In my own words
“I might look like a teddy bear, but don’t be fooled. I’m one serious dog!”
You can spot me a mile away. Every time I go on a walk I’m always turning heads – I can’t help but get plenty of attention when I go out! It’s my distinctive look you see. It’s all down to my coat. It’s so puffed up, fluffy and soft! I also have a something of a mane, so I look a bit like a lion. Although, lots of people tell me I have the face of a bear. I’m just as strong and boisterous as both of them, when I want to be, so I don’t mind being compared to them!
It’s true, I do have a bit of a reputation for being aggressive, but you have to understand something – I like to be the boss. If I’m hanging out with someone who isn’t in charge, then I’ll take over and do what I want.
I love my owners though and I’d do anything to keep them safe. Sure, I might not be too sociable when they have friends over, but you never know when trouble might strike! I like to watch over visitors to make sure they aren’t dangerous. If they are, you can rest assured I’ll take care of them!
My ideal owner(s)
Experienced dog owners
Couples without children
Households without other pets
Confident owners with an air of authority
What they say about me
Stubborn and wilful
Please read on to find out more about me, and whether I’ll be someone you’ll be happy to live with for the next 15 years!
Is this Chow Chow for you?
Test your knowledge about the Chow Chow
Information essential about the Chow Chow
Kennel Club Group:
Large: Weight Male 45 – 80 lb (20 – 36 kg) Female 45 – 70 lb (20 – 32 kg)
Height Male 18 – 22” (46 – 56 cm) Female 17 – 20” (43 – 51 cm)
The popularity of the Chow Chow rises and falls. The breed is fairly popular thanks to celebrities such as Martha Stewart and Janet Jackson owning Chow Chows and subsequently raising the profile of the breed. However, Chow Chows have a reputation for being aggressive, though this is usually due to poor training and socialisation, which means that their popularity can dwindle at times.
The Chow Chow originated over 2000 years ago, making it an ancient breed of dog. The oldest known fossils of dogs are very similar in appearance to Chow Chows and date back several million years. It is unclear whether the Chow Chow originates from Siberia or China. There are also some disputes between experts as to which breeds the Chow Chow is descended from, with some saying that they are a cross between the Tibetan Mastiff and Samoyed and others saying that the Samoyed is in fact descended from the Chow Chow.
An all-purpose breed, the Chow Chow was bred for various types of work including hunting, herding, sledding, pulling carts and providing protection. It was treasured throughout Asia for its versatility in working, however in China it was also prized for its fur which was used to make coats, and for its meat. The Chow Chow is still considered a delicacy in parts of China today.
It wasn’t until the late 1800s that Chow chows were introduced to the East, when they were brought to England by Chinese merchants and were called “Wild Dogs of China”. They became very popular in England after Queen Victoria took a Chow Chow as her pet.
Not for meek or timid owners, the Chow Chow can be stubborn, strong minded and wilful. They have a bossy and obstinate side which makes them highly dominant dogs, so a confident and experienced owner is best suited to the breed in order to keep their attitude in check. However, with the right owner, good training and intensive socialisation the Chow Chow is a loyal, patient and well-mannered pet that makes a wonderful companion. Their dominant nature means that they are not good pets for families with children or other pets, as they can be threatening if they believe these family members are below them in the pack. However, when raised with children from an early age and given strong training, they can be quite good with children and be very protective of them.
Your Chow Chow will tend to only bond with one member of the family and treat strangers with a high amount of suspicion. They are not sociable dogs and are always wary of meeting new people, so making sure that they are socialised from as an early an age as possible is highly recommended in order to prevent them becoming overprotective of you when around other people. The Chow Chow has a reputation as an aggressive dog and it is true that the breed is prone to aggressive behaviour problems, however this arises when their owner allows the Chow Chow to be the alpha of the family pack and rule the household. Your Chow Chow also likes to have space, especially from people he doesn’t know, and may snap at strangers who invade his space or handle him too much. Despite his serious temperament, with the right owner your Chow Chow loves to learn new tricks and can do so easily.
The Chow Chow is a very distinctive dog, with many breeders saying they look something like a cross between a lion and a bear. Their soft, full and puffy coat covers a broad, stocky and sturdy body. They have broad heads with a flat skull, wide, deep muzzles, and triangular ears. Their almond shaped eyes are dark and widely set and their teeth meet in a scissor bite. The Chow Chow has an unusual blue black tongue. They have deep, broad chests while the furry tail is highly set and carried close to the back. The Chow Chow’s coat is soft, fluffy and dense and can come in two varieties – smooth and rough. The hair around the neck is longer, forming a mane effect.
The Chow Chow’s coat commonly comes in black, blue, cream, cinnamon and red. Tan and grey Chow Chows have also been known, though they are much rarer.
Your Chow Chow is an intelligent dog who will respond well to training providing his owner is confident, has an air of authority and is consistent and firm. Be sure to teach your Chow Chow from a very early age that you are in charge and the boss, or they will try to take over and will become stubborn and difficult to train. They are a dominant breed and require a dominant owner. As your Chow Chow may become grouchy or even aggressive if treated harshly or severely, make sure that you use reward based, positive training methods
Chow Chows are seasonal heavy shedders and moult extensively during spring and autumn. Their thick, dense and fluffy coat needs brushing daily in order to maintain a lifted, puffed out look and prevent matting and knots. Only bathe or dry shampoo your Chow Chow when absolutely necessary. Because of your Chow Chow’s dense coat, he does not do well in warm climates and can be prone to heat stroke, so be sure to keep him cool when the weather is warm.
Chow Chows are prone to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and entropion, an eyelid abnormality which can be treated with surgery. They are also susceptible to stomach cancer. Minor health issues include ear infection, skin problems and allergies, and they have a low tolerance to anaesthesia. The average lifespan of a healthy Cho Chow is around 15 years.
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The following grid gives a fast track review which covers all breeds. You can apply it to help you decide if a Chow Chow is suitable for you, the environment where you live, your personality and your lifestyle. On the grid, 1 = strongly disagree, and 5 = strongly agree. For example, if you are looking for a dog that is suitable for living in a cold climate, look down the list under ‘environment’ and you will see that Chow Chows are perfect for living in cold areas, scoring 5. If you are looking for a dog that would make a good guard dog, look under ‘role and suitability’ and you’ll see a Chow Chow would be an excellent choice, also scoring 5. You might like to save or print off this section and keep it for reference while you check some other breeds before making your choice.
*PLEASE NOTE: All our breed profiles are general, and all dogs are individuals. Always talk to the breeders and meet the owners you are buying from. Try to meet the dog and its parents if it is a puppy in their home environment.