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Chow Chow Dog Breed

The Chow Chow, also known as the Black-Tongue, is one of the oldest recognizable canine breeds that draw attention with his deep-set eyes and large head. It is said that this dog breed combines the drollness of a panda, the nobility of a lion, the grace and independence of a cat, the appeal of a teddy bear, and the loyalty of a dog. These quiet and attentive companions not really fond of being hugged, but they are quite loyal and their loyalty extends to other family members. If these breeds are raised with children, they will accept them willingly. If you want to become a proud owner of this handsome dog breed, this article is a must read for you as it provides you complete information about this breed in elaborative way.

Chow Chow

Some important information:

Other names Chow
Origin China
Coat Dense, Thick
Color Black, Blue, Brown, Red
Breed Type Purebred
Breed Group Non-sporting dog breeds
Size Type Medium dog breeds
Height Male: 19–22 inches (48–56 cm)Female: 18–20 inches (46–51 cm)
Weight Male: 20–32 kgFemale: 20–32 kg
Good with Child Yes
Temperament Aggressive, Detached, Independent, Intelligent, Loyal
Litter Size 5 puppies

History of this breed

It is speculated that the Chow is one of the oldest dog breeds, and its genetic testing has proved that to be true. This ancient breed is believed to have originated in Mongolia and Northern China; then it slowly moved to south with the nomadic tribes of Mongolia. Further, early depictions of dogs resembling the Chow appear in paintings and pottery from the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 22 AD). It is said that one Chinese emperor was kept 2,500 pairs of Chows as hunting dogs.

In ancient times, these dogs were used to guard their owners’ possessions, and their fur was used to trim coats and their flesh was considered a delicacy. Furthermore, British merchants in the late 18th century included some of the bearlike dogs in their cargo. All the miscellaneous items, including dogs, were referred as “chow chow” and the name stuck to the breed. The American Kennel Club recognized this breed of dogs in 1903, and the first Chow Chow registered with the AKC was named Yen How. Today, Chow dog breed rank 64th in popularity among the 155 breed of dogs and varieties that are recognized by the AKC.


The two most distinctive features of this large, stocky dog are its blue-black tongue and its almost straight hind legs. The head of Chow is broad and large with a flat skull. Their muzzle is broad and deep and there is a huge ruff behind the head, which gives these dogs a lion-like appearance. The black nose of this breed of dogs is large with well open nostrils. Their teeth meet in a scissors bite, and their small, erect ears are triangular in shape with rounded tip. This dog breed has almond-shaped eyes that are deep-set and dark in color. Their chest is broad and tail is set high, carried very close to the back. The dense, profuse, furry coat of this breed comes in two varieties i.e. smooth and rough. Their coat sometimes has darker or lighter shades, but is never parti-colored.


The Chow Chows are known for their aloof, independent, reserved, dignified, intelligent, and stubborn temperament. Despite his scowl, a good or trained Chow dogs should never be aggressive or shy. They tend to mind their own business and like to play with their owners. Strangers are of no interest to the Chows unless they are approaching their home without invitation from his owner. However, they let strangers touch them if introduced by one of his owners.


Regular grooming with the correct tool is quite important for your Chow Chow puppy. The Chow comes in rough and smooth types of coat and the both have an undercoat and a top coat. Grooming requirements of your dog depend on the type of coat. A smooth coated Chow Chow needs brushing only weekly, whereas, a rough coat should be brushed every other day. The both varieties shed heavily twice a year, and during this time coat will come out in handfuls. A bath is rarely necessary for this breed, although a warm bath followed by a thorough blow-drying can help remove the shedding coat.

The basic care is also important for this breed. Once a month, you should trim the nails of your pet. For good overall health and fresh breath, you should brush the teeth of your breed frequently. You should check the ears of your pet weekly for redness, dirt or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. If the ears of your pet look dirty, wipe them out with cotton ball which is dampened with a gentle ear cleaner recommended by veterinarian.

Health Concerns

The purebred dogs have potential to develop various genetic health problems, just as people have the potential to inherit a particular disease from their parents. This dog breed is generally healthy, but like all other breeds, they can get certain health conditions, therefore, it is important to be aware of following diseases if you are considering this breed of dogs

1.Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)- Canine Hip Dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal diseases seen in dogs. For this disease, gender does not seem to be a factor but some dog breeds are more likely to have the genetic predisposition for canine hip dysplasia than other dog breeds. In this condition the thighbone of dog doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint that result pain and lameness on one or both rear legs. You may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog suffering from hip dysplasia. In this condition X-ray screening is done. Hip dysplasia can be worsened by various environmental factors, such as rapid growth from a high-calorie diet or injuries incurred from falling and jumping on slick floors.
2.Patellar Luxation –Patella Luxation (also known as subluxation of patella, trick knee, floating patella, or floating kneecap) is a condition in dog in which the patella, or kneecap, moves out of its normal location. It is a common condition in dogs, especially small and miniature breeds. The condition of patella luxation usually becomes evident between the ages of 4 to 6 months in dogs. In addition to dog, this can occur in cats, especially the Domestic Shorthair.
3.Autoimmune Thyroiditis –The most common cause of thyroid disease in canine is autoimmune thyroiditis. In this condition, the body’s immune system develops various antibodies against its own thyroid gland cells due to which thyroid gland cells are attacked and destroyed, hence, the remaining cells work harder to compensate. When the thyroid gland is about 75% destroyed, the remaining cells are not able to produce enough thyroid hormone, and then the dog begins to display thyroid deficiency symptoms.
4.Diabetes Mellitus –It is an endocrine disease due to which body of dog unable to utilize carbohydrates (sugars) properly. This health problem occurs either because the pancreas does not manufacture sufficient amount of the insulin hormone that the body requires for this function or because the cells of body are unable to recognize it properly. Some symptoms of this heath problem are excessive thirst and urination, increased appetite and sudden weight loss.

Some health condition and their Risk profile in Chow Chow:

Following table shows some health concerns and their risk profile in Chow Chow dogs:

Condition Risk Profile
Elbow Dysplasia High
Diabetes Mellitus High
Myotonia High
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat) Medium
Cataracts Medium
Patellar Luxation Medium
Hip Dysplasia Medium

How to care this breed?

The specialty of Chows is that it can adapt to a variety of homes, from apartments to palaces. But this dog breed should always live indoors with their owners, not stuck out in a backyard. This breed doesn’t tolerate heat well; therefore, you should keep them indoors in the sweltering weather. Like any other dog breed, an adult Chow also needs daily exercise in order to stay healthy and happy, but not much. A couple of 15-minute walks daily or one longer walk is suitable for this breed. The Chows are easily housetrained, but the crate training is strongly recommended for this dog breed. Crate training makes housetraining easier and keeps your dog from chewing things while you are away.

Being a heavy coated breed, the Chows need diets that will maintain their skin/hair health. Hair is 95% protein; therefore, the Chow requires diets with the correct and sufficient amount of highly digestible proteins to maintain his beauty of hair. It is strongly recommended that this breed of dogs feed a highly digestible and nutritious dog food that includes quality ingredients and the correct nutrients for skin health./p>


The Chows are dominant dogs, and will require an experienced trainer. These dogs do not like to be told what to do, and forcing them with a strong hand may leads to avoidance behaviors or even retaliation by the dog. Positive reinforcement, 100% consistency and lots of dog treats are the keys to training this breed of dogs. Despite obedience training challenges, these dogs are exceptionally easy to house train, and many owners of the Chow Chow report that even as puppies, their pets have never had any accident in the home.

Some facts about this breed:

  • A blue-black tongue is one of the most distinctive physical traits of Chow Chow.
  • When Chow puppies are born, their tongues are of pink color but it darkens to blue-black by the time they are 8 to 10 weeks old.
  • The Chow Chow dogs are very independent and aloof, and they need owners who appreciate their traits but won’t let them take over.
  • Owing to deep-set eyes, the Chows have limited peripheral vision; therefore, it is best to approach them from the front.
  • The Chows are well socialized and try to introduce them with new people, dogs, and situations beginning in early puppyhood.
  • The Chow dogs may bond with just one person or with their immediate family. They are suspicious of strangers.
  • They need to be brushed two or three times in a week in order to keep their coat in good condition.

Is the Chow Chow the Right Dog for You?

Acknowledged for their cute teddy-bear appearance, Chow Chow is dignified and independent dog breed that attach himself to a single person. He is suspicious of strangers and may be aggressive toward other dogs that he does not know. This very intelligent but sometimes stubborn breed of dogs can be a challenge to train. They respond well to the clicker training and positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play and food rewards, but they also like to do things their own way. Therefore, if you want to own this breed you must be patient and should know various different methods to see what works for your dog.

Tips to Bring a Healthy Chow Chow Puppy

  • Finding a good dog breeder is very important. A good breeder will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out various health concerns as much as possible.
  • You should consider an adult Chow Chow dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many health concerns in this type of breed are not apparent in puppyhood, therefore, by adopting an adult dog, most of these health problems can be ruled out. Moreover, this breed of dogs can live 8 to 12 years, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time period.
  • You should take your Chow Chow, puppy or adult, to the veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems in its early stage, and will work to set up a preventive regimen that will help you to avoid various health issues.
  • You should make sure that you have a good contract with the seller of dog that spells out responsibilities on both sides.


From Delhi, Rahul is an animal lover at heart. He is a writer and most of his writing revolves around making people aware of animal issues like health, training and grooming.

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