Meet the Breed: The Chow Chow

1

Overview:

  • Height: 18"- 22”
  • Weight: 45-70 pounds
  • Historical function: Working, herding, guarding
  • Modern function: Guarding, watchdog, companion
  • AKC classification: Non-sporting group

Physical Characteristics:

The Chow Chow is a known as the "puffy lion dog" in China. This is an apt description of this dog as it is large and has a large ruff around the neck which looks like a mane. The other striking feature of this breed is the blue-black tongue and mouth. The ears are triangular and upright. The tail is fluffy and curled over the back. The profuse coat may be red, black, blue, cinnamon/fawn, or cream.

History of the Breed:

The Chow Chow is most likely one of the first descendants of the gray wolf. It originated in Northern China/Mongolia. Some have suggested that the Chow Chow is the ancestor of the Pomeranian, the Samoyed, the Keeshond, Elkhound and Chinese Shar-Pei. The Chinese have employed this dog as a general farm worker including for hunting, herding, cart pulling, guarding, and have even considered them a delicacy for human consumption.

Temperament:

The Chow Chow has been described as having a cat-like personality, meaning they are intelligent, somewhat aloof, and less eager to please than other breeds. This is not a breed for the first-time dog owner. It requires early socialization to ensure this is a good canine citizen. Can coexist with other non-canine pets when raised with cats from an early age. This dog is naturally suspicious of strangers and will be protective of its family. Keep in mind that homeowner's insurance may rise with owning a Chow.

  • Best suited for: Active families with experience in handling dominant dog personalities. When given the proper non-alpha role in the pack, the Chow Chow is good with children, other pets, and can learn tricks.
  • Preferred living conditions: The Chow Chow likes to have space, meaning they don't care to be smothered. Sensitive to heat. Can live outdoors in cooler climates.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The profuse double coat requires regular brushing and bathing. A heavy seasonal shedder. Dry shampoo when necessary.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk, with the owner walking in front to reinforce the human's role as pack leader.
  • Life expectancy: 15 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to eye problems, hip dysplasia, and stomach cancer.

Breed Club Links: Chow Chow Club, Inc.

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Best in Show Shampoo/Conditioner combo pack with free brush.

Have any stories about a Chow Chow? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Olga Filonenko.

This entry was posted by Mary.
Meredith on March 14 at 4:24 PM said:

Chow Chows are very important to my daughter, Noelle Knight, who fosters dogs and cats in Philadelphia. Not only has she adopted TWO Chow mixes (heavy on the Chow Chow) but she rescued one from the shelter just before they put him down. She is well known for rescueing Chow mixes. Now that Abe has been cured of his skin infections, and shaved down to look just like a lion, he's up for adoption. He brings the highest of reports: friendly, house broken, happy with both other dogs and cats, & been totally socialized, Look for him at her FB page! Be sure to take a peek!!
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