A big, compact body with a male lion like ruff around the head and an unusual blue- black tongue and a frowning expression. The stilted gait and short stride is a characteristic of the Chow Chow.
The History Of The Chow Chow
The Chow Chow originated in China during the 1st Century.
This is one of the oldest breeds of dogs and identifiable in North East Asian historical artifacts dating before Christ. This large member of the spits family was originally bred as a hunting dog. A 7th century Chinese Emperor reputedly kept over 4,000 Chows in his sporting kennel. Over time the breed became more commonly used in temples as guard dogs.
It was attributed mystical powers and its "warrior scowl" was believed to frighten away evil spirits.
Description Of The Chow Chow
The unaltered tail is set high and curved over the back. The small, erect ears blend into the ruff and are never altered.
The dense furry coat is comes in two varieties, smooth and rough. The most common colors are red, black, blue, cinnamon and cream. It can also ne colored tan, gray, or occasionally white. The coat may display lighter or darker shades, but never parti-colored.
Ears are small and rounded and there is a large ruff behind the head giving it the characteristic appearance of a male lion. The head is broad and with a flat skull.
Average height is 18 - 22 inches at the shoulder and weighs from 45 - 70 pounds.
Coat & Grooming
Considerable grooming is required to prevent matting and to maintain the lifted, standing-out look. It is a seasonal heavy shedder and extra care is needed when shedding the dense undercoat. Dry shampoo when necessary.
Generally well mannered, but can be headstrong and over protective. They are bossy, serious, independent and self-willed to the point of obstinacy. Usually a one person dog and loyal to his family.
May become aggressive with pushy strangers. This very dominant breed requires a dominant owner who should be a calm and naturally fair and firm. Given such a handler, the Chow Chow can develop well but don’t expect great obedience from them. Although stubborn and self willed, they can be trained with patience.
Life Expectancy and Health
The average life of a Chow Chow is around 15 years.
Reported health problems are the eyes, particularly ingrown rims and lashes. They are prone to suffer an eye irritation called entropion, caused by an eyelid abnormality. This can be corrected with surgery. They do not enjoy very hot climates. Subject to hot spots and hormonal skin disease.
Beware of hip dysplasia. Otherwise they are generally healthy.. Please read our page on health problems by clicking here.
Preferred Environment and Exercise Requirements
It will live happily in an apartment if it is given sufficient exercise. They are relatively inactive indoors and a small yard is sufficient. They are sensitive to the heat, but can live in or outdoors.
For More Information on the Chow Chow
To get more information, check out the Chow Chow website:
There may also be rescue dogs available. Check for details on:
The Chow Chow apparently got its name from English sailors who referred to it by the term the Chinese gave to miscellaneous cargo. A blue tongue is a breed hallmark. This is not unique among dogs the Shar Pei for example also has a blue tongue.
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