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10 Orange Dog Breeds to Brighten Your Day

They’re not as rare as you think

Triptych of three orange dog breeds
Getty Images

I had never had a dog—let alone a pet—until my now-husband and I were strolling around Williamsburg after a leisurely brunch and passed by an event by Bad Ass Dog Rescue. There was a crate of puppies that had been rescued from a kill shelter all the way in Alabama, and we wiggled out one that just instantly spoke to us. A little orangey-red head, we initially named her Annie, as in Little Orphan Annie, but then quickly realized it might get confusing since our dear friend was also named Annie. So we went with Oakley, as in, Annie Oakley.

Home photo of orange dog breed puppy.
Dara katz

As the eight-week pup grew up and lost her puppy coat, she still kept a gorgeous copper coat, that in the right light had tones of reds, oranges and browns. Women on the street would stop us to snap a photo of Oakley to show their hair colorist!

Home photo of orange dog breed Oakley
Alisha Siegel

Lucky for everyone and their colorists, orange dog breeds are not very rare. In case you don’t happen to pass a rescue event today with a pile of orange puppies, here are ten orange dog breeds that are certain to brighten your day.

Home photos of orange dog breed Vizslas.
Delia Curtis

1. Vizslas

  • Height: 21-24 inches
  • Weight: 44-60 pounds
  • Personality: sensitive, loving and intense while at work (hunting); forms a strong bond with their human and hates being alone
  • Activity Level: bred to be hunting dogs, even older Vizslas need daily physical and mental exercise
  • Shedding Factor: medium-shedding
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Also known as the Hungarian Pointer, these high-energy sporting pups are affectionate and extremely bonded to their owners. In fact, they’ve been nicknamed “Velcro dogs” for the way they stick to their owners’ sides, writes Vizsla expert Carol C. Sommerfelt. It’s no surprise, then how assistant editor Delia Curtis remembers their orange-coated dog, Roppongi the Vizsla: “Roppongi was such an incredibly sweet dog and loyal to no end. He stuck to me and my family like glue—literally. He was always pressed up against us and snuggling with us in the mornings. I very vividly remember him sleeping with me most nights and him licking away at my legs and feet. He loved running at the dog park and would play until he tuckered himself out, catching balls and soaring through the air to snatch at them. Vizslas are incredibly soft, despite having a short coat, and I always loved rubbing his ears. They were the only parts of him that stayed orange even when he got old and gray. He was a lovable, ferocious beast and having him as a pet was never a dull moment.”

orange dog breeds Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Jagoda Matejczuk/Getty Images

2. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

  • Height: 17-21 inches
  • Weight: 35-50 pounds
  • Personality: can go from easy-going couch potato to energized retriever; adapted for water, they love to swim and are good with children
  • Activity Level: bred to be hunter and retriever dogs, they need lots of daily exercise and mental stimulation
  • Shedding Factor: medium-shedding
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Originally developed in Canada (shocker), this intelligent breed was built for hunting and retrieving waterfowl (again, shocker). Off the field, they’re energetic and playful, so owners should be ready to provide lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep these busy-bodies happy and healthy.

Home photo of orange dog breed Chow Chow.
Dara Katz

3. Chow Chow

  • Height: 17-20 inches
  • Weight: 45-70 pounds
  • Personality: dignified, serious-minded and aloof with strangers, Chow Chows were bred for Chinese aristocracy. They’re known to be as cleanly as cats, and can housetrain fairly easily
  • Activity Level: average—Chows don’t need extra special activity beyond normal 30-minutes a day of walking/playing
  • Shedding Factor: medium-shedding
  • Life Expectancy: 8-12 years

Is that a lion in the dog park? Nope. It’s a Chow Chow. One of the most distinctive orange dog breeds on the list, the Chow is known for its blue-black tongue and its mane that would give Mufasa a run for his money. Aloof and dignified, historians believe the breed dates back between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago either in China or the Arctic part of Asia.

orange dog breeds shiba inua
Lourdes Balduque/Getty Images

4. Shiba Inu

  • Height: 13.5-16.5 inches
  • Weight: 17-23 pounds
  • Personality: the Japanese breed is affectionate with family, bold and confident
  • Activity Level: daily walks and ideally a yard to exercise
  • Shedding Factor: medium-shedding
  • Life Expectancy: 13-16 years

Another orange dog breed that you might confuse at first glance for a completely different species—no, that’s not a fox. It's a Shiba Inu, an ancient Japanese breed that dates back to 300 B.C. In fact, “Shiba,” according to the AKC, refers to the dog’s reddish color. Though they’re Japan’s most popular dog now—and increasingly popular in the U.S.—the breed nearly went extinct during World War II.

orange dog breeds irish setter
David Oliver/Getty Images

5. Irish Setter

  • Height: 25-27 inches
  • Weight: 60-70 pounds
  • Personality: high-spirited, lovable, graceful and rambunctious, Irish Setters are eager to please and take well to training
  • Activity Level: a sporting dog, Irish Setters need plenty of exercise—including activities they can do in tandem with their owners, such as obedience training, tracking and more
  • Shedding Factor: medium-shedding
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

With its silky crimson coat, the Irish Setter has got looks. But it also has skills. Bred as gun dogs,  “ideal” breeds have strong hips and “excellent eyes,” Margaret Williams explains in her book about Irish Setters. Even if you’re not entering your Irish Setter as a show dog, the breed’s heritage means that lots of activity and play is a must.

orange dog breeds golden
Mike Brinson/Getty Images

6. Golden Retriever

  • Height: 21.5-24 inches
  • Weight: 55-75 pounds
  • Personality: adaptable, friendly, playful, trustworthy and eager to please, Goldens make fabulous family pets
  • Activity Level: puppies at heart, even into adulthood, energetic Golden Retrievers need ample daily exercise and embrace activities like swimming and fetch
  • Shedding Factor: medium-to-high shedding
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Tolerant, friendly and intelligent, we should all be more like Golden Retrievers. But as much as we’d want to cuddle with a Golden all day, the breed does need ample exercise considering they were bred to gingerly retrieve waterfowl and upland birds. Psst: Goldens typically love swimming, since they were bred with the physical strength, coat quality, balance and temperament to dive right in.

orange dog breeds brittany spaniel
Crispin la valiente/Getty Images

7. Brittany Spaniel

  • Height: 17.5-20.5 inches
  • Weight: 30-40 pounds
  • Personality: happy, alert, and attentive; they are enthusiastic and friendly with people and other dogs.
  • Activity Level: highly energetic, requires vigorous exercise daily; enjoys hunting, agility, and playtime.
  • Shedding Factor: medium-shedding
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Another “Velcro dog” on this list, Candace Darnforth writes in her Complete Guide to the Brittany that this orange and white breed makes great family dogs as well as therapy dogs as they can be trained to do just about anything Hunting dogs with lots of energy, they are also affectionate, friendly and great at spotting TK

orange dog breeds corgi
Dara Katz

8. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

  • Height: 10-12 inches
  • Weight: 25-30 pounds
  • Personality: intelligent, affectionate, and loyal; known for being good with children and other pets.
  • Activity Level: moderate to high; enjoys walks, playtime, and activities that engage their herding instincts.
  • Shedding Factor: medium-to-high shedding
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

A herding dog that’s shockingly agile for its short and stout appearance with large ears, I have yet to meet a Corgi I didn’t immediately fall in love with. Their playful, almost silly nature makes them fun family dogs—in fact, Queen Elizabeth II famously chose to keep her beloved Corgis by her side throughout her life.

orange dog breeds rhodesian ridgeback
tkatsai/Getty Images

9. Rhodesian Ridgeback

  • Height: 24-27 inches
  • Weight: 70-85 pounds
  • Personality: dignified, independent, and strong-willed; loyal and affectionate with family, but reserved with strangers.
  • Activity Level: moderate to high; requires regular exercise and enjoys activities such as running and hiking.
  • Shedding Factor: low shedding
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

A large and muscular hound, you can spot this orange breed by its distinctive ridge of hair along its back. Originating from what is now Zimbabwe, Ridgeback’s were bred as fierce lion hunters! So while they make great, loyal and sweet dogs for active families, they can wreak havoc if they don’t get enough activity, explains Tarah Schwartz in a book dedicated to the breed.

Orange dog breed Pekingese
DevidDO/Getty Images

10. Pekingese

  • Height: 6-9 inches
  • Weight: 8-14 pounds
  • Personality: loyal, affectionate, and regal; known for their independence and confidence. They can be aloof with strangers but are deeply devoted to their owners.
  • Activity Level: low to moderate; enjoys short walks and indoor play, but generally prefers lounging and being pampered.
  • Shedding Factor: high shedding; requires regular grooming to maintain their long, luxurious coat.
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Small, stubborn, and originally bred as companions for royalty, I like to refer to Pekingese dogs as walking ottomans (have you seen Westminster winnerWasabi???). And I can certainly co-sign all these traits, since they show up in my Pekingese mix rescue pup, Oakley. She’s a small, stubborn and fiercely loyal companion and boy does she like to cuddle up at my feet.

Summary: Which Orange Dog Breed Is Right for Me?

If you’ve decided on an orange dog breed, the next decision is to think about how a dog will best fit into your life. Are you active? Are you more of a couch potato? Do you live in the sprawling countryside or a four-story walkup in Manhattan? Are you up for the physical challenge of training a spry Rhodesian Ridgeback or would you be better suited to a Pekingese? Think about your lifestyle and how a dog would fit into it—and be realistic. Caring for a dog is no joke. Finally, have you considered rescuing a pup or even senior dog? I rescued my dog Oakley nearly 13 years ago, and it was one of the best decisions of my life—I wasn’t looking for an orange dog breed, but she kinda just walked into my life. Maybe the same will happen to you!

Frequently Asked Questions

How rare are orange dog breeds?

As you can probably tell by the aforementioned list, orange dog breeds are not very rare! After all, how many Golden Retrievers did you just see on your walk? Sure, many of these breeds come in a variety of colors, but orange coats are pretty frequent in the canine world. In fact, my own beloved pup, Oakley, has an orange coat. (She’s a Pekingese mix rescue pup—so even if your dog’s not a purebred, there are sure to be orange dogs in your local rescue facility.) 

Besides color, how do orange dog breeds differ from other dogs?

While the coat color of orange dog breeds can make them visually distinctive, their color is not really connected to other breed-specific traits. So, just because your congenial Corgi has an orange coat, doesn’t mean it should have a play date with a reticent orange Chow. 


DaraKatz

Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...