the color of the Brittany Basset is fawn. The color may vary between golden wheaten to red brick in hue. A few black hairs on the ears or the back are acceptable but not desirable, as is a small white spot on the chest.
The color of the coat is passed down from two fawn-colored dog breeds that created the Basset Fauve de Bretagne, the Grand Fauve de Bretagne and the Griffon Fauve de Bretagne.
The color was developed for hunting purposes. The presence of back or white hair was not desired, as it was believed it would be harder for the dogs to maintain their camouflage while hunting.
Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound
The Bavarian Mountain Hound is a German scent hound that originated in the 19th century. It was bred with one purpose to track wounded game like deer, wild hog, or bear and does it exceptionally well.
Its coat is thick, short, and shiny. It’s soft and dark on the head and ears, harsher and brighter on the rest of the body.
The coat comes in any shade of fawn or red, like deep red, deer red, reddish-gray, reddish-brown, tan, fawn, and biscuit.
Although rare, the brindle is also accepted, as well as light-colored patches on the chest.
The hair on the head and tail of the Bavarian Mountain Scent hound are more intense in color, usually darker than the rest of the body.
The coat color is a treat obtained from the breed ancestors, the red Bracken, an original hunting dog from Bavarian Mountains, and the red Mountain Scenthound.
What Shades of Brown do Hunting Dogs Come in?
Brown hunting dogs come in different shades. In fact, they come in different colors. What we may consider brown can also be tan or red.
The shades of brown color vary greatly from breed to breed and specimen to specimen. The shades can be grey-brown, chocolate, liver, mahogany, sedge, red, mid-tone brown, reddish-orange, reddish-brown, red-gold, cinnamon, deadgrass, alanine key, ruddy, fawn, ruby, and tan.
Were Hunting Dogs Bred to Be Brown on Purpose?
Like with the character, the size, and the length of a dog’s hair, the color of a hunting dog’s coat was developed over time to the exact specifications and design of the first breeder.
Brown hunting dogs were bred to be this color by mixing the breeds with the desired characteristics. Brown hunting dogs were developed for hunting purposes, whether to camouflage them from prey during the hunt or make them more visible for the hunter to easier discern between the dog and the quarry.
Are There Benefits to Having a Brown Hunting Dog?
There are benefits to having a brown hunting dog. If the hunter prefers not to put a vest on the dog, the brown coat may serve few purposes.
In some instances, the brown color sticks out from the surrounding making it more visible for the hunter to notice the dog. It is handy when you hunt upland, and you depend on your dog to point or flush the birds or use your dog to track big game in the forest. Seeing the dog for what it is will prevent hunters from accidentally shooting it.
On the other hand, the ability of the brown hunting dog to blend with its working surroundings would work in the hunter’s favor while duck hunting without the blind. For example, if the dog’s coat blends well, it becomes invisible to ducks flying over.
Are There Drawbacks to Having a Brown Hunting Dog?
The benefits of having a brown hunting dog may also turn into drawbacks, depending on the situation.
Upland hunting can be one of the situations when having brown hunting dog may play to disadvantages. The terrain changes a lot depending on the time of the year. While the brown hunting dog would be visible in the snow, that may not be the case of fall, when most grasses and bushes lose leaves and turn brown. The dog may “disappear” in a blink of an eye.
Are Brown Hunting Dogs Rare?
No matter what the exterior color is, all hunting dogs are genetically black-brown or yellow-red in color. It has to do with pigmentation in the epidermis.
Based on this knowledge, we can say that brown hunting dogs are not rare. There is plenty of hunting breeds that come primarily in brown color and its many shades, and plenty more whose one of the coat colors is brown.