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Chow Chow Colours and Coat Types

The major difference between the rough and smooth coat:
Abscence on a smooth Chow of an apparent ruff (mane) and abscence of apparent feathering on tail & legs. Please note - no apparent ruff/feathering. When physically measured, the hair in these areas must be longer due to the purpose they have to fulfill - protecting vital body parts in cold weather. Being a double coated breed, both coat types must have a coarse outer coat and an abundantly dense undercoat. It is not permitted in the South African show ring to artificially enhance any of the colours, nor sculpt (scissor/cut) the coat to a desired shape, nor to show a shaved dog.

Enjoy our acclaimed series on judging the Chow Chow - used in judges education world wide
Study the highly recommended article by respected breed mentors internationally on correct Chow Chow Pigmentation.








  • Black Chow Chows
  • Blue Chow Chows
  • Cinnamon / Fawn Chow Chows
  • Cream Chow Chows
  • Red Chow Chows
  • White/Liver Chows?

Black Chow Chows


The black Chow Chow coat can be solid black, have grey shading in the breeches & on the tail, it can also show a naturally occuring reddish tinge from exposure to the sun and coat cycles. Nose and flews (lips) are black & eyes dark brown. Roof of the mouth & gums blue-black and the tongue dark blue. The puppy coat does not shine like the adult coat - due to different hair properties.


Rough & Smooth


Blue Chow Chows


A dilute (gene) of the black colour, the blue (grey colour) can be a solid blue colour, or can have grey shading on the tail and breeches, and can have a naturally occuring reddish tinge from exposure to the sun and coat cycles. The eyes are be medium in colour & nose will be slate (dark grey). Tongue and roof of the mouth are medium to dark blue. The flews (lips) and gums are a blue-grey colour. Puppy coat is soft to the touch compared to adult coat due to differing hair properties.


Rough & Smooth


Fawn (also known as cinnamon) Chow Chows


The fawn adult coat can vary from a very deep cinnamon (as in the spice) to a very pale sandy colour with a grey hue. It can be solid or have light shading on the tail and breeches. It is a dilute colour (gene). Eyes are medium brown and nose will be slate (dark grey). Flews (lips) and gums are blue-grey and tongue medium blue. The fawn puppy coat can vary from near silver to sandy with a distinct grey hue and sometimes also a grey muzzle.


Rough & Smooth


Cream Chow Chows


The cream appears either as a solid colour (in it's genetic expression) with biscuit coloured ears and black nose pigment with some pinkish hue to it, or a dilute colour (in it's genetic expression) cream with slate (dark grey) nose pigment with some pinkish hue to it and fawn coloured ears. From it's earliest history in the west, allowance is made for the nose being pinkish, (dudley). Tongue & palate are dark blue & flews (lips) black on a solid cream, whereas the palate and lips are a blueish grey and the tongue a medium blue on the dilute cream. Eyes are be dark brown on solid creams and medium brown on dilute creams. Gums on creams are pink. Coat can vary from near white to a very pale red. The cream puppy should preferably have a solid black/grey nose, since it only goes pinker with age. By 18mths or older, the nose on all creams will be dudley/pinkish.


Rough & Smooth


Red Chow Chows


The red coat can vary from a deep mahogany colour, also referred to as self-red, to a light golden colour, with lighter shading on tail, mane and breeches, also referred to as shaded red. The gums in most will be completely black. In all cases the tongue is dark blue, nose is black & eyes dark brown, flews (lips) are black and palate is dark. Red puppy coat is usually a faded colour. The puppy can have a dark muzzle and black tailtip.


Rough & Smooth


White Chow Chows?

Although white is mentioned in various breed standards, for the most part it appears to be understood to fall under the designation of cream, as those who originally drew up breed standards can no longer be asked to clarify the definition. It is interesting to note that internationally many breeders currently name a dilute cream, a white.


Chocolate/Liver Chow Chows?

There is no allowance in the breed standard for chow chows with a liver (brown) genetic expression. This is to protect the all important characteristics contributed by the black gene. The liver genetic expression does not allow for black genes in any form to be present anywhere in the chow chow.