Сhow chow

One of the most ancient dog breeds. It is a guard dog with an unusual appearance and a proud personality. For having thick mane on chest, Chow Chows are called «puffy-lion dogs».

Energy level
Level of affection
Level of friendliness
female: 20—27 kg
male: 25—32 kg
female: 46—51 cm
male: 48—56 cm
require average time
Gives birth to
Gives birth to:
3—6 puppies
in 1 century
Life span
Life span:
10—15 years


Chows Chows are restrained dogs. They can calmly express their emotions and feelings. They do not bark a lot, but these dogs wag their tails when they are happy. Even if they love and respect their owner, they will not show that. Being intrusive is not about Chow Chows. They are independent dogs with a proud personality. Their opinions need to be respected. Give the dog some free space if it wants to be alone. These facts should be considered before purchasing the pet. Chow Chows are not those animals that can be easily manipulated.

Dogs of this breed choose one member of the family who they consider to be a leader, and who they listen to. Meanwhile, they remain affectionate to other family members. These dogs can feel people. If the owner feels bad, or when he is not in a mood — Chow Chows will sit close by to support him. However, when the owner is happy, Chow Chows behave restrained and calmly, as if they do not understand what is happening. They treat strangers with suspicion. That is why some people think they are aggressive. However, that is not like that. Despite having cute appearance, there are hunter instincts in their genes. They need time to get used to strangers. However, if the dog feels that something threatens it — it will attack. Muscular body, long hair and well-developed jaws make Chow Chows skilled fighters. 

Dogs of this breed do not get on well with other animals, especially with cats, if they have not been growing up together. They are affable with dogs of the same breed. However, if they meet an unknown animal in street — Chow Chows might attack. The situation is similar with kids. These dogs treat them neutrally if kids do not behave intrusively. Chow Chows will not tolerate pain and bullying. That is why it will be safer to watch how they play with children.


Chow Chows, especially males, have a complex personality. Patience and discipline are crucial for training a dog of this breed. It does not mean that Chow Chows are not smart. On contrary, they are hard to be trained because of their willpower. It is important to become a leader, who your dog will respect. If you do not manage to do that, your Chow Chow will simply not obey.

You need to start working with the puppy starting from the first days after its purchase. Before the dog turns 4 months old, its basic model of behavior gets formed. It starts being dominant, becoming a leader of the family. Such behavior cannot be allowed. For example, if the puppy starts biting, it means that it feels its authority. It is important to explain the dog that it is not like that, and the leader in the family is the owner. If you let the puppy do whatever it wants, it will grow up into an uncontrollable animal.

Early socialization is crucial for Chow Chows, especially taking into consideration the fact that they like being dominant. When dogs of this breed turn 3 months old, you can start taking them outside. However, get it used to the leash at first. The earlier the pet starts getting used to other people and animals, the better it is. It is important, so that the pet does not become aggressive when it grows up.

Start the training process after the dog turns 4 months old. It is important to realize that the process will not be easy. Chow Chows will not do what they are told if they do not see a purpose of that. That is why it is better to take your Chow Chow to a basic course of training. Especially if you do not have an experience in training a dog.


Chow Chows are of medium size. Their body is square and muscular. A distinctive feature of the breed is their blue tongue. It is of the same color, as Shar Pei`s tongue. 
Can be either long or short. Longhair pets have a thick coat. Guard hair is straight and stiff. A soft undercoat is present. Mane grows on the chest. Shorthair dogs have thick hair. It feels silky when touched. It does not lay close to the body.
Black, fawn, red, blue, white and brown. Spots on the coat are not acceptable.
Square, the skull is wide and flattened. The nose is most often black. Pets with coats of fawn and white colors may have white nose.
Small, oval-shaped.
Small and thick, with rounded tips. They are wide-set, of erect type.
Strong and muscular, slightly curved. It is set firmly on shoulders. 
Small, muscular, wide-set, parallel.
High-set, lays on the back, it is not carried in a circle. 

Basic Care

Chow Chows require much amount of time to be groomed, especially longhair pets, because their hair grows vertically, and a thick undercoat is present. Hair of such dogs needs to be brushed twice a week. During the moulting period — in spring and fall — every day, using a comb with hard teeth and a furminator. Hair of shorthair Chow Chows should be brushed once a week. During the molting period — every day, too. Use a comb with spare teeth for that purpose. These dogs molt a lot. Pet them with wet hands to take away left hairs. Your Chow Chow needs to get a haircut only if it participates in dog shows.

Chow Chows do not need to be given a bath very often. Their hair does not get very dirty, and it can get clean by itself. It is recommended to fully wash it 2–3 times a year, using shampoos for long hair. Then, wipe the dog with a towel and brush its hair. It is not recommended to use a hairdryer. If your dog got dirty with something during a street walk — use wet wipes. Their ears need to be cleaned once in 10 days. Clean out the earwax using cotton pads. Wipe your dog`s eyes every day, also using cotton pads, soaked in a chamomile solution. Instead of brushing dog`s teeth, it is recommended to give it bones and cartilages to chew on. Trim claws of your Chow Chow once a month.

It is recommended to feed Chow Chows with dry food of premium quality. It contains vitamins and minerals, needed for dog`s health. These dogs can also be fed with natural products. It is crucial that pet`s diet is well-balanced: fewer fats and carbohydrates, and more proteins should be present in it. That is because Chow Chows are prone to obesity. They can be given: not greasy meat — beef and mutton; offals — beef liver, kidneys and heart; grains — buckwheat and rice; vegetables — cabbage, lettuce, spinach and parsley; fat free cottage cheese. Once a week, boneless sea fish fillet can be given to the dog. Calculate the size of a portion following such formula: 10g of dry food equal 1 kg of dog`s body weight; 20—25g of natural food equal 1 kg of pet`s body weight. 

Chow Chows can either live in a flat, or in an aviary. These pets do not need much for comfortable life. They can easily get through loneliness. These pets do not need active walks. However, you should take into consideration the fact that it is hard for Chow Chows to live in hot weather conditions. It is better to walk them for 30 minutes twice a day. It is crucial that the pet behaves actively during street walks: it needs to run and play. It is important for its physical health.

Health and Illnesses

Chow Chows can live up to 15 years of treated well. Their health is strong. However, some hereditary health issues are present in this breed.

Myopathy — a congenital pathology that affects muscle tone: they stop contracting. As a result, it gets hard for the pet to move. Its legs stop functioning. Symptoms of myopathy can be noticed during street walks, especially when it is chilly outside. If you notice them, you need to take your pet to a vet. If myopathy is not cured, the dog might die.

Atopic dermatitis is inflammation of the skin, which causes itching all over dog’s body. It develops as a reaction of the organism to environmental allergens: tree pollen, mites, dust, mold and mildew. It is impossible to cure the disorder. However, if it is diagnosed in time, development of symptoms can be slowed down.

Entropion is a medical condition in which the eyelid folds inward. As a result, dog`s eyelashes start rubbing against the eye, causing irritation of the cornea and frequent tearing. Long-lasting condition leads to complications: conjunctivitis, suppuration and necrosis of corneal tissue. The disorder can be surgically cured. Pet`s eyelid can be operated and put into the needed place.

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary disorder that leads to disruption of the joint. Dysplasia develops because of disrupted development of the acetabulum: it becomes flat. Because of it, the femoral bone, that is located in the acetabulum, gets dislocated and starts rubbing against the joint, damaging its structure. As result, the pet starts feeling pain while walking. It is impossible to cure dysplasia. However, treatment can slow down development of the disorder.

History of the Breed

China is a homeland of Chow Chows. However, it is not known when and where dogs of this breed appeared. A genetic test proves that this breed is one of the most ancient ones. Its representatives were depicted on Chinese bas-reliefs about 150 years BC. Back then, they were used for hunting, guarding and transporting goods. A version exists that Chow Chows came to China from Mongolia. They appeared in Mongolia after a war with Siberian peoples. At those times, they were called in different ways: Tatar dog, Tibetan Mastiff, Barbarian Dog. The name «Chow Chow» appeared later. There are four versions about its origination:

  1. Because of the name of a place on the deck of the ship where goods are transported.
  2. From the word «chow». In translation from Chinese, it means «mixed». However, there are no facts that they ate them.
  3. From the word «kau», which means «dog».
  4. From ancient dogs «Chu». This version is more popular than others.

After dogs of this breed appeared in China, they were kept only by wealthy people. However, as time passed, interest in Chow Chows decreased. They spread across whole China, becoming favourite pets of Chinese people. It affected pureness of the breed. Tibetan monks changed everything. They started breeding dogs, keeping first pedigree records.

Chow Chows appeared in Europe in 1780. They were brought by an Italian merchant and traveler Marco Polo. While living in Tibet, he noticed shaggy dogs and decided to take them with him. At first, they were treated as wild and exotic animals. It last until 1865, when some dogs if the breed were given to Queen Victoria. Fluffy pets with thick mane won her heart. Queen Victoria ordered English dog handlers to start working on breeding of these dogs. In 1887, the standard of the breed was developed. One year later, the first «Club of Chow Chow Lovers» was established.