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Chow Chow Colors: 7 Stunning Variations with Pictures

Written by: Ejay Camposano
A college graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ejay has a diverse background that combines technical expertise with a passion for pets and is now one of the content writers at IHD. Read more
| Published on May 5, 2024

The Chow Chow is a breed distinguished not only by its lion-like appearance and unique blue-black tongue but also by its remarkable range of coat colors. This sturdy dog from ancient China serves as a fascinating example of how varied canine coat colors can be within a single breed. Known for their dense double coats, Chow Chows offers prospective owners a palette of colors that include several shades not commonly found in many other dog breeds. This article explores seven stunning coat color variations of the Chow Chow, delving into the distinctiveness and appeal of each color, which helps highlight their personalities and the breed’s majestic beauty.

1. Red

Red is perhaps the most iconic color of the Chow Chow, ranging from a light golden rust to a deep mahogany. This color beautifully highlights the Chow Chow’s dense, fluffy coat, making the breed look even more like a regal lion. Red Chow Chows are particularly striking when the sunlight catches their thick fur, enhancing their imposing stature and proud demeanor. The popularity of the red Chow Chow is also boosted by traditional images and statues in China, where the breed is often depicted in this vibrant color, symbolizing good fortune and protection.

2. Black

Black Chow Chows are a stunning sight, with their lush, glossy coats absorbing light and giving them a mysterious aura. Unlike many other breeds, where black might be common, black Chow Chows stand out due to their voluminous fur and stark contrast against their tongue’s distinctive color. These dogs can appear intimidating but are just as loyal and affectionate as their lighter-colored counterparts. The black coat also does an excellent job of hiding dirt, making them surprisingly practical despite their appearance of high maintenance.

3. Blue

Blue Chow Chows have a unique dilute black color that gives them a striking bluish appearance. This rare coat color is a result of a genetic dilution that affects the black pigment in their fur. Blue Chows are known for their calm demeanor and often have a softer coat texture compared to other colors. This mystical color can vary from a deep slate to a lighter silvery blue, often accompanied by a matching blue or slate-colored nose, giving them an almost otherworldly look.

4. Cream

Cream Chow Chows exhibit a soft, almost white coat with shades that can range from a very light blonde to a deeper warm cream. This color can sometimes be confused with white, especially in puppies, but it typically deepens as the dog matures. Cream Chows are especially popular for their softer appearance, which contrasts with the breed’s typically stern expression, offering a more subdued but equally luxurious coat that appeals to many dog lovers seeking a less common variant.

5. Cinnamon

Cinnamon Chow Chows have a warm, reddish-brown color that can range from a pale, sandy hue to a rich, deep spice. This color variation can sometimes be mistaken for a faded red but stands on its own with its unique glow. The cinnamon color provides a stunning autumnal look, making these dogs particularly photogenic as they resemble the changing colors of fall leaves. Their eye-catching coat also does a fantastic job of highlighting the lush, deep texture that is so characteristic of the Chow Chow.

6. Fawn

Fawn Chow Chows are another lighter color variation, characterized by a yellowish-tan coat that often has a grayish undertone. This subtle yet beautiful shade is less common and provides a soft contrast to the Chow Chow’s bold features. Fawn Chows often have a serene appearance, and their light coat brings a certain brightness to the breed’s sturdy build and scowling face, making them appear friendlier and more approachable.

7. White

White Chow Chows are rare and possess an ethereal beauty, with a pure snowy coat that makes them stand out in any setting. This striking coloration requires more maintenance to keep it clean and pristine but offers a majestic look that is hard to overlook. White Chows can have a magical presence, particularly in winter settings where their coat matches the snowy landscape, providing a breathtaking view.

The Chow Chow’s variety of coat colors not only highlights the breed’s fascinating genetic diversity but also adds to its appeal as both companion animals and show dogs. From the deep, luxurious black to the rare and enchanting white, each color variation brings something special to the breed’s personality and aesthetic. These colors enhance the Chow Chow’s natural aloofness and dignity, making each one a unique treasure within the dog world. Whether you prefer the boldness of red or the subtlety of cream, there is a Chow Chow color that can captivate any dog enthusiast’s heart.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chow Chow Colors

1. What are the most common coat colors for Chow Chows?

The most common coat colors for Chow Chows are red and black. Red, which ranges from light golden to deep mahogany, is iconic and highly sought after, often symbolizing good luck and protection in Chinese culture. Black Chow Chows are admired for their glossy, striking fur that gives them a majestic appearance. Both colors are popular not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their cultural significance and the way they enhance the breed’s lion-like appearance.

2. Are blue Chow Chows blue?

Blue Chow Chows aren’t blue in the traditional sense; they have a unique coat color that is a diluted form of black, giving them a dark bluish-gray appearance. This dilution is caused by a genetic variant that affects the distribution of pigment in the fur. The blue color is subtle and can range from a slate gray to a silvery blue, often accompanied by a matching blue or slate-colored nose, which enhances their mystical and rare appearance.

3. How rare are cream Chow Chows?

Cream Chow Chows are less common than the traditional red or black varieties. The cream color ranges from a very light blonde to a deep warm cream, and unlike pure white Chows, it often retains a hint of yellow or beige in its coat. This color is particularly popular among those who prefer a softer-looking Chow Chow, as the lighter shade contrasts beautifully with the breed’s stern facial expression and provides a less intense alternative to the more common darker colors.

4. Can Chow Chows be white?

White is a rare and ethereal color for Chow Chows. It is not as commonly seen as other colors and can be striking when found. White Chow Chows require diligent grooming to maintain the brightness of their coat, which can be prone to staining. The white coat gives these dogs a majestic and pure look, making them stand out dramatically against any backdrop, especially in snowy environments where they appear almost magical.

5. What is a cinnamon Chow Chow?

A cinnamon Chow Chow has a warm, reddish-brown coat that resembles the spice after which it is named. This color can vary significantly, from a pale, sandy hue to a deep, rich brown. Cinnamon is less common than red or black but is appreciated for its unique and beautiful shade that catches the light and enhances the plush texture of the Chow’s double coat. This color variation stands out in autumn, mimicking the natural colors of the season.

6. What determines the color of a Chow Chow’s coat?

The color of a Chow Chow’s coat is determined by its genetics. The breed has a variety of coat color genes that interact to produce different colors and shades. The primary pigment eumelanin is responsible for producing black, blue, and cinnamon colors, while pheomelanin creates red and cream shades. The dilution gene can modify these pigments to create lighter or darker variations, such as blue or fawn, depending on the combination of genes present.

7. Do Chow Chows’ coat colors change as they grow?

Chow Chows’ coat colors can change slightly as they grow from puppies to adults. It is not uncommon for Chow Chow puppies to lighten or darken as they develop their adult coat. For example, a black Chow Chow puppy may have a lighter coat when born and darken as it matures. Similarly, a red Chow Chow might start with a very bright hue and deepen into a rich mahogany as it ages.

8. Are there any health issues associated with certain Chow Chow colors?

There are no specific health issues directly linked to the color of a Chow Chow’s coat. However, like many breeds with dilute coat colors, blue and fawn Chow Chows can sometimes be susceptible to color dilution alopecia, a condition that causes thinning hair and sensitive skin. Regardless of coat color, all Chow Chows need to receive regular veterinary care and grooming to maintain their health and the condition of their coat.

9. How does sunlight affect the coat color of a Chow Chow?

Sunlight can cause the coat color of a Chow Chow to fade over time, especially in darker-colored Chows. Prolonged exposure to the sun can bleach the fur, making black coats appear brownish and red coats turn a lighter shade. To prevent significant fading, it’s advisable to limit your Chow Chow’s exposure to direct sunlight for extended periods and to use canine sunscreen products if spending a lot of time outdoors.

10. Which Chow Chow color is most preferred for dog shows?

In dog shows, the preference for Chow Chow colors can vary depending on the judge’s criteria and the standard set by the kennel club under which the show operates. However, red and black Chow Chows are generally favored because these colors are vivid, provide excellent contrast to highlight the dog’s features, and are traditional for the breed. Judges often look for rich, well-maintained coats that reflect the breed standard and enhance the dog’s natural lion-like appearance.