There are many dachshunds described as “cream”; — some are golden, some are strawberry blonde, some have black hair mixed with their blond, (referred to as “shading”), and some have no black at all, (these pups are called, “clear”). For many years, the term “English cream” has been used in the U.S. marketplace to denote dogs that are considered “true” creams originating from a breed the variant developed in England, as opposed to dilute red, (see more below.)
Why is this important for someone seeking a cream pup?
The dogs referred to as “English” cream have a genetic modification that turns the red coat cream. As they age, they will often continue to lighten, but will remain cream throughout their life. However, dilute red pups, which may look identical to creams in their early months, will continue to redden with age and will generally develop the appearance of being a red dog. This may be very important if you have a preference in the adult appearance of your dachshund.
The other reason a potential owner may care about color and coat, is the generally held belief that temperament and health often follow coat in the breed. The dachshund is one of the most diverse coated modern breeds. This diversity comes from the incorporation of many different genes over the centuries. Many of these genes seem to have some influence on health and temperament. Hopefully, in the future, the growing field of genetics will help us to understand and use these differences skillfully.
Traditionally, the English cream has always been a long-haired miniature, and this remains the predominant expression of the cream although there has been some successful cultivation of a cream miniature smooth in recent years. The traditional English cream is widely held to be the most mellow of the breed. For prospective owners, this may be a useful indicator of potential temperament. Generally, these dogs are especially well-suited to be affectionate pets, which is likely the reason they’ve become very popular in the United States, (our relationship with pets tends to be more about cuddling than sport.)
A bit more about descriptive terms and finding your ideal pup….
“English creams:” While appreciation should rightly be given to the English, cream dachshunds sold in the United States might more accurately just be called “cream” as their relationship to England is often many generations removed. However, a pup should only be called cream if it will continue to express a cream coat throughout its life. Dilute reds should be identified differently for prospective owners, so they may anticipate that these pups will become red. Some of the terms used for dilute reds may include, “American Cream” or “Strawberry Cream”. (Please bear in mind that true creams often command a higher price in the market, and it is therefore the responsibility of a breeder to honestly differentiate between these similar pups.)
“Shaded creams:” All the dogs in the photo above are correctly registered as creams. However, as seen, there’s a tremendous variety in their appearance. The primary cause for the appearance difference is “shading;” black hair mixed with the blond. As adults, this black hair is often seen at the tips of the dog’s ears and tail, but may be more extensive. In years past, shading has been preferred because it makes lines of a well-structured dog more prominent, almost like outlining a drawing. It also helps to retain proper dark feature pigment that gives dachshunds great eyeliner, deep eye color and other nicely pigmented features. This is not only cosmetically preferred, but has health benefits.
“Clear creams:” More recently, there has been a growing trend for creams without shading. These pups are referred to as “clear” and are genetically incapable of producing any black hair. Because removing pigment is increasingly recessive, finding good representations of these pups can be challenging; that is, pups that are not too closely bred and have not lost good feature pigment. Additionally, while these pups look comparatively very light when young, they tend to “color-up” becoming darker with age. In the above image, the dog Peyton, (a clear cream), was born white and became darker with age. By contrast, the dog Curly, (a shaded cream), was born black and lightened with age. As you can see, as adults, these dogs are very similar.
Finding the cream puppy you want….
The easiest way to find your ideal cream pup is to show a good breeder photos of adult dachshunds that you like. A breeder familiar with their lines will usually be able to project the likely appearance of their cream pups. Because these pups change in the first months of life, their early appearance can be misleading to prospective owners. This is why providing photos of adults is important. Puppies are cute, but a good breeder wants you to have an adult you will enjoy. Feel free to use the photo above as a reference to communicate your preferences.
Some technical details from our original article…
How can you tell if a dachshund is a true English cream?
- DNA testing – this may be costly;
- Pedigree – generally dependable, but may contain errors;
- Observation – most pragmatic if you’re willing to learn some basic genetics;
Knowing the Genetics Provides an Advantage.…
The Chinchilla gene series is responsible for the change of appearance from red to cream. This gene effects the base coat color red, and the points color, tan, (i.e., the color above the eyes, along the nose, etc.). This gene does not affect black and chocolate pigments. So, when the allele for the chinchilla gene is present, the red base coat is diluted to cream, but any shading is unaffected.
These puppies will be born very dark in color. However, over the course of the first months of life their cream color will emerge from their roots and slowly overtake the dark birth color. Some of these puppies will ultimately become light enough that they will lose the appearance of any shading. The key to identifying these pups is evidence that they were born black and are progressing toward cream. Regardless of the amount of shading retained, these pups are rightly referred to as shaded cream.
When recessive reds are overwritten with two Chinchilla genes, the puppies will become cream without any shading. These puppies are born very light in color, often near white and are called “clear cream.” The key to identifying these pups is evidence that they were born very light without any trace of a black overlay. These pups will typically become more gold, deepening in color over time.
Please note that the dachshund coat is not fully developed until two years of age, so a long-haired puppy may not appear to have very long hair in infancy.
- True cream dachshunds are generally thought to have the most mellow temperament of the breed.
- True cream dachshunds will either be born black and progress toward cream or are born very light without any trace of shading and will typically become more gold.
- Ideally cream dachshunds will retain their dark pigment features;
- An effective way to find your ideal pup is to provide an ethical breeder with photos of adult cream dachshunds that you like;
We hope this information has been helpful to you. We are proud to offer true cream pups to loving families. If you have further questions, please contact us.