- 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.