Black Chow Chow

Learn more about the solid black pattern in Chow Chows.

Is Black A Standard Color In Chow Chows?

The AKC and FCI accept black as an official breed standard color.

What Does A Black Chow Chow Look Like?

Black Chow Chows have a dominant black pattern.

They can be solid black or show some very pale silvery coat on their tail, shoulders, or trousers. This can be due to a lighter undercoat in some dogs or may sometimes be a seal pattern.

Sunbleaching and old coat (and maybe also seal) can cause “rusting” and give very reddish hues.

Black Chow Chow Nose Color

A dog’s nose gets its color only from its eumelanin pigment.

Dogs with a black-based pattern will always have a black nose. Also, any visible skin pigment like eye rims and lips and even the nails and paw pads will be black.

“Nose – Large, broad and black in color with well opened nostrils.”

AKC Breed Standard

Black Chow Chow Eye Color

Eye color is determined by pigment color and pigment density.

A black Chow Chow should have dark brown eyes.

“Eyes dark brown, deep set and placed wide apart and obliquely, of moderate size, almond in shape.”

AKC Breed Standard

Black Chow Chow Coat Type

Chow Chows are double-coated, they can be rough or smooth.

Long-haired black Chows with a “rough” coat produce a long offstanding outer coat with a soft and wooly undercoat. They will have a long ruff and lots of leg and tail feathering.

Short-haired black Chows with a “smooth” coat will not have a ruff and produce less undercoat. Their shorter outer coat forms a smooth dense layer with no obvious ruff or feathering.

Chow Chows are fixed for a non-furnished coat. However, a very small number of Chow Chows have a curly variant. This may produce a wavy to crimpy coat which is not exactly a desired trait in this breed.









Black Chow Chow Genetics

A black Chow Chow has a black-based dominant black pattern.

Basic Pattern

Solid black Chows are dominant black.

The A, K and E locus combined are responsible for a dog’s basic pattern. They tell pigment cells when and where to produce either eumelanin or phaeomelanin:

doesn’t matter

dominant black

normal pattern

K Locus

Black Chows have at least one copy of dominant black (KB/-) at their K locus .

Dominant black causes all hair pigment cells to produce only eumelanin.

This overrides the sable pattern (Ay/Ay) or any other pattern at a Chow Chow’s A locus.

E Locus

The E locus wild type (E/-) does not affect coat color. It just enables normal pattern expression

  • Ay/Ay
    • E/-
      • ky/ky
        • sable
      • KB/-
        • dominant black
    • e/e
      • recessive red
        cream, white

Pigment Colors

Black Chows have black eumelanin, of course.

Some genes determine the actual colors in a dog’s pattern.



doesn’t matter


A dominant black dog does not produce phaeomelanin.


Dogs with a B/- D/- genotype will produce black eumelanin.

This also affects their nose, skin, eye rims, lips, or tongue color.

  • B/-
    • D/-
      • normal black
    • d/d
      • diluted black

Other Traits

Chow Chows are not supposed to have white markings or merle.

Some traits can modify a pattern by removing pigment or further modifying colors:



seal, rusting

White Markings

Chow Chows are fixed for a solid coat color (S/S).


Purebred Chow Chows don’t come in merle.

Seal & Rusting

Some black Chows show very prominent silvering or rusting.

This may be due to old coat and sunbleaching or just pale underocat. In some cases, off-colors may hint at a seal pattern (where a “ghost sable” pattern bleeds through the black coat).

More Chow Chow Colors

Chow Chows can come in other colors than black:

Red Chow Chow

Red Chow Chows have a black-based sable pattern.

Pattern: E/- ky/ky Ay/- (sable)
Eumelanin: B/- D/- (non-diluted black)
Intensity: “light golden to deep mahogany

Black Chow Chow

Black Chow Chows have a black-based dominant black pattern.

Pattern: E/- KB/- (dominant black)
Eumelanin: B/- D/- (non-diluted black)

Blue Chow Chow

Blue Chow Chows have a blue-based dominant black pattern.

Pattern: E/- KB/- (dominant black)
Eumelanin: B/- d/d (diluted black)

Cream Chow Chow

Cream Chow Chows have a recessive red pattern.

Pattern: e/e (recessive red)
Eumelanin: B/- (black)
Intensity: “cream, white

Cinnamon Chow Chow (Fawn)

Cinnamon Chow Chows have a blue-based sable pattern.

Pattern: E/- ky/ky Ay/- (sable)
Eumelanin: B/- d/d (diluted black)
Intensity: “light fawn to deep cinnamon

Learn More