The Chow Chow is a sturdily built dog, square in profile, with a broad skull and small, triangular, erect ears with rounded tips. The breed is known for a very dense double coat that is either smooth or rough. The fur is particularly thick in the neck area, giving it a distinctive ruff or mane appearance. The coat may be red, black, blue, cinnamon/fawn, or cream.
Chow Chow eyes are typically deep set and almond shaped. The breed is distinguished by its unusual blue-black/purple tongue and very straight hind legs, resulting in a rather stilted gait. The bluish color extends to the Chow Chow's lips; this is the only dog breed with this distinctive bluish color in its lips and oral cavity (other dogs have black or a piebald pattern skin in their mouths). One other distinctive feature is the curly tail. It has thick hair and lies curled on its back. The nose should be black, but blue-coated Chow Chow can have a solid blue or slate-colored nose. According to the American Kennel Club breed standards, any other tone is not acceptable for contests. FCI countries, however, do allow a self-colored nose in the cream.
The blue-black/purple tongue gene appears to be dominant, as almost all mixed breed dogs that come from a Chow Chow retain that tongue color. This is not to say, however, that every mixed breed dog with spots of purple on the tongue is descended from Chow Chow, as purple spots on the tongue can be found on a multitude of pure breed dogs.
Recent DNA analysis confirm that this breed is one of the oldest dog breeds. Research indicates it is one of the first primitive breeds to evolve from the gray wolf, and is thought by many to have originated in the arid steppes of northern China/Mongolia, although other theorists conjecture that its origin is in Siberian regions of Asia. A Chinese bas-relief from 150 BC shows a hunting dog and a dog similar in appearance to the Chow Chow. Later, Chow Chows were bred as general-purpose working dogs for hunting, herding and protection of the home. The black tongued Chow Chow was also bred for human consumption. Some scholars claim the Chow Chow was the original ancestor of the Samoyed , Norwegian Elkhound, Pomeranian, and Keeshond.
Chinese legends mention large war dogs from central Asia that resembled black-tongued lions. One Chinese ruler was said to own 5,000 Chows. The Chinese also used Chows to pull dog sleds, and this was remarked upon by Marco Polo.
In the United States, the Chow Chow was a highly popular pet among the rich and famous during the Roaring Twenties. President Calvin Coolidge and his wife owned a black Chow Chow named Timmy. Chow Chows were also popular in the 1930s and 1980s.
A legend says that the original teddy bears were modeled after Queen Victoria's Chow Chow puppy. It's said that she carried the dog everywhere she went. Her friends disapproved, claiming that it did not befit a Queen to be seen everywhere with a dog, so they paid a dressmaker to make a stuffed version of the animal for her.
Today, the AKC registers approximately 10,000 Chow Chows a year. The Canadian Kennel Club registers approximately 350.
Famous Chow Chows
Director Teja owns a Chow Chow called, "Action". Vanna Bonta has a cream Chow Chow named Sky in a line of her breed of choice, a blue Chow Chow she had named Seraph, and a red Chow Chow named Beowulf who was immortalized as a fictional dog in the book Flight. Sigmund Freud had a Chow Chow named Jo-Fi who attended all of his therapy sessions because he felt that dogs had a special sense that allows them to judge a person's character accurately, and admitted he depended on Jo-Fi for an assessment of a patient's mental state. Martha Stewart had a Chow Chow named Genghis Khan that died in a kennel fire. Peri Gilpin had a Chow Chow named Charlie. Janet Jackson had a Chow Chow named Buckwheat. Drew Barrymore, Selena Gomez and Matthew McConaughey had Chow Chow-Labrador mixes. A.C. Milan striker Mario Balotelli bought his girlfriend two Chow Chow puppies costing £850 each.
The Chow Chow can suffer from entropion, glaucoma, juvenile cataracts, lymphoma, hip dysplasia, diabetes mellitus, canine pemphigus, and gastric cancer. Chow Chows are a high risk breed for autoimmune disease and are at a predisposition for skin melanoma.
Due to the Chow Chow's thick coat, fleas can be a problem.
Most commonly kept as pets, Chow Chows tend to display discernment of strangers and can become fiercely protective of their owners and property. The American Kennel Clubstandards, however, consider an all-too aggressive or all-too timid Chow Chow to be unacceptable. For that reason, some owners have attributed a cat-like personality to the Chow Chow.
Owning a Chow Chow can raise the cost of homeowners insurance because some companies consider them high-risk dogs. In a study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, out of 238 fatalities related to dog bites from 1979 to 1998, Chow Chow were responsible for eight.
Chow Chow are not excessively active, meaning that they can be housed in an apartment. However, Chow Chow living in apartments will need daily exercise to prevent restlessness and boredom. Upon realizing that exercise is a daily occurrence, Chow Chow will tend to be more assertive with owners in anticipation of such activities.
This breed of dog has many strong loyal bonds with friends and family, however the Chow Chow dog is usually overly protective of one or two main family member(s). It is in the breed’s nature to be quiet and well behaved. However, it is also resistant to training. Chow Chows become very stubborn and attach to certain individuals, as they age. This is why training them when they are puppies is so crucial; they gain respect for those who care for them. In order to avoid aggressive and overprotectiveness as an adult, continuous socialization as early as possible could allow the dog to adjust. When Chow Chows have reached adolescence they reject authority from any other owner who failed to earn its admiration. Aggression is one distinctive behavioural characteristic in this breed. They are very aggrssive towards other dogs of the same sex, especially Chows. So much so, in fact, that two Chows of the same sex can not safely live together. They enjoy feeling as if they are irreplaceable to their owners. Due to their strong hunting instincts, it is recommended that these dogs stay fenced, leashed, and away from cats and small dogs. This is why it is crucial that they are socialized early and consistently in order to act appropriately with strangers. At first, chow chows are very hesitant in interacting with strangers. However, this problem can be avoided if the owners train the chow chow at a young age.
None. Mostly kept as pets.
Chow breed will heavily shed their fur in the seasons of spring and fall, which requires more grooming attention than other seasons. It is important that owners use the correct tool in order to avoid harming the skin and facilitates grooming. Three kinds of brushes that owner’s can use on their Chow Chow is a medium-coarse brush for the larger parts of the body, and a slick brush for smaller areas and a pin brush to maintain the longer strands of hair. Chow Chows are known to have either short and smooth coat, or a rougher and longer coat. Both create a thick woolly layer, as it gets closer to the skin. They should be brushed four times a week; however shedding seasons may require daily grooming. Also, a spray conditioner can help avoiding breakage and tearing to the thick coat of hair. Lastly, a monthly bath is required to avoid from fleas and keep a clean coat of fur.