Chow Chow Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Chow Chow Breed

The Chow Chow is a member of the Spitz, or Nordic, family of dogs, originally from northern China. These dogs have a sturdy build and a square profile, with a broad skull, and small, round-tipped, triangular, erect ears. The breed’s very dense double coat is either smooth or rough, and extra-thick fur around the neck. Although Chow Chow sounds like a Chinese name, it’s not. Rather, it is a common English colloquialism when referring to novelties and knick-knacks imported from Asia. In their country of origin, the breed’s name is Songshi Quan, which roughly translates to “puffy lion dog.”

Ideally, Chow Chow males should weigh between 55 and 70 pounds and stand about 24 inches at the shoulder. In turn, females should weigh 40 to 60 pounds and stand 21 inches at the shoulder. The life expectancy of the Chow Chows is 11 to 13 years, and they have 4 to 8 puppies per litter. “Lang Kou” (Wolf Dog), “Hsiung Kou” (Bear Dog), “Hei Shet Kou” (Black-tongued Dog) and “Kwantung Kou” (Dog of Canton) are other names for them.

The uniquely blue-purple-black colored tongue of this breed is its most distinctive feature. A more normal pink tongue would demonstrate that it isn’t purebred, unless the dog is very young. Newborn Chow Chows have pink tongues that change color within a few months.

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Chow Chows?

Chow Chows don’t appreciate sudden moves or surprises, moreover, nor do they enjoy being hugged. The deep fold of flesh and fur around the Chow’s eyes somewhat limit their vision. Therefore, anyone or anything approaching from the side could startle them. Announcing your presence, or approaching these pooches from an angle where they can see you, can avoid unnecessary anxiety.

All too often, Chow Chows have a reputation for being aggressive toward people, which is not true. Early and frequent socialization is essential. It will help them develop the confidence and ability to recognize what is a threat and what is normal.

The Chow Chow has a low activity level and can live happily in any home, including an apartment or condo. One or two brief walks daily will satisfy his exercise requirements. However, the Chow Chow is a powerfully built dog whose sturdy frame misrepresents their past as working dogs. Through the centuries, these working canines pulled carts, herded livestock, and even assisted in the hunt. This versatile breed even spent time as palace guard dogs for the Chinese emperor.

How Does the Chow Chow Interact with Family?

Chows are naturally dominant and independent. To enjoy a happy relationship between owners and dogs, early training must establish its status in the family. Chow Chows must be in a submissive role, or else they see themselves as pack leaders. This requires firm, confident handling. However, most importantly, reprimands must never be physical. Chows, in particular, respond badly to such discipline.

With positive training, Chow Chows can be obedient and loyal pets. They are elegant and aloof canine companions, not particularly playful. They enjoy the family’s affection, but dislike fuss. Their inborn distrust of strangers makes them excellent guard dogs. What’s more, they could react aggressively towards, strangers and other animals. For that reason, early, intense socialization and responsible ownership are essential for Chow Chow owners. Remember, what may seem cute in puppies could become significant problems in adult dogs.

As descendants of hunting dogs, they maintain a strong prey drive. Chows should generally not be trusted with other small dogs or pets and young children. They may not read the warning signs from a Chow that is becoming irritated with handling. For older children and adults, however, this breed will be a devoted and fearless guardian.

How Does the Chow Chow Interact with Other Dogs?

Chow Chows are typically distrustful of other dogs, unless they grew up together. They could even react aggressively toward dogs of the same sex. Pet introduction is most effective when done gradually and in a controlled environment. 

If you are a multi-pet household, make sure you know that all the animals get along well before you commit to the Chow Chow. As long as you socialize the Chow Chow as a pup, he will get along with most other pets.

How are Chow Chows with Older People?

Chow Chows are okay with older people. In fact, Chow Chows don’t mind being alone, and they don’t require a large amount of exercise. They are not necessarily affectionate or overly friendly, and they don’t typically enjoy being around children. So, pairing an older person and a Chow Chow may be ideal for both. Having company without expecting more than affection.

When Seniors move into apartments after many years in the suburbs, it is often a traumatic experience. They may have to leave many cherished possessions behind due to the lack of space. Frequently, the fact that a beloved canine companion can come along eases the transition. If the daily walks and the grooming are overwhelming, they might want to reach out to dog walkers. For an extra fee, the walker may agree to also give the Chow Chow a good brushing twice a week.

How are Chow Chows with Children?

Chows may not be ideal pets for families with children, although there are exceptions. If these dogs learn how to be around children, they would be great with them. However, they are not very patient around children and would not take abuse from young children. They are great with families with children who know how to treat dogs.

Before adopting one of these dogs, parents should teach their children about proper behavior toward dogs. That will go a long way in avoiding unfortunate incidents. Chows can do well with children if raised together. With that said, older children who understand how to respect a dog are a better fit.

How are Chow Chows with Neighbors or Guests?

Chow Chows, as a breed, are wary of people apart from their human family. If they are familiar with neighbors and frequent visitors or guests, they will likely accept their presence. Nevertheless, Chow Chow owners must remain alert for red flags that might show signs of aggression building up.

How Do Chow Chows Interact with Strangers?

Chows are innately protective dogs. They will not hesitate to let strangers know they are not welcome on your property unless you approve it. Though they are not known for aggression, they can appear quite intimidating. However, early socializing and manners training is crucial to keep their more protective instincts in check.

What are the Physical Traits of the Chow Chow?

Chow Chows are medium-sized dogs, although some call them large dogs. They are powerful dogs with robust, squarely built bodies and a tail that curves over the back. They have large heads, with accentuating ruffs, and deep-set, dark-brown, almond-shaped eyes. Their erect ears are small and rectangular. They have large black noses that sit on broad muzzles.

Their mouths, gums, and tongues are blue-black, a sign of purebred Chow Chows. The overall effect is of a dog with a lordly, dignified, snobbish, and scowling expression, which is an accurate representation of the Chow’s temperament.

These lion-lookalike canines have a distinctive gait. This is because their forelegs are straight, and the pasterns of their hind legs are perpendicular to the ground.

Chow males stand 16 to 24 inches high at the shoulders, and they weigh between 55 and 70 pounds. In contrast, the females are significantly smaller, standing 16 to 21 inches high, and weighing from 40 to 60 pounds. The average life span of this breed is 11 to 13 years, and they have 4 to 8 puppies per litter.

Chow Chows would prefer life without exercise; however, every canine needs some level of activity. Regular exercise supports healthy weight, and it regulates the release of mood-balancing hormones. Activity, even when limited, prevents them from becoming restless.

Nevertheless, they don’t fancy being outdoors too much – one or two walks per day should be sufficient. Chow owners report that puppies are ready to go inside within about 15 minutes if taken out. Getting them to stay out a little longer would need you to start with one walk per day, and staying out a few minutes longer each day.

How to Feed a Chow Chow?

Your Chow Chow’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your pooch’s diet on a medium breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs. Different life stages bring different nutritional needs. Most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet. That can prepare you to deal with age-related issues as your Chow Chow grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies and all nutrition matters. That could ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and the list below shows some essential nutrients for Chow Chows.

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Chow Chow from the table; all it does is add weight. Instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

Despite the Chow Chow’s medium size and thick fur coat, it is an agile, athletic breed. They need food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy. Add to that, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A dog of this size, activity level, and demeanor will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

Your Chow’s daily portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and the brand and formula of food. Feed your Chow Chow food formulated for a medium breed with recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors. Some brands off formulas for all life stages.

Chow Chows’ daily cups of food should be spread over 2 to 3 meals per day. Feeding Chow Chows several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

Below is an example and benefits of premium food specially formulated for breeds like Chow Chows. 

The best dry dog food for Chow Chows is Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food recipes.

Merrick dry dog foods offer a wide array of exotic protein options for an ancestral dog food diet. A unique combination of freeze-dried raw-coated kibble with real freeze-dried raw pieces of meat, fish, or poultry. Choose from grain-free options and recipes with healthy grains for a balanced lineup that provides the nutritional benefits of a raw diet. You can pick the Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food formula that works best for your Chow Chow.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the six Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food formulas in this range:

  • Protein-Packed: Responsibly sourced real meat meal, containing almost 300% more protein than fresh meat, is the first ingredient. The recipes contain loads of animal protein for strong, lean muscles in medium to large-breed dogs.
  • Omegas 3 and 6: Naturally occurring omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support skin and coat health. And glucosamine and chondroitin help maintain healthy hip and joint function. It will support all your dog’s adventures to keep your canine companion running healthy for many years.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits help support immune health.

When Chow Chows are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food formulas contain everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should a Chow Chow Puppy Eat? 

The Chow Chow is a medium breed whose puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a medium-breed dog. It is essential to divide puppies’ food into several smaller portions to feed puppies throughout the day. From three to six months, Chow Chow puppies can eat three meals per day. From six months onward, Chows can have two meals per day, to avoid bloat, which could be life-threatening. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Below are tips and guidance for feeding puppies.

  • Chow Chow puppies require slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on diets designed for medium-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Chow Chows should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting puppies accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding through the day.
  • The exceptions are Chow Chows with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. They need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the Health Tests that Chow Chows Should Take?

Chow Chows can be affected by several genetic health issues. Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy. It can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these disorders. Hence, it is important to find a reputable breeder committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible.

The Chow Chow Club, Inc, is the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States. It participates in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Program. Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. You can check CHIC’s website to see if a breeder’s dogs have these certifications.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with independent health certification. This must show proof of the health of the parents, grandparents, etc. of the dog. Certification shows that screening took place for genetic defects and that the breeding pair is healthy for breeding. Having the dog’s vet checked is not a substitute for genetic health testing.

CHIC certification is a good indicator that the breeder responsibly factors good health into their selection criteria. The breed-specific list below represents the basic health screening recommendations, and it is not all-encompassing.

Health issues for Chow Chows may include eyelid entropion, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, allergies, and thyroid function. Health screening, responsible breeding, and regular health care could minimize these issues. It can be diagnosed and managed with veterinary care.

Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Additional tests: General Health Check, including Heart, Vaccines, Fleas, and Worms

What are the common health problems of Chow Chows?

All dogs could develop genetic health concerns, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Chow Chow has some health conditions that can be a concern. However, even healthy Chow Chows should have regular veterinarian checkups. Owners should monitor the following list of health conditions throughout the dog’s life.

Skin and Hair Conditions

  • Atopic Dermatitis: Inhaled allergens commonly cause skin irritations. Allergens can include house dust mites, molds, and dander from other pets. It is more prevalent and worse in warm, humid areas of skin such as the ears, paws, belly, and perineum. The condition may become worse by bacterial and fungal skin infections. It is important to manage these signs so as not to impact the animal’s quality of life.
  • Alopecia: Chows are prone to several conditions resulting in alopecia (baldness), including Color Mutant Alopecia and Alopecia X.
  • Sebaceous Adenitis: Hair loss and scaly skin caused by autoimmune inflammation in the sebaceous glands. Secondary infection and follicular obstruction can be treated with a combination of oils, medicated shampoo, and prescription medications.
  • Demodicosis: Suboptimal immune response to Demodex mites in the skin can allow infestation. While not contagious to humans or other pets, this will result in hair loss, infection, and severe itching. Requires lifelong treatment in numerous instances.

Eye-related Diseases

  • Entropion and Ectropion: Inward- or outward-scrolling of the eyelids, respectively. They cause irritation and scarring of the surface of the affected eyes. Corrective surgery is typically relatively straightforward.
  • Glaucoma: Older dogs may develop increased pressure within the eye, causing pain and loss of vision.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: A genetic condition in which the visual part of the eye (the retina) loses function due to neuronal death. It can manifest from a young age, and is untreatable.
  • Cataracts: The formation of opaque bodies in the lens of one or both eyes can impair vision. These can be removed by a specialist veterinary ophthalmologist if causing the Chow serious problems.


  • Lymphosarcoma: This is a common malignant tumor, seen in many breeds, but to which the Chow is particularly prone. May manifest as multiple firm lumps under the skin at the angle of the jaw, in front of the shoulders, and behind the stifle joints.
  • Melanoma: A cancer of the cells producing skin pigment (melanocytes). Uncommon, but their oral pigmentation predisposes Chows.

Other Health Issues

  • Hip Dysplasia: The unusual hind limb conformation might exacerbate this condition, which is quite commonly seen in Chow Chows. Lameness usually appears from 6 months of age, and may require surgery or ongoing medication. Affected animals should not be bred.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: In common with hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia is a developmental disorder. Lameness in young, growing dogs characterizes this condition. Diagnosis requires X-ray examination, and severe cases may require joint replacement surgery.
  • Hypoglycaemia: Low blood sugar can cause seizures, weakness, or coma. This condition is most common in young pups shortly after weaning. Most will outgrow the problem as they get older.
  • Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid gland is the result of immune-mediated destruction of thyroid follicular cells. It results in alopecia, weight gain, lethargy, and infertility. Treatment with thyroid hormone is usually very effective.
  • Behavioral Problems: Aggression-based behavioral disorders are common in Chow Chows, but can be prevented with early socialization and firm training. Consulting a behaviorist at the earliest sign of a problem is vital.
  • Cerebellar Hypoplasia: The cerebellum is a part of the hindbrain, responsible for coordinating movement. If underdeveloped, it can result in ataxia, manifesting as a wobbly, unsteady gait. This is typically obvious as pups begin to walk, and can range from mild to severe.

What are the Exercise Needs of a Chow Chow?

As a large, active dog, the Chow Chow needs regular exercise. The amount of exercise they need depends on the individual dog’s energy level and health issues. A healthy adult will need about an hour of exercise per day, at least five days a week.

A brisk walk is best for this breed. Because they can be stubborn and don’t like to be rushed, they should never be forced to go farther than they want to go or be made to run too quickly. Secretly, they would prefer to skip exercises and remain curled up on the couch.

What are the Nutritional Needs of Chow Chows?

The nutritional needs of a Chow Chow include high levels of specific nutrients. Below is a list of the essential nutrients for the Chow Chow. 

  • Protein: Chow Chows need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for Chow Chow’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Chow Chow’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Chow Chows need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Chow Chows sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: It is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Chow Chow puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Chow Chows by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Chow Chow.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health. Other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Chow Chows are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Chow Chow’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Chow Chows.

What is the Shedding Level of Chow Chows?

Chow Chows will shed heavily year-round due to their thick double coats. In fact, they’re one of the 5 heaviest shedders of all dog breeds. In addition to constant shedding, a Chow Chow is likely to experience even more shedding. That would depend on seasonal changes, health, nutrition, and grooming maintenance. Chows are certainly not hypoallergenic.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Chow Chows?

It takes some work to keep your Chow Chow’s glorious double coat in perfect condition throughout the year. Although it may seem an overwhelming task, it is not too difficult. With so much fur, Chow Chows definitely need regular grooming, especially brushing. To keep their coats from matting, you’ll need to brush their coats at least once a day. However, it’s recommended you brush them a few times a day.

Not every owner has the time for this, so once a day is a bare minimum. You’ll also want to consider brushing them more frequently during spring and fall. when the Chow starts shedding coats. They will have more loose fur during this time.

You’ll also have to schedule baths every 4 to 6 weeks. If it is too much, make an appointment with a professional groomer to bathe, all-over light scissor trim and a blow-dry. Do that once a month, keep up the brushing, and your furry friend will turn the heads of all.

Puppy fur is much finer than adult fur, and it is similar to lamb’s wool. Five minutes after you finish grooming a puppy, he will probably look like before you started. However, it would be best to brush him regularly to remove the major tangles and get him used to grooming. 

Chow Chow owners living in warm climates must never cut their dog short to help him cope with the heat. Shaving the undercoat could do the opposite. The undercoat is the insulation that allows the pup to remain cool in summer and warm in winter. 

Coat grooming is essential for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Grooming gives your dog a healthy look and promotes hygiene. 
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of skin infections.
  • Grooming promotes the growth and development of a lustrous and shiny coat.
  • Grooming allows you to check for fleas and take early preventive and treatment measures.
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of ear infections since you can check the ears and wipe them dry after regular grooming.
  • While grooming, you can check the skin folds for any skin problems and alert the vet before they worsen. That is an essential step around the facial skin folds of your Chow Chow.
  • Grooming boosts the bond between you and your Chow Chow.

Your dog should be calm during grooming. If your Chow Chow seems anxious during brushing sessions, take her for a short walk, spoil her with her favorite treat, and help her see it as a time to bond.

What is the Drooling Level of Chow Chows?

As a Chow Chow owner, you could expect to find your furry friend’s drooling is below average. However, drooling is a natural process, and the list below shows the primary triggers of drooling. However, if drooling becomes excessive, a trip to the vet is necessary.

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus.
  • Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva.
  • A foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling. 
  • Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling.
  • Stomach upsets.
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling.
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who dislike traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car. Stress makes a dog pant and causes breathing with an open mouth, thus causing drooling.
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool.
  • Sexual excitement, like when a male Chow Chow spots a female Chow in heat, causes drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.

What is the Coat Type of the Chow Chow?

Chows can have two coat types, rough and smooth, both perfect for cold weather. The rough coat is most common. It is thick and abundant, standing off from the body like a parka. Beneath that outer coat lies a soft, thick, woolly undercoat. The hair is thicker around the head and neck, forming a ruff, or mane. The tail, which lies over the back, is also thickly furred.

The smooth-coat Chow Chow has a hard, dense, smooth outer coat with no obvious ruff or feathering (longer hair on the ears, legs, tail, or body).

What are the Colors of the Chow Chow’s Coat?

This is important information for anyone who considers buying or adopting a Chow Chow. In both types, the coat comes in the following five colors:

  • Red (which can range from light golden to deep mahogany)
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Cinnamon (light fawn to deep cinnamon)
  • Cream.

These colors may be solid or solid with lighter shadings in the ruff, tail, and the feathering.

If you’re buying a puppy, beware of scams where breeders advertise exotic or rare colors for exorbitant prices. Some breeders describe their dogs’ colors as champagne, silver, lilac, chocolate, or white. However, these are just fancy names for the regular colors. There’s no need to pay a premium for them, and reputable breeders won’t try to scam buyers.

Is the Chow Chow Playful?

Chow Chows are aloof and not at all playful. However, they can be. They prefer teenagers to small kids. However, that applies only to Chows that grew up with children. If a Chow Chow puppy is well-socialized at a young age, the adult Chow will be a bit more accepting of strangers and less fiercely protective over its owner.

Chows socialized within three to 15 weeks of birth bode well for adult Chow Chows and their interactions with others. They should be exposed to children in the household or other strangers to understand and bond the owner and dog. This can mean a more playful Chow Chow and a more accepting and loyal family pet if this socialization happens.

Is a Chow Chow Protective?

Chows are extremely loyal and often bond to one member of a household. They’re also extremely protective of all family members. They also make excellent guard dogs. If they’re raised with children or other pets, they’re typically tolerant of them. If not, then an owner should be cautious if another animal or child approaches.

What is the Adaptability Level of Chow Chows?

Chow Chows are highly adaptable. Even if relocating from a farm or a ranch to an apartment in the city. They will quickly adapt as long as they are not separated from their human families. Chows are calm enough to live happily in an apartment with limited outdoor space. However, they must be taken for daily walks. Boredom can lead to destructive behavior. It is also important to let them live inside and never leave them outside in hot weather. They overheat in no time because of their thick coats.

Can Chow Chows be Aggressive?

Chow chows are not usually social, outgoing dogs. They tend to be aloof with strangers and can be aggressive with other dogs. Though, they are typically only aggressive with dogs of the same sex. Their tendency to be aggressive fits with their history as guard dogs for homes and livestock. Early socialization with other dogs, pets and people is essential.

Signs of Aggression:

  • An aggressive dog may:
  • Curl his lips to bare his teeth while snarling and growling.
  • Hold his body and tail tense with the hair on his neck and back raised.
  • Shift his weight to escape or start lunging.
  • Narrow his eyes and fix you with an intense stare.

The last one may not be valid for a Chow because you will likely not be able to see its eyes.

Can Chow Chows be Dangerous?

Chow Chows are more standoffish than aggressive with people they don’t know. If they weren’t properly socialized as pups, they could be aggressive towards other dogs. But for the most part, Chow Chows stand their ground. They won’t go on the offensive unless clearly provoked or sense immediate danger to themselves or their family.

Parents of small children should note the risks of leaving young children alone in the company of dogs. Kids who are too young to understand the danger should be kept away from a Chow. Actions like grabbing a handful of the puppy’s coat or its tail are natural for small children. Mistaking it for a huge cuddly teddy bear could have kids falling onto the Chow to dish out unsolicited hugs. The furry pooch could misunderstand the child’s intentions, and react in unexpected ways, as self-protection.

Do Chow Chows Ever Attack?

Although Chow Chows are not very sociable with people and other dogs, they will only attack for a reason. A dog, yours or a strange dog, who is about to attack will give you plenty of warning signs. Dogs may attack out of aggression, fear, or insecurity. Often a dog will express discomfort or fear of what you are doing before biting. Some signs that the dog is uncomfortable and may escalate to an attack include:

  • Crouching.
  • Tucking his tail between his legs.
  • Lowering his ears.
  • Averting his eyes. Signs of Aggression:

An aggressive dog may:

Curl his lips to bare his teeth while snarling and growling.

Hold his body and tail tense with the hair on his neck and back raised.

Narrow his eyes and fix you with an intense stare.

Shift his weight to escape or start lunging.

Can Chow Chows Kill Humans?

This dog has a deplorable reputation and is considered to be a high-risk pet. This is because, between 1979 and 1998, there have been over 238 Chow Chow attacks. Of those attacks, 37 victims were children and 40 of the total attacks led to death.

Do Chow Chows cope with being left alone?

They might look very cuddly, but a Chow tends to be quite aloof and independent. This makes them ideal as a dog that can be left alone because they don’t crave physical attention as much as other breeds.

Can I leave my Chow Chow at home?

The Chow Chow dog breed tends to cope when left alone for short periods. However, they should not be left alone for more than three or four hours, and certainly not for your 8-hour workday. If it is impossible for one family member to be at home, reaching out to doggy daycare may be an answer.

When left isolated, Chows display signs of separation anxiety. Some Chow Chows tend to form strong bonds with one family member. When that person has to go somewhere, the Chow Chow will find it tough to cope, even for less than an hour.

How to Train a Chow Chow?

The trainability of these dogs is not at all high, and not for first-time dog owners. They have hunting traits and can often be aggressive and predatory towards other pets and animals in general, and these inclinations are hard to rid them of. Importantly, Chow Chows are not high-energy canines, and will need a lot of convincing to join you outside.

They are also very independent and are high-headed, which means that these dogs cannot be forced into anything at all. They would either completely shut down or show retaliating behavior if you try to train them under harsh conditions or with punishments. The best training techniques will need to involve encouragement with positive reinforcement.

It’s also important to remember that Chow Chows often struggle with separation anxiety. So, setting them up for dealing with this is critical. Work on alone time for Chow Chows by doing it slowly, leaving for short periods frequently. Praise them when they’re quiet and well-behaved in your absence. You must get this right, as an agitated Chow Chow will bark continually. Below are a few tips to ease the training process.

  • Praise good behavior by making a fuss. Your Chow Chow will know if you fake it.
  • Time commands wisely because corrections after the fact will confuse your Chow Chow.
  • Be consistent and persistent. Never let it slip because your Chow Chow will learn that it is optional to obey.
  • Be the pack leader and show happiness while training your Chow Chow.
  • Making your Chow Chow sit and wait for your command to start eating will confirm your status as pack leader.
  • Training your Chow Chow with love in your heart will avoid your Chow Chow seeing training as punishment.

How Frequently does a Chow Chow Bark?

The answer is not simple, but most commonly, yes, Chows bark a lot. It is important to keep in mind that the Chow breed was developed for protection reasons. Therefore, they are very protective of their home and family. This alone can lead them to bark, as they will do so at anything unfamiliar or alarming to them.

Additionally, it is not unheard of that a Chow Chow gets startled and begins barking at his or her owner. It is common knowledge that this breed of dog does not have excellent eyesight. This can mean Chows mistake stationary objects as threats – thus making them bark.

Learning to identify the different bark sounds could help understand the reasons for your Chow Chow’s barking.

Chow Chows do not bark without reason. Training and socialization can control excessive barking, but Chow Chows will always bark when necessary.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Chow Chows hate being left alone, and barking is one way of coping with loneliness. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Chow Chow barks to alert you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, Chow Chows may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger. 
  • Another type of barking is demand barking. This happens when a Chow Chow feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights.
  • The Chow Chow uses arousal barking to show their frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Chow Chow is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

Continuous barking without an apparent reason might signify a health problem to discuss with the vet.

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Chow Chow?

All dogs require an outlet for their minds. If they are not provided the opportunity to challenge their minds, they will come up with ways to achieve this. This usually manifests itself in bad behavior such as excessive barking, digging, escaping and other destructive behaviors.

Constant stimulation throughout the day is required to keep your Chow Chow happy. Brain games are a great and easy way to stimulate his mind. Be sure to rotate a few of these games throughout the week to keep your Chow Chow occupied. However, you will have to be creative, given that Chows are not very playful. Below is a list of suggestions, some of which might work with your Chow.

  • Playing with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Chow Chows who are six years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety.
  • Frequent accidents.
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands.
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns.
  • Low interest in physical activities.
  • Poor social skills.

What are the Breed Standards of Chow Chows?

The Chow Chow is a medium-sized, sturdily built, Spitz-type dog of leonine appearance. It has a square body, and a large, broad head with a short, broad and deep muzzle. Chows have prick ears with rounded tips, and a short-coupled body. The squareness of his body is emphasized by his high-set tail, which is carried on the back. Moreover, by the lack of angulation in his hindquarters. The hock joint and metatarsals lie in a straight line below the hip joint. The stilted gait resulting from these unique rear quarters is essential to the correct type in this breed. The Chow Chow’s face has a characteristic scowl. His tongue is blue-black, and his coat may be smooth or rough.

Some breed standards of Chow Chows are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

Color: The Chow Chow comes in five equally acceptable colors that are: Red (light golden to deep mahogany), black, blue, cinnamon (light fawn to deep cinnamon), and cream. Colors are solid but may have lighter shadings in the ruff, tail, and feathering.

Size: Chow Chows are classified as a medium breed.

Eye Color: Dark brown

Weight:  Males weigh 55 to 70 pounds, and females weigh 40 to 60 pounds.

Height: Males are 16 to 24 inches high at the withers, and females are 16 to 21 inches.

Average lifespan: 11 to 13 years

Chow Chows have a lifespan of 12 to 14 years

Where to Buy or Adopt a Chow Chow?

A purebred Chow Chow puppy’s price can range between $1,000 and $4,000. Lower prices are generally available within shelters and rescues. However, it is possible for puppies to cost as much as $5,000 from top breeders. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary. The breeder you select, the location, and the sex of the puppy will affect the price. The demand for the breed at the time will also impact the price. The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also play a role in the price.

If you want to bring a Chow Chow home, you should not rush. Truth is, purebred puppies are not available on demand. Ads of breeders who always have Chow Chow puppies available are sure to be puppy farms or scams. The more realistic way is to put your name on a waiting list. While waiting for your Chow puppy, you can learn about this cute little fur ball.

The Importance of Reputable Breeders or Shelters

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy. The breeder will, unquestionably, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you nothing but the good things about the breed. Likewise, those who make irrational promises to promote their puppies. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. 

Chow Chow puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making the Chow Chow a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these little dogs. That way, you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful companion dog.

You can ensure you get a healthy Chow Chow puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization. The best is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. The Chow Chow is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Chow Chow owners in touch with reputable breeders. 

Breeders and Kennel Clubs

  • American Canine Registry
  • American Kennel Club
  • America’s Pet Registry
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • American Canine Association, Inc.
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • United Kennel Club
  • RHR Chow Chows Ava, Missouri
  • D & M Farm Kennel, Fairborn, Ohio
  • Forestway Chow Chows, Monroe, Michigan
  • Cherub Chow Chows Vader, Washington
  • Eastway Chows Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • Thunderbolt Chows Jacksonville, Florida
  • Pendleton Chows Longmont, Colorado
  • FlamingStar Chow Chows Hodgenville, Kentucky
  • Halliday Kennels Harrod, Ohio
  • Bowens Chow Pals Loganville, Georgia

If you manage to track down Chow Chow breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents. That will give you a feel for their temperament. Chow Chow puppies are often peppy and playful, all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

Finding a legitimate breeder might take some time, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When selecting a breeder, ensure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any necessary documentation.

You might find a Chow Chow puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad. However, not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Chow Chows may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Chow Chow is fully vaccinated. The buyer must file the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation. It will be the importing Chow Chow parent’s responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Chow Chows?

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Chow Chow can be life-changing, not only for the dog, but also for the adopter. If you prefer adopting to purchasing a pup from a breeder, visit the National Chow Chow Rescue website. A Chow Chow rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Chow Chow mix.

Chow Chow mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through a series of evaluations. Even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home. 

The adoption fee for a Chow Chow from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $200 and $300. Most dogs from rescue groups and shelters will be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered and vetted before adoption

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter. You can inquire about the availability of Chow Chows or related mixes available for adoption. If they have none, then, you can always put your name on a list. That way, they will call you when one comes in.

Registered Rescue Centers and Shelters

  • Chow Chow Rescue of Central New York
  • Chow Chow Rescue Society
  • Houston Chow Chow Connection
  • North Texas Chow Chow Connection, Inc.
  • Merlin’s Hope Chow-Chow & Shar-Pei Rescue

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Chow Chow rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Chow Chows online on reliable websites such as

Chow Chow Mixes

Chow Chow mixes may be available for adoption in shelters and rescues. If you want to adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Chow Chow, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you’re interested.

Below is a list of several Chow Chow mixes.

  • Chow Chow+Labrador Retriever mix (Chabrador)
  • Chow Chow+Husky mix (Chusky)
  • Chow Chow+German Shepherd mix (Chow Shepherd)
  • Chow Chows+Pitbull mix (Chowpit or Pitchow)
  • Chow Chow+Shar Pei mix (Chow Pei)
  • Chow Chow+Golden Retriever mix (Golden Chow or Golden Chow Retriever)

What is the History of the Chow Chow?

The Chow Chow is an ancient breed that originated in Asia thousands of years ago. The ancestors of this breed are unknown. Yet, the breed can be traced back at least 2,000 years to the Han dynasty of China. The Chow Chow originated as a sporting dog. The Chinese aristocrats used Chow Chows to hunt pheasant and partridge. The name Chow Chow is derived from pidgin-English slang used by sea captains. They used the term chow chow to describe the contents of cargo crates full of miscellaneous Chinese goods. These oriental dogs became popular during the Victorian era in England. They first appeared in the United States in 1890. Today, the Chow Chow is primarily a family companion and guard dog. The Chow Chow was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1934.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Chow Chows?

The prices of Chow Chows range between $2,000 and $4,000. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary. The breeder, the location, the puppy’s sex, and the demand for the breed at the time will affect the price. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also influence the price. You will be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, but if you do, the price could be $300 to $500. That price is based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Chow Chow. Additional fees might cover extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Chow Chow before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care. Likewise, there will be one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. Subsequently, the price will go down to about $2,100 a year. 

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost about $850. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Chow Chow are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely add a significant amount to the maintenance costs of Chow Chows because they need professional grooming to trim and bathe the Chow Chow.

How to Name a Chow Chow?

Choosing a name for your Chow Chow involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Chow Chow’s name will mean something to its humans, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters. Chow Chows respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into selecting a name. Spend a week or so with your new Chow Chow pup. By then, its character traits might be all the inspiration you require. Call out any name ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Chow Chow will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds.

Pick a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your Chow Chow.

Why not use famous Chow Chow Owners or ex-owners as inspiration?

Chow Chows have made their way into the homes of many of the rich and famous over the years, with some of their better-known owners including:

  • Sigmund Freud
  • Martha Stewart
  • Elvis Presley
  • Janet Jackson
  • Mario Balotelli

Below is a list of suggestions of names for Chow Chow boys and girls.

  • Bear – for its bear-like appearance
  • Simba – for its lion-like appearance
  • Teddy – for its adorable Teddy Bear Look
  • Dumpling – Staple Chinese Food
  • Butterball – Perfect for a fluffy cream-colored Chow
  • Reiko – Japanese for ”Beautiful Child”
  • Wasabi – The best name for a feisty Chow

Have we answered your questions about owning a Chow Chow?

If you have young children, you might want to check out the breeds below to find a more child-friendly, playful pooch.

Dog Breeds that are Similar to the Chow Chow

Tibetan Mastiff



As beautiful and sassy as a Chow Chow might be, this dog isn’t the right pet for every person.  Here are some alternative breeds that may suit potential owners well.


  • Tibetan Mastiff: Much like the Chow Chow, Tibetan Mastiffs are also aggressive and headstrong. They are much larger than a Chow Chow in weight, but only a
    Alaskan Malamute

    Alaskan Malamute

    little taller. 


  • Alaskan Malamute: Alaskan Malamutes are intelligent and are also highly social, making them great pets for families that often interact with other people. They are incredible watchdogs, but need much more space than an apartment to thrive. 



  • Keeshond: Keeshonden are known to be very loyal and friendly towards their owners and have a highly affectionate nature. However, they are much more friendly to strangers, so they may not be the right watchdog for someone.
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Mari Serfontein