The Chow Chow is certainly one of the more exotic dog breeds. The Chow has a leonine appearance and its mouth and tongue are blue to black in color. They also resemble a very cute teddy bear. This proud and serious-looking breed walks with a stiff-legged gait due to the lack of angulation in the rear legs.
The Chow’s small erect ears are carried well forward giving this breed a frowning expression. There are two varieties of Chows both with double coats – The Rough variety and the rarer Smooth variety. The Rough or long-haired variety Chow has a thick, long and dense outer coat that sticks out from the body.
The Chow’s undercoat is soft and woolly. This variety of Chow has a ruff around its head and neck with a well feathered tail. The rarer Smooth variety Chow has a hard, short, harsh and dense outer coat with a definite undercoat.
The most common Chow colors are red and black with cinnamon and blue also prevalent. Male Chows stand 19 to 21 inches and female Chows 18 to 20 inches at shoulder height. Chows weigh from 50 to 70 pounds.
Chow Chows belong to the American Kennel Club (AKC) Non-Sporting Dog Group.
History of Chow Chows
This ancient breed is a member of the Spitz family and is thought to have evolved from the Samoyed and the Tibetan Mastiff. Chows seemed to have appeared in China over 2000 years ago.
In northern China, Chows were used for hunting, herding and guarding but were also bred as a source of food and fur. Chow Chows were ranked 61st out of 154 dog breeds in 2004 AKC registrations.
Temperament of a Chow Chows
Chows are aloof and independent and are reserved and even unfriendly to everybody but their owner. The Chow while totally devoted to its master is not affectionate and is reluctant to play games. Chows are not very good dogs with children and can be very aggressive toward strange animals.
This breed needs very early and lots of socialization while still a puppy. Chows are naturally clean and therefore quite easy to housebreak. Chows can be obstinate and stubborn so they need lots of friendly obedience training which should be started when they are still puppies and continued into adulthood.
Once you gain a Chow’s respect by constantly enforcing rules and training, you will have a polite and well-mannered dog.
Chows have a well defined sense of territory and make good watch dogs and guard dogs. This breed is not recommended for the novice or first-time dog owner.
Chows need a moderate amount of exercise and should be walked daily. This breed was not built for strenuous exercise like biking or jogging. Chows can adapt to city living and even apartment living if exercised regularly.
The Rough variety Chow’s thick coat must be brushed twice a week with a brush that reaches right down to the undercoat. Daily brushing is recommended when this breed is shedding. The Smooth variety Chow takes a lot less grooming but still needs a thorough brushing especially when shedding.
Chow puppies look adorable and many owners don’t realize that this is a difficult breed to socialize and train. Chows that aren’t thoroughly socialized in the first year may turn out to be aggressive and anti-social. Chows live from 8 to 12 years. Since there is a tremendous amount of dysplasia in the breed. You should get the breeder to provide hip/elbow certification. You should also try and choose the most outgoing puppy in the litter as this breed can be very introverted.