The Chow Chow, more commonly known as the Chow, is a breed that really peaked in popularity in the mid to late 1980s. Since then the breed has been fairly consistent in registration numbers and continues to be a popular dog in many parts of the United States and the rest of the world.
The Chow is one of the Asian breeds of dogs, originally bred and developed in China, and probably dates back as far as 206 B.C. and perhaps even before. The ancestors of the Chow are not known, but it may very well be related to the Chinese Shar-Pei, although the coats are obviously very different between the two breeds. Both have a very unique feature in that their mouths, including gums and tongue, are typically blue or black.
Originally bred as a hunting dog the Chow was also used as a sled dog, herding dog as well as a protector on farms as well as in villages. These same traits are still visible in the Chow of today. They are excellent watchdogs and intimidate many people with their unwavering stare and their larger physical size. A mature Chow Chow can weigh between 50 and 70 pounds and will often stand about 22 inches at the shoulder. The dense ruff of coat makes the neck and shoulder area looks big and muscular, also adding to their appearance as a substantial dog.
Chows are generally a healthy dog but they do have eye problems similar to that of some of the other Asian dog breeds. Entropion, a rolling of the eyelid that causes irritation and damage to the eye, can be easily corrected with a simple surgical procedure. Other health issues to watch for include hot spots on the skin that can often go undetected because of the dense, heavy coat.
The Chow has a double coat with the undercoat often very wooly and slightly lighter than the outside coat. There is actually a smooth and rough variety of the breed but both come in colors of red, black, blue, cream, tan and sometimes a pure white. The coat can have shade differences over the body but there are no bicolor or tricolor coats allowed for show purposes.
A Chow Chow is an independent dog that is dominant by nature. They need to have consistent, early training and socialization and, without this, they become more protective and aloof as they get older. A well socialized Chow is very friendly towards new people and new animals and they generally get along well with other pets when raised together. Kids and Chows are also a good match but these dogs do need to have time and space on their own when they are tired or just need a break. Very intelligent the Chow loves to please and will work to learn new tricks and commands for attention and a small food reward.
While the Chow can live outside, they really prefer to be with the family. They are not a good dog in very hot climates where they can’t get into air conditioned comfort during the heat of the day.