Breed: Chow Chow Health Problems, Lifespan, Temperament & Maintenance

| Published on August 25, 2017

Occasionally seen: Renal cortical hypoplasia
Avg Size of Female: Height: 17 – 20 inches, Weight: 45 – 70 pounds
Suggested tests: Hip, elbow, eye
Life span: 8 – 12 years
Avg Size of male: Height: 17 – 20 inches, Weight: 45 – 70 pounds
Major concerns: CHD, entropion
Minor concerns: Elbow dysplasia, cataract, distichiasis, PPM, gastric torsion, stenotic nares, patellar luxation, elongated palate

Brief History on Chow Chow Origin

Some theories suggest that this particular breed of dog originally served as a temple guard dog in ancient times. It is also said that this breed may have been used to assist hunters. There are also records that suggest the Chow Chow was used for both fur and meat in Mongolia and Manchuria. The breed was officially named “Chow Chow” when the dogs were brought to England from China, sometime in the late 1700s. This name originated from a words that originally meant  “Oriental knick-knack.” It wasn’t until the late 1800s that larger amounts of the breed were brought to England, and then imported from there to America. Queen Victoria is credited with building a renown popularity for the Chow Chow. This breed was recognized by the AKC in 1903, but the dog failed to gain a reputation in the United States until the 1980s.

Chow Chow Breed Appearance

Known to be a large, sturdy, and powerfully built breed, the Chow Chow has thick bones and strong muscles. At first impressions, the Chow Chow can definitely be intimidating. The front legs are very straight, and the hindquarters are substantially robust and strong. The rounded feet are bulky yet compact, and feature heavy pads on the toes. The enormous head of this breed is carried with pure dignity, and the expression of this dog is one of confidence, temperance, and self-determination. The dark brown eyes are round or almond in shape and wide set, often times sharing the same characteristics of teddybear. The ears are small and sometimes hidden in their coat. They are triangular in shape, yet rounded at the ends. The broad muzzle is short in length but well proportioned to the rest of the Chow Chow’s head and body. It’s strong teeth meet in a scissors bite, and they usually have a black or dark purple tongue. The tail is set high, usually lying on top it’s back. The gait is described as powerful and quick. This breed comes in both rough and smooth coat variations, both types feature double coats. The smooth coat features a dense, smooth outer coat with a prominent undercoat. This variation does not feature a large ruff around the neck or feathering on the legs and tail. The rough coat features an ample outer coat of dense, straight hair that is coarse to the touch. The undercoat of this variation is soft, thick, and wooly. The rough coat variety features a thick ruff of fur around the head and neck, as well as a feathered tail. The Chow Chow normally comes in five colors including blue, black, cinnamon, red, and cream.

Chow Chow Breed Temperament

Known to have a lordly and regal attitude, the Chow Chow is an intelligent dog that is not overly emotional. It is an independent breed and can be somewhat headstrong. Regardless, it is a staunch dog that is protective and devoted to its family despite its private nature. It is generally unapproachable when it comes to strangers, and is commonly hostile or aloof with strange dogs. Like many other breeds, if it’s socialized with children, other pets, company in the home at an early age, the Chow Chow will behave well around them as an adult. They respond best to firm and consistent training from an early age. While they may be intelligent, this breed is sometimes a challenge to train due to their independence. The Chow Chow has been known to guard it’s personal objects and items. Such as food, bones, toys, and even certain areas of the house. This fact should be known among your family members, children of the household and family friends. Some do not like to walk on leashes, so a medium-sized yard would be ideal for this breed. Though they may not be as affectionate as other breeds, the Chow Chow can make a wonderful addition to any family with the right training and care.

Chow Chow Breed Maintenance

The coat of the smooth variety is quite easy to care for, only requiring a brushing about once a week. The rough coat requires more time and care, however. It should be brushed at least three to four times a week, more often during times of heavy shedding to prevent matting and tangling of the denser undercoat. Dry shampoos should be used when necessary. Daily, moderate outdoor activity is highly recommended, but it should be noted that this breed does not do well in hot or humid weather. So please be sure to take care in the warmer months of the year. The chow-chow will be fine in an apartment dwelling as long as it receives daily exercise and attention. A home or apartment with at least a medium, fenced-in yard is ideal. This breed can be lazy, so in order to prevent them from gaining unhealthy amounts of weight, it should be walked or exercised daily.


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