Other names: Chow
The Chow Chow is a dog with quite an unusual character. Very solitary and independent, he is devoted to his masters without ever (or very rarely) showing signs of affection. Naturally wary of strangers, he makes a good watchdog. Discrete, quiet and neither playful or active, he has a very calm way of life. Armed with a strong temperament, this dog is not for novice owners as he can be difficult to train.
Key facts about the Chow Chow
Life expectancy :
Origins and history
The Chow dates back a very long time, but his precise origins are unknown. Previously used as a war dog in China, he later became a sled dog, watchdog and in the end, a dog destined for the butchers (people liked the meat produced from the Chow!), and fur makers. England was his adoptive country: he arrived in the 19th century and went through a thorough breeding and selection process before he was introduced into the rest of Europe.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types
Section 5 : Asian Spitz and related breeds
Physical characteristics of the Chow Chow
Female : Between 18 and 20 in
Male : Between 19 and 22 in
Female : Between 44 and 66 lb
Male : Between 44 and 66 lb
The coat is all one colour, either black, red, blue, fawn, cream or white. The colours may be nuanced, but there won’t be markings. A multi-coloured Chow Chow does not conform to the breed’s official standards.
Type of coat
The hair can be either long or short.
Long-haired Chow Chows have thick, dense, straight and loose hair. The coat is rough and the undercoat is soft and woolly.
The short-haired breed has a thick, smooth and dense coat, which is fluffy and bouncy in texture.
For both varieties, the hair is thicker and denser around the neck, which creates the famous ‘mane’ of this breed.
The eyes should be dark in colour, but other colours are accepted for blue and fawn Chow Chows, so that their eyes are aligned with the colour of their coat.
The Chow Chow is a compact dog with short, broad loins and a very proud stature, similar to a lion. This pet possesses the unique characteristic of a blue-black tongue. His facial features make him look like he’s scowling.
Good to know
Several years go, the owner of a pet shop in Chengdu, China, had the genius idea of creating a Chow Chow panda. Whether you think it’s an amazing or naive idea, people went crazy for the phenomena and the demand for it is ever growing.
The man who came up with this idea was able to execute it in two hours only, through some simple grooming and colouring of the fur.
While it is assured that no chemical product comes into direct contact with the animal, the necessity of such an act can be questioned; especially the wellbeing of this pet during the treatment, which has to be topped up every 6 weeks.
This all being said, the Chow Chow panda is not recognised as an official breed since his aesthetic is anything but the result of natural processes.
Although the Chow Chow is attached to his social group, he rarely shows any signs of affection, so he can seem cold and distant towards his loved ones.
Lacking in jovial spirits, this Chinese dog can tolerate the playing of children, for example, but he will never take part.
His proud and independent temperament make him a particularly calm and peaceful dog. Being neither playful or attention-seeking, he is the perfect companion for owners wishing to lead a quiet life, undisturbed by complaints and demands.
Formerly used for protection and even hunting, the Chow Chow’s main purpose nowadays is just as a simple pet - his natural talents are only very rarely utilised.
However, this Asian dog is still intelligent - he was once used as a wardog and also a sled dog. His previous responsibilities therefore demonstrate his notable listening and cooperation skills.
Despite a past in hunting, this dog is no longer interested in hunting prey. He can prove intimidating to certain species, but he is never predatory.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This teddy bear-like dog is very loyal and protective towards his social group, which makes him distrustful of (but not aggressive towards) strangers that enter his territory.
What’s more, his rare displays of affection are only ever reserved for his owners, never for strangers. He most certainly doesn’t appreciate strokes from people he doesn’t know, especially on his head.
This dog’s independence is so prevalent that he’s often perceived as cold and distant. He doesn’t enjoy playing with kids or adults and prefers communicating through his gaze.
This character trait typical of the breed makes him a discrete and solitary dog, rarely proving troublesome.
Behaviour of the Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is more than happy to be alone. The absence of his owners tends not to cause him any stress. An indoorsy and calm type, this dog doesn’t like to be disturbed and treasures his peace and quiet - solitude is therefore perfect for him.
Easy to train / obedience
Training this magnificent dog is very difficult due to his hard-headed temperament and sometimes complete ignorance towards human interaction. He will naturally try to override his owner’s orders.
To overcome this issue, it will be necessary to begin training early and to employ a firm approach.
However, note that firmness does not equate to cruelty! To succeed in fostering a good relationship between this dog and his master, softness, patience and consistency will be very necessary tools.
Only with a relationship based on trust and mutual respect will you be able to effectively train this dog.
This pet very rarely barks, which only reinforces his calm and discrete temperament.