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Chow Chow

History

The chow chow has its origins in China, where it is known as the Songshi Quan (the Puffy Lion Dog). Not much is known about the exact origin of this breed, but it is believed that the Chows were the inspiration behind the Foo dogs, the stone guardians which can often be seen outside Buddhist temples and palaces. These dogs have a very distinctive black-blue tongue.

Behaviour

The Chow is an independent dog and will need some firm handling. They are loyal and devoted to their owners, but this doesn’t mean that they will always listen to them. Chows will need a lot of obedience training and it is best to start these courses as soon as possible. On the plus side, they will be very quickly house trained. Food aggression, aggression towards other dogs and over-protectiveness of their toys are all problems which will need to be worked on. Early classes and training will help a lot and should definitely be considered. They make good watchdogs and guard dogs. They rarely dig and don’t seem to enjoy chewing up furniture, so there’s no need to worry. These dogs aren’t stupid, but rather are very stubborn, often knowing exactly what you want them to do but simply choosing not to do it. Chows will get along well with children and other household pets if brought up with them. These dogs are very wary of strangers, so it's best to introduce as many people as possible when the dog is still young. They will need to be taught that they are not the boss of the house, and sometimes a firmer approach will be needed.

Chows have very poor peripheral vision, so care should be taken when approaching the dog from behind or from the side, as they might get startled and lash out. They don’t need much exercise, a normal walk will be enough for them. Ideally the walk should be in the morning or evening, when it is cooler. They also hate the rain and might even refuse to go outside when the weather is particularly grim. These dogs can have problems with overheating if they get too hot, so a cool place for them to be able to go to is a must. Also make sure to keep their water topped up at all times. These dogs have a strong chase instinct, and will chase and even kill cats, squirrels and even sheep if given half a chance, so make sure to walk them in a safe place and ideally have them on a lead most of the time. They will form close bonds with their family and can get aggressive towards strangers if they think that they are posing a threat to their owners. Alternating who walks the dog is a good way around this, as the dog will get used to having different people around him. Asking friends to hold the lead when on a walk is also a good idea, just make sure the dog isn’t behaving aggressively towards this friend before handing them the lead.

During Spring and Fall chows will shed a lot of fur, and brushing every other day will be needed. Their thick coats may attract fleas, so regular checking and supply of flea powder are recommended.

Temperament

Chow Chows have a reserved and independent temperament. They are stubborn dogs and are notoriously hard to train. That being said, they make great companions and will form very strong bonds with their owners. It is important that they are socialised with as many humans and other dogs during puppyhood, as this will help reduce their suspicious or aggressive behaviour towards strangers in the future.

Health Problems

Chow Chows are prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD), patellar luxation (dislocation of the knee cap), bloat, elbow dysplasia and entropion (inward rolling of eyelid which causes irritation to the eyeball).

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 8 - 15 years
  • Weight: 45 - 72 kg
  • Height: 17 - 20"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Medium - Double
  • Grooming Requirements: Everyday
  • Town or Country: Country
  • Minimum Home Size: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
  • Breed Type: Companion Dog
  • Size: Large
  • Energy Level: Low
  • Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour

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Chow Chow Pictures

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