Chow Chow Dog Breed

This ancient dog breed is loyal and protective.
By: PawCulture Editors
Chow Chow dog

The Chow Chow is thought to have originated in China from the Han Dynasty around 300 B.C. They were used as hunting and guard dogs. This is truly an ancient breed.

Physical Characteristics

The Chow Chow is a medium sized dog with a very large head and round large muzzle. The ears are erect and the tail is bushy and curls over the back. The eyes are small and deeply set into the face, giving them poor vision. The mouth and tongue is bluish black.

COLOR(S)

The Chow Chow can be cream, tan, red, blue, or black.

COAT

The Chow Chow has a thick coat that can be long or short.

Personality and Temperament

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Moderate

POSITIVES

The Chow Chow is loyal to their families, especially with one member of the family.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

The Chow Chow may not be suitable for children, and they can be aggressive toward strangers.

Care

IDEAL LIVING CONDITIONS

The Chow Chow would do best in the city or country.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

The Chow Chow needs to be groomed on a regular basis.

HEALTH

The following conditions are commonly seen in Chow Chows:

  • Entropion
  • Bloat
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism

History and Background

The Chow Chow breed is thought to be 2,000 years old — perhaps even older. Because the Chow shares certain features with the Spitz — an ancient wolf-like breed — it is believed that the Chow is either a descendant of a Spitz ancestor or a progenitor of some Spitz breeds, but the true origin of the dog may never be known. It was, however, common in China for many centuries and may have served as a hunting, pointing, or birding dog for the nobles.

The breed’s numbers and quality declined soon after the imperial hunts stopped, but some pure descendents of the early Chow were kept by the aristocracy and in monasteries. Some have also theorized that the breed provided food and fur pelts in Mongolia and Manchuria. Its black tongue is among the Chow’s most unique characteristics, and many Chinese nicknames for the dog are based on this feature.

When the breed was finally introduced to England in the late 18th century, it was given the Chinese name Chow Chow. The name, which comes from a word meaning assorted curios and knick-knacks from the Oriental Empire, was applied to the breed because the dogs were written into the ship’s cargo load as curios when brought to England.

The breed gained much fame again when Queen Victoria took a fancy to the Chow, and by 1903, it had entered the United States and was granted breed status by the American Kennel Club. The noble appearance of the breed attracted dog fanciers, but it was not until the 1980s that its popularity soared in America, becoming the sixth most admired breed.