The Chow Chow: A Beautiful and Charming Dog

May 25, 2019
The Chow Chow is considered an all-purpose dog of ancient China. Meet this muscular, deep-chested and timeless aristocrat dog.

Pet lovers have known about the Chow Chow dog for many years. In addition, this breed has been the star of many films and TV shows. However, this breed is very different from other dogs. They have long, dense hair and a peculiar character too!

Many people may mistake them for a lion or even a tender, loving teddy bear. Nevertheless, in this article you’ll discover that their character has nothing to do with their looks. You know what they say: “looks are deceiving”. Let’s learn more about this fantastic animal.

Everything you need to know about the Chow Chow

Origins

A cute Chow Chow dog posing for the camera.
Photo credits: Selbe Lynn

As you may already know, the Chow Chow originated in China. This happened about 2000 years ago, although it wasn’t until the 19th century that it became known outside of the country. At first, people used them as guard dogs, later as shepherd dogs, and finally as pets and hunting dogs. Unfortunately, their meat also became a delicacy, although the authorities banned this practice in 1915.

The name comes from the Chinese word “Chow Chow”, which means “miscellaneous merchandise” in English. When the first dogs were sent to England, this was what they put on the boxes. However, the Chinese actually had another name for them that meant “Inflated Lion-Dog”.

Physical Traits

The Chow Chow is a very robust dog and, although they have a short back, their body has good proportions. They have small ears and a very wide snout. In addition, their tail forms a curve and is very long, always resting on their back. Even though you may only know about the long-haired Chow Chow, there’s also a short-haired version too.

Their coat can be orange, black, blue and cream colored. Breeding experts don’t consider the specimens that have two colors or spots on their hair to be 100% pure breed. One curious characteristic is the color of their tongue, as it is bluish-black, and sometimes purple.

Character

Although these days the Chow Chow is a companion dog and a very suitable pet, this hasn’t always been the case, as his character is somewhat aggressive and shy. However, with the passing of time they have adapted to be great companions, and no longer have aggressive traits. Nevertheless, it’s very important to start socialization from a young age.

If you wish to have more than one Chow Chow at home it’s recommended that they be of the same sex. To have two Chow Chow of the opposite sex can be problematic, although there are always exceptions to this.

They’re also very loyal to the members of their family, whether human or canine. If they change homes and/or owner, they often have problems adapting.

Chow Chow’s have a passive nature, so if you have a small apartment, this breed is ideal for you. Their character is independent and they like to sleep far away from everyone else. They can also take themselves off while out for a walk.

Although they’re not active by nature and one may think they don’t like exercise, a workout routine is essential to maintain their temperament stable. Another obvious reason for this is to take good care of their health.

Health

A close up of a fluffy Chow Chow.
Photo credit: Valerie

Chow Chows may suffer from elbow dysplasia, hip, thyroid, or dislocation of the knee. They also may have vision problems such as entropion. Therefore, we advise you to ask about the dog’s health before buying/adopting a dog from this breed.

Remember that a good breeder will always give you written guarantees that the dog is in good enough health to live in a home with other animals.