isColor - Frequently Asked Questions

Questions, Answers and Basic facts about colors in Chihuahuas

Let me please start off by saying that this is my experience and these combinations and information are accurate only to the best of my knowledge and experience.  We welcome private questions or concerns about this page.

Now if you haven't already, you are going to want to refer to our Coat Length FAQ page also to learn a little more about the whole package of your Chihuahua is created.

Colors are fun!  Let's first though discuss leather.

'Leather' on a chihuahua is the color of it's nose, pads of feet, eye rims, gums, etc on your Chihuahua.  Please try to remember a simple fact.  TRUE BLUE Chihuahuas have BLUE leather, not black.  Chocolate Chihuahuas have Chocolate leather and all others have black.

If you have a "chocolate" Chihuahua with a black nose, it is likely a red, not a chocolate and if you have a "real dark blue" Chihuahua with a black nose, it is almost certainly a black Chi, not a blue one.  Pigment should completely cover the nose leather.

*When I refer to blue dogs,  I mean the blue gene with blue nose that can also occur in the patterns of brindle or merle as well.  Same goes for chocolate and all others including standard brindles or merles have a black nose (leather).*

Follow me so far? :)

Here are a few hard and fast rules:

Tricolor (black, blue or chocolate with tan and white markings) bred to another tricolor will produce only tricolor puppies. 

Same goes with two dogs with Irish markings bred together and bicolors bred together.

Merles are always best bred to solid studs, bicolors or tricolors.  You should avoid breeding a merle to a fawn, white or spotted on white and NEVER EVER EVER breed two merles together even if you think they are both healthy.

Brindle to Brindle or fawn will usually result in brindles being born and or other colors.  Remember brindle and merle are PATTERNS not colors. 

BLUE BRINDLE and/or REVERSE BLUE BRINDLE is the most unpredictable gene.  This coloring may appear when neither parent is either blue or brindle.  Thus was the case with Satinka's daughter Sarolea.  Mom (long retired) is black merle and dad was chocolate tri.  They have produced multiple brindles in the past (they both carry the brindle pattern in their lineage) but this blue brindle really threw us for a loop.

Brindling oftentimes (especially in the case of reverse brindle) does not show up right away in the coat color of the Chihuahua and is commonly not seen until the adult coat starts to come in.  

Litters such as Nadira & Joker will always present with brindles. Of their 7 pups together 5 have been different shades of brindle as well as a solid white (at maturity) with black nose and a fawn and white with black nose.

Merles are BORN MERLE even when hidden with only a couple merle hairs on the whole puppy.  Their merle may fade over time (particularly in fawns and reds) but will not increase as the pup ages. MIDWEST CHIHUAHUAS DOES NOT ACTIVELY BREED MERLES ANYMORE AS WE DO NOT OUTRIGHT OWN A MERLE THAT IS NOT RETIRED HERE. If you are interested in a merle puppy, we do co-own a merle female with Terri Losek (TL Cuties Chihuahuas, a division of Midwest Chihuahuas) who will be bred to a red with black nose winter of 2016/early 2017.

Chocolates & Blues are NOT RARE.  However, if you have lines carrying dominant colors it is harder for you to pull these colors from your lines.  Remember, as with brindle, you must have blue on both sides of the line for blue pups to be born even if that blue gene is a distant in the pedigree.  The blue can be in brindle (standard or reverse), merle, spotted on white or with bi or tricolors. Simple loci test by buccal swab can best help breeders breed these colors with better success.

You MAY breed a chocolate to a blue as chocolate is not dilute color
 and breeding them together will almost always dull the color.  You can get blue (if on both sides), chocolate or what are now referred to as lavender or lilac pups which are really just a DILUTED CHOCOLATE that is PROPERLY called ISABELLA.


If you breed a spotted on white (SOW) to another spotted on white you will produce MOSTLY spotted on white puppies.  SOW's bred to solid or tricolor Chihuahuas will offer more variety of color.  SOW can be bred to a solid brindle for the possiblity of brindle spotted on white puppies.


You are breeding two diluted genes and the risk for alopecia is GREAT.  Also, this is often not seen until the adult starts to age and get in an adult coat 4-7 months and then the hair that is blue will fall out!  Don't believe me?  I've seen it happen.  No matter how 'good' your line is, this is a big NO NO! 

Blue to 'Lavendar' - NO, same reasons (since 'lavendar' is really Isabella aka dilute chocolate)

'Lavender to Lavender' or 'Lilac to Lilac' - NO, same reasons (since again, lavender and lilac are improper terms for dilute chocolate which should be referred to as Isabella.

Merle to Merle - NO! NO! NO! - Dead puppies, blindness, deafness, mutiple medical problems and more are PREDOMINANT when merle to merle are bred.

Brindle to Merle - Usually No.  Not unless you know your lines REALLY well.  Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a tiny merle newborn and a brindle one.  You never want to risk a hidden merle.  If bred, these pups should be spayed and/or neutered in order to avoid the risk of a hidden (cryptic) merle.

© Working Dog Chihuahuas by Midwest, 2007