Chow Chow, or Chow, is a breed of dog originating from China, where it is referred to as "puffy-lion dog." It is an unusual and unique type of dog, thought to be one of the oldest recognisable breeds. He has the mane of a lion, the tongue of a bear, the fur coat of a dowager, and the stiff gait of a ceremonial guardsman. In its homeland in earlier days, the Chow Chow was used as an important source of food. It also had several other important duties. These included, not only guarding the home, the caravans, but also accompanying hunters, pulling sleds and guarding the flocks.
The Chow is aloof, independent, detached and strong-willed. He is very sensitive to rebuke, restrained with his affections and disapproving of strangers which makes them very good guard dog. He does show affection towards his immediate family. If not bred for temperament and socialized as a puppy with kids and other animals, you will have your hands full with the stubborn Chow. Limited peripheral vision makes it necessary to approach a Chow from the front.
Photo courtesy of Cherub Chow Chows
Country of Origin: China
Utilization: Guard dog, companion
FCI Classification: Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types; Asian Spitz and related breeds (without working trial); AKC Classification: Non-Sporting Group
Size: Medium (15-22 inches at shoulders)
Colors: Whole colored black, red, blue, fawn, cream or white, frequently shaded but not in patches or parti-colored (underpart of tail and back of thighs frequently of a lighter color).
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Litter Size: 5
Life Span: 10-12 years
Grooming Requirements: Chows come with either a smooth or rough coat. The rough-coated Chow requires daily brushing.
Shedding: Chow Chows shed heavily twice a year.
Personality: Intelligent, aloof, reserved, dignified and stubborn, yet devoted to its family. Suspicious of strangers.
Social skills: Chow Chows should be socialized early with other household pets.
Suitability for Children: Once thought to be bad with children, Chow breeders have been paying more attention to temperament training with very positive results. Still, Chows are not suitable for families with children.
Exercise Needs: Chow Chows need exercise but love to stay indoors and watch Animal Planet. Be careful in hot weather not to leave a Chow outside with no shaded areas or for long periods of time. Increase exercise time gradually as your puppy matures.
Train Ability: Chow Chow's can be very stubborn but are responsive to a firm and consistent master. Easy to housebreak but other training will happen only if the Chow agrees to it and sees the purpose.
Health & Behavioral Issues: Hip dysplasia, eye problems.