Tri-Color Pitbull Breed Information: Color, Patterens & Genetics

Tri-color Pitbulls is a new and rare type of American Pitbulls and bully breed dogs. These Pitbulls have three colors on their coat: black, white, tan, Lilac, red, fawn, chocolate, or blue in an excellent patterned trio.

There are no proven links between these markings and aggressive tendencies, but they might be less healthy than other fur types.

What Does Tri-Color Mean in Dogs?

A Tri-color Pitbull is just a regular Pitbull with a different coat color variation of the Pitbull. These Pitbulls have a coat made of three colors and not two like most Pitbulls.

This variety is scarce compared to other types of Pitbulls. Each pattern is unique because the three colors will differ for every dog. Usually, a Tri-color pattern consists of a base color that is either black, blue or Lilac.

The remaining two colors can be any combination of fawn, tan, brindle, blue, white, brown, seal, and red.

The most common Tri-color Pitbull combination is black, white, and brown. White will never be missing, regardless of which combination appears on their coat.

One important thing to remember is that the term Pitbull is not used for a single dog breed but rather a single name for four types of Bully breeds:

  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • American Bully
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • American Pitbull Terrier

All four of these bully breeds can come in a tri-color pattern.

Initially, breeders avoided this color pattern since it would make people think the dog was a mix. However, the popularity and demand for these dogs have sky-rocketed over the last twenty years.

Breeders now go to great lengths to carefully and selectively breed Pit Bulls of different colors to get a Tri-color. Despite their current popularity, the history of Pitbull is full of horror stories.

Pitbull dogs get a bad name for being aggressive because of their first job as bull baiters and fighting dogs. However, the truth is that Pitbulls are some of the sweetest and most affectionate dogs.

As the positivity of Pitbulls continues to increase, so does the popularity of the tri-color.

Characteristics of Tri-Color Pitbull

1. Weight & Height

Tri-Color Pitbulls weigh somewhere between 30 to 70 pounds. On average, the height of Tri-color Pitbulls is 16 to 21 inches. Females are usually smaller than males, but not by much.

2. Build

Pitbull dogs are pretty muscular since they were bred to take on larger prey animals. Although Pitbulls have lean muscles, they are so clearly visible on the body that you can trace every muscle.

Pitbulls have smooth, short coats that shed very lightly, so they rarely need grooming and bathing.

3. Facial Features

The heads of Pitbull dogs are proportionately built to complement the body. It is muscular and robust but looks good with its lower muscular body. The neck is thick and medium length with little patches of white or tan.

Pitbulls’ ears and facial features vary quite a bit, so small- to medium-sized ears are normal. They are usually wholly pricked but have a slight drop near the tip, similar to a bulldog.

4. Temperament and Character

The Tri-color Pit Bull is a friendly breed with a zest for life. They are often pleased dogs that get along with just about anyone. Their adaptability makes them great for families, as they take rambunctious toddlers with stride.

They can put up with many children, making them great family dogs. Many were called “nanny dogs” due to their close and easy relationship with children. They are typically very reliable with people due to their friendly nature.


The Tri-Color Pitbull is relatively intelligent and has a high drive to work. They love competing in just about any canine sport. They’ll be happy if they do something alongside their people.

Despite some misconceptions, these dogs do not make good guard dogs. They are noisy and typically bark when they see a stranger outside. However, this is more about their excitement at meeting a new friend than aggression.

They can be good alert dogs due to their cautious nature but don’t expect them to act aggressively towards strangers entering the home. They’ll likely greet them with some licks.

While these dogs have been the target of breed-specific legislation over the years, they are less likely to be aggressive than other breeds. Human aggression is a disqualifying factor for show dogs, so breeders must carefully remove aggressive dogs from the breeding pool.


Some statistics show Pitbulls as more likely to bite humans, but that is not the whole picture. Other breeds are more likely to be mistaken as Pitbulls, especially when aggression is involved. Even vets and animal shelter workers are more likely to mislabel other breeds as Pitbulls.

If you’re throwing several breeds into the Pitbull category, it will artificially increase the bite statistics for this breed. Many more aggressive breeds, like the Cane Corso, are often mislabeled as Pitbulls.

Other studies with purebred, correctly labeled dogs have shown no correlation between a dog’s breed and its aggression level. Socialization often plays a more significant role. You can make any breed aggressive if you do not socialize them correctly.

At the same time, even aloof and more aggressive breeds can be made friendly through socialization. It’s all about what the dog experiences at a young age.

Many people claim that the Tri-Color Pitbull is more prone to dog aggression. You’ll find this common claim across many popular dog websites. However, studies have found that this is not true. Many Pitbulls interact very well with other dogs.

5. Coat and Colors Varieties

Pitbull dogs have a huge range of possible colors. In their breed standard: black, brown, blue, fawn, black brindle, brown brindle, blue brindle, white, liver, red, and fawn sable are all accepted. Tri-color Pitbulls can come in any of these colors and combinations.

All Pitbull Tri-color combinations are produced through careful selective breeding techniques. Breeders breed together Pit Bulls with the desired colors until they get the tri-color Pit Bull they require.

Each combination of tri-color is named after the base color of its coat. Black is the most common combination; however, liver, blue, purple, Lilac, and merle also exist. Below is a list of a few of the most popular patterns.

Black Tri-Color Pitbull

Black Tri-Pitbull is undoubtedly the most common type of tri-color Pitbulls. The base color is black, and the two colors most likely to appear on their coat are tan and white around their chest, neck, and legs.

Tan markings are usually over the dog’s eyes and nose. White is generally on the paws or stomach.

Liver or Chocolate Tri-Color Pitbull

Chocolate tri-color Pit Bulls have a creamy, shiny brown coat. The tan emerges like patches of a lighter brown shade on the face, legs, and chest. White is usually under the neck and chest.

Merle Tri-Color Pitbull

A Merle tri-color Pitbull often looks like it has more than three colors because the Merle pattern itself is made of multiple colors. Merle Pitbulls can be a range of color patterns, including red, blue, and fawn merle.

The merle forms the coat’s base color, and white and tan are found in patches under the neck and on the chest. In contrast to other tri-colors, the merle Pitbull usually has blue eyes or one blue eye and one brown eye because the merle gene dilutes the eye color.

Some studies associate the Merle gene with poor health and deafness. However, more evidence still needs to be acquired to make an absolute conclusion, as tri-color merle Pitbulls are a new breed.

Lilac Tri-Color Pitbull

Tri-color Pitbulls are already rare because of the difficulty of breeding them, but the Lilac Pitbull is rare among tri-colors. The rarity is because the lilac color itself is not standard in Pitbulls.

Tri-color Pitbulls with this coat has a solid lilac base color with patches of tan around their nose, ears, paws, and hindlegs. White is commonly found around their neck.

Dogs with lilac coats have blue or light grey eyes instead of the typical dark brown ones.

6. Genetics and Breeding

The Genetics behind the colors of the coat is complex as various genes combine to make the tri-color pattern. Which colors and patterns your dog has will depend on the combination of genes and their effects.

The high demand for tri-color dogs has forced breeders over the last two decades to breed for these dogs selectively.

Breeders undergo a strenuous process of selectively breeding Pitbulls of different colors and possible candidates with recessive genes to get the tri-color combination. Some people believe that tri-colors are produced from crossbreeding other dogs with Pitbull. A typical example is the Pitbull & Rottweiler mix.

But, Tri-color genes are rare and recessive in Pitbulls, making it extremely hard to breed such dogs. Both parents must pass the tri-color gene to their puppies to have a tri-color coat.

The recessive nature of the genes makes the production of tri-color Pitbulls so tricky; it could take breeders generations to get the tri-pattern they desire, especially if they search for a specific color.

7. Socializing

Tri-color Pitbulls are intelligent and social animals, and they need to interact with other humans and dogs for mental stimulation and behavior learning. If you properly socialize your Pitbull, it will never develop aggression or social anxiety.

Take your Tri-color Pitbull to the dog park or enroll him in doggy daycare to let him socialize with other dogs and learn manners. Do this for at least 30 minutes a day.

8. Training and Exercise

Tri-color Pitbulls also require training like any other dog, but their high intelligence makes them very easy to train. They are sometimes stubborn, but that rarely hinders them from exercising.

You can ask for help from a professional trainer or take your puppy to a doggy school, but if you want to do it yourself, here are a few tips:

Teach essential command words: Use primary keywords, such as Stop, Sit, Wait, etc.,  consistently each time you train your Pitbull, and use positive reinforcement and small treats as a reward.

Crate: Buy a crate and gently get the Tri-color Pitbull puppy into it. The crate will eventually become their nest, and they will sleep there. You will have to lock the cage in the early days so they know they have to sleep there, and it is helpful to experience when you need to transport it.

Walking on a leash: Voice commands and road awareness is essential for a Tri-color Pitbull puppy’s safety.

Potty training a Pitbull: May be hit and miss for any new puppy who gets easily excited and lacks control; however, products are available, such as mats and odor sprays, to attract the puppy to go to the same spot each time.

Eventually, the puppy, with your help, will learn where and where not to go. They will ultimately become creatures of habit and regulate their need and place to use.

How Do You Care for A Tri-Color Pitbull Dog?

To care for your Tri-Color Pitbull dog, you need to do the following things:

1. Exercise

Pitbulls were initially bred for hunting and blood sports, so they are strong and active with much stamina. Give your Tri-color Pitbull 1 to 2 hours of exercise and activities.

So plan on plenty of walking, jogging, hiking, training, and playing with your Pitbull. Additionally, Pitbulls are highly intelligent, meaning they need mental stimulation.

So puzzle food toys might help you entertain your cute little friend and burn off any extra energy simultaneously.

2. Food

Feed a medium-sized dog average of 2 cups of dry dog food daily, depending on their activity level. They have solid stomachs and eat almost all wet and dry dog food types. Feed your Pitbull twice a day to prevent bloating.

As this is a muscular-build dog, it’s recommended that at least 20% of its diet be protein-based to maintain its muscle structure. Some Pitbull dogs are allergic to soy, corn, and wheat, primarily grains. So watch out for allergic reactions.

Also, make sure to feed your Tri-color Pit Bull a mixture of wet and dry food and give them loads of water after a workout or exercise, as they are heavy sweaters.

Note: Any sudden change in diet or dog food brand can cause diarrhea in a dog, so you must make any changes slowly. If you are changing the brand of dry food, mix some of the new with the original and increase the new brand gradually.

3. Grooming and Cleaning

Pitbulls, as a breed, have short coats that shed moderately, and since the hairs are so fast, you will probably not even notice any fallen hair around the house. They are not hypoallergenic because the coats are single, so you don’t have to worry about them blowing their strands around.

You only have to brush your Tri-color Pitbull’s coat once a week and bathe them every month in the summer and once every six months in colder seasons.

4. Bathing and Washing

Pitbull breed sweats a lot and will need regular showers. They have sensitive skin under their short coat, so gentle shampoos are recommended when bathing.

Certain dog shampoos have a double advantage by cleaning the dog coat and defending it against fleas and insect bites.

5. Cleaning Teeth, Nails, and Ears

Look after their teeth to prevent plaque build-up. Chewing breaks down plaque, so use doggie chew toys, bare-bones and soft toothbrushes, and toothpaste.

Nails grow quickly, and you must trim them regularly, say once a month, and check for debris that may cause infection. Their small floppy ears, sometimes called ‘half prick,’ must be checked weekly for dirt build-up or disease as this dog likes to play and roll about in grass and earth.

How Much Does a Tri-Color Pitbull Cost?

On average, you can pay about $1,750 to $2,500 when purchasing one from a reputable breeder.

Sometimes they are expensive, but this is influenced by factors such as the breeder’s quality and the dog’s bloodline. Standard Pitbulls cost between $750 and $1,000.

Fun Facts About Tri-Color Pitbull Dogs

1. Tri-Color Pitbulls Have the Ability to Change color

The colors of a Tri-Color Pitbull puppy can change over time. As the puppy grows, its base color may also change shade.

You might get a puppy with a lilac coat, but the coat color could become slightly darker with time to black or purple. Discuss this with the breeder before purchasing a puppy if you want a specific color.

2. Lilac and Blue Tri-Color Pitbulls Are Rarest

Since Pitbulls need two sets of Tri-color genes to produce the tri-color trait, these dogs are scarce. Yet, even within that pool of Pitbulls, some colors are more difficult to find than others.

Colors like blue, merle, and Lilac are the rarest among Tri-color Pitbulls. So, it will be easier for you to find a black tri-color Pitbull.

3. A Recessive Gene Causes Their Pattern

Pitbull puppies can only be tri-colored if they inherit the necessary recessive gene from both parents. Some concerns selecting a specific gene, especially a recessive gene, can cause health problems.

While risks are involved with selective breeding and linebreeding, there is no evidence to suggest that tri-color dogs are any less healthy due to their recessive genes.

However, purchasing from reputable breeders helps ensure the parents are genetically free from any disorders and tested thoroughly.

4. Give Them Attention

Pitbulls are family-oriented dogs and love attention, meaning they will always want to stick with you. You must prepare to give this breed the time and love commitment it deserves.

If left alone for long periods, a Pitbull can develop separation anxiety, leading the dog to express destructive behaviors like chewing on things in the house.

Families that are very active, and can spend a lot of time with their dogs, are suitable for this breed. Pitbulls might not be for everyone, but for families wanting this breed, the tri-color Pitbull is a perfect fun-loving companion.

First-time owners, or owners who only have a little time, might need help to care for a tri-color.

5. Tri-Color Pitbulls Are Expensive

Tri-color Pitbulls are not just rarer; they are also more expensive than most Pitbulls. On average, you can pay about $1,750 to $2,500 when purchasing one from a reputable breeder.

Although they can sometimes go for a higher price, this is influenced by factors such as the breeder’s quality and the dog’s bloodline. Standard Pitbulls cost between $750 and $1,000.

6. They Are Intelligent

Tri-color Pitbulls are brilliant and highly trainable. However, training them would help if you still had patience and consistency.

They also need a lot of socialization to get to know kids, other humans, and other dogs and learn what friendly behavior is.

When training and exercising a tri-color Pitbull might take up much of your time, at least you do not have to groom them so much. These tri-color dogs have short hair. They only need to be lightly brushed once about every week or so.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Rarest Color of a Pitbull?

The Blue Fawn is the rarest color of the Pitbull breed. It results from a homozygous recessive gene, which can only happen if both parents have that gene.

In addition to being the rarest color, Blue Fawn Pitbull is the most expensive, costing almost $5000 for a puppy.

Are Tri-Color Pitbulls Rare?

Tri-color Pitbulls were regarded as impure dogs, and breeders avoided breeding them, rendering the gene responsible for Tri-colors recessive.

All of this made the Tri-color Pitbulls rare, and now it is hard to breed them even intentionally. Tri-color Pitbulls are purebreds, and the color gene is part of their genetic makeup. It is just hidden.

What Breed is a Tri-Color?

A tri-color Pitbull is just a normal Pitbull with three colors combination on the coat. All other physical and mental characteristics are the same as any Pitbull.

Tri-colors are rare in Pitbull, American Bullies, Staffordshire Terriers, and Bully breeds, but it is common in Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Beagle, Bernese Mountain Dog, and many more.


Pitbulls come in many colors, and tri-colors are one of them. Many people confuse Tri-color Pitbulls as an entirely different breed which is incorrect.

They are a loving, affectionate, caring, loyal, and fun breed, as they would love nothing more than to please their owner and the family.

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