The Beagle is known for its curious personality, powerful sense of smell, big floppy ears, big cute eyes, fun-loving nature, gentle temperament, and loyal companionship. These and more characteristics have made this dog breed one of the most popular household pets. If you’ve decided to get one, you’ve made the right decision, but picking the right Beagle for you and your family goes beyond finding the right breeder.
Beagles are known for their beautiful coat with what seems like infinite color variations, patterns, and even markings. Appearance is often a factor for most people choosing a dog. And since beauty is subjective, the Beagle gives you plenty of options to find a suitable coat color that also matches your personality.
When you think of a Beagle’s coat, the first color that comes to mind is the classic black, tan, and white. But this dog breed actually comes in a huge array of colors and markings that each country’s registration association for the breed defines the different colors that are deemed as standard in that area. A widely accepted definition of the Beagle color possibilities is that they can be “any hound color,” which leaves much room for interpretation. We want to help you understand what to look for by walking you through what the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes, as well as non-standard colors and even rare ones. So let’s jump right in!
How Many Different Colors Of Beagles Are There?
As mentioned earlier, many registries for this dog breed define the Beagle coloring as any hound color, which makes the subject quite diverse. Most Beagles will come in variations of 10 basic colors, including black, blue, bluetick, brown, fawn, lemon, red, redtick, tan, and white. These dogs are rarely found in a solid color and will typically display various color combinations on one dog. They will have two colors at the very least but are tri-colored most of the time.
AKC recognizes 25 different color combinations, including the first 11 considered “breed standards,” or common colors. This includes:
- Black & Tan
- Black Red & White
- Black Tan & Bluetick
- Black Tan & White
- Black White & Tan
- Blue Tan & White
- Brown & White
- Brown White & Tan
- Lemon & White
- Red & White
- Tan & White
There are still more color possibilities, even with the ten basic colors that make up the 25 possible AKC colors. That’s because each color has shading; for instance, red can be light red, dusty, or deep, dark red. But that’s not all; Beagles can be found in various markings. The AKC recognizes six different markings of a Beagle’s coat, including black, brown, tan, and white markings, as well as spotted and ticked Beagles. These markings are further found in different types of color combinations, creating endless possibilities. Now, this just got confusing. Let’s just say, “No two Beagles are alike.”
Some of these color combinations are more common than others, so if you set your heart on a rare color scheme, it may be hard to find such a Beagle. Also, the colors and markings listed above are of pure breeds. Mixed-breed beagles can have different colors and patterns.
Non-Standard Beagle Colors & Combinations
Sometimes breeders describe coat colors in ways that the AKC doesn’t consider part of the breed’s standards. This is often an attempt to get you to pay more for what seems like a rare Beagle coat. For instance:
Chocolate: Beagles with darker shades of brown are often termed chocolate Beagles, but this is not an official color of a Beagle. These Beagles usually come under brown, tan, or fawn categories.
Silver: Silver describes Beagles with a blue-ish and light grey coat because of their shimmery appearance in the sunlight. But the AKC doesn’t recognize silver as a standard Beagle color. There could be a silver Beagle on some extremely rare occasions, but this is due to a genetic problem called Blue Alopecia.
Liver: The gene for this color changes black pigment into brown. Seeing as it’s a recessive gene, it will never disappear completely. The liver color is not recognized by the official Beagle standard because it causes the Beagle’s eyes to be a lighter color, which isn’t part of the breed’s standards.
Brindle: This isn’t even a hound color, rather the result of mixing a Beagle with another breed that’s thought to be Drevers. Needless to say, those with this color pattern are not considered truly Beagle.
How to Identify a Purebred Beagle
Both purebred and mixed Beagles are multi-colored, so how can you tell them apart? Well, no matter a Beagle’s color, all pure breeds have white color in their tail. Some will have an almost entirely whitetail, while others have a few white hairs at the tip. If you see a Beagle without any white in its tail, it’s most likely a mixed breed. That being said, there are other ways to identify a purebred Beagle. They are either 11 inches or 15 inches tall, have solid white paws, soft and silky coats, and long, droopy ears, just to name a few.
What Is The Rarest Beagle Color?
As mentioned earlier, some approved Beagle colors are popular, while others are vanishingly rare. Some more unusual color combinations that are approved include Blue Tick Beagles. These Beagles have a black or white base color speckled with blue or grayish spots across their coat. Blue Tick Beagles are purebred and not designer dogs, as some people think. However, it’s possible to get this color combination by crossbreeding a purebred Beagle and a blue tick Coonhound.
Another unique Beagle color is Lemon & White. This is an example of a color change. Puppies with this unique color combination appear white at birth, with lemon markings only visible as they grow. Some might even mature to have the standard Beagle colors red & white.
Tan/blue/black/white – Beagles with one solid color are the rarest of all colors since most come in bi- or tri-colors. These Beagles have to be all tan/blue/black/white or have a very minimal secondary color to be considered solid-colored Beagles.
Be careful of breeders who advertise certain colors and markings as rare. They’ll expect you to pay a premium for these rare colors. It’s possible that the Beagle puppies advertised as rare have been crossed with another dog breed to produce that unique coat color. In short, you’re paying a lot of money for a dog that’s not even pure breed.
In some instances, you may just be paying more for standard colors without realizing it. For example, Breeders advertising Beagles in lilac or lavender colors could simply be referring to a blue coat. Chocolate Beagles would be officially classified as brown, fawn, or tan.
What about the Ultra-Rare Merle-Colored Beagle?
Some breeders claim to have merle-colored Beagles, but this color variation simply doesn’t exist. Merle is not a color; in fact, it’s a type of dog coat patterning characterized by dark spots on light grayish or tan coats. While it may be considered a standard coat pattern for other breeds like the Sheltie or Sheepdog, it’s not an acceptable Beagle marking. It may look like ticking but is more pronounced, and the spots are irregular and have a mottled quality. Merles are not purebred Beagles, but most likely Beagles crossed with another dog breed. Such markings could also result from the undesirable Merle gene that also causes eye and ear problems. Lastly, if you’re a new dog owner, you might confuse the freckle pattern with the merle pattern. There’s a good chance you’re getting a blue/redtick Beagle and not a merle Beagle.
While there are many reputable breeders for Beagles, some are in it to make money in any way possible, including lying to you or taking advantage of your lack of knowledge. It’s important you research this dog breed, including the acceptable color variations, so you can find the right Beagle.
Are Beagles Tri-Color?
As mentioned earlier, Beagles are rarely found in a solid color. In fact, the only permitted solid color is white. And even this is very rare as those considered white often have small patches of a pale reddish color that’s barely visible from a distance. Beagles typically come in multiple colors with the two types of color combinations being tri- and bi-color coats. The most popular pattern is a white base or underbelly with another color(s) covering the head, hips, and trunk.
The tri-color gene is dominant, which is why tri-colored Beagles remain the most common. As the name suggests, these Beagles feature three primary colors. The tri-colors are usually black, tan, and white. The black can be shinny and might stay up forever or fade out as the dog ages. The white is pure white unless it’s a mottle, which is more cream. And the tan varies from red to pale tan. Some tri-colored puppies are born with slightly darker shades of black and white and develop the third color as they get older. Tri-color combinations of Beagles include:
- Black-Tan-Bluetick (rare)
- Black-Tan-Redtick (rare)
- Red-Black-White (rare)
The way the colors are listed, from the first to the last, determines the predominance of each color. Let’s use an example of the most common combination of tri-colored dogs, which is black-tan-white. The first color black is saddle, meaning you can expect it on the Beagle’s back. It will also extend towards the tail and up to the head and ears, as well as cover the sides. Tan will appear on the face, ears, and sometimes on the tail and legs. You can expect the third color, white, to be on the muzzle, chest, bottom, legs, and tip of the tail.
These have two colors on their coat. Most are born either wholly white or black, with the secondary color developing as they age. Lemon-white and Brown-white are the most popular bi-colors of Beagles. Rare coats for bi-colored Beagles include blue-white, black-white, and red-black. The first color in these bi-color combinations is pigmentation, and your dog will have markings of various sizes and placement on their coat. The second color is the base color. Expect a white base coat on all bi-colored Beagles, except for the black and tan.
Even after understanding the different color combinations of Beagles, it can be hard to tell what coat color your puppy will have when they are adults. It’s quite common for puppies to have a color change, so much so that breeders are allowed to change the color on their pup’s registration as many as three times. But even with that, it’s still possible for your adult Beagle to have a different coat color from the one listed on their registration.
As a Beagle gets older, its fur might lose pigment, lighten up, or in rare cases, darken. For instance, white might later turn to yellow, black to brown or red, etc. The colors will stop changing at maturity, which is about 18 months. It’s only then that you can be sure what color your dog truly is. While you can rely on the parents’ appearance to tell what coat color your pup will have, sometimes it can be something completely unexpected.
Beautiful Beagle Colors
Black Tan & White Beagle
This tri-color is the most popular color combination for these dogs. It’s the classic color scheme that makes you say, “Yes, that’s a Beagle.” These dogs are usually born with just black and white, and as they age, some black begins to fade, turning into a tan or brown color. Black covers most of the coat, starting from the Beagle’s back and curving around its belly with some rising as far as its tail. Tan patches will appear on the face, ears, and sometimes on the tail and legs, while the white can be seen on the neck, chest, muzzle, paws, and at the tip of its tail.
Tan and White Beagle
This is a classic bi-color variation of this dog breed with a basic tan and white coat. Unlike most Beagles, this one doesn’t have black on its back or body. They tend to have predominantly tan fur with white markings but can also have a relatively equal distribution of the two colors.
Black and Tan Beagle
With this popular color variation, the black fur is predominant as it covers the body/back, sides, across some of its face, and most of the ears and tail. The tan markings will be present on the tips of the tail, chest, rear end, legs, and some part of the face.
Lemon and White Beagle
This is a unique color combination for Beagles. These dogs will have white on their paws, tails, and muzzles, with various lemon-colored patches everywhere else. The lemon color here is a pale golden color that comes off as yellow in some lights. Be careful, though, because a lemon puppy might grow up to be a tan and white adult Beagle.
Red and White Beagle
This is quite similar to the Beagle above, although the pied patches are red instead of golden yellow. The shade of red can be anywhere from pale to deep chestnut.
White And Chocolate Beagle
These Beagles are true bi-colored without black tips on their hairs or even backs. They are predominantly white, and the chocolate here refers to darker shades of brown.
Black Tan & Bluetick Beagle
While it may not be very popular like the other colors on this list, the Black Tan & Bluetick Beagle is an outstanding color combination recognized by kennel clubs. These Beagles feature the typical black and tan color scheme but instead of white, they have blue-ish ticking across their body, bottom, legs, face, and tail tip. The word ‘ticking’ here describes the freckles on the dog’s coat. Note that ticking begins about three weeks after birth but may also appear much later.
Blue Tri-Color Beagle
These are also known as the Blue Tan and White Beagles. They look similar to the well-known Black-Tan-White Beagle, but the black here is diluted to form a blue-ish or silver color. The Blue Tri-Color Beagle has a unique aesthetic, which makes them among the most sought-after variation of Beagles.
Chocolate Tri-Color Beagle
This name is from the fact that the coat predominantly has chocolate brown fur. White markings are usually found on the chest, belly, and limbs, while tan markings will appear on the head and parts of the upper torso.