Everything You Need to Know About Your Chow Chow Dog!

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chow chow puppy in bushesThe Chow Chow is one unique dog breed!  They’ve got a personality similar to a cat, but the temperament of a guard dog. Their robust fur ball body that looks like a cross between a dog, a lion, and a bear!

What’s more, this dog breed is old, very old. If you’re looking for a serious and independent breed, read on, Chow Chows are all of that and more.

A Brief History of the Chow Chows

Chow Chows can stand proud as they are one of the ancient dog breeds. They have a few thousand years of history in China, where they are now mostly called Songshi Quan. The Chow Chow’s personality and strengths have been made the most of in various ways throughout Chinese times.

This breed was an aristocratic companion for rulers of early Chinese dynasties. Their muscular frames made them amazing working dogs. The Chow Chow has hauled sleds, hunted, and worked as loyal and efficient guard dogs. The American Kennel Club registered the Chow Chow in the non-sporting group in 1903.

There are two theories on how this dog got the name of Chow Chow.

One theory is that when the dog was first brought to Britain on ships in the 1800s, sailors used the term “chow chow”. The name simply stuck.

The other theory is that the word chow relates to the Cantonese word for edible. Historically in times when food was scarce, Chow Chow ancestors were eaten! Wow!

These days Chow Chows are companions. With that in mind, are you wondering about chow-chow recipes? Think Asian cuisine without “dog” as an ingredient! The contents of your jars will be chow-chow relish with mustard seeds and vegetables! That kind of Chow Chow definitely does not include this beautiful breed!

The Appearance of the Strong and Sturdy Chow Dogs

Is it a dog? Is it a lion? Perhaps a bear? The Chow Chow breed looks like one sturdy, but cuddly, hybrid of a dog, a lion, and a bear!

This dog breed has deep-set eyes and small triangular ears. Their facial expression may look like they are scowling, or just deep in serious thought! Some say that their appearance and expressions also seem snobbish. This might be because their front and hind legs are always fairly straight, meaning they walk with a stilted gait.

Chows are square and muscular dogs. They have thick double coats and a fluffy tail that curves directly back over their spine. Chows can have two types of coat – rough or smooth – both types are double-coated.

Chows with a rough coat have a ruff or mane around their neck and feathering or longer hair on their body, legs, and tail. Smooth coated Chows have the same dense thick coats but without the added length.

That Chow Chow Tongue!

The Chow Chow tongue is one of a kind! This breed has pink tongues when they are born, but by the time they are eight to ten weeks old, their tongue changes permanently to a blue-black color.

So Fluffy, Yet So Clean: Coats!

For a dog breed that has a lot of hair, the Chow when brushed regularly, they are relatively clean and doggy odor free! Their coats need brushing at least two to three times a week and they shed heavily twice a year – in Spring and Autumn.

chow chow dog close up

Blue, Black, and Tan: Chow Chow Dogs Come in Many Colors!

The plush coats of the Chow Chow breed come in five main colors. These are shades of red, black, blue, cinnamon and cream.

  • Black Chow Chow – Chances are you will blink and do a double take at a black Chow Chow – they really do look like bears!
  • White Chow Chow – As you may expect, a white, or officially cream, Chow Chow has the look of a well wrapped furry polar bear!
  • The Infamous Chow Chow Panda – Due to wonders of modern grooming and hair color, the Chow Chow Panda became popular a few years ago in China. The doggy “do” colored and styled to look like a panda, lasts about six weeks.

Average Weight and Size of These Dignified Dogs

Chows are a muscular medium-sized dog. There are slight differences between the sizes of male and female Chows. According to the breed standard, males and females may give impressions of masculinity/femininity. The average weight and sizes of Chow Chows are:

  • Height: 17-20 inches to their shoulders
  • Weight: 45-70 pounds

The Absolutely Adorable Mini Chow Chow!

The size of all Chows is the standard compact size above. There is no official “mini” chow breed or unofficial crossbreed. However, while they are puppies, and if your adult dog is at the smaller end of the scale, you may very well refer to your stocky wee furball as a Mini Chow!

Chow Chow Temperament and Personality

Chow Chows are often described as aloof, independent, and dignified. If you’re thinking that sounds more like a cat, then you’ve got the idea!

Despite their cuddly appearance, they may not be that interested in much over-enthusiastic hugging. But they are very loyal and devoted to their human companions. Like cats, you may find they attach themselves to one member of the family more than others.

The Chow is territorial and a bit of a homebody: this dog breed doesn’t have high activity levels! The Chow Chow’s daily exercise needs are more along the lines of a steady walk around the block than a jog or a run.

Early training and socialization is a must with this breed. This dog does not tend to naturally trust strangers or other animals they haven’t already met.  They are not pack dogs and do better in the company of people and pets who they trust and respect.

Their bark and their bite can be stubborn and powerful. While this means they can be great guardians of your property, it is important to learn what their psychological trigger is. Begin obedience training and socialization with these puppies from a young age!

red and black chow chow puppies

Adding Chow to the Mix! The Top Chow Chow Mixed Breeds!

You will also find many adorable puppies out there that include Chow Chow in their parentage. Sometimes this is by accident, sometimes by design.

When you mix any breeds, their offspring will vary. Their appearance and temperament will depend on the combination of traits passed on by each parent. Some common Chow Chow dog hybrids are:

Chow Chow German Shepherd Mix

A Chow Shepherd often has more of the facial features of their German Shepherd parent. Their bodies tend to be square and solid, towards the size of a Shepherd. Their coat is more like their Chow Chow parent.

Corgi Chow Mix

Given Queen Elizabeth II is a fan of Corgis, and Queen Victoria had Chow Chows. Therefore it’s fair to say that this hybrid could be fit for a queen! The result is likely to be a solid small-medium sized cuddly puppy.

Chow Chow Husky Mix

The mix of a Chow Chow and a Siberian Husky is called the very waggish name of a Chusky! This crossbreed is a medium-large sized dog, with an abundance of energy!

Lab Chow Mix

A Chow Lab mix may be called a Chabrador, Chowbrador, Lab Chow or Labra Chow. A pup from these parents could swing towards a tendency to be independent like their Chow parent. Or, they could be more laid back like their Labrador parent.

Golden Retriever Chow Mix

With a Golden Chow, you are likely to get a medium dog, with a thick fluffy coat and tail. A Golden Chow may tend towards being territorial like a Chow, or a family pet like the Retriever parent.

How Long do These Fluff Kids Live?

The life expectancy of Chow Chows is 8 to 12 years.

4 Health Issues to Be Aware of!

All dogs, just like people, may be predisposed to health problems related to their genes. Some to be aware of in the Chow Chow breed include:

  1. Joint Problems: Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia
  2. Eye Problems: Eyelid entropion, glaucoma, cataracts
  3. Autoimmune Problems: Autoimmune thyroiditis, skin disease, and allergies.
  4. Heatstroke: These dogs are wearing one very warm and cozy coat all the time! They can overheat if overexerted or live in warm climates.

Puppy Chow: What to Feed Your Doggo!

Chow for Chow Chows! That’s a dog dinner call that must echo in homes with Chows throughout the world! Chows should be fed a healthy and nutritious diet of good quality food. Low-grain diets are often recommended for these pups to reduce the risk of allergies.

Chow Chow Puppies for Sale!

You can find breeders of Chow Chows listed on the American Kennel Club and Chow Chow Club websites. Always look for reputable breeders.

They should provide you with information and documentation on the health of their dogs. They will also check whether they think the breed is a suitable choice for you!

How Much Does a Chow Chow Puppy Cost?

Purebred Chow Chow puppies can cost $1,000 to $9,000 depending on the breeder and the puppy’s parentage.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Chow Rescues! 

Adopting a Chow Chow may be the best thing you ever do for yourself and a dog in need of rehoming. Ask your local animal rescue group.

Or, or check the Chow Chow Club’s Information and Adoption Center. They may network with people in your State who have Chows needing homes.

Common Questions on Chow Chows

How often does this dog need brushing?

Where did the name Chow Chow come from?

Do they make good guard dogs?

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