7 Black Dogs With White Chests

There’s something special about black dogs, they’re intriguing, quite impressive and sometimes a bit scary.

When it comes to black dogs with a white chest, that look is so elegant.

It’s like the dog made an effort to dress up for a special occasion.

This is why many people are looking for this type of coat in a dog.

And in this article we’re going to have a look at seven breeds where this feature is quite common…

So you can find the pet of your dreams.

What you will learn in this article

Why do some black dog breeds have a white patch on their chest?

It all comes down to genes and it is these genes that dictate how the pigment is spread in a dog’s skin and coat.

The color of a dog’s coat is determined by the quantity of pigment present in the hairs. Or lack of, as the white patches are basically hair that does not have any pigment.

As a pup inherits one set of genes from both its parents, it will probably look a lot like one of them, or the genes might get mixed, resulting in very odd-looking doggies.

Well, odd as compared with the parents. 

The black with a white chest patch type of coat is an example of what experts call Irish spotting.  In this type of coat, the white patches are present at the dog’s ‘edges’, if we can call them that. 

Those are the tip of the tail and that of the muzzle, but also the part above the paws and, yes, the chest.  This pattern is also known as a trim. 

Some dogs can have only a small white spot just above the breastbone or, indeed, a big white patch on the chest, that looks like a tie of sorts. 

The gene that dictates how the pigment spreads in a dog’s coat has not yet been identified, so it’s hard to say why this happens.

Fact is that in dogs with this Irish spotting, the pigment is concentrated in the hairs that cover the dog’s body, where the animal’s vital organs can be found. 

Dogs that have mainly white hair and only the head, back and root of the tail are colored are known as piebald dogs. 

Even if we don’t know what gene determines a dog’s trim, it’s easy to see that in some breeds this specific pattern is more common. Let’s examine each of these breeds.

[1] Border Collie

Border Collies have a double coat which can be either rough or smooth, and both are acceptable for the breed’s standards.

The rough coat is medium-length and feathered, while the smooth one is shorter and coarse to the touch. 

For the most part, Border Collies are black and white and often present the Irish spotting pattern.

However, you might also see black tricolor Collies, which also have a bit of tan in their coat, or in other combinations of colors including red, merle, blue or lilac.

Occasionally, you might find a Border Collie in a single color but those are exceptionally rare. 

They are not very high-maintenance dogs.

A good brushing once or twice a week should be enough, except in shedding season, when you should brush your dog every day if you know what’s good for your carpets and couch.

They’re extremely smart dogs, and quite energetic.  Border Collies were bred as herding dogs and still miss their working days, when they excelled at keeping sheep together with nothing more than a stare. Don’t be surprised if your dog gives you a hard stare or tries to drive the whole family like sheep.  

[2] Patterdale Terrier

patterdale terries have white chests
Photo by Amy Polley on Flickr

This dog is also known as the Black Fell Terrier, and this should give you a clue about it’s coat.

Most Patterdale Terriers are black, although there are some with a red, chocolate or liver coat. Generally, this type of dog has a coat in a single color.

If you find a puppy with a white chest or at least a white spot on the chest, it might be a sign of crossbreeding with a Jack Russell Terrier. 

Patterdale Terriers can have a smooth short coat, a broken coat with some whiskers and a small beard, or a rough coat characterized by longer hair all over the body.

These small terriers, who rarely weigh more than 13 lbs, originated in England, but today they are more popular in the US.  They’re very playful and require a lot of physical exercise. This is the type of dog that will gladly join you when you go running. Hopefully you can keep up with him!

[3] Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers have white chests
Photo by Tanawadee Supraphakorn on Unsplash

The Boston Terrier is sometimes referred to as the American Gentleman and, no doubt, he does look like a gentleman with his black coat and white chest, and sometimes white socks, too.

A Boston Terrier can present a black coat, or maybe a brindle or seal one. The latter looks totally black, but under intense sunlight you’ll notice a reddish cast in his coat.

Boston Terriers have a short coat and shed only lightly so a good brushing once a week should do just fine.

They are very affectionate as dogs and quite gentle, although originally they were bred from Bulldogs and were meant to be fighting dogs.

That was back in the 19th century, but they’ve lost all aggressiveness long ago. Not that this would be much of a problem.

They are after all rather small, barely reaching 12 inches in height. They are however a bit stubborn and prone to mischief. 

[4] French Bulldog

french bulldogs have white chests
Photo by Mia knight on Unsplash

Frenchies come in many colors, mostly light. According to the American Kennel Club, the standard colors for the breed are brindle, white, cream, fawn and any combination of them.

And yet, there are many black French Bulldogs with or without a white chest. What does this mean for you as owner? Probably nothing.

If you don’t want to enter your dog in a competition, who cares if he doesn’t have a standard coat? Frenchies have short hair and don’t shed much, so you won’t have to bother with brushing your dog more than once a week.

French Bulldogs of every color are extremely popular as pets, they’re at number two in the UK and in fourth position in the US.

They’re great as companion dogs as they are very attached to their owners and they’re also playful and funny. No wonder they’re known as the clowns of the dog world.

[5] Chihuahua

Black Chihuahuas can have white chests
Photo by David Shankbone on Flickr

Small and bossy, Chihuahuas are much more than purse dogs.

These dogs of Mexican origin trace their ancestry back to pre-Columbian times.

This might explain why they have such a great opinion of themselves and sometimes try to take on much larger dogs. Or at least bark fiercely at them.

Chihuahuas come in every imaginable color, white, fawn, cream, chocolate, black and any shade in between.

You might find a Chihuahua in a solid black color, but some present the unmistakable Irish spotting and the telltale white patch on the chest.

You can hardly call it a large white patch, since we’re talking about such a small dog, 6 – 10 inches tall.

This type of dog can have a short coat or a long one. Contrary to what you might think, the dogs with longer hairs shed less and don’t require much grooming. 

[6] Labrador

A self-respecting Labrador should be either black, yellow or chocolate brown,  judging by the AKC standards. Labradors come mostly in a solid color, which makes those with a nice white tie all the more precious. This type of dog has a short dense water-resistant coat. 

Although curious by nature and ready to follow a scent no matter where it takes them, Labradors are also known for having an even temperament. And they’re very friendly. These traits make Labradors very suitable as therapy dogs and guide dogs for the blind. On the other hand, they’re not very good as guard dogs as they’re rather friendly to strangers. 

[7] Cocker Spaniels

Hard to find a dog more beautiful than a Cocker Spaniel. People love them for their big round eyes, the lush ears and the flowing coat. A Cocker Spaniel’s coat can be black, brown, or red with white or tan markings. Black Cocker Spaniel’s come mostly in a solid color so you’d be very lucky to find one with a white chest.  The wavy coat requires daily brushing to keep it tangle-free and you might need a professional to give it a trim once in a while. 

The Spaniel is the smallest among sporting dogs, weighing around 20-30 lbs, and can easily fit in an apartment.

These dogs are great as companions as they are easy to train, eager to please and so much fun. 

Closing Thoughts

Black dogs with a white patch on the chest owe their classy appearance to genetics. This particular pattern, the white chest, white paws and white tip of the tail is called Irish spotting. In some breeds, it can be quite rare, as is the case with Patterdale Terriers. Even if the white collar sometimes goes against breed standards, that shouldn’t stop you from getting such an elegant dog!

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!