Chow Chow – so good they named us twice! Seriously, we’re of Chinese origin and have actually been around for perhaps 2,000 years or more. We were developed mainly as a guard dog and companion. Although, I am afraid to say that in some cases we were used for food! Not so much now happily and we are a recognised pet in the west as well as the east. In China we are referred to as ‘Songshi Quan”, which translates as “puffy-lion dog”. We come in two versions – the smooth and the rough coated variety. So the question would-be owners need to ask is: do they want a bit of rough, or a bit of smooth?
What do I look like?
Our friends in the UK may see a passing resemblance to Bungle from Rainbow. Elsewhere in the world we are probably more of a giant lion-like teddy bear. Our most noticeable feature is our curled over tail. We also have a rather unusual blue-black tongue and roof-of-mouth. The Chow Chow coat is thick and woolly and we are fairly heavy set and muscular. Colours are solid black, red, blue, cream, fawn or even white!
What do I need from you?
Here’s the rub with us Chow Chows. We are a little bit independent and can be anti-social. Don’t get me wrong, we’re generally loyal and affectionate to our owners. In fact, we tend to bond to whomever we recognise as an authority figure in our infancy and then reject authority from others in adulthood. Early training is essential to socialise us. We don’t react well to strangers and other dogs – particularly similar males. On that basis we probably don’t work well in a multi-dog household, or even a multi-pet household. As we tend to have a reputation for biting other dogs and strangers it is advisable to keep us leashed on walks. We tend to shed our coats four times a year and in the spring and autumn need particular attention – possibly even daily grooming. You may need to invest in different types of brush for different areas of our complicated coat. Fleas can be a problem due to the thickness of our coat.
What I will give in return
Those who earn our trust and respect will be adored and obeyed forever. However, as they need to earn that trust we may not be ideal for small children. We don’t need excessive exercise but a reasonable daily walk will help us to stay calm and content. We act as a good deterrent so work well if you are out in the day and can be housed in an apartment.
How big will I get?
We grow to around 19in-22in (48cm-56cm) and weigh in at around 55lb (25kg). So quite heavy to lift.
How long should I be around for?
Our expected lifespan is anything from 9-15 years depending upon our health and ancestry.
Quite a few: President Calvin Coolidge of the U.S.; Sigmund Freud; Janet Jackson; Drew Barrymore and three footballers – Nani, David de Gea and Mario Balotelli.
Disclaimer: the views expressed on this page and any comments below are only a guide to typical traits and views on the breed. Individual circumstance and traits will always vary so we can be in no way responsible for any of the information provided.