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"Dogs are not our whole life, but they help make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

Beagle Colors

and Beagle Markings

    

What Colors Can Beagles Be?

Beagle colors are defined by each registration association, and so vary from registry to registry. For example, the colors listed on the AKC registry form are not the same as those on other associations' forms. A widely-accepted definition of beagle color possibilities is that they can be "any hound color," which makes the subject quite diverse.

Let's add to the confusion: Within each beagle genetic color grouping are also "shades" of the same color and combinations of color genes. Regarding people, we know that there are a few basic hair colors such as blonde, redhead, and brunette. But remember that there are dirty blondes, dark blonde, strawberry blondes, etc. The same is true of beagles. There are chocolate tri, silver tri, lilac tri, shaded tri, etc. A red-based beagle can be lemon, red, mahogany....you can see the problem here. :-)

Beagle colors are affected by quite a few genes, so I don't imagine that I'll ever have all possible colors represented on this page due to the variety of combinations (imagine for example a lemon with a silver gene). But, I'll put as many as possible as we have photos available here.

The Tri Colors

(Two colors plus white)

Shaded Tri


Brown and black blend together on ribcage, rather than a clean line differentiating the colors.
The back may appear "faded" as the years pass.

Classic Tri


Solid black saddle

Tan, Black, and White Tri

Chocolate Tri


Chocolate Tri and Liver Tri-colored

There are several shades of chocolate beagles, from dark chocolate to having a nearly red back. The darkest is a normal "chocolate" tri, with Liver tri lighter or even light enough to look the same as Red and White (except for the color of the nose).  Chocolates have reddish/brownish noses, and not black noses. Their eyes are typically lighter in color than most other beagle colors as well.
It is difficult to tell the difference between chocolate and liver beagle puppies until they are around weaning age, although sometimes it can be determined earlier if there are a chocolate and a liver to compare side by side.

Blue Tri (Silver Tri Color)


Some blue/silver beagles are almost as dark as regular tri-colored beagles, but that is not always the case. Some blue beagles do lose most of their silver back color as they mature ("dark silver"). Others have a charcoal-colored saddle at maturity. Silver beagles' heads will have a bit of a different color when compared to regular tri-colored beagles, and their noses are dark blue-gray.
Some breeds of dogs with this color genetic combination have frequent occurrence of "blue alopecia" among members of the breed with this coloration. Blue alopecia does likely exist in beagles, but it seems to be rare.

Lilac Tri


Lilac Tri is the name used by AKC for this particular color. Other registration associations classify it under a general "brown, tan, and white" or "chocolate tri" or "blue fawn."
Some breeds of dogs with this color genetic combination have frequent occurrence of "blue alopecia" among members of the breed with this coloration. Blue alopecia does likely exist in beagles, but it seems to be rare.

Hare Pied


Although these puppies (above) are usually called tan and white, they are most likely very rare "hare pied" beagles. Hare Pied beagles have black tips on the hairs down the middle of their backs, and might have a 'butterfly nose' (liver in the middle, dark on the outer edges).

Other Tan and White beagles are true bi-colored (red based), without black tips on the hairs on their backs. We've had several true tan and white puppies, and I'll try to gather pictures to add to the Bi-Color section below soon.

The Red-Based Shades, aka Bi-Color

Red and White


Red and white beagles are a darker orange than the tan/lemon and white beagles below. At birth, you can already see their colored patches.

Lemon and White


This lemon or tan and white (above) shows the typical golden patches of a lemon beagle. Her white areas might be slightly off white (a light cream), or may be clear white. Her back is uniformly gold in her color patches, without any black hairs or black-tipped hairs. Her nose is black. The above dog might actually be a tan and white, rather than a lemon.


Another possible lemon (above): I questioned whether this is really a lemon, but have been told by several breeders that she is. She does have a liver nose rather than black (some say that true lemons have black noses). If she is not lemon, then she is still a red bi-color of some sort.

Tan and White

Tan and White beagles are true bi-colored (red based), without black tips on the hairs on their backs. Their colored areas are tan or light orange, rather than dark reddish orange. We've had several true tan and white puppies, and I'll try to gather pictures to add here soon.

Typical Tri-Colors    Chocolate Tri    Hare Pied    Silver    Lemon and White    Red and White    Tan and White    Merle    Puppy Color Changes    Back to Top

Examples of Markings

Ticking and Mottling

Ticking refers to freckles on the legs and in the colored areas. If there are black ticks on the barrel/back of a dog, it can be referred to as "blue ticked." If the freckles are red/brown, it is "red ticked." Ticking can also occur on the legs. Hunting bloodlines are more often ticked, as the show bloodlines have been selectively bred for white legs more so than with ticking.

Mottled can look like ticking. But mottled dogs will have mottled markings on the pads of their feet as pups. They also may have a dark brownish gray nose, rather than a black nose. A mottled dog's nose is also called a "butterfly nose," because the middle half of the nose is lighter in color than the two sides.


Red Ticked


Blue Ticked

Open Markings

(White crossing over the back)

Age Progressions

What will a puppy look like at maturity if it is born black and white? What if it is born all white? This section, as it grows, will show the changes in colors from birth to adulthood.

For each given color, the pictures are not necessarily the same dog. So disregard the white markings, and look instead at the body colors. One thing to note about white markings on the faces and shoulders/neck is that the white areas will get a little smaller in proportion to the body size as the puppy matures.

Tri Colors


Tri-colored beagles are born black and white, with the brown on the head, hips, and legs evolving as the puppy matures. White markings also reduce in proportion on the head as the puppy matures.

Lemon and White


Lemon puppies are born pure white, with no colored patches. Some breeders advertise their red and white puppies as lemons, but don't be fooled! If you are looking for a lemon and white, ask to see a newborn picture. Lemon and white beagles look extremely similar to tan and white bi-colored beagles.

Red and White


Red and white puppies are born looking similar in color to an adult lemon. Some breeders advertise their red and white puppies as lemons, but there is a difference. Compare to the lemon pictures above.
Red and white beagles typically have rust-colored noses (pinkish brown).

Tan and White (so close to Lemon that I'm using the same pictures temporarily)


Lemon and tan bi-colored puppies are born almost pure white, with almost no colored patches. Tan puppies might show a cream color at birth, but only slightly.


Comparison of birth colors to their 6-week colors, above.
(Tan and White, Red and White)
These puppies' mature colors were a little darker than the 6-week old photos show.

Hare Pied


Very rare (extremely rare!) "hare pied" beagles.

Chocolate Tri

Lilac Tri (also referred to as Khaki, Blue Fawn and Mocha)


In the group/litter picture, the lighter-colored puppies are lilac beagles, and the darker are chocolate tri beagles. Learn more about Khaki beagle color ("Khaki" is a term a few people use to describe this color, as is Blue Fawn. AKC calls it "Lilac Tri," so to be as correct as possible, we also use AKC's terminology for this color in the beagle breed.)

Blue Tick


Note that blue ticks are born without the ticking (freckles), which appears beginning about 3 weeks of age.

Typical Tri-Colors    Chocolate Tri    Hare Pied    Silver    Lemon and White    Red and White    Tan and White    Merle    Puppy Color Changes    Back to Top

 

Merles

Purebred beagles do not come in merle. Anyone making such a claim has probably introduced another breed into their beagle lines (such as dachshund), or has bought a puppy from a breeder that has done so. This practice is seen in the so-called "pocket beagles," where small dog breeds have been crossbred with beagles to reduce size. In addition to introducing non-beagle colors, this also introduces health problems found in those other breeds.

 

Additional Information about Beagle Colors

Note that different resources have conflicting information about the uniquely-colored beagles, such as hare pied and lemon beagles.

 

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Last Updated
01/25/2014

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Cedar Ridge Beagles
c/o Toni Perdew
crbeagles@gmail.com
(the best method to reach me is via e-mail)
Bedford, Iowa
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