When you think of classic black and tan dogs, you think of the big dog breeds.
The most obvious choices would be the Doberman and the Rottweiler, which are at the start of my list.
But there are other lesser known large dog breeds that have black and tan coats and I hope that you enjoy finding more out about them as well.
How is a black and tan dog coat created?
Any dog coat is coloured by one or two pigments or melanins.
The first is eumelanin, the second is phaeomelanin.
Eumelanin is a black pigment and phaeomelanin is a red pigment.
So why aren’t all dog coats black and red?
The reason for this is that each of these pigments is affected by genes, which control how light and dark the black or red is in a dog’s coat or whether it will appear at all on a dog’s coat.
Eumelanin can appear as jet black or it can appear as a brown or blue in a coat.
Phaeomelanin can appear as a deep red or gold and yellow.
And so for dogs with a black and tan coat, all of this colour comes from the eumelanin pigment and none from the phaeomelanin pigment.
But this is a very complex issue and if you are interested, this is a great site to look at.
Now, that the complicated stuff is out of the way, let me start my list of breeds.
And my first black and tan rock star is the Doberman.
 Doberman Pinscher
Dobies have a reputation for being ferocious dogs, which makes them just perfect for personal protection, as they look much more fearsome than they really are. Dobermans belong to the working dogs group and they are also used for policing, but modern breeding has toned down their aggressive streak, turning them into quite affectionate pets. Maybe not exactly kid-friendly, but trustworthy family dogs.
The traditional coat of the Doberman is black and tan, although there are many variations. Sometimes the black part of their coat has a bluish shine to it, or you can find dogs whose tan hair is more on the reddish side. Usually, the back of the dog is covered in a shiny black coat, with tan patches on the long muzzle and the abdomen.
The males of the species grow up to be 26 to 28 inches tall (66 – 71 cm) and weigh up to 80 pounds (36 kg). The females are slightly smaller, measuring between 24 and 26 inches in height and weighing around 60 pounds (28 kg).
Rottweilers have a long and impressive history. Their ancestors used to march with the conquering Roman legions, well, not as soldiers, they were in charge of the herds that fed the army. Then they became working dogs, taking their name from the German city of Rottweil, where they found a new position guarding cattle and butchers’ meat carts. With such a history, it’s not surprising that Rottweilers are strong muscular dogs, and their black and tan coats make them look even more impressive.
Male Rottweilers measure between 24 and 27 inches (61 – 69 cm) at the shoulder, while females grow up to 22 – 25 inches (56 – 63 cm). Your pet Rottweiler will eat quite a lot, as adult males weigh up to 110–132 lb (50-60kg) and the females 77–106 lb (35-48kg).
While the Rottweilers are frequently portrayed as aggressive by the media, see the ferocious dog in the famous Omen series, their perceived viciousness is often the result of irresponsible breeding and lack of proper training. With good firm training and early socialization, a Rottweiler will be obedient and even playful, according to the AKC.
 German Shepherd
One of the most popular breeds, German Shepherds are the ultimate large black and tan dogs. A male German Shepherd is 24 – 26 in (60 – 65 cm) in height and weighs around 66 – 88 lb (30 – 40kg). while a female grows up to 22 – 24 in (55 – 60cm) in height and weighs 49 – 71 lb (22 – 32 kg). Don’t be fooled by their massive frame and fierce appearance, because German Shepherds are very loyal and protective of their owners. They’re very smart and curious dogs and if they hear a strange noise outside late at night they’ll be fully alert and ready to jump on the intruder.
A German Shepherd called Strongheart is considered the first canine movie star who appeared in many feature films of the 1920s and has a star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
 Black and Tan Coonhound
Large and energetic, Coonhounds do not strike you as the fierce hunting dogs they are, but rather as lovable. It’s probably those drooping ears that make them seem so sweet, which is rare for such a large dog. The Black and Tan Coonhound is the most recognizable of all the six types of hounds that trace their roots back to the Ozarks and the Smokies.
Male Black and Tan Coonhounds reach up to 21-27 inches (53-69 cm) in height and weigh around 50-75 lb (23-34 kg). The females are a bit smaller, 21-24 in (53-61 cm) in height and 40-65 lb (18-29 kg) in weight.
As hunting dogs, they require a lot of exercise. If you’re not going to take them hunting with you, they’ll make excellent companions for jogging or on hikes.
Hard working and brave, the Beauceron is surprisingly obedient and eager to please. This type of dog is an excellent guardian, being extremely protective of the weak and defenseless.
Most Beaucerons have perfectly black coats with patches of tan on the neck and legs, but there are some whose hair is in two colors all over the body, which gives them a very intriguing look.
Males grow up to 25.5 – 27.5 inches (64 – 69 cm), with females almost as tall 24 – 26.5 inches (61-67cm). An adult male weighs between 70-110 pounds (31-50kg), while a female Beauceron is a bit smaller.
According to the AKC, Beauceron dogs were first bred in France as shepherd dogs in the rural areas south of Paris. They’re excellent as herding dogs, but since there’s little demand for such dogs today they’ve moved on and are now companion, guarding and rescue dogs.
 Tibetan Mastiff
Immediately recognizable by their large thick coats, Tibetan Mastiffs come in many colors. While many have a classical black and tan coat, some are a light brown color which makes them look like lions rather than dogs. Back in Tibet, where they come from, these dogs were bred for guard duty, tending to herds, but also patrolling palace grounds.
With their impressive stature, few would dare enter a property guarded by Tibetan Mastiffs. The puppies are extremely cute, plain lovable fur balls, but an adult male grows up to be huge standing at 26 in (66 cm) at the shoulder, at the very least, and weighing around 90-150lb (40 – 68kg). Females are approximately 24 in (60 cm) tall and weigh between 70 and 120 pounds (31- 55kg).
They’re considered great at understanding people and excellent character judges, so if your Tibetan Mastiff dislikes someone you should trust your pet’s instinct.
Bloodhounds seem very judgmental, especially if they have a tan coat and black patches on the muzzle and ears. However, you should not judge them by the looks. They’re a bit stubborn and need good obedience training, but other than that they’re gentle and affectionate with humans. As for their peculiar appearance, it serves a purpose – the wrinkled skin on their necks is useful to catch stray scent-particles, as Bloodhounds are great scenting dogs and can follow a trail for days.
These dogs originate from Belgium and descend from the hounds that guarded the grounds of the Saint-Hubert Monastery, which explains why to this day French speakers call this dog ‘chien de Saint-Huber’. Centuries ago, bloodhounds came in many colors, but with modern breeding techniques most are black and tan today.
Males are 25 – 28 in (64-72cm) tall and weigh 101-119 lb (46 – 54kg), while females grow up to 23 –26 in (58 – 66 cm) in height and weigh 88 -106 lb (40 – 48kg).
 Gordon Setter
One of the phrases commonly used to describe Gordon setters is ‘Brains, Beauty and Bird Sense’. If you’re not much of a hunter yourself, you won’t have many chances to test their hunting instincts, but brains and beauty, any Gordon setter owner will have plenty to tell you about that.
If they have to work, they will, but otherwise they’re very playful dogs. Also, they’re very protective which makes them an excellent choice for a family with young children.
Be aware that these black and tan beauties grow up pretty big. Males can reach between 24 and 27 in (61 – 69 cm) in height while females are 23-26 in (58 – 66 cm) at the shoulder. An adult male weighs around 55 – 80lb (25-36kg) and females tip the scales at 45-70lb (20 – 32kg).
A cross between Bulldogs and Mastiffs, these dogs look impressive, strong and muscular, which makes them the perfect choice as protection dogs. The dominant color of the coat is fawn or tan, and many dogs of this species have black markings, especially on the head and legs. If you need a family guardian, a Bullmastiff is a great choice. It looks fearsome, but has a gentle heart and is very affectionate with members of his family. Not so much with strangers though. If a new visitor comes to your house, make sure to introduce them properly to your pet if you don’t want your Bullmastiff to jump and pin them to the ground.
An adult male stands at 25–27 inches (64–69 cm) in height and weighs 110–130 pounds (50–59 kg). A female Bullmastiff grows up to 24–26 inches (61–66 cm) and weighs around 100–120 pounds (45–54 kg).
There’s nothing a Hovawart dog likes more than having something to do. As this type of dog is very alert and energetic he needs something to keep him busy – like guarding your house, which he will do with a passion. A potential intruder will be sent running by a Hovawart’s deep-throat barking, as well as by the dog’s general appearance. While there are black or blond Hovawarts, a black and tan coat is the most common for this breed.
Male Hovawarts grow up to 25 – 29 in (63 – 73 cm) in height while females are around 23 – 26 in (58 – 65 cm) at the withers. The weight of a Hovawart varies between 66 –110 lb (30 – 50 kg) with females being generally smaller than males.
An Otterhound is somewhat hard to find. It’s considered one of the most endangered dog breeds in the world so you’d be extremely lucky to get one. This is a dog of British origin, first developed to hunt otters, a sport he was so good at it almost wiped out the otter population in England.
A male Otterhound is approximately 27 inches (68 cm) tall and weighs about 115 lb (52 kg). Females grow up to 24 in (61 cm) tall and weigh about 80 pounds (36 kg).
They’re a bit independent, but with little training you’ll have a great guard dog and a playful companion for your children. While there are some fully black Otterhounds, the most common coat is black and tan with medium-long wavy hair.
¹ Photo by Rebecca Campbell on Unsplash
² Photo by Laith Abushaar on Unsplash
³ Photo by Alan Meraz on Unsplash
⁴ Photo by Wannes De Mol on Unsplash
⁷ Photo by Grisha Grishkoff from Pexels