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 Created: 03/17/02


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– Brindle "Stripe" Tease –

March 18, 2002 – Two weeks ago I featured a portrait of very dark brindle Great Dane named Stormi. She is pictured above, along with a much lighter brindle named Tiggen. Stormi's color generated some interesting email.

Rustie and ChloeOne woman wrote, "I saw your onyx brindle and never really knew for sure what color my girl Rustie was supposed to called. I am sending you a picture of Rustie with her mom, Chloe, lounging beside her. Chloe is 9 and Rustie is 7 1/2 years old."

Another wrote, "Stormi is a lovely color, isn't she?! I hadn't come across mention of this color before and when I saw it, I thought, 'A dog like that couldn't be shown!' Reading on, though, revealed they can be. It's good to hear there are some judges who can judge Stormi for her conformation."

Judging the Brindle

One such judge is Dale Tarbox of Sandale Danes. She is a well known breeder of champion fawns and brindles, an AKC judge, and she chairs the Great Dane Club of America's Judges' Education Committee. I asked Ms. Tarbox if she would be willing to share her thoughts on the subject of "off-color" brindles. She generously agreed:

A Short Essay on Brindles
By Dale Suzanne Tarbox

Let me start by saying that as a breeder and a judge of Great Danes, I follow the Standard of the Great Dane that is provided by the Great Dane Club of America to the American Kennel Club. In the Standard it says that the base color of a brindle should be a yellow gold and always brindled with strong black stripes." The more intense the base color and the more distinct and even the brindling, the more preferred will be the color." It also says that "too much or too little brindling are equally undesirable."

Ch. Sandale Chaney Austin HealyWe all use different terms to describe the colors. "Onyx" or "reverse" brindles are dark; the tiger-like coloration is usually what we strive for. The base coat color can differ also from a light fawn color to a deep golden-red color to a "wheaten" color that looks pale (no gold) and has a blackish tint to it. The preferred base coat is the golden color, just as it is in fawns. I've just heard another name that describes this lovely color and that term is "apricot" brindle. It certainly puts the correct base color in your mind. Lighter marked brindles can still have the lovely golden base.

As a Dane owner, I find all brindle color acceptable as long as any white and/or sooty color is kept to a minimum. Even when judging, I put structure (how a Dane is put together, angles, top line, body and bone) and head type above color in making a decision as to who will win. Unfortunately, not everyone feels as I do and they tend to penalize brindles that fall on either side of the spectrum. There are enough people who judge structure to finish the "off" colored brindles. It just may take awhile longer. The acceptable amount of brindling will vary from very sparse (mostly fawn with very few stripes) to heavy (to the extent that black appears to be the base coat with fawn striping) and anywhere in between. Sometimes brindles have a definite mid-line. On these brindles you will find good, strong stripes on one side and very light makings on the other.

All of these Danes are brindles and they can produce fawns and brindles when bred to a fawn or brindle. When you breed a brindle to a brindle, you can get fawns and brindles and you may get dominant brindles. Dominant brindles produce brindles only, even when bred to a fawn. It is impossible to tell beforehand what color the brindles in a litter will be. Perfectly marked brindles can produce dark or light brindles – or both. Dark brindles (including onyx/reverse brindles) and lighter brindles can produce perfectly marked brindles. It is like tossing the dice.

A little side note on brindle personality. Many of us who have owned them soon find out that they have a personality that is a little different from fawns. They are very silly and have a sense of humor.

No matter where your brindle falls in the color pattern, he or she is still a brindle Great Dane and surely just as beautiful and lovable as any Great Dane.

Essay ©2002 Dale Suzanne Tarbox, Sandale Great Danes

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