Chow Chows are large, fluffy, stocky dogs. Two main things set this breed apart: their blue-black tongues, and their straight stiff back legs that cause them to walk rather stilted. They have large, broad heads with a huge mane-like ruff behind the head that a lion could be proud of. Their coats are either smooth or rough in red, black, blue, cinnamon, or cream.
The exact origin of the Chow Chow is unknown, but we do know that it is a very old breed. The oldest known dog fossils, dated back to several million years ago, are very similar in structure to the Chow Chow. Pictures on Chinese pottery which looked like the Chow Chow date back as far back as 206 BC. The Chow Chow may be related to the Chinese Shar-Pei, as both breeds’ origins point to China and both have the distinctive trait of the black and blue mouth. It may also have contributed to the ancestry of the Keeshond, Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhound, and the Pomeranian.
The Chow Chow was used by the Chinese as a working dog, doing many different tasks such as a hunter of wolves, sable and pheasant, for herding, cart and sled puller, boat guard, and protection of the home. The dogs served the Chinese much more then just as a working dog. The dog’s fur was used in making human coats and they were and still are also eaten, considered a delicacy. In the late 1800s Chows were first bought to England by merchants. The name “Chow Chow” probably originated from the pidgin English word “chow-chow,” a general term for all of the odds and ends brought back from the far East.
Chow Chows are well-mannered and known to be very good with children. If socialized young with other animals, they should get along well in adulthood. This breed is proud and dominant and require a firm and patient guardian when it comes to training. This breed makes an excellent watch or guard dog and will defend their family to the very end.
- Height: 18 – 22 inches
- Weight: 45 – 70 pounds
- Lifespan: 15 years
- Grooming: Regular brushing
Care & Health
Chow Chows will do okay in an apartment if they get sufficient exercise. They can get a little lazy, so going on a daily walk is important. They are sensitive to the heat and prefer to live in cooler weather. Chow Chows are prone to suffer eye irritation called entropion, caused by eyelid abnormality; this can be corrected with surgery. The breed is also prone to hip dysplasia, stomach cancer, hot spots, and ear infections. Because of their relatively short muzzles, this breed also often snores.
Your Love Match
The perfect pet parent of a Chow Chow:
- Doesn’t mind snoring