Many wonder whether the Chow Chow is one of the original dog breeds or whether it is a descendant of the Tibetan Mastiff. What is known is that this breed, with the unique blue-black tongue, has existed in China since 150 BC. Many of Chow Chows were used as guarding, hunting or carting dogs, although the few that were born with the smoky blue color were often elevated to the role of Buddhist temple dog.
At one time, the Chow Chow was also raised as a food supply for Chinese tables, hence the name “chow” which is Cantonese for “food.” Chows found their way to Britain in the 1800s and gained popularity once Queen Victoria herself took a liking to the breed. The Chow Chow was officially recognized in 1901 in America and in 1912 in Canada. The Chow Chow enjoys most accommodations, makes a good watch dog, and requires daily exercise.
Height: The height of a Chow Chow is between 17 – 20″ (43.2 – 50.8cm)
Weight: The weight for a Chow Chow is 35 – 75 lbs (15.6 – 33.5 kg)
Coat Type: There are two types of coats for the Chow Chow: rough and smooth; both have a dense, woolly undercoat. The outer coat of the rough variety is longer, harsher, straight and thick. The smooth coat is shorter, straight and thick as well, but appears to be sleeker.
Color: The solid body colors of the Chow Chow’s coat include red, black, blue, sandy, cream or white. Regular, thorough brushing is required to keep the full, luxurious coat of the Chow Chow healthy and free of mats.
Temperament: The Chow Chow is a dignified, independent, assertive dog. However, he is also a very loyal and faithful guardian to his family. Although in past years, he was considered an adult’s dog with a sharp temperament, breeders have been working very hard to breed a Chow with a “family” temperament. A well-bred and well-socialized Chow Chow will be just that: an excellent family dog.
Health Problems: The Chow Chow is susceptible to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, thyroid disease and eye problems. The average life span of a Chow Chow is between 9 – 12 years.
Special Interest: A T’ang Emperor in China was known to have kenneled 2500 Chow Chows.
AKC: Group 6 – Non-Sporting Dogs
ANKC: Group 7 – Non Sporting
CKC: Group 6 – Non-Sporting Dogs
FCI: Group 5 Section 5 Asian Spitz and related breeds
KC: Non-Sporting – Utility Group
NZKC: Non Sporting