There are five acceptable colours in the Chow Chow, as well as two coat types. None of the Chow Chow colours or coat types are rare or more valuable than any of the others. 

 

COAT TYPE

There is a rough or long coated Chow Chow, and a smooth or short coated Chow Chow.

Both have a double-coat, with a long, harsh-textured outer coat and a soft, short, downy undercoat.  The undercoat protects them from rain and cold. 

 

 
       
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Smooth puppy (above) and smooth adult (below)
   
       
 
       
Rough puppy (below left) and rough adult (below right)
 
       

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COLOURS

The colour of a Chow Chow is determined by the colour of its outer coat. Though it must be noted that the colour of the outer coat is not a uniform colour, often black hairs are seen in the outer coat across the spectrum of colours and types.

A red or cinnamon Chow Chow's undercoat can vary in colour from nearly white to a very dark grey regardless of the colour of its outer coat. Blacks and blues usually have dark undercoats. Creams are cream all the way through to the skin.

Eyes on all colours of Chows should be as dark as possible. Nose colour is black with exception of cream and near white in which case a light-coloured nose is allowed and the blues and fawns could have a self-coloured nose.

In all the colours the puppy coat tends be dull in comparison to the adult coat.

 

 
       

Red
There is a wide range of acceptable red colours, ranging from a light shaded red to a deep solid mahogany. Red Chow Chows without any shadings are referred to as self-reds, Red Chow Chows with minimal shadings are referred to as dark red, and red Chow Chows with light shadings are called shaded reds.  Red puppies are born a mousy brown colour, usually with a black mask, which will eventually fade and is usually gone at maturity.

 

 
     

 

       

Black
Black Chow Chows without any shadings are referred to as self (or solid) blacks. A shaded black has acceptable silver shadings in the tail or breechings. Black Chows are born black. The coats of black Chow Chows can become bleached or rusted when kept outside or in the sun, leaving them with an unattractive reddish cast.

 

 
     

 

       

Cream
Can vary from an ivory, nearly white to a butterscotch colour. The solid cream colour tends to have biscuit or almost tan coloured ears, while the diluted cream's nose is often dark grey with lighter coloured ears. They are cream from birth. Cream puppies often don't have dark masks.  The nose in the cream, which may be black as puppies, almost always turns brown or dudley in maturity. 

 

 
     

 

       

Blue
Blue can range from a very dark bluish grey to a lighter silvery-bluish colour and can also appear in a solid or shaded blue. Often the muzzle and legs have a salt and pepper mixture of light and dark hairs, giving them a frosted look. As with the black, this colour can also rust in the sun. Blues are considered dilute colours. Blue is a genetically diluted form of black.

 

 
     

 

       

Cinnamon/Fawn
In some countries this colour is called fawn. Also known as cinnamon, the shade ranges from a light beige with a grey or pinkish cast to a darker shade that is not quite red. A true cinnamon adult has a salt and pepper mixture of light and dark hairs on its muzzle, giving it a noticeably frosted appearance. Cinnamons are often born a beautiful silvery colour, which usually disappears after a few weeks. Cinnamon puppies often have greyish masks that disappear at maturity. Cinnamons / fawns are considered dilute colours. Cinnamon / fawns are genetically diluted from the red.

 

 
     

 

       
 
         
 
       
Incorrect colour: black and tan
 
       
 
       
No, it's not a new colour variety - just a touch of creativity with a pot of black dye!
 
       
 
       

GENETICS

Cinnamons/fawns and blues are genetically recessive to the reds, blacks, and creams. The genes which create these dilute colours sometimes cause dilution of eye and tongue pigment as well, resulting in very light-coloured eyes and/or pale or spotted tongues. Those traits are undesirable. 

Both parents in a mating must carry a gene for a dilute colour for there to be any chance of producing a dilute puppy. Breeding dilutes together (blue to blue, cinnamon to cinnamon, blue to cinnamon) is usually discouraged because of the potential for diluting eye and tongue pigment in the puppies.  

Eyes on all colours of Chows should be as dark as possible.

 

 
       
 
       

TEMPERAMENT

Temperament is not dependent on colour. However, many foreign breeders who have specialised in the smooth variety say that the smooth Chow Chow is more amiable than the rough-coated dogs.

 

 
       
 
       

QUALITY

Don't be led to believe that certain colours or coat types are more desirable, valuable, healthy or better-tempered than others. Colour and coat type is a matter of personal preference. The quality of health, personality and appearance of your Chow Chow is far more important.

 

 
       
 
       

FURTHER READING:

 

 
       
 
                       
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