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Chow Chow Colours and Coat Types

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.

solid colour
- Black

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.

solid colour -
cream

Cream Chow Chows

The solid colour cream has biscuit coloured ears and black nose pigment with some pinkish hue to it. 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. Eyes are be dark brown. Gums on creams are pink. Coat can vary from near white to light red. A red with a dudley/pinkish nose is a dark cream. The cream puppy should preferably have a solid black nose, since it only goes pinker with age. By 18mths or older, the nose on all creams will be dudley/pinkish.

solid colour
- red

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.

solid /Dilute
colours

Solid and Dilute Coloured Chows

For purposes of this page, solid colours refer to colours which have not been subjected to the effects of a dilution gene. Black is a dominant and can carry every other colour as a recessive. Cream can produce black and red, but is a recessive in that both parents need to carry the gene. Red is recessive to Black and Cream. Current genetic research indicates that the vast majority of Chows are carriers of the Red gene. Dilute colours refer to colours which have been subjected to the effects of a dilution gene. . The dilution gene is a recessive and needs to be present in both parents to produce a dilute colour.

dilute colour
- Blue

Blue Chow Chows

The result of the dilute gene's effect on 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.

dilute colour
- cream

Dilute Cream Chow Chows

The dilute gene's influence on cream results in a 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 a blueish grey and the tongue a medium blue. Eyes are 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.

dilute colour - fawn/cinnamon

Fawn or cinnamon Chow Chows

The fawn/cinnamon is a result of the influence of the dilute gene on the red coat. The 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. 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.

coat types
rough/smooth

Smooth and rough Chow Chows

Smooth is a dominant gene (termed the "wild" gene). For the breeder this interprets that one of the parents has to be smooth in order to produce smooth puppies. (very rare exceptions exist). A smooth Chow can produce both rough and smooth offspring if it carries the rough gene and/or is bred to a rough partner. Rough is a recessive gene and needs to be present in the genetics of both parents. Both coat types can vary in coat length, whilst still staying true to their variety. This is both acceptable and natural.

Black

  • Black Chow with silver/grey shadings

    Black Chow Chow with grey in tail/breeches. Natural and acceptable variation.

  • Black Chow Chow with sun discolouration

    Black Chow Chow with sun discolouration of hair ends. Natural and acceptable cyclic occurence.

  • Black Chow Chow puppy

    Black Chow Chow puppy at 9 weeks with correct tongue pigmentation.

Blue

  • Blue Chow Chow witih silver/grey shading

    Blue Chow Chow with silver in tail/breeches. Natural and acceptable variation.

  • Blue Chow Chow with sun discolouration of coat

    Blue Chow Chow pup with sun discolouration of hair. Natural and acceptable cyclic occurence.

  • Blue Chow Chow puppy

    Blue Chow Chow puppy at 10 weeks with correct tongue pigmentation.

cream

  • Cream Chow Chow with good pigment

    Solid cream Chow Chow with excellent pigmentation, biscuit ears and black lips.

  • Dilute Cream Chow Chow

    Dilute cream Chow Chow with typical tongue colour, grey lips and fawn ears.

  • Cream Chow Chow puppy with good pigment

    Solid cream Chow Chow puppy at 12 weeks with correct, complete tongue pigmentation.

fawn/cinnamon (same colour)

  • Cinnamon Chow Chow

    Dark fawn (as in the spice cinnamon)Sun discolouration on mane is a natural and acceptable cyclic occurence.

  • Fawn Chow Chow

    Light fawn. Tongue pigment on fawns usually fades on the edges after 4yrs of age.

  • Fawn Chow Chow puppy

    Light fawn Chow Chow puppy 8 wks - grey hue to the coat disappears in adulthood. Ideally tongue should be wholly coloured at this age.

red

  • Selfred Chow Chow

    Self-red Chow Chow. Deep mahogany red all over the entire body. Sun discolouration may lead to an acceptable orange tinge on mane & tail.

  • Shaded Red Chow Chow

    Shaded red Chow Chow. Comes in various shades of red on body with very light tail and mane.

  • Red Chow Chow Puppy

    Shaded red Chow Chow puppy about 4 mths with excellent pigmentation. Puppy coat frequently light compared to adult colouring.

The information on this page has been compiled from articles by geneticists in this field as well as input kindly supplied by respected chow chow breeders internationally. Further reading on colour & colour genetics in Chow Chows:

XinFeng - Netherlands: Color genetics of the Chow Chow

Chow Chow Coat Colour - based on DNA

Dog Genetics

Is my chow chow red, fawn or cream? Note the differences!

Descriptions of chow chow colours in small puppies

Pictures of rough & smooth adults in 5 colours