Blue Chow Chow

Learn more about the solid blue pattern in Chow Chows.

Is Blue A Standard Color In Chow Chows?

Both the AKC and the FCI list blue as one of the official breed standard colors.

What Does A Blue Chow Chow Look Like?

Blue Chow Chows have a dominant black pattern.

The pattern name can be misleading because dominant black does not indicate a “black” coat color but a solid eumelanic coat (and wild-type eumelanin just happens to be black).

Blue Chows can be solid blue or have some reddish hues or pale feathering on their tail or trousers. This can happen with lighter undercoat in some dogs or may be due to a seal pattern.

Blue Chow Chow Nose Color

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

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

“Blue chows may have a solid blue or slate nose.”

AKC Breed Standard

“[…] in blues and fawns a self-coloured nose […]”

FCI Breed Standard

Blue Chow Chow Eye Color

Eye color is determined by pigment color and pigment density.

An AKC blue Chow Chow is supposed to have dark brown eyes. However, dogs that can only produce blue pigment often have more yellowish eyes and tend to have greenish-blue puppy eyes.

“Eyes dark brown […].”

AKC Breed Standard

“Dark, oval shaped, medium sized and clean. A matching coloured eye permissible in blues and fawns.

FCI Breed Standard

Blue Chow Chow Coat Type

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

Long-haired blue 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 blue 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.









Blue Chow Chow Genetics

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

Basic Pattern

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.

A blue Chow has a dominant black pattern (they have a solid eumelanic coat).

doesn’t matter

dominant black

wild type

K Locus

Blue 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

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

Blue Chows have diluted black (blue) eumelanin.



doesn’t matter


Chow Chows with color dilution can have the common d1 variant or the much rarer d2 variant[1]. Any combination (d1/d1, d1/d2, d2/d2) has the same effect on the coat and can simply be described as d/d.

Dogs with a B/- d/d genotype will produce blue eumelanin.

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

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


A dominant black dog does not produce phaeomelanin.

Other Traits

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

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



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 blue Chows have pale or reddish shades in their coat.

This may be due to just pale undercoat, sunbleaching, or it might in fact be a a seal pattern (where a “ghost sable” pattern bleeds through what should be a solid blue coat coat).

More Chow Chow Colors

Chow Chows can come in other colors than blue:

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


[1] Bauer, Kehl, Jagannathan, Leeb: A novel MLPH variant in dogs with coat colour dilution. Anim Genet. 2018.