Chows are powerful, compactly built dogs standing between 17 and 20 inches at the shoulder. Their several distinctive features include a lion’s-mane ruff around the head and shoulders; a blue-black tongue; deep-set almond eyes that add to a scowling, snobbish expression; and a “stilted” (stiff-legged) way of moving. Chows can have rough or smooth coats of red, black, blue, cinnamon, or cream. Overall, Chows present the picture of a muscular, deep-chested aristocrat with an air of inscrutable timelessness.
Their cat-like personalities make them independent, stubborn and less eager to please than other breeds. They require early socialization and training, and some kind of exercise daily. The strong willed, stubborn Chow needs an equally strong willed, stubborn owner! This breed has a mind of its own and may easily become your master if you let it. Chow puppies are naturally well-behaved, seldom destructive or disobedient. Because of their good behavior, some owners feel that training is not necessary. When an untrained Chow reaches adolescence, though, he may refuse to accept authority. We’ve found that most people who experience behavior problems with their Chows failed to train and socialize them properly. Socialization is the ongoing process in which the Chow puppy is taught to accept new people, other dogs and environments outside his home with politeness and calm. Socialization should begin at birth with regular handling by the Chow’s breeder. Socialization with children is especially important if the dog is to be good with them as an adult. Teach children how to hold and pet the puppy properly so that all his experiences with them are pleasant. Puppy kindergarten classes hosted by your local kennel club are excellent opportunities for socialization. A well-trained Chow is a joy to live with! He’s a happier dog because he knows what’s expected of him and how to please you.
Did You Know?
A bas-relief was discovered recently that dates back to the Han Dynasty (150-200 BC) which definitely places the Chow as a hunting dog in that period in China.
The Chow Chow has a blue-black tongue, unique to the breed and the Chinese Shar-Pei only.
Martha Stewart owns a number of Chows and often featured them on her morning show.
The theory has been advanced that the Chow originated through a crossing of the old Mastiff of Tibet and the Samoyed, from the northern parts of Siberia. However, the blue-black tongue refutes this theory and leads many to believe that the Chow was one of the original breeds of dog.
In modern times, the Chow has become a fashionable pet and guard dog, but evidence abounds as to the Chow's usefulness as a sporting dog in ancient China.
The name Chow Chow has little basis for its origin in China; it is believed that the expression evolved from pidgin-English terms for knick-knacks brought over from the Orient in the 18th century.
colors & Markings
Below is a list of the colors and markings available for this breed. Please refer to the breed standard for descriptions and the difference in types.
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