Chow dog

Chow Chow Dog Breed at a Glance


The medium-sized Chow Chow dog breed of the spitz family, which is also known simply as Chow, is a loyal dog to his family and may be suspicious of strangers. These dogs may also grow to be aggressive if they haven’t been trained properly. They are not recommended for first-time dog owners and aren’t especially recommended for families with young children. However, if raised with kids, socialized, and trained from early on, Chows may be an acceptable option, but are best for adults with previous dog ownership experience.

Breed Group: Non-Sporting Group

Chow Chow Puppies

HISTORY of the Chow Chow Dog Breed

The Chow originates from northern China and its name actually means “puffy-lion dog.” Chows are ancient dogs, dating back 2,000 years and possibly even as far back as 3,000 years in Arctic Asia. In China, it served as a temple guard and later as a working dog for various tasks like hunting, herding, and pulling.

It was once thought that the Chow can ward off evil spirits.

Origin: China


Chow Chows are not trusting of strangers and won’t think twice to protect their family and their property. Additionally, Chows tend to be more protective of one or two family members. They are independent and intelligent, loyal and protective, but may be detached. These dogs need early obedience training so that they gain respect of their family, as they can be stubborn and difficult to train. Early and continuous socialization is necessary to ensure it’s accepting of people and to minimize aggression–a trait attributed to this breed.

Typically, this breed, if aggressive, is so with other same gender dogs. As they have strong hunting instincts, always keep them on a leash when out and about, and in a secured fenced yard. Having said that, Chows are considered high-risk dogs and can therefore increase your homeowners insurance costs. Ranked as one of the most dangerous dog breeds, Chows may lead insurers to reject insuring homeowners with these dogs.

It is not a cat-friendly dog and is known to be mouthy, which can be corrected during training–teaching it to chew only on toys.

Biting Statistics:

Chows are ranked in the top 10% of dog attacks on humans. Statistics indicated that 44 maiming injuries are attributed to Chows. In total, dating back to 1982, a total of 66 attacks causing bodily harm are attributed to this dog breed, with 37 of those attacked being children. Moreover, 8 deaths have been associated with Chow Chow attacks.

However, since these statistics date back to 1982, it’s not likely that this breed will cause death, although these statistics should shed light on the fact that people should be cautious with this breed.[1]

Physical Characteristics of the Chow Chow Dog Breed

The Chow Chow breed may have one of two types of coat: a rough coat that’s dense and straight or a smooth outer coat that’s dense and smooth but less abundant than the former. In either case, Chows have woolly undercoats.

Its broad skull and triangular ears along with its black or purple tongue and puffy mane give the Chow the appearance of a lion. However, Chows are born with pink tongues that darken with age. Its eyes are almond shaped and deep set. And, one thing in particular that stands out in Chows is their straight hind legs that gives them their stilted gait. They also have a very distinctive curly and thickly haired tail carried on their backs. Chows have sturdy and compact bodies with strong legs.

Chow Chow Dog Breed

Did you know that the Chow Chow is the only dog born with 44 teeth! All other dog breeds have 42 teeth.

The common colors of Chow Chows are typically fawn, cinnamon, red, black, cream, or blue. Red is the most popular of all the colors.

The Chow weighs between 45 and 70 pounds and stands between 17 and 20 inches tall.

Expect shedding with this dog, especially seasonal shedding. Also, Chows tend to drool.

HEALTH and CARE of the Chow Dog Breed

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of the Chow is between 8 and 12 years, which is slightly shorter than the average for this size.

Common Health Concerns

Each dog breed is susceptible to certain health issues. Chows are especially at a higher risk for developing autoimmune diseases and are also at risk for the following:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Myotonia
  • Cataracts
  • Bloat
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation


The Chow Chow has a great potential to gain weight and is not an active breed so be careful to provide it with an adequate amount of exercise and take care not to overfeed it. Since it’s not an overly active breed, it adapts well to apartment living but will require daily exercise.

Chows are quite clean and easy to housebreak.

Chow dog


Feed your dog a high-quality dog food to ensure health and longevity. Quality counts! Feed your Chow between 2 1/2 and 3 cups of kibble each day.

Grooming the Chow

Groom your dog at least two or three per week to ensure mats are prevented. Set aside between 2 and 3 hours each week to brush your Chow, using a slicker brush, a pin brush, and a medium-coarse brush. It’s also recommended to use a spray conditioner to avoid breakage of the hair. These dogs shed extensively during shedding seasons, so brushing daily is necessary. The occasional bath will also serve to keep its coat in great shape. Check its ears frequently for wax buildup or debris to avoid the risk of an ear infection from developing.

They should be brushed four times a week; however shedding seasons may require daily grooming. Also, a spray conditioner can help avoiding breakage and tearing to the thick coat of hair.

The Chow Chow dog breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1903.[2]



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[1] Animal Planet

[2] AKC