What is a chocolate colored Havanese ?
A chocolate coloured Havanese is a dog with a chocolate or liver coloured coat AND with a brown nose, brown eyelids, brown lips and brown soles! A chocolate coloured Havanese can not have any black pigment (photo on the right)! A chocolate Havanese has brown, hazelnut or amber eyes. These dogs have the brown or liver pigment [bb]. The Havanese with a chocolate coat can't have any black hair nor black pigment.
The brown / chocolate coat can vary from milk chocolate to dark chocolate and they can appear in the same variations, markings and patterns as the black pigmented dogs. Chocolate Sable, Chocolate Brindle and Chocolate & Tan Havanese exist, but also Chocolate Irish Pied, Chocolate Parti and (Extreme) Piebald.
When two recessive genes meet [bb] and [ee] the Havanese has a brighter coat colour and a brown pigment (photo on the left). The nose can be a bit lighter of colour in harmony with the lighter coat colour.
CHOCOLATE is NOT dilution !
In the Havana Post 31 (August 2008) of the Havanese Club of the Netherlands an article was published about the chocolate colour of Havanese. We would like to give some comments.
(Our thank to Prof. Dr. L. Peelman of the University of Ghent)
The colour “chocolate” or brown is not caused by the pigment pheomelanine (this causes the yellow-red-orange colours). The chocolate colour is caused by eumelanine (black pigment). This black pigment is present in the “colour cells” in granules. The shape of these granules determines the colour. If the granules are elongated the colour is black, if they are rather round the colour is brown-chocolate. The quantity of present pigment doesn’t change and in this sense there is no dilution.
A connexion between the chocolate colour and immunity failure (immunity problems, skin irritations, allergies, …) is not demonstrated in the scientific literature.
The colour of the eye of a brown pigmented dog
The experiences that are often referred to are old but classic and since than they have never been contested. Three alleles are recognized on the locus Ir (= Iris), in this order of dominance :
Ir+ dark iris (dark brown)
irm hazel iris (intermediate shade)
iry yellow iris
Between these alleles dominance is not complete, and, as a consequence, the different possible combinations correspond with different shades. To complicate things more, the interference of modification genes is almost sure. This explains the continuous series in the gradation, from pale yellow to dark brown.
It's possible to consider the idea that, in general, the colour of the iris is passed independent of the coat colour. But some influences of the coat colour are known :
- b makes the iris brighter : with irm the eyes are light hazel coloured, with iry very pale yellow. It's useless to search for very dark iris with a brown coat ;
- d dilutes the colour of the eye (« smoky eyes »).
Source: Bernard Denis, Génétique et sélection chez le chien, p. 119 et p. 125
Colour of the eyes and nose (pigment) in chocolate Havanese
The iris is responsible for controlling the amount of light reaching the retina of the eye and gives the eye its colour. The iris determines the way we perceive the colour of the eye. Brown or green eyes are actually brown or green iris. Most dogs have dark to gold brown eyes. Dogs with brown pigment can also have lighter shades of color. This way hazel, amber and green can occur.
The colour of the iris is determined by the amount and type of pigments. The variations in phenotype (perceptible characteristics) are caused by differences in the proportion between the two types of melanine : eumelanine and phaeomelanine.
The pupil is the opening located in the center of the iris of the eye that allows light to enter the retina. It appears black. Influenced by light the pupil can become larger and smaller.
click on the pictures to enlarge
The chocolate Havanese puppy has blue eyes. This can vary from medium to dark blue eyes.
eye colour (iris) of chocolate Havanese puppies
The blue iris gradually changes colour. The final colour of the iris of a chocolate dog can vary from different shades of brown (dark brown or chestnut brown (also called maroon brown), medium brown, , light brown or ) to different shades of green (dark green, olive green, medium green, gray green, light green). Since chocolate dogs have often lighter iris, they get a very soft and almost human expression.
We notice that the inner side of the iris (i.e. around the pupil) is often darker than the outer part of the iris (i.e. furthest from the pupil). We observe this in both black and brown pigmented dogs (see examples). The contrast can be small, but also relatively big.
If you look closely (on pictures it's not always easy to see) you can see that black pigmented dogs have also a darker inner side of the iris (near the pupil) and a bit lighter outer part of the iris (furthest from the pupil). The contrast between the two is less pronounced than in brown pigmented dogs.
eyes of black pigmented Havanese (black nose)
eyes of brown pigmented Havanese (brown nose)dark brown / chestnut
Most Havanese eyes are brown. We can observe some different shades. We propose this classification :
° very dark brown
Most black pigmented Havanese have very dark brown eyes. They almost appear black.
° dark brown or chestnut brown / maroon brown
Just a little lighter are the dark brown eyes. Brown eyes often consist of iris with two brown shades. Thus, the iris can be very dark brown (almost black) closer to the pupil and dark brown to a kind of warm reddish brown on the outside. Some of them have a very small inside part of the iris that is very dark, the bigger outside part is just regular reddish dark brown. Some have half dark brown, half maroon brown iris. Iris that consist of two shades of brown can be called chestnut or marron brown iris.
° medium brown
Medium brown is a shade of brown between dark brown and light brown. The medium brown iris colour can occur in combination with a darker shade around the pupil.
° light brown or amber
Amber eyes (iris) have a solid colour and a strong golden and russet/coppery tint. It is a warm golden brown / orange brown eye color.
The light brown iris colour can occur in combination with darker shades (medium or dark brown) around the pupil.
The colour hazel is a colour between dark and light brown. It is a multicoloured iris : dark green (e.g. olive green) or dark brown around the pupil and medium brown or light brown to amber on the outside of the iris. Hazel eyes can have small spots of amber of gold.
The iris is in fact a combination of two colours : green and brown. This makes it sometimes difficult to define the exact eye colour. This can simply be called « hazel ».
A very common eye colour in chocolate Havanese is hazel. However, there are different nuances in the dark (around the pupil) and light colour (outer part) of the iris. Thus, the iris can be a combination of olive green and medium brown, of olive green and amber, of medium green and medium brown, etc. The contrast between both colours (shade of green and brown) in one iris can be small or big.
Green eyes are not so common. When the iris is a combination of green with brown we speak of hazel eyes. Some Havanese have solid green eyes. Some shades of green are dark green, olive green, medium green, gray green and light green. Yet it is also possible that the green colour consists of two shades of green. Just a bit darker around the pupil (inner side of the iris) and a bit lighter futher away from the pupil (outer side of the iris).
Completely yellow or solid yellow eyes are very common in wolves. They are rare and undesirable in Havanese. Solid yellow eyes are also called « prey eyes » or « eagle eyes ». They don't look natural and should not be bred. Yellow eyes should not be confused with amber eyes that consist of darker and lighter shade of brown color.
Some examples of eyes and noses of chocolate Havanese:
eyes and noses of chocolate Havanese
The colour of the nose of a brown pigmented dog (bb) is brown. This can vary from dark to light brown.
What counts for black pigmented dogs, also counts for brown pigmented dogs: if the coat colour around the nose is white the pigment of the nose (resp. black or brown) comes in later on, while the pigment is already present at birth if the coat colour around the nose is dark (black or brown).
Chocolate Sable Havanese have generally a bit lighter eyes. Though, their nose can be very dark.
nose of chocolate sable Havanese
Colour perception depends on lighting conditions!!!
In other words:
eye and nose colour can vary depending on the light (while taking the picture).
In case that a brown pigmented dog also carries two dilution genes (bbdd), they have an effect on both eye (lighter eyes) and nose colour (diluted brown). It doesn’t often occur in Havanese. It’s normal though in the Weimaraner breed.
CHOCOLATE is an ACCEPTED colour
On the occasion of its meeting end of November 2008 the FCI General Committee approved an explanatory and summary document titled Breeds with permitted genetically blue or brown colour as proposed by the FCI Standards Commission.
Several member countries have expressed appreciation over earlier explanations by Prof. Bernard Denis about the colour and have asked to have the breeds with a possibility for genetic blue or brown colour presented individually. This is the reason for the following attempt to clarify again the breeds that can carry the diluted blue colour and the brown colour. The blue and brown are not necessarily self-coloured and they can have tan markings.
Brown: (i.e. genetic liver brown, also called chocolate). Dogs with a genetic brown colour can never have a black nose and eye colour is usually hazelnut. The intensity of coat or skin colour can range from very pale when diluted (like in Weimaraner) to a deep purple brown (like in the Deutscher Wachtelhund or the Irish Water Spaniel).
In breeds where the brown colour occurs, but where only a black nose is permitted, the conclusion is that the brown colour is not accepted in that breed.
Havenese: GROUP 9 : Brown colour : Bichon Havanais (250) e.a.
Circular 14/2009 of the FCI published 17/02/2009
Breeding with chocolate / brown Havanese
The chocolate colour is still very rare in Havanese. This colour is recessive. This means that both parents must carry (or show) the brown pigment in order to produce chocolate coloured puppies.
B = dominant gene : black
b = recessief gene : brown
BB = black pigmented dog
Bb = black pigmented dog, carrier of the brown pigment
bb = brown pigmented dog
black pigmented dog = dog with a black nose, etc.; the coat can have any colour except chocolate
brown pigmented dog = dog with a brown nose, etc..; the coat is mostly chocolate, but can also occur in other colors, except black
B and b = parent 1 (e.g. male)
B and b = parent 2 (e.g. female)
B and b = descendants (puppies)
Possible combinations :
° If both parents are black pigmented and both do not carry the brown gene (b), all puppies are black pigmented (BB).B B B BB BB B BB BB
° If both parents are black pigmented and only one of them carries the brown gene (b), all puppies are black pigmented. In theory 50% of the puppies are carriers of the brown pigment (Bb).B B B BB BB b Bb Bb
° If both parents are black pigmented and both carry the brown gene (b), in theory 25% of the puppies are brown pigmented (bb) and in theory 50% of the puppies are carriers of the brown pigment (Bb).B b B BB Bb b Bb bb
° If one parent is brown pigmented (bb) and the other parent is black pigmented and does not carry the brown gene (BB), all puppies are black pigmented. All puppies carry the brown gene (Bb).B B b Bb Bb b Bb Bb
° If one parent is brown pigmented (bb) and the other parent is black pigmented and carries the brown gene (Bb), in theory 50% of the puppies are black pigmented and carry the brown gene (Bb) and in theory 50% of the puppies are brown pigmented (bb).B b b Bb bb b Bb bb
° If both parents are brown pigmented (bb), all puppies are brown pigmented (bb).b b b bb bb b bb bb
Variations in Havanese with the brown pigment
Chocolate brown coats can vary from dark chocolate to light chocolate, from reddish chocolate to grey chocolate. The brown coat colour can also evolve over time. Thus, dark chocolate can become reddish chocolate ; dark chocolate can become lighter cream (cappuccino) and even turn silver.
Chocolate can be the dark colour in the same colour variations, markings and patterns as black. There are Chocolate Sable, Chocolate Brindle, Chocolate & Tan, Chocolate Irish Pied, Chocolate Parti, Chocolate (Extreme) Piebald Havanese, etc.
The combination of the nose and eye colour is the most reliable indicator to know whether the dog is really chocolate, or just has a poor pigmentation, and therefore is not chocolate. If the dog has dark (black) eyes and a lighter brown nose, you have a dog with a poor pigmentation and not a chocolate dog.
Some examples :
Light coat colours with brown pigment
Dark coat colours with brown pigment
Patterns with brown pigmentchocolate brindle chocolate brindle / dark sable chocolate (dark) sable
Markings with brown pigment (dark colour = chocolate brown)chocolate extreme piebald chocolate piebald
Chocolate Brown versus Havana Brown
There is some confusion about the names « Chocolate (Brown) » and « Havana Brown ».
Chocolate Brown (dog with brown pigment), also called « chocolate », « brown » or « liver colour » (in French « marron »), is a name used to define the chocolate / brown coat colour in dogs. We use the term chocolate or chocolatebrown because « brown » is often used to name a red coat colour (often sable or brindle with black pigment) which is not correct.
Havana Brown (dog with black pigment) is an English term. It's a variation on Brindle : black, red (or red brown) hairs mixed in the coat.
The terms « tobacco colour » and « reddish brown » are often synonymous with Havana Brown, but they can also be used to indicate a chocolate coloured dog. So these terms are subjective.
Note : HAVANA BROWN comes always with black pigment (nose, etc.).
ATTENTION : the French name « brun havane » is a brown pigmented dog and with a chocolate brown coat !
Some examples :Chocolate Brown (brown pigment) Havana Brown (black pigment) i.e. = French « brun havane » i.e. = English « Havana Brown »