Chihuahua Colors

July 8, 2011

Chihuahua Colors
The American Kennel Club Chihuahua standard lists under color: "Any color-Solid, marked or splashed". This allows for all colors from solid blacks to solid whites, spotted, sabled, or a variety of other colors and patterns. A few examples are Fawn, Red, Cream, Chocolate, Blue, and Black. Merle coloring is a spotted coat. Patterns, all with or without white markings, include:
Irish spotting
Dalmatian spotting
Piebald spotting
Extreme black spotting
Tan points
Dark brown
extremely rare blue brindle

The merle coat pattern is not traditionally considered part of the breed standard. It is associated with genetic diseases usually associated with inbreeding in other breeds. The United Kingdom Kennel Club decided in May 2007 not to register puppies with "Merle coat color in dogs" coloration due to the health risks associated with the gene responsible, and in December of that year formally amended the Breed Standard to say "Any color or mixture of colors but never merle (dapple)." Other countries' Kennel Clubs; including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany have also disqualified merle. However, in May 2008 the Chihuahua Club of America voted that merles will not be disqualified in the United States and they are fully registrable and able to compete in all American Kennel Club (AKC) events. Opponents of recognizing merle dogs in the breed standards suspect the coloration came about by modern genetic cross-breeding with other dogs, and not via natural genetic drift.

Classifying Chihuahua colors can be complicated due to the large number of possibilities. Examples would be a blue brindle or a chocolate and tan. Colors and patterns can combine and affect each other, resulting in a very high degree of variation. The classic Chihuahua color remains fawn. No color or pattern is considered more valuable than the others, although blue is considered rare.