Chow Chows have been around for 2000 to 3000 years and are considered one of the most ancient dog breeds. Originating from China, Chow Chows are all-purpose dogs bred for hunting, cart pulling, and guarding. Having the charm of a teddy bear, elegance of a cat, and loyalty of a dog, Chow Chow is indeed a distinctive dog breed loved by many dog lovers across the world.
Stoic, independent, and self-reliant, Chow Chow is a breed with peculiar traits. With a bear-like appearance and black-blue tongue, Chows are aloof dogs and can be aggressive to other dogs yet a loyal and devoted companion to their loving owners.
If you are thinking of bringing home a Chow Chow, you should continue reading and familiarize yourself with this breed before making the final decision, as it is not one of the dog breeds for first-time owners. We are going to discuss everything there is to know about Chow Chows, from origin to price, temperament, and health.
Chow Chow’s Breed Overview
Originating from China, Chow Chows are on the list of most ancient dog breeds. Although the actual history is still unknown, many believe Chow Chows have descended from the Tibetan Mastiffs. They are also considered genetically close to wolves.
Chow Chow Breed Overview
Suitable for: Apartment-dwellers, laidback dog parents
Other Names: Puffy Lion dogs, Songshi Quan
Height: 17 to 20 inches
Lifespan: 8 to 12 years
Color: Black, blue, cinnamon, cream, red
Weight: 45 to 70 pounds
Temperament: Aloof, not cuddly, loyal, strong-willed
Chow Chow Appearance
Chow Chows are known for their unique blue-black tongue; the only other dog to have this feature is the Chinese Shar-Pei. Chows’ dense coat can either be rough or smooth, and evenly colored in the various shade, most commonly black, blue, cinnamon, cream, or red. They are one of the purebred red dog breeds.
Chow Chows are medium-sized dogs with their height ranging from 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm) and weighing around 45 to 70 pounds (20 to 32 kg).
In China, Chow Chows are known as Songshi Quan or Puffy Lion dogs. They are square dogs with deep-set of eyes, egotistic looks, straight legs, curled up tails, and large heads underlined by the lion’s mane till shoulders. The face wrinkles give Chows an ill-tempered or scowling expression. Some call them cat-like for having stubbornness, intelligence, and reserve traits.
Chow Chows are also one of the cleanest dog breeds with fewer issues with strong natural odors, less prone to mess-making behaviors, and are more easily housebroken. They are aloof to strangers yet sweet and affectionate to their owners and other family members.
Temperament and Intelligence
Chows are not outgoing dogs by nature and need to learn socializing at an early age. They are aloof with strangers but attentive to their people. They are reserved, independent, quite intelligent, and stubborn, hence generally referred to as cat-like nature. Having a bite force of 220 psi, Chow Chow is one of the dog breeds with the strongest bite force, but they are not really considered an aggressive dog breed.
Are Chow Chows Suitable for Families?
Chow Chows are loyal and devoted to their owners. They are not generally aggressive dogs or don’t pose any threat to young children. However, they are independent, quiet, and bossy dogs and don’t like to be handled roughly. Therefore, they may act defensively when children play rough with them. Thus it is crucial that you teach your children how to properly interact with your dog. This also makes them an unsuitable choice for families with younger children.
When it comes to strangers, Chow Chows are not much welcoming. If they perceive a stranger as a potential threat, they may turn their aggressive mode on and chase out the invader. Sometimes they may wrongly perceive friendly strangers as a potential threat and show aggression to them. But worry not; this can be avoided with proper guard dog training.
Chow Chow is a one-person dog and only connects with the owner while scorning the rest. They make strong bonds with their owners and are loyal to them throughout their lives.
Do Chow Chows Get Along with Other Pets?
If Chows are trained well and socialized, they can get along with other pets. Chows can also be very territorial and can sometimes be very stubborn and aggressive to other pets, especially dogs of the same sex. They may need special training to avoid aggressive behaviors from a young age.
How Much Does a Chow Chow Cost?
Chow Chow is an expensive dog breed that can cost you around $1000 to $4000. Their large size, fluffy coat, and a bit rarity significantly increase their price. A low-grade linage may cost you up to $1000, but if you desire a superior or top quality, it can dig deep into your pockets. Chow Chow puppies tend to be more expensive than adults.
The price not only ends there. Bringing a dog home isn’t a leisure pursuit but a responsibility that includes paying for all of his necessities—space, food, vet bills, and toys.
4 Little Known Facts About Chow Chows
With its signature lion-like mane, teddy bear appearance, and independent spirit, Chow Chows never fail to capture viewers’ attention.
1. Two Extra Teeth
Chow Chows got a little something special in their mouth. Usually, dogs have 42 teeth, but the chows have the unique distinction of having two more teeth. As a puppy, Chows have 44 teeth. These extra two teeth fall out before they reach adulthood.
2. Unique Chow Chow Tongue
Another intriguing fact about Chow Chow is their unique colored tongue. When they are young, their tongue is pink, but as they grow old, it becomes blue-black, a characteristic they only share with Shar-Pei.
3. Amongst the Most Ancient Dog Breed
Chow Chow is among the oldest dog breeds, around 2000 to 3000 years old. Historians have found artifacts of Chow-like dogs from China’s Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). Marco Polo also mentioned Chows in his travelogues. Some believe that history goes back much further, and Chows are the progenitors of the spitz-type dog breeds.
Others believe they influenced the Samoyed, the Norwegian elkhound, the keeshond, and the Pomeranian. Some think that they are the outcome of mixing Samoyed in northern Siberia with mastiff of Tibet. However, the exact history and lineage of Chows are still shrouded in mysteries.
4. Chows Have Straight-Legged Gait
Unlike other dogs, Chow’s back legs are straight, which gives them a fascinating walk and somewhat a stilted gait. Their hind legs do not normally bend, due to which they walk in a visually intriguing manner.
Things to Know Before Buying a Chow Chow
Owning a pet is delightful, but it also brings responsibility. Before bringing a Chow Chow home, you must know all the basic requirements and needs. And if you don’t, then don’t worry; we have got you covered with the following essentials:
Diet requirements depend on the size, age, metabolism, and activity level of the dog. Just like humans, the diet of your pet dog varies from one to another. A balanced diet of good quality dog food is necessary for good health. Adult chows need 1000 to 1300 calories per day, equivalent to 2 to 3 cups of dry dog food. To avoid dehydration, your Chow Chow should have access to fresh water all the time.
To help your Chow Chow keep skin-related issues at bay and maintain a healthy, thick fluffy coat, you should include omega-3 fatty acids in your Chow Chow’s diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Chow Chows are one of the laziest dog breeds with medium to low energy dogs. They would rather stay on the couch instead of going out for a walk. So as a responsible pet parent, it will be your responsibility to intrigue your Chow Chow to get out of that comfy dog bed and accompany you on walks around the block.
Comfy dog bed
- A walk of 40 – 60 minutes per day is usually enough, which can divide into shorter walks in the morning and longer in the day.
- Swimming isn’t a good exercise option for Chow Chows. They have a thick coat that can weigh your dog down in the water. Moreover, it will take them forever to dry their skin.
- Exercise in summers must be done in cooler times of the day. Chow Chows get hot easily in summer due to their dense coat.
- Herding, hunting, running, and hide-and-seek are the games Chows love and can be played to encourage activity level.
Chows are a very clean dog breed but require regular grooming, thanks to their dense coat.
- Chow Chows come in two coat types—rough and smooth—and both have wooly undercoats. The rough-coated Chow has a thick and medium length outer-coat that requires daily brushing. Smooth-coated Chows have shorter hairs and need brushing once or twice a week.
- They are heavy shedders and need extra care and grooming during the mounting season to keep their fur in good condition and to contain the spread of shed hair all around the house.
- Besides brushing their coat, you will also have to trim their nails regularly and check their ears and eyes for signs of an infection.
Chow Chows are intelligent and affectionate dogs but can be stubborn at times and, when not properly trained, can develop behavioral issues. Given the protective instincts of Chow Chows, they may also come out aggressive towards strangers. Similarly, their territorial nature can make them behave aggressively towards other pets in the house.
To avoid these behavioral issues, you must begin social and obedience training of Chow Chows at a young age. You should also provide proper guard dog training to your Chow Chow so that he can learn to differentiate between a friendly stranger and a potential threat. You should also start introducing other pets—both cats and dogs—to your Chow Chow when he is a young puppy. By only introducing your cat to your Chow Chow at a young age, you can materialize your dream of cat and living together.
While training a Chow Chow, you should keep in mind that they do not respond well to forceful training methods. Positive reward-based training is the best option to train your Chows. So get a handful of tasty dog treats if you want training sessions to be fruitful. You can also try other effective ways to train a dog without treats if your dog is experiencing weight problems.
The topmost priority of every dog owner is the health of their pet. Common health issues in Chow Chows include:
- Eyelid entropion
- Elbow or hip dysplasia
- Gastric torsion
- Thyroid function
A healthy Chow Chow needs plenty of care, high-quality food, and frequent visits to veterinarians. Vaccination and parasite control is an important part of dog health care. If you notice any abnormal change in your pet’s behavior, an immediate visit to the vet clinic will save them from major health concerns.
Chow Chow’s independent spirit and teddy bear appearance never fail to attract the attention of dog lovers. Chows are stoic and quiet yet elegant and affectionate. They are loyal to their owners and form an incredibly strong bond with them. They may not be a good choice for houses having young children, otherwise, they make good loyal pets. Being one of the ancient dog breeds, Chows are quite expensive but are worth the money!