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Chow Chow

Spirited, sociable and playful

About the Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is not your average dog. Where other breeds will fawn over their owners and seek attention, the Chow Chow is more than happy to be independent and keep their own counsel, as befits a dog that used to be a companion to Chinese emperors.

There are some who would say that the Chow Chow acts more like a cat than a dog, and there’s some truth to that. After all, their impressive mane makes them look like a cross between a lion, a bear, and a dog.

Chow Chows aren’t naturally aggressive, but their loyalty to their owners and their protective nature make them good guard dogs.

chow chow against a blurry light background

Chow Chow Dog Breed Characteristics

43 to 51 cm at the shoulder

40 to 70 pounds

Life Expectancy
10 to 12 years

Coat Colours
Black, blue, red, cream, cinnamon

Here are some of the qualities you can expect from the Chow Chow, rated from one to five stars. However, all dogs are individuals, and your dog may not display exactly the same characteristics.

Family Life
Friendly with Kids
Friendly with Dogs
Ease of Grooming
Exercise Needs
Prey Drive
Tendency to Bark or Howl
Good for Novice Owners
Apartment Living

Chow Chow Breed History

Experts theorise that the Chow Chow is one of the oldest existing dog breeds in the world. Genetic testing has, so far, borne out this hypothesis, as well as physical evidence from China’s Han Dynasty. It’s said that one Chinese emperor kept thousands of them as hunting dogs.

They were used as hunting and guard dogs first, but would eventually also be used to herd livestock. Their loyalty and calm nature would make them a favourite with Chinese nobles.

Chow Chows would continue to be popular with other noble families. Queen Victoria was a fan of the breed, which would ensure its legacy as a royal dog.

Caring For a Chow Chow

How to Choose a Responsible Chow Chow Dog Breeder

When looking for a Chow Chow puppy, you should start with a responsible Chow Chow breeder. They will have the expertise to produce well-behaved, healthy puppies. Ethical breeders will test for common genetic issues and can advise you of the health profile of their dogs.

It’s also a good idea to visit your chosen breeder to meet the dam and stud, if possible. The temperament of the parents has a large impact on your puppy’s adult personality. It also gives you the chance to inspect the dogs’ living conditions. The whelping area should always be clean and free from any unwanted odours.

Chow Chow FAQ

Yes, they are mostly fine to be left alone, as they enjoy their private time. Ensure that they have sufficient opportunity for enrichment with toys and puzzle feeders, and enough food and clean water to last them until you return. 

No, they are not hypoallergenic despite their double coat. They do not shed very much, which may be helpful, but their fur, dander and drool can all trigger allergic reactions.

Dog Breeds Similar to the Chow Chow

The information is for general use only. For any specific advice or queries, please consult with your veterinarian.

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