Chow Chow

Life expectancy
9 - 15

Origin and history of the Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is a very old dog breed that has its roots in China and has been known there for more than 2000 years. There are relatives with Spitz dogs of Nordic type and it also contains something of a Mastiff. For a long time, the Chow Chow was considered an imperial court dog, but it was also used as a hunting, sledding and guard dog among the common people. There he was also used as a fur and meat supplier, as dog meat has always been considered a delicacy in China. In the late 18th century, the lion dog finally made its way to Europe, first to Great Britain, where it was not properly noticed until 1920. It was in England that its breed standard developed.

The origin of the unusual name, which was transcribed from Xiaoxiao according to the sound, could not be clearly clarified until today. The most common theory is that the breed name is a reference to the Chinese word "Gou" (pronounced "Kau") and simply means "dog".

Suitability and attitude

The Chow Chow is described as a guard and companion dog. While it is suitable for families, it is excellent for individuals due to the development of a very close relationship.

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Alternate Name Chow chow, chowchow
Origin China
Life expectancy 9 - 15 years
Care requirements high-maintenance
Activity level average
FCI group Asian Spitz and related breeds
AKC group non-sporting group
KC group utility group

Typical character traits of the Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is considered proud, dignified and has nothing submissive about it. The breed is very headstrong, stubborn and incorruptible. Due to its pronounced territorial behavior as well as its basic distrust of strangers and other dogs, the Chow Chow is well suited as a guard dog.

He is considered a typical "one-man dog", which means that he sees only one person as his confidant and is loyal to him. Other members of the family are merely tolerated by him, he does not pay special attention to them. For this reason, the Chow Chow is not a classic family dog; he can do very little with children. He is neither cuddly nor playful, he appreciates exercise only in the form of walks, where he can sniff extensively. Free running is considered difficult because of the immense hunting instinct and the not necessarily guaranteed retrievability of the stubborn quadruped.

All in all, the Chow Chow is a rather comfortable dog that radiates calmness and composure as long as it does not feel threatened in its territory. Then representatives of this breed can become very dangerous, it can come to aggression that is difficult to control. Because of this, consistent education and early socialization with other dogs is essential. The Chow Chow is not a breed for beginners, it takes a lot of experience to raise and keep this dog. Buying a Chow Chow without having studied the breed in detail beforehand is not recommended and will lead to difficulties for everyone involved.

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What are typical diseases of the Chow Chow?

The following diseases are common in the breed:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Eye diseases
  • Allergies
  • Skin eczema
  • Dysplasia of the hip
  • Hypothyroidism

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy is 12 to 14 years.

Chow Chow breeding and purchase

There was a time when the breed was bred in extreme directions for coat, folds and figure. As a result, the animals had more and more sensitivities and diseases. Today's Chow Chow breeding is back to the original breed type.

When buying a Chow Chow, you should always make sure that it is a serious Chow Chow breeding, whose puppies have a pedigree as well as vaccination certificate, chip and health certificate. Since the breed is relatively rare, you should inform yourself in advance about the breeder and his work with the animals.

chowchow dog

Breed characteristics of the Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is a dog breed recognized by the FCI. Assigned to group 5, it belongs to the point and primitive type dogs, specifically to the Asian point and related breeds without working test (Section 5, Standard No. 205).

Males reach a height at withers of about 48 to 56cm, bitches are slightly smaller at 46 to 51cm. The weight usually varies between 20-30kg, although they often look heavier due to their lush coat and short striding gait. Nevertheless, the gait never appears ponderous or of exquisite stamina. The hind feet are not raised high, so that they appear to graze over the ground, resulting in a pendulum-like movement seen in profile. Fore and hind legs move parallel to each other and straight ahead. The dogs should always be able to run freely and healthy without any signs of stress.

The blue tongue

What would be a cause for concern in other quadrupeds is part of the breed standard here: a bluish black tongue is characteristic of the Chow Chow. His mucous membranes in the following places are blue:

  • Tongue
  • Palate
  • Lips

The head

The skull of the Chow Chow is flat, broad and without a pronounced stop.

The muzzle

Always large and broad, the nose should be black (except for cream and almost white Chows, where the nose may be lighter in color, and blue and fawn Chows, whose nose may be of the same color). The muzzle itself is broad from the eyes to the end of the muzzle (not tapering as in a fox) and well filled in under the eyes. An unbroken black muzzle including the palate and flews with a bluish-black tongue is ideal. More attenuated color may occur in the blue and fawn Chows, and the attenuation may be even more pronounced in the cream and white Chows.

A scissor bite is typical of these Rases, with the upper incisors closely overlapping the lower incisors and the teeth set square to the jaws.

The eyes and ears

The Chow Chow has dark eyes of oval shape, which should be medium in size and pure. In blue and fawn Chows, suitably colored eyes are permissible. A level, entropion-free eye must never be given a lower rating at shows solely because of its size. The ears should be small, thick, slightly rounded at the tips and carried stiffly erect. They are generally set wide apart, but slightly tilted towards each other, and are set well forward over the eyes, giving the scowl so characteristic of the breed. This expression should never be obtained by loosely wrinkling the scalp.

The rump

A strong but not too short neck, full and slightly arched resting well on the shoulders, should be of sufficient length to carry the head proudly above the topline. The back, on the other hand, is short, straight and strong udn the continuing loins powerful.

The chest of the Chow Chow should be broad and deep, the ribs well sprung, but not barrel-shaped. Another characteristic of this breed is the high set tail, carried well over the back.

Chow Chows have muscular and sloping shoulders, equidistant from the withers and elbows and forearms that are quite straight from the ground. In profile, the hind foot is directly below the hip joint, the stifle joint is only slightly angulated and the hock joint is well let down. From the hocks downwards the body appears straight, never pushed through to the front.

Both the front and hind feet are small, round and resemble cat feet, standing well on the toes.

The coat

This breed of dog can be either long or short haired.

In longhair, the coat is abundant, dense, straight and sticking out, but not excessively long. The outer coat is rather coarse in texture, with a soft, dense undercoat. Especially close around the neck it forms a mane or collar. It has a well-developed coat on the back of the thighs.

The shorthaired type, on the other hand, has short but equally luxuriant, dense, straight, sticking out coat that does not lie flat and should be plush in texture. If breeders shorten the coat artificially to change the natural outline or expression, this is penalized in shows, except for the feet, which may be trimmed.

Color-wise, the Chow Chow can be found in solid black, red, blue, fawn, cream or white, often shaded, but not spotted or pied. The underside of the tail and the hair on the thighs is often of a lighter color.

Fur length long
Fur -
Ear shape Standing Ears
Tail rolled up
Anatomy square
Size ♀ 46 - 51 cm
Weight ♀ 25 - 30 kg
Size ♂ 48 - 56 cm
Weight ♂ 25 - 30 kg
Suitable For -


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  • Hypothyroidism

    Hypothyroidism is a condition in dogs where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. This can lead to a slowed metabolic rate, weight gain, fatigue, hair loss and other symptoms.

  • Hip dysplasia (HD)

    Hip dysplasia (HD) is a genetic condition in dogs where the hip joint is not shaped properly. This leads to pain, stiffness and restricted movement.

  • Allergies

    Can occur in a number of breeds, regardless of genetic makeup.

  • Shortness of breath

    Difficult breathing can be recognized by the dog's rattling and sometimes accelerated breathing rate.

  • Skin inflammations

    Can be hereditary in certain breeds.

  • Eye infections

    Chronic eye infections can be very painful in dogs and can be treated with medication. In rare cases, the cornea must be treated.

  • Chau Chau is not the correct name of this breed. The Chow Chow is not a dangerous dog breed.

  • A Chow Chow costs about 1800-2000 euros.

  • Basically yes. However, he is also considered a typical "one-man-dog", which means that he considers only one person as his confidant and is loyal to him. Other members of the family are merely tolerated by him, he does not pay special attention to them.

  • As a rule, Chow Chows grow between 46 to 56cm.

  • The Chow Chow should be groomed at least two to three times a week, but preferably daily: Generally, he should be combed at least once and brushed once. Especially behind the ears and at the ruff the coat tends to mat.

    The shorthaired variety is much less maintenance-intensive.

  • A Chow Chow has a life expectancy of up to 15 years.

  • The Chow Chow is unfortunately prone to some diseases due to unserious breeding. In particular, skin eczema, invaginations of the eyelids and dysplasia of the hips and elbows are not necessarily rare.

  • Typical for the Chow Chow is a blue tongue.

Other medium dogs

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