meet theChow Chow

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The Chow-Chow has a blue-black tongue, unique to the breed and the Chinese Shar-Pei only.


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at aGlance

theBreed Standard

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  • General Appearance

     A powerful, sturdy, squarely built, upstanding dog of Arctic type, medium in size with strong muscular development and heavy bone.  The body is compact, short coupled, broad and deep, the tail set high and carried closely to the back, the whole supported by four straight, strong, sound legs.  Viewed from the side, the hind legs have little apparent angulation and the hock joint and metatarsals are directly beneath the hip joint.  It is this structure which produces the characteristic shorter, stilted gait unique to the breed.  The large head with broad, flat skull and short, broad and deep muzzle is proudly carried and accentuated by a ruff.  Elegance and substance must be combined into a well balanced whole, never so massive as to outweigh his ability to be active, alert and agile.  Clothed in a smooth or an offstanding rough double coat, the Chow is a masterpiece of beauty, dignity and naturalness.  Essential to true Chow type are his unique blue-black tongue, scowling expression and stilted gait. 

  • Head

    Proudly carried, large in proportion to the size of the dog but never so exaggerated as to make the dog seem top-heavy or to result in a low carriage. Expression essentially scowling, dignified, lordly, discerning, sober and snobbish, one of independence. The scowl is achieved by a marked brow with a padded button of skin just above the inner, upper corner of each eye; by sufficient play of skin to form frowning brows and a distinct furrow between the eyes beginning at the base of the muzzle and extending up the forehead; by the correct eye shape and placement and by the correct ear shape, carriage and placement. Excessive loose skin is not desirable. Wrinkles on the muzzle do not contribute to expression and are not required.

  • Body

    Neck strong, full, well muscled, nicely arched and of sufficient length to carry the head proudly above the topline when standing at attention. Topline straight, strong and level from the withers to the root of the tail. Body short, compact, close coupled, strongly muscled, broad, deep and well let down in the flank. The body, back, coupling and croup must all be short to give the required square build. Chest broad, deep and muscular, never narrow or slab-sided. The ribs close together and well sprung, not barrel. The spring of the front ribs is somewhat narrowed at their lower ends to permit the shoulder and upper arm to fit smoothly against the chest wall. The floor of the chest is broad and deep extending down to the tips of the elbows. The point of sternum slightly in front of the shoulder points. 

  • Forequarters

    Shoulders strong, well muscled, the tips of the shoulder blades moderately close together; the spine of the shoulder forms an angle approximately 55 degrees with the horizontal and forms an angle with the upper arm approximately 110 degrees.  Length of upper arm never less than length of shoulder blade.  Elbow joints set well back alongside the chest wall, elbows turning neither in nor out.  Forelegs perfectly straight from elbow to foot with heavy bone which must be in proportion to the rest of the dog.  Viewed from the front, the forelegs are parallel and widely spaced commensurate with the broad chest.  Pasterns short and upright.  Wrists shall not knuckle over.  The dewclaws may be removed.  Feet round, compact, catlike, standing well upon the thick toe pads.

  • Coat

    There are two types of coat; rough and smooth. Both are double coated. Rough - In the rough coat, the outer coat is abundant, dense, straight and offstanding, rather coarse in texture; the undercoat soft, thick and wooly. Puppy coat soft, thick and wooly overall. The coat forms a profuse ruff around the head and neck, framing the head. The coat and ruff generally longer in dogs than in bitches. Tail well feathered. The coat length varies markedly on different Chows and thickness, texture and condition should be given greater emphasis than length. Obvious trimming or shaping is undesirable. Trimming of the whiskers, feet and metatarsals optional. Smooth - The smooth coated Chow is judged by the same standard as the rough coated Chow except that references to the quantity and distribution of the outer coat are not applicable to the smooth coated Chow, which has a hard, dense, smooth outer coat with a definite undercoat. There should be no obvious ruff or feathering on the legs or tail.

  • Hindquarters

    The rear assembly broad, powerful, and well muscled in the hips and thighs, heavy in bone with rear and front bone approximately equal. Viewed from the rear, the legs are straight, parallel and widely spaced commensurate with the broad pelvis. Stifle Joint shows little angulation, is well knit and stable, points straight forward and the bones of the joint should be clean and sharp. Hock Joint well let down and appears almost straight. The hock joint must be strong, well knit and firm, never bowing or breaking forward or to either side. The hock joint and metatarsals lie in a straight line below the hip joint. 

A Chow Chow
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