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Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is a sturdy, ancient breed from China. They are a good family dog that needs regular grooming and early socialization.

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Physical Characteristics
  • Powerful build
  • Distinctive features: blue-black tongue, scowling expression and stilted walk, resulting from its almost straight hind legs
  • Dense, furry coat comes in two varieties: rough (straight extended outer coat) and smooth (lacks the off-standing outer coat, no head ruff)
  • Both coat types have wooly undercoats that provide protection from the cold
  • Common colors are solid red, black, blue, cinnamon and cream
  • Huge ruff behind head gives a lion-like appearance
  • The tail is thickly covered with hair and is carried over its back
  • Deep set, dark brown eyes
  • Height: 17-20 inches
  • Weight: 45-70 pounds
  • Average lifespan: 8-15 years
  • Very smart, independent, willful, loyal
  • Interaction with people: Good with children; wary of strangers. Needs owner who is calm, consistent and firm
  • Interaction with animals: Good with other pets if socialized early; may try to dominate other dogs
  • Protection: Excellent watchdog; very protective
Medical Conditions
While the listed ailments may be common in this breed, not all members of the breed suffer from these conditions. Responsible breeders screen for orthopedic and genetic diseases.
At Home
  • OK for apartments if sufficiently exercised
  • Relatively inactive indoors
  • Not recommended for warm climates
  • Needs daily walks
  • Heavy seasonal shedder
  • Smooth type needs brushing once weekly
  • Rough type needs brushing every other day, and daily when shedding
  • Dry shampoo when necessary
Other Facts
  • The Chow-Chow and the Chinese Shar-Pei are the only breeds with a blue-black tongue, indicating a common ancestry
  • Very popular in the U.S. as a companion dog
  • Capable of withstanding extremely cold temperatures due to its protective coat
Breed History
  • Ancient breed of Northern Chinese origin
  • Structure is very similar to that of the oldest known fossilized dog remains dated to several million years ago
  • Known for thousands of years in China, where it worked as a hunter, cart puller and boat guard
  • First brought to England by merchants in the late 1800s
  • The name probably originated from the pidgin English word "chow-chow," a term used to describe knick-knacks and novelties from the Far East
For more information about this breed and breeder referral contacts, please visit the Chow Chow Club For breed rescue opportunities, visit Chow Chow Information and Adoption Center
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