Chinese Cresteds are the painted puppies of the canine world. Like rare gems, they come in every color to satisfy every one of us Crested lovers. Some are really rare while others are available more often due to their popularity.
According to the AKC standard, they can come in “any color or combination of colors.” This makes for a delightful surprise of colors in each mating pair, unless it is a repeat mating in which the coloring is predictable but not always 100%. Due to the many colors Crested may have, sometimes a surprise color shows up and it’s, “Wow that’s nice!” Where did that color come from? Then it’s a matter of knowing the line and as we look back, we can find an ancestor who had the color. We have noticed that each Mom or Dad has more of a genetic influence on the puppies’ coloring. Their offsprings may not look like carbon copies of them in color, but the coloring can be traced back to their line. In certain Moms and Dads, we know most likely they will produce puppies with chocolate, white, black, gold or red coloring. We know most will have parti markings (white with one other color), some will have tri color (white, black and red) and few will be solids. The parties have white as the base covering their feet, belly and parts of the face, tail and body while the top parts will have another color. Tri colors will have similar markings of the parti with an addition of a second color. It may be tipping of black on the darker color. It may be a color added to around the face. As for the solids, most are all white, red which will fade out to cream, gold which will fade out to the lightest tan/gold, black will in most cases fade out to a blue or gray color. Sometimes a solid colored puppy will have some other color but it is so faint that it is unnoticeable at birth. As the puppy matures, the faint differentiation of the color may be seen: a tiny strip of lighter or darker color on the top of the head as an example. It is only by really looking that these subtle color variations can be seen.
Breeders list the skin color and marking, if an, on a hairless Chinese Crested. For the powderpuff, the hair color is listed and then the marking, if any. Since Cresteds come with hair and naked, For powderpuffs and the hairless, the color of the skin is generally the same color as the hair, self colored. That means, the hair and skin colors match. Areas under the black hair will have a variation of light to dark of slate or blue. This will vary depending on the season as Chinese Cresteds do tan. In the winter, the skin color is lighter and in the summer, the color deepens. White hair will have pink skin. Seldom, but sometimes, the skin under the hair can be lighter or darker than the shade of dark or light hair growing above it.
As a Chinese Crested devotee, you may look at your tiny Chinese Crested baby and may think what color is my baby? Why did the breeder say red when I don’t even see red anymore? “Well I see some red tips but the new color is cream.” Due to the huge variation of colors and markings allowed, from the furnishing colors to the skin coloring, as well as the hair growth pattern and sun tanning and age affecting the skin coloring, there are times when a Chinese Cresteds is not nor seems not to be the same Crested. We show perspective families examples of this kind of color change. We can show an adult who has slate/blue body with few pink spotting. As an adult, she may have light to almost white crest with some grayish brown down the neck. The socks may be white and the plume mostly white with a bit of gold. We can tell you she was born mostly pink with some slate/blue spots on her skin. She started off with mostly black and reddish/brown with a strip of white on her crest with white socks and a tail that was reddish/brown and black with a tiny bit of white at the tip. Yes, this is the same Crested.
The most important point we make as breeders of this wonderful breed is: CHINESE CRESTEDS ARE COLOR CHANGING GENIUSES! It is literally, here now and gone in a few months and then possibly back in a year. That beautiful patch of dark red or brown hair will be a beautiful gold or almost cream. Then as the pup continues to develop over the years, that patch may get a bit darker or even lighter. We have often found ourselves saying, “Did she have that color there before?” Even with daily diligence of watching growth patterns, socially as well as physically, some changes seem to happen very quickly. But we love these changes and know that this is part of being a Crested as other devoted Crested lovers do.
Also, as some coloring are very similar: red/brown/chocolate, some breeders mark the puppy as being red when she/he is really brown or chocolate. The listed color is not important as long as it is in the ballpark. With experience, we know listing the color correctly is important to us as we look to add, increase or decrease certain coloring in our line. Overall, the beauty of each puppy is just that, BEAUTIFUL and UNIQUE, as that one is the one that is loved. Each one is a priceless work of art. When we look at our puppy through the eyes of love, how could there have been a more stunning puppy born?! Ah, that is love. Each puppy deserves to be adored this way just as they adore us.
So like many breeds where certain colors were used more often to produce that color, Chinese Cresteds will evolve over time. We do hope they will keep their varied colors no matter what colors breeders focus on during fads. We hope breeders health test their Moms and Dads, and color is never put before health. Gorgeous coloring is just icing on the cake. Like couture gowns or suites, the vivid coloring does not make the pup. We believe a blend of health, sweet temperament, tiny size, and colors is the key to happiness.