Chow Chow Time: 10 Facts about a Fascinating Breed

With his dramatic coat, reserved personality, lion-like head, and alert expression, the Chow Chow never fails to attract admiration and attention.

Did you know …

  • Back to that blue-black tongue: The only two AKC registered breeds who have this uniquely colored tongue are the Chow and the Chinese Shar-Pei.

  • Their personality is said to be “cat-like” because, like our feline friends, they’re less eager to please and more independent than most breeds. The Chow Chow Club of America even calls their expression a “lordly scowl.”This is not a Labrador Retriever!
  • The Chow walk is referred to as “stilted,” meaning a stiff-legged way of moving. So when you see them out walking on the street, you can tell your friends, “that’s how they’re supposed to walk.”
  • Even though the breed was originally developed in China, the name "Chow Chow" does not originate there. It is believed that the name is a sort of mangled English term meaning “knick-knacks,” dating back to the 1700s.
  • Speaking of how the Chow Chow came to be, there have been several theories. But since the breed has been around for a long, long time, there is debate. One theory is that he is a cross between the Samoyed, from Siberia, and the Mastiff of Tibet. But experts in the breed believe that the Chow’s blue-black tongue contradicts that notion and shows that he is probably one of the original dog breeds.

  • The Chow is a member of the AKC’s Non-Sporting Group, along with the Dalmatian, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Bichon Frise, and others.
  • Most people think of a Chow as having a red coat. But they also come in black, blue, cinnamon, and cream.
  • Likewise, we picture them with that full coat, called “rough,” but there is also a shorter coat, called “smooth.”
  • The breed club also tells us that in the T'ang Dynasty (7th Century A.D.), it is reported that one Chinese emperor kept about 2,500 “Chow Dogs” to accompany his ten thousand hunters!
  • Martha Stewart has owned several Chows, and she often featured them on her TV show. She even had a champion named Genghis Khan (GK to his friends) who competed at Westminster. See him here:

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