Chihuahua Colors


A cream coat chihuahua.

Cream is a very common color in chihuahuas. It can be solid, parti-colored or even sabled. Cream is actually a dilution of fawn. Some cream dogs show this more than others. Cream chihuahuas usually have pale skin, though some black pigment may be present.


A white smooth coat that totally lacks any black pigment in the skin.

White chihuahuas may or may not have any black pigment. This is not the same as what is seen in parti-colors. Solid whites sometimes may have pale noses and eye rings, and somewhat lighter eyes, almost an albino appearance, or they may have dark skin on the nose and eyes, causing a gray effect. It is the 'sw' gene that causes white in chihuahuas, but the skin color is determined by the presence of the 'cch' allele. White in any form is very rare in chihuahuas, usually because it would take 2 white dogs to make white pups with this effect.


Blue is a shade down from black, caused by the 'd' gene, which is the dilution gene. It is somewhat rare in chihuahuas, though more and more are being bred. It is also a recessive color. Usually, it skips a generation and passes on to the next, unless one parent was bred from both blue parents.


Red is quite a common color in chihuahuas. It can appear either as bright red (as seen in Irish setters) or with some sabling, which is with black hairs dispersed throughout the body. Those without the sabling are in the more recessive category than those that have the sabling. Red is different from liver, which produces a fleshy-color on the nose and eye rings, and is a diluted form of chocolate. True red chihuahuas always have black flesh.


Chocolate is a rarer color in chihuahuas, but only because it seems to not be popular with many breeders. It is a beautiful color none the less. It can appear brown, like the color of a chocolate bar, or somewhat reddish. In terms of genetics, chocolate is in the same class as the blues. The 'b' and 'd' alleles have similar results, in diluting, or changing the black pigment. It is the 'b/b' gene that causes the chocolates. The dilution 'd' gene in chocolates can produce a lilac colored chihuahua. Lilac is similar to lavender, but appears more chocolate than blue.


Sometimes the blue color can be heavily diluted, as shown in these pics. This creates a color known as "lavender" in chihuahuas. Lavender is hard to come by because it is hard to reproduce--even if you were to mate a pair of lavender dogs. One mate must have the diluting 'd' gene, as seen in blues.


Lilac is a dilution of the chocolate color. It is somewhat different from the lavender color in chihuahuas. Where lavender looks like diluted blue, almost a silver color, lilac produces blue with light reddish highlights. Lilac is rare in chihuahuas. Much like lavender, it is difficult to reproduce.


Black is the most dominant color in chihuahuas, it comes in the 'B' group in genetics. Almost every chihuahua color has some form of the 'B' gene in them. Solid black chihuahuas are rare, but black can come with some white or tan markings, or even in dappled form. Solid black is very dominant in chihuahuas. However in contrast, the 'at' gene that makes up the black and tan pattern in chihuahuas (as seen in dobermans), is among one of the most common colors in chihuahuas, but is very recessive, too. It cannot be accomplished by mating a solid color with a black and tan.


This color is also known as tawny, or sable in most other breeds. The most common color of them all in chihuahuas. It is caused by the 'ay' gene family. It often appears reddish, usually with a colored mask and muzzle, but there are several different varieties of fawn. There are blue fawns, chocolate fawns, brindle fawns and a variety of others. Cream and fawn are often mistaken for each other, but it is definitely darker than the creams, but lighter than the reds.


Not generally a dominant color pattern. Often appears as white with spots of varying sizes on the body and head. This is in the 's' genetic family. Parti's are usually either with the 'sp/sp' or 'sp/sw' formula in the genes. The color can be any variety in parti's, but the white usually makes up more than 50% of the coloration.


Brindle is a rather rare color in chihuahuas. It is not new, however, it's been around for many years. It is in the lower 'ebr' family of genes, which causes it to be somewhat recessive. If one parent is a solid color, and another a brindle, chances are the pups will be mostly solid. Brindling in a coat pattern occurs when there are black, or any darker colored streaks, causing pronounced stripes on another color. It's more patterned than the sabling seen in most chihuahuas (I call it a tiger-striped pattern). However, reverse brindling can occur, where black is the base color, and streaked with another color. There are brindles in almost any color, either chocolate, blue, fawn, etc.


Last, but not least, is the merle chihuahua. This is a color that Australian shepherds are more famous for. Merle more commonly, can be either blue or red, but there is also sable, and chocolate merle as well. Though chocolate merle may be a variation of the red merle chihuahua. The 'M' gene is what creates the merle, and the more favorable is the 'Mm'. The 'M' gene creates a break in the color pattern, causing the color to dilute in some places, while leaving darker colored spots in others. It is also this gene's ability to break up the color pigment that causes the unusual pattern in the eye colors. The pattern of merle is never basic uniform, the splotches can vary in sizes and the lighter pigment can be either light or dark in color. This beautiful color comes with consequences, it is never a good idea to mate any merle dog to another merle. Then, you get what is called a double merle (MM), which is a merle dog that has more than 50% white. Often, these dogs have hearing and eye problems.


D's Darling AKC Long Hair Chihuahuas
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