The Chow Chow, as it is referred to by dog fanatics and breeders is a medium size dog that originated from Tibet. Chow Chow has been depicted in many ancient Chinese paintings and artifacts dating as far back as 206 BC.
The Chow Chow was also known as Songshi Quan, which was translated to mean ‘puffy-lion dog’. It is said that their name stemmed from its ability to scare off lions and other large animals. Chow Chows were kept by the elite during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907) and were even given away as gifts between royal families across Mongolia and China for hundreds of years after that.
Chow Chow dogs were originally bred for hunting purposes such as retrieving, herding reindeer herds, guarding homes and Chow Chow puppies were even used as food for the harsh winters of Mongolia.
The Chow Chow breed was not introduced to the west until 1860, when British army officers found them in Chinese temples. The first pair came to England on a tea trading ship. These dogs then became known as ‘Tea Dogs’ since they had been confined to the lower decks of ships during their journey.
Chow Chow dogs are now recognized under all major kennel clubs with standards set by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and Canadian Kennel Club (CKC). Chow Chow dogs are also recognized by many other minor or non-federated kennel clubs which have different standards from those of AKC/CKC.
The Chow Chow has a wedge-shaped head with erect ears. Chow Chow can have either almond shaped eyes, which are dark brown in color or they may have rounder eyes that are amber in color. Chow Chow’s nose is always black and their muzzles are always broad.
Chow Chow dogs are most commonly found having thick double coats with a prominent ruff around the neck. The ruff is even more noticeable during winter months when the Chow Chow’s undercoat is thicker than normal.
There are two variations of Chow Chow coat colors: red and blue, both with black masks on their faces. However some Chow Chows may also be cream or gold but these colors do not conform to the breed standard set by all kennel clubs. Chow Chow puppies are born with a black and blue coat, which they will lose at around the age of 3 months. They will then grow in their adult coats which can take up to a year before it is fully grown in.
Chow Chow dogs have head-strong characteristics so when meeting Chow Chow puppies for the first time, be prepared. If a Chow Chow feels threatened in any way or if he does not know you well enough then he may display aggressive behavior that can sometimes lead to aggressiveness with other dogs. Chow Chows have been known to have unpredictable temperaments but these cases are rare and often stem from lack of socialization during puppyhood or poor breeding standards by some unethical breeders who only intend on making money from unsuspecting Chow Chow enthusiasts.
Chow Chow dogs are classified as working (or, utility) dogs and rank 29 out of 194 breeds in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs. Chow Chow dogs were originally bred to help human beings with everyday tasks such as herding livestock, retrieving game during hunting expeditions and pulling small sleighs. Chow Chows are not known to be highly trainable but they do respond well to clear communication with their owners and firm training techniques that include positive reinforcement like treats or praise when they do something right. High value rewards work best for most Chow Chow breeds; always remember that most Chow Chow’s will act up if there is no reward involved so you might want to think about using tasty treats instead of your voice to train Chow Chow puppies. Chow Chow dogs are easily leash trained and they respond well to different training commands such as sit, stay and come.
Chow Chow dogs were bred to be territorial and protective of their owners so it is important that Chow Chow owners socialize their Chow Chow breed or any other dog breeds that they own throughout the first 18 weeks of puppyhood. Socialization will help calm the Chow Chow’s natural instinct to be suspicious of strangers and will help reduce aggressiveness in some cases; however there is always a chance that even with proper socialization aggressive behavior may still persist. This should not take away from the fact that if you spend enough time with your Chow Chow during his puppy phase then he will most likely grow up to be a well-rounded and sociable Chow Chow dog who will get along with other pets and dogs.
Chow Chow dogs make very good guard dogs because of their natural instinct to protect home and family; however training Chow Chow puppies not to bark at unnecessary times like when you have visitors or when they sense that there is no threat around will help reduce the chances of his barking becoming annoying to your neighbors. If faced with an intruder, Chow Chow dogs can be very aggressive which has made them effective watchdogs but this aggression may sometimes lead them into biting people without warning so it’s important for Chow Chow owners to teach them early on that biting is unacceptable especially if they intend on owning more than one Chow Chow in the household. Chow Chow breeders are not known to be reputable breeders by Chow Chow fans so it is important that Chow Chow owners do their research well when looking for Chow Chow puppies to purchase or adopt.
The average Chow Chow life expectancy is 10 years.
Chow Chow dogs come in a few different color variations, including black and ginger with white markings, light gold/cream with honey markings, solid gray and black with tan highlights. The Chow Chow breed standard set by kennel clubs has the coat being thick, dense and extremely rough to touch but some have actually been seen with smoother coats these days due to crossbreeding. Chow Chows are born with blue-black tongues which change after 6 months old when they will develop pink-black tongues instead.
Chow Chow breeders have been known to exaggerate Chow Chow dog colors as Chow Chow puppies to make them more saleable which drives the cost up unnecessarily as Chow Chow dogs are not as rare as many people think.
Chow Chow dogs were originally bred in China and they are one of the few dog breeds that do well in colder climates because of their thick coats; however, Chow Chow breeders advise against leaving your Chow Chow unsupervised outdoors especially during the winter months because it is very easy for your pet to catch a cold or worse if he gets into something that he’s not supposed to get into like poisonous plants. If you plan on owning a Chow Chow then it will be best if you invest in quality dog beds, blankets and other Chow Chow pet accessories from a Chow Chow breeder or a Chow Chow dog store.