Do you live in a cold, wintery climate? Do you long for a loyal, laid back breed with a bluish black tongue and large black Bear nose? The Chow Chow may be the dog for you!
The Chow Chow originated in China and is believed to have resulted from crossing an Old Mastiff of Tibet and the Samoyed. This breed eventually made its way over to the United States in the late 1800's.
So what's with that name? Chow Chow is Olde English slang for Cargo, likely meaning that they were simply referred to as cargo when the first batches came over on freight ships, and the name stuck.
The Chow Chow can weigh anywhere from 45 - 70 pounds and usually grows to 17 - 20 inches in height, making it a medium-sized breed.
They were originally bred to hunt pheasants and partridges (along with other small game), making them unreliable around all small animals. Because of this, if you have a cat or other small animals, you may want to reconsider making this breed a permanent part of your household.
Considered "aloof," the Chow Chow has a dignified air in their behavior; acting like a clown is not in their nature. The Chow Chow is considered highly intelligent and loyal to their family, but they tend to be reserved around strangers. Because of this, training is necessary before the age of six months to avoid aggression issues towards strangers or children.
The Chow Chow's activity level is low to moderate, making them a relatively laid-back breed that enjoys being with their family. Since they're a Northern Breed, it may be a good idea to take up a winter sport that your Chow Chow can enjoy alongside you!
Two Names, Two Coats
The Chow Chow is double-coated, and the outer coat can be smooth or rough. The colors of a Chow Chow include red, black, blue, cinnamon, or cream. Daily brushings are a must, and, if you're not a fan of constant shedding and loose fur flying around your house, this breed might not work for you.
Some health issues with this breed include sensitivities to anesthesia, cancer, and entropion (an uncomfortable eye condition in which the lid folds over). Like other Northern Breeds, they're extremely heat sensitive because of their dual coats, making this breed a bad candidate for warm or hot climates. Unfortunately, this breed is known to suffer with hip dysplasia and knee problems as well. Their average lifespan ranges from 9 to 12 years.
As you begin looking for a Chow Chow, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
And on a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Do you think the Chow Chow would fit well into your lifestyle?
Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005