Chow Chow

Lifespan: 8 - 12 years

Height: 17 - 20 inches

Weight: 45 - 70 pounds

Chow Chow Traits
  • Jogging Partner

    Trait Rating: 1 of 5
  • Lap Dog

    Trait Rating: 1 of 5
  • Good with Children

    Trait Rating: 1 of 5
  • Warm Weather

    Trait Rating: 1 of 5
  • Cold Weather

    Trait Rating: 5 of 5
  • Grooming Requirements

    Trait Rating: 4 of 5
  • Shedding

    Trait Rating: 5 of 5
  • Barking

    Trait Rating: 2 of 5
  • Ease of Training

    Trait Rating: 1 of 5


  • Recent DNA studies indicate that the chow chow is among the 14 most ancient breeds recognized by the AKC.
  • Its origin is unclear except that it has been known in China for hundreds or even thousands of years.
  • They may have been used as hunting dogs for the Chinese nobility, and later kept in monasteries. Other accounts claim they were used for food in Mongolia and Manchuria.
  • The dogs were brought to England in the late 1700s, and were dubbed chow chows by the English. The name is probably derived from a term meaning Oriental knick knack.
  • Only in the late 1800s, with the sudden interest in exotic breeds aroused by the advent of dog shows, were chows earnestly brought to the western world.
  • Queen Victoria was a proponent of the breed.
  • The AKC recognized the chow chow in 1903.
  • In the 1980s, the breed soared in popularity in America, peaking when it was the 6th most popular breed.
  • Since then they have plummeted in popularity, their numbers falling by 91% in the last decade.
  • The black or blue tongue is a breed characteristic, as is the somewhat stilted gait.

Chow Chow Behavior Concerns

  • Makes a devoted and protective family member.
  • Generally tolerant of children, but may not be playful enough for them. As with any large dog, they should be supervised when around children.
  • Not overly demonstrative.
  • Reserved toward, and even wary of, strangers.
  • Not friendly towards strange dogs.
  • Usually good with small pets.
  • Tends to be independent and stubborn. Rebels against forceful methods.
  • Does best with a firm owner who can combine reward-based training with good control and leadership.

Chow Chow Suggested Exercises

  • Makes a calm and alert housedog.
  • Requires daily exercise in the form of a leisurely walk, short jog, or quick game. It is not physically suited to overly vigorous exercise.
  • Enjoys cold weather.
  • Becomes overheated easily.
  • Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.

Chow Chow Grooming

  • The chow chow comes in two coat types. The rough coat is straight and off-standing. The smooth coat is hard and smooth. Both coat types have wooly undercoats.
  • The rough coat needs brushing every other day to remove dead coat and prevent serious matting. The smooth coat needs brushing once or twice a week.
  • Shedding is above average.

Suggested Chow Chow Nutritional Needs

  • Cow chows tend to stay in good weight or to be slightly overweight. You must use your hands to feel beneath the thick coat.
  • Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
  • Puppies should be fed a large-breed growth food, which slows their growing rate but not final size. This may decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia in adults.

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