Discussions regarding what original chow colors were in China have come up many times over the years, s0 when I ran across this article in my collection today to clarify that only solid colors, with possible shadings on the britches and tail have ever been acceptable in all countries and registration systems, I thought it would be of great benefit to those researching the oldest of the old color theories. The author had extensive conversations with Mr Taunton (Walter Kelsey Taunton 1844 – 1927) who was a pioneer in importing the Chow breed from China. He owned the first chow to be exhibited at Crystal Palace in England in 1880…. a black bitch called CHINESE PUZZLE
Since the very first CHOW STANDARDS were penned in 1906, both the English and American versions have stated only solid colored chows are acceptable, with the most recent Chow Standard stating only 5 distinct colors can be registered. Those being RED, BLACK, BLUE, CINNAMON (or fawn), AND CREAM. Over the years the breed has seen short lived “fads” of non conforming colors or “uniques” such as parti colored, piebald, black and tan and brindle striped, and blue merle chows being marketed to the public. These colors most often indicate mixed breed heritage and have never been a part of the Official Chow Chow Breed Standard in any country, at any time, and cannot be given a registration number as one of the unorthodox colors in purebred registries.
Additionally, the blue merle gene can carry with it a host of health issues including deafness and blindness ……. buyers, please do your research and talk to multiple breeders, your veterinarian, and your local purebred breed clubs about your potential new addition before purchasing. Also, be aware that NO COLOR IN THE CHOW BREED IS CONSIDERED ANY MORE VALUABLE THAN THE OTHERS.
Mr. Taunton’s black chow bitch “Chinese Puzzle”
I would imagine this article reflects pretty accurate reporting as Mr Taunton was an authority of the Chow Breed in his day. I have a few more pre 1900 articles I will add to this page when I find them again that state the same color ideas so one can view a nice cross section of reports (and opinions)
ARCHIVE NOTES BELOW-BOLD UNDERLINED TEXT CLICKS TO ARTICLES
- Both CHOW VIII and BLUE BLOOD mentioned have their own profile pages you can read
- The mention of the “black tinged or mixed up brown called “bronze” perked my ears up, as I wrote an article about BROWN CHOWS
- BLUE CHOWS also get their share of press in this article, as well as what the author refers to “so called cream” and WHITE CHOWS
- Note that the bright red , maybe what we call mahogany red today, is mentioned as becoming rare and hard to find this early on as breeders started “manufacturing” colors
- Deducting from other articles I have where the term “patched” is used regarding chows, it described a shaded dog, either blue or red for the most part, who bear very distinct lighter shadings on the britches , chest and tail, yet those colors are blended with the main body color. The famous CHOW VIII as perfect of a chow as could be, was faulted at the turn of the century by many for his lighter patches on his britches .
It is important to note that in 1925 the references to the various colors was removed from the 1925 STANDARD
The listing of acceptable colors was returned to the 1986 STANDARD for the same reasons the author cites around 100 years earlier