Cream Chow Chow

Learn more about a cream Chow Chow’s coat color.

Is Cream A Standard Color In Chow Chows?

The AKC accepts “cream” as an official breed color.

The FCI accepts both “cream” and “white” as independent standard Chow Chow colors.

What Does A Cream Chow Chow Look Like?

All cream Chow Chows have a recessive red pattern.

They are unable to produce any eumelanin in their coat and will even have white whiskers. This sets them apart from “red” or “cinnamon” sable-patterned Chows who will always have dark whiskers.

They will also be born without the dark shading or masks seen in red puppies.

The base color of a cream-colored Chow Chow typically ranges from reddish yellow to ivory-white. The FCI classified white as an independent color variety alongside the slightly more intense cream.

Cream Chow Chow Markings

For some reason, cream dogs can not produce crisp white ventral countershading.

But many cream Chow Chows have some reddish ear, face, leg, or back shading. This is quite normal for all recessive red dogs but especially pronounced in some breeds.

Cream Chow Chow Nose Color

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

Chow Chows can produce black or diluted black “blue” pigment.

But since a black nose, a black tongue, and dark brown eyes are preferred, there is likely a bias towards breeding black-based cream Chow Chows, I guess.

Very common for a recessive red pattern, most cream Chows have a hypopigmented nose leather. This can remove so much pigment that their nose looks pinkish or a little brownish.

The AKC breed standard uses some unfortunate wording. Dogs with a fading nose do not actually produce brown pigment (unless b/b) and there is certainly no “pinkish pigment”!

“Cream chows may have a range of nose color, from dark black/brown solid pigment, fading to pinkish pigment, with or without darker nose rim pigment at the outer edge, as puppies or adults.”

AKC Breed Standard

Cream Chow Chow Eye Color

Eye color is determined by pigment color and pigment density.

A standard cream Chow Chow can have black or blue pigment. While blue creams are expected to have somewhat lighter eyes, their breed standard requires all Chows to have dark brown eyes.

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

AKC Breed Standard

Cream Chow Chow Coat Type

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

Long-haired cream 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 cream 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. An incredibly small number of Chow Chows have a curly variant though curls are not a desired trait in spitz-type dog breeds.









Cream Chow Chow Genetics

Cream Chow Chows are a recessive red.

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 white or cream Chow Chow has a recessive red pattern (they have a solid phaeomelanic coat).


doesn’t matter


doesn’t matter

recessive red

E Locus

The E locus is responsible for a cream Chow Chow’s coat color. They have two copies of the recessive red allele (e/e). This blocks their hair pigment cells from producing eumelanin.

Cream Chow Chows can only ever produce phaeomelanin in their coat.

And without eumelanin, dogs can neither express their A locus nor their K locus genotype. The E locus is epistatic to both loci and e/e completely overrides a dog’s A and K locus pattern.

Instead, cream Chows produce a solid phaeomelanic coat.

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

Pigment Colors

Next, other genes determine the actual colors in a dog’s pattern.

Cream Chows most often have black eumelanin, only few have a blue-based pattern.



cream, white


There is no eumelanin in his coat but eumelanin.

Eumelanin is still visible in his nose, skin, eye rims, lips, tongue pigment, or eye color.

Chows are supposed to have a black tongue and dark brown eyes. While some cream Chow may in fact produce blue pigment (B/- d/d), most creams likely produce non-diluted black (B/- D/-).

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


A white or cream Chow Chow has low-intensity phaeomelanin.

The color on a cream Chow Chow can vary from light orange-yellow to cream to white.

Chows are one of the breeds in which recessive red (e/e) dogs have been selected for significantly lighter red pigment compared to their sable-patterned (E/-) relatives. However, there is still much to learn about how phaeomelanin intensity and its modifiers and how this is connected to a dog’s pattern.

It is normal for different areas in a cream Chow’s coat to have a slightly darker yellow or orange intensity and sometimes produce intense dark ear shading. Many dogs can have a slightly lighter ventral side although real countershading does not seem to show in recessive red dogs.

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.




White Markings

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


Purebred Chow Chows don’t come in merle.

Merle typically only affects eumelanin and not phaeomelanin. It would only be visible in black puppy shading or black masks. This means that merle is hidden in a solid cream coat!

More Chow Chow Colors

Chow Chows can come in other colors than cream:

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