A regal breed with strong muscles and heavy boned, the Chow Chow is an ancient breed from northern China. Although affectionate, he can be stubborn.
The affectionate Chow Chow is devoted and loyal to his family, but indifferent to strangers. He makes an excellent guard dog, but his independent, stubborn streak means he needs early socialization and training.
Moderate daily exercise like walks or play with toys will help keep the Chow happy and healthy.
The Chow has a muscular, powerful build in a fairly compact body. His signature look includes a lion’s mane-like ruff of fur around his head and neck. He has a blue-black tongue, deep almond eyes and a slightly wrinkled forehead, lending to his judgmental expression.
8 to 12 years
Standard Chow Chow colors include red, black, blue, cinnamon or cream.
The Chow’s thick double coat may be rough or smooth. Either way, it requires regular grooming. Chows shed seasonally, so brushing twice per week and more frequently during the spring shedding season will suffice.
Aside from being intolerant of high heat and humidity, the Chow Chow may also suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, patellar luxation and thyroid disorders. Working with a responsible breeder will help avoid these health concerns.
The Chow Chow may be the world’s oldest breed. Chows were depicted in Chinese artifacts dating back to approximately 206 BC. They spent much of their early years serving as companions to Chinese nobility.
Throughout their long history, however, Chows had numerous jobs, including guarding, hauling and hunting. Chow Chow ancestors may have even been a food source for the northern Chinese.
In the 1820s, Chows were part of a “Wild Dogs of China” exhibit at the London Zoo. It wasn’t until Queen Victoria acquired a Chow in the later 1800s that the breed gained popularity.
Chows came to the U.S. in the 1890s and the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered its first of the breed in 1903.