Living with a Chow Chow
Temperament: The Chow is an intelligent and independent dog with innate dignity. They are naturally reserved around strangers but should not be aggressive or shy. Due to their deep set eyes, the Chow has limited peripheral vision and should always be approached from the front.
Family Dog: The Chow is typically good with children and other pets if they get to know them when they are young. The Chow should be thoroughly socialized at a young age.
Shedding: The Chow Chow is a heavy seasonal shedder.
Grooming: The coat of the Chow Chow should be brushed regularly to maintain its stand-out appearance. The can be cleaned with a dry shampoo when needed.
Weather: The Chow Chow enjoys cooler weather and can be sensitive to hot conditions.
Exercise: The Chow Chow can be a lazy dog. Despite this they should still be taken for a daily walk to get their much needed exercise.
Living Conditions: The Chow Chow can live in an apartment if they are properly exercised. They are relatively inactive inside and will be okay with a small yard.
Chow Chow Appearance
Appearance: The Chow Chow is a large, stocky dog with a flat skull, broad muzzle and small triangular shaped ears. They are commonly known by their blue-black tongue and practically straight hind legs which give them a stilted gait.
Size: The Chow Chow weighs between 45 to 70 pounds and stands between 17 to 20 inches tall at the shoulders.
Head: The head of the Chow Chow should be carried proudly and large in proportion to the body size but should not be over- exaggerated making them appear top-heavy. The skull is broad and flat on top. When seen from the side the top of the skull and muzzle should be approximately parallel and joined by a moderate stop. The Chow has a dignified, sober, scowling expression.
Nose: The nose of the Chow Chow is large, broad and black in color with well opened nostrils. Blue coated Chows may have solid blue or slate colored noses.
Eyes: The medium sized, dark brown, almond shaped eyes of the Chow Chow should deep set, obliquely placed and spaced far apart from each other. The eye rims should be black in color.
Ears: The ears of the Chow Chow are small and triangular in shape with rounded tips. They are moderately thick, spaced wide apart and carried erect with a slight forward tilt.
Muzzle: The Chow Chow has a broad, short, square shaped muzzle. The upper lips should completely cover the lower lips when the mouth is closed. The edges of the lips, mouth and gums are black in color with the top of the tongue being a solid blue-black color.
Teeth/Bite: The teeth of the Chow Chow are strong and met in a scissors bite.
Neck: The neck of the Chow is full, strong and well muscled with a nice arch and sufficient length to hold the head proudly upright.
Body: The body of the Chow Chow is short, compact and muscular with a square appearance where the distance from forechest to the rump being equal to the height at the withers. The distance from the elbows to ground is equal to the distance from the elbows to the withers. The body is broad with the overall width being equal when viewed from either the front or the rear. They should have a strong muscular appearance with heavy bone. The topline should be strong and level. The chest is broad, deep and muscular with close together ribs allowing the shoulder and upper arm to lie smoothly against the chest. The chest is deep and broad extending to the tip of the elbows.
Forequarters: The Chow has strong, muscular shoulders with the tips being close. The length of upper arm should never be shorter than the length of the shoulder blade. The elbows a set well back beside the chest and should turn neither in nor out. The legs should be perfectly straight from elbow to foot and heavily boned. When seen from the front, the forelegs are parallel to each other and set widely apart. The pasterns are short and upright. The wrists should not knuckle over.
Hindquarters: The Chow Chow's hindquarters are broad, powerful and heavily boned with muscular hips and thighs. When seen from the rear, the hind legs are straight, parallel and set wide apart. The stifle joint shows little angulation, points straight forward with clean and sharp bones. The strong, well knit hock joint is well let down and appears almost straight.
Gait: The gait of the Chow Chow should be straight, sound, agile and powerful. The rear legs have a shorter, stilted movement because of their straightness. When viewed from the side you can see the characteristic stilted movement where the rear leg moves up and forward from the hip in a straight pendulum-like motion giving a slight bounce of the rump. The rear legs do not extend far forward or backward. The rear feet give a strong thrust, which power the body in a near straight line. When viewed from the back, the bone from the hip to the feet remains straight as the dog moves. As the speed of the dog increases the rear legs tilt slightly inward with the stifle joints pointing toward the line of movement. When seen from the front, the bone from shoulder to feet stays straight as the dog moves. The front legs should not swing outward or show any appearance of hackney action. The Chow is not an extremely fast dog but they have excellent endurance because of their efficient gait.
Feet: The feet of the Chow Chow are round, compact and catlike with thick pads. Both sets of dewclaws can be removed.
Tail: The tail of the Chow Chow should be set high and carried close to the back at all times.
Color: The coat of the Chow can be solid red, black, blue, cinnamon or cream. They may have a lighter shading in the ruff, tail and featherings.
Coat: The double coat of the Chow Chow comes in two distinct types: rough and smooth. The Rough-Coated variety consists of a dense, straight, coarse, abundant, off-standing outer coat with a thick, soft, wooly undercoat. The coat forms a profuse ruff around the neck much like a lion mane. The tail is well feathered. The Smooth-coated Chow has a similar coat except the outer coat is hard, dense, smooth and less abundant without ruff or feathering on the legs and tail.
Chow Chow Facts
Category: Northern, AKC Non-Sporting
Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy of the Chow Chow is about 15 years of age.
Characteristics: Due to their relatively short muzzles, Chow Chows often snore.
Chow Chow Health
Health: The Chow Chow is prone to an eye irritation called entropion which is caused by an eyelid abnormality which can be corrected by surgery. They also have a tendency to suffer from hip dysplasia, stomach cancer, hot spots and ear infections.
Chow Chow History
History: The Chow Chow is an ancient northern Chinese breed originally used for hunting, herding, pulling and protection. The oldest know dog fossils date back several million years and resemble those of the Chow Chow. There are images depicting the Chow Chow on ancient Chinese pottery dating back as far as 206 BC. The Chow may share ancestry with the Chinese Shar-Pei, Keeshond, Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhound, and Pomeranian. In the late 1800s Chow Chows were first purchased by English merchants. In fact the name Chow Chow may have originated from the English word "chow-chow" a term referring to all of the odds and ends bought back from the Far East. Today the Chow Chow is primarily a companion dog.