Chow Chow Dog Breed
|Life Span:||12 to 15 wonderful years with their Chow.|
|Litter Size:||5 pups per litter.|
|Group:||The Chow is categorized in the Northern and Non-Sporting groups.|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||While the Chow Chow is known to come in solid red, cinnamon and cream, black or blue, it can also be found in tan, gray and sometimes even white.|
|Male Height:||18-22 inches or 46-56 cm|
|Male Weight:||45-70 pounds or 20-32 kg|
|Female Height:||18-22 inches or 46-56 cm|
|Female Weight:||45-70 pounds or 20-32 kg|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||The Chow is said to do well in apartment sized living spaces with sufficient exercise but will likely do much better with a small yard in which to patrol his or her perimeter. Chows should not be left in direct sunlight in the heat of summer. They will need an area of extensive shade and plenty of cool water.|
Standing at a foot and a half or more at the shoulder, the Chow Chow is commonly recognized for the massive amount of fur that seems to encase its body and its distinctive blue black tongue. The Chow can come in light or dark shades of red, black or tan and is also occasionally found in white. Chows also come in what is called a smooth coat. This coat is less dense than the rough coat and comes in the same aforementioned colors. The thick ruff behind the head of the Chow is often said to resemble that of a lion\'s mane.
The head of a Chow is rather broad with perked, rounded ears and a wide rounded muzzle. The eyes are deep-set in a heavy brow that always conveys an expression of deep thought. The Chow is also recognized for its hind legs that are nearly straight, giving it a unique and distinguishing walk. At anywhere from 45 to 75 pounds, this type of dog is markedly stocky. Originally born and bred in the high steppe areas of freezing Siberia, Mongolia and Northern China, the dog is able to withstand tremendously cold weather conditions.
While a good choice for companionship, the Chow is sometimes said to exhibit the autonomous nature of a cat. Completely loyal to members of their own family, they can be somewhat cautious of strangers and other unknown animals. Although this is what made them quite valuable as temple guard dogs back in the day, present day settings oblige owners to socialize their Chow from an early age. While some exhibit a willingness to please, Chows are more known for doing their own thing. This makes them a rather easy breed to care for, especially for those who do not want or need a demanding dog.
Though mostly recognized for their rough coat that makes them resemble miniature bears or lions, the Chow can also come in a smooth coat. Chow puppies will move into an adult coat over the course of several months as they mature. The coat consists of soft dual layers meant for protecting the Chow\'s body from extreme cold weather conditions. This type of coat has a tendency to mat rather easily if not properly cared for.
Originating in the frigid northern steppes of Mongolia, Siberia, and China, the Chow is noted to be one of the oldest species of dog still around. The dog was bred for pulling sleds, hunting, guarding temples and in some cases, they were used for meat and fur in resource barren regions. While there is some debate as to how the breed ended up with the name Chow Chow, their original name is known as Songshi Quan, translated quite literally to \'puffy lion dog\'. Their DNA shows an ancient line that indicates the breed to be one of the first to become domesticated from wild wolves. They are also believed to be relatives of the Spitz, Akita and Shar Pei breeds.
The Chow breed later made its way across the ocean in the cargo holds of merchants in the spice trade. There is also much in the way of legend as to how the breed got its blue tongue. Accordingly, as the gods painted the sky blue and drops of paint were spilled, a faithful Chow Chow followed close behind licking up the drops. The dog breed has consistently been a favorite with many distinguished personalities, including well known world leaders.
The temperament of the Chow is one that seems to be full of inconsistencies. While they can at times be quite aloof, they are also a great family pet who loves children. In a single 60 second period, they can go from being joyful and eager to please to stubborn and utterly obstinate. Despite all this, they make for a wonderful pet and many people will keep not just one but two Chows. Owners love them so much that, upon the passing of their Chow, they will immediately go out and replace their companion with yet another. It is a breed that has a definite following in the public.
Their temperament is said to extend from their days in China and Mongolia where they were not only used as working dogs but also as meat and fur since resources in the region were few. Because of this, Chows were not considered pets or given the benefit of a single owner as the attachment would make them harder to kill. This accounts for their somewhat self governing nature. They did, however, become quite useful as guard dogs for temples, aligning themselves with temple masters and aggressively rejecting all other unknown persons and animals. Over the years, breeders have successfully worked to bring forth a Chow with a family focused nature.
While the Chow can be somewhat willful they are still a refined, sophisticated breed. They will take an aggressive stance when guarding their home or family but do not tend to resort to full on aggression unless pushed. In cases where they do rush to aggression, it is often found they have not been properly socialized. When directed to do or not do something, it has to make perfect sense for the Chow; otherwise, they are likely to balk at the command. These dogs are generally not the types who do tricks for the fun of it, although this is not true in all cases. The Chow can do well with other animals, as long as they are introduced and raised with them from a very early age.
Unfortunately, the Chow\'s temperament is simply one of the most misunderstood of the canine world. It is a breed that draws his or her own needs for attention from family members and has little concern for the validation or approval of others. An owner who is like minded is likely to have the most successful relationship with the Chow breed.
For those wanting to take on the ownership of a Chow, the best plan of action is early obedience classes and extensive socialization. This is a breed that needs an owner with a firm temperament of his or her own in order to keep power struggles at bay. As always, consistency will be the name of the game. This leads to a well balanced and even tempered dog who feels secure in their own environment. Dogs that have a good sense of security are well known for making the best of companion and family dogs.
Thyroid Disease - Medium Risk
The Chow ranks #56 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. While this is not a high risk breed, there is still a good chance of disease transmission through breeding. Therefore, all dogs intended for breeding should be tested first.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
For the most part, a Chow is a healthy breed and is no more or less susceptible to the list of common dog ailments than any other type of dog. However, there is some susceptibility to specific health conditions due to the construction of the breed's anatomy.
- Hip dysplasia
- Entropion - a condition in which the eyelids fold inward causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea; this can be remedied with a simple surgery
- Susceptibility to extreme heat conditions
As popularity rises and falls with the Chow, unscrupulous breeding can also result in various genetic deficiencies.