10 Orange Dog Breeds to Brighten Your Day

10 Orange Dog Breeds to Brighten Your Day

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.

10 Orange Dog Breeds to Brighten Your Day10 Orange Dog Breeds to Brighten Your Day

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!

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.

1. Vizslas

Delia Curtis

  • 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 her 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.”

2. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Jagoda Matejczuk/Getty Images

  • 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.

3. Chow Chow

Dara Katz

  • 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.

4. Shiba Inu

Lourdes Balduque/Getty Images

  • 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.

5. Irish Setter

David Oliver/Getty Images

  • 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.

6. Golden Retriever

Mike Brinson/Getty Images

  • 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.

7. Brittany Spaniel

Crispin la valiente/Getty Images

  • 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

8. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Dara Katz

  • 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.

9. Rhodesian Ridgeback

tkatsai/Getty Images

  • 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.

10. Pekingese

DevidDO/Getty Images

  • 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!

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