With its teddy bear face, lion’s mane and exceptionally shaggy coat, the Chow projected a majestic demeanor at home in royalty. It may appear standoffish, but this strong, muscular breed is true to its family and possesses many traits.
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Chows are known to be as picky as cats and to be one of the cleanest canines. They are super clean and accommodate trains with ease – perhaps the easiest of all dogs! The Chow Chow has a double coat and comes in different colors such as red, blue, black, cream and fawn. Adults have blue or black tongues.
Chows are depicted on artifacts from the Han Dynasty in China around 206 BC, but many believe they were the ancestors of the Spitz, which would make them an even older breed. They were great companions for the Chinese nobility—so desirable that one emperor is said to have had thousands of them. Over the years, the Chow has seen ups and downs—from pampering royal companions to serving as watchdogs and even nourishing hungry fellow dogs when food was scarce.
In the 1820s, these dogs were actually exhibited at the London Zoo as “Chinese Wild Dogs”. Their luck turned when they caught the attention of Queen Victoria, who adopted a Chow Chow and made the breed popular.
3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Chow Chow
|Good Watchdog : Despite their small size and classification, these dogs make good watchdogs and are keenly aware of their surroundings.||Aggression : These dogs sometimes exhibit aggressive behavior and can be overly suspicious of strangers.|
|Calm and Confident : If you are looking for a stern breed, this may be the best choice for you.||Decision Makers : These dogs have a mind of their own. Therefore, any interference with their decisions can lead to troublesome behavior.|
|Be polite at home : These dogs don’t make a fuss around the house, so they won’t make a mess of your home.||Grooming : They require regular grooming, so if you don’t want a high-maintenance animal, this may not be a good choice for you.|
size and weight
Classified by the UKC as a ‘non-sporting’ breed, these dogs are relatively small in size. Don’t be fooled by the fluffy fur – they are small and sturdy. Males are about 17 to 20 inches, while females are centered at 18 inches. Males weigh 45 to 70 pounds more than females. However, the maximum weight for females is only 44 to 60 pounds. in their adult size.
|height (male)||17-20 inches tall|
|height (female)||18 inches tall|
|weight (male)||45-70 lbs, fully grown|
|weight (female)||44-60 lbs, fully grown|
common health problems
Like all other dogs, the Chow Chow (scientific name: Canis lupus familiaris ) has its own set of problems consistent with small breeds. One of the biggest problems this breed faces is hip and elbow dysplasia. This condition is a congenital problem in the breed and simply means that the joints at the elbows and hips are not properly aligned.
Cruciate ligament disease is another problem for these dogs. The knee joint becomes unstable, causing the joint to twist and slide, which is very painful. The dog will show their distress by walking on only three of their four legs, limping carefully.
There is a bloating condition called gastric distensible torsion that is also common in these dogs. Gastric dilatation torsion can be fatal, and it primarily affects dogs with deep chests (which is typical of them). Along with the gas in the stomach, there are cases where there is never any progression. However, bloating can cause it to twist.
Entropion is another eye-related disorder these dogs suffer from. Also common in English Bulldogs, it is caused by the eyelid rolling inwards of the eye, causing the hair on the eyelid to rub against the cornea and causing severe pain.
Therefore, the health problems these dogs suffer from are:
- hip dysplasia
- elbow dysplasia
- cruciate ligament disease
- Gastric dilatation torsion
Whether purebred or mixed, these dogs are not very social dogs, nor are they very outgoing. Their temperament makes them very suspicious of strangers and often very aggressive towards other dogs.
In order for them to feel comfortable around other dogs, the concept of socialization must be introduced to them early in life. While this disposition makes them protective watchdogs, households with other pets may need to put in extra effort to train them to be civilized.
They also often cause confusion with alarm barking that needs to be controlled. These dogs are intelligent, but also stubborn. They need patient and strict owners and trainers. They are known to be very protective of their families and tend to become dominant if they are not taught their place in the family. They can sometimes be obedient in the right direction.
How to Care for a Chow Chow
Owning a Chow Chow requires a lot of grooming work, but their diet is easy to keep up with. Here are a few things to keep in mind when caring for your dog.
Best Dog Food for Chow Chows
These dogs need to eat a diet rich in grains and vegetables. You can occasionally supplement their diet with fish and soy. However, you need to easily control the protein levels in your diet, as high protein levels can cause skin problems in these dogs. Still, they prefer a mix of dry and wet food, so the only concern is that their food has minimal grains to which the breed may be allergic.
Puppies need to be given the same diet. However, you will have to feed the pups in small amounts at short intervals, as their small stomachs usually cannot digest much food at one time.
As a dog prone to stomach distention/bloat, be careful when feeding your Chow and always monitor feedings to ensure small enough portions. Maybe you’ll want to look for a dog food with sensitive stomachs that is easy for your Chow to digest.
A great option for Chow Chows is Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Sensitive Skin & Stomach with Probiotics.
This protein-rich dog food not only provides EPA, omegas, and glucosamine to protect your Chow Chow’s joints, but it also contains probiotics to aid digestion. This dog food uses salmon as a healthy source of high-quality protein that will keep your Chow full and reduce overeating.
Check out Chewy or Amazon for this product.
Best for Sensitive Skin and Stomach
Maintenance and Grooming
These dogs are known to be quite high maintenance and require daily brushing. Their coats need frequent brushing. They have a double coat and it can take a long time to get rid of the shed hairs. Fortunately, most groomers are caring and gentle with this breed.
They can be bathed once a week — but they should definitely be bathed at least every six weeks.
Regardless of the mix of breeds, training these dogs is no easy task. They have hunting traits and are often aggressive and predatory towards other pets and animals, and these tendencies can be difficult to get rid of.
They’re also quite independent and proud, which means these dogs can’t be forced to do anything at all. If you try to train them under harsh conditions or with punishment, they will either stop working altogether or show vindictive behaviour. The best training techniques involve encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Every dog needs regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and regulate the release of mood-balancing hormones. This movement prevents them from becoming restless. However, they don’t like to go out much – a few daily walks may be all they need.
Their bodies are thicker by nature, and most puppies can be indoors in about 15 minutes. If you can get them to spend more time outside, daily walks can be slightly longer.
Chow Chow puppies have a double coat early on, so they will need intensive grooming after a few weeks of age. They need training to be socialized early in life so they can become sociable adults. Puppies need to be fed in small amounts after short intervals because their small stomachs cannot digest large amounts of food at one time. These frequent meals may continue until the puppy is a year old.
Children and Chow Chow
If these dogs are taught how to be around children, they will be great with them. However, they are not very patient with children and will not accept abuse from young children. They are perfect for families with children and they know how to treat these dogs with respect.
For families looking to adopt one of these dogs, be sure to have conversations with the children in the house about proper behavior to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
dog similar to chow chow
As beautiful and lively as the Chow Chow is, this dog is not for everyone. Here are some alternative breeds that might suit a potential owner.
- Tibetan Mastiff: Like the Chow Chow, the Tibetan Mastiff can be aggressive and willful. They are considerably heavier than Chow Chows, but only slightly taller.
- Alaskan Malamutes: Malamutes are intelligent and social, making them ideal pets for families that interact with others a lot. They are incredible watchdogs, but need more space than an apartment to thrive.
- Keeshond: Keeshonds are known to be very loyal and friendly to their owners and have a very affectionate nature. However, they are much friendlier to strangers, so they may not be the right watchdog for someone.
famous chow chow
Several celebrities have owned these dogs. Among them were Martha Stewart, President Calvin Coolidge, Elvis Presley and his girlfriend Linda Thompson. Renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud also owned one.
Popular Names for Chow Chows
Some popular names for Chow Chows are:
- bow wow
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These dogs typically cost around $900. Additional costs can be as high as $700 to $1000 per year.
Chow Chows can do well with children if trained properly. However, they are not very patient with children in the family — especially younger ones.
Chow Chows typically live 9 to 15 years.
Chow Chows sometimes display aggressive behavior towards other pets and animals in general.
They can make great family pets if they are trained how to live with their family.
They are available in a variety of colors including black, beige, cream, red and blue.
Chow Chows are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.
The Chow Chow belongs to the animal kingdom.
The Chow Chow belongs to the class Mammalia.
The Chow Chow belongs to the phylum Chordate.
The Chow Chow belongs to the canine family.
The Chow Chow belongs to the order Carnivora.
The Chow Chow belongs to the genus Canis.
The Chow Chow is covered with hair.
The scientific name of the Chow Chow is Canis lupus.