Everyone recognizes a chocolate dog with distinct chocolate colour on the body, whether it's solidly coloured or patterned (Irish Pied, Particolour, Piebald, Chocolate&Tan and Chocolate Tricolour). All the possibilities that exist in black also exist in brown including the chocolate sables, brindles etc. Seeing as Brindles and Sables have only brown streaking or tipping rather than definite brown patches, these dogs cause some confusion.
Like black-pigmented dogs, the undercoat of the Chocolate sable or brindle can be any shade of cream, champagne, gold or red. The Sable tipping and the Brindle stripes will be brown and the pigment will be liver. The Sable or Brindle can be all over or in patterns like an Irish Pied or patches like a Parti or Piebald. As we have seen in black pigmented Sables, the dogs can lighten significantly as they mature; the same is true for Chocolate Sables. The adult dog may have little brown left as an adult, perhaps just tipping in the ears and tail. All the above contribute to the confusion as the dogs do not appear obviously chocolate. The extent of sabling, from sparse to extensive also affects the overall appearance.
This is Liana, littermate to Laguna on the previous page. Looking at the adult pictures, you might assume that Liana is a liver pigmented clear dog, just a shade lighter than her sister. But this is not so, Liana is Sable. Some sables have very little tipping, sometimes only on their ears and tail which gives prominence to the undercoat colour. If you look closely at Liana's puppy picture, you can see the chocolate tipping in her ears. Hard to identify correctly, she could perhaps be called a Light Red Sable with chocolate tipping and liver pigment or simply a Chocolate Sable.
Isabella is coloured and patterned similarly to Liana above. She has a brown nose and light golden/green eyes. She has brown sable tipping through her face and ears but very little anywhere else on her body. These photos show Isabella at 6 weeks and at 9 months. In between times, most of her chocolate brown tipping disappeared leaving just some dusky brown shadings on her ears.
This is Natalie, another chocolate Sable but a very different look from Liana above. Natalie has a golden undercoat and plenty of chocolate sabling/tipping all over. She was quite dark at birth, deep sable throughout with just small touches of white on her chest and feet. In the second photo, Natalie is three months old. An updated photo will be posted once Natalie grows up.
Pegasus has a rich red base coat with strong chocolate brown tipping all over, of course with matching liver pigment. As a young puppy, he had a very dark dorsal stripe with deeper brown areas on his rump and tail. As his coat grows, Pegaus shows a tone on tone richly colour-layered coat.