Chowchow: Unveiling the Secrets of this Unique Dog Breed


What is chowchow and where does it come from?

The chowchow is a unique dog breed known for its distinctive appearance and independent personality. It originated in China and is believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Chowchows were originally bred for various purposes, including hunting, herding, and guarding.

Chowchow dogs, a breed of dog that differs from most others in having a blue-black tongue, with their fluffy coats, distinctive blue tongue, and independent nature, have captivated dog lovers all around the world. Originally from northern China, the chow chow breed has a rich history dating back to the Han dynasty. In this blog, we will delve into the origins, unique features, temperament, and care of chow chow dogs, as well as the benefits of training, exercise, and health concerns associated with the breed. Whether you are considering bringing a chow chow dog into your family or simply curious about this unique breed, join us as we unveil the secrets of the chow chow.

Understanding the ChowChow Breed

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The chow chow breed is known for its independent nature, loyal companionship, and distinctive appearance. Let’s explore the origin and history of the chow chow breed, shedding light on the fascinating journey of this breed from ancient China to the modern world.

Origin and History of ChowChow-AKC

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The chow chow breed has a long and storied history, with roots in northern China dating back over 2,000 years. These dogs were originally bred for various purposes, including hunting, guarding, and pulling sleds. They were highly valued by the Chinese emperor, who kept them as loyal companions.

During the 18th century, British merchants first encountered chow chow dogs during their travels to China. Fascinated by the breed, they brought chow chows back with them to the United States, where the breed gained popularity.

Unique Features of ChowChow

Chow chow dogs are easily recognizable with their large head, fluffy coat, and distinctive blue tongue. They come in two coat types, rough coat and smooth coat, each with its own unique grooming needs. Chow chow puppies are born with a woolly undercoat, which changes as they grow older, adding to the breed’s uniqueness. 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 shaded/self-red, black, blue, cinnamon/fawn, or cream.

Characteristics of ChowChow Dogs-Puppies

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Chow chow dogs have several remarkable characteristics, both in terms of their physical traits and their temperament. Let’s take a closer look at these defining features of the breed.

Physical Traits-Inches

Chow chow dogs are large, with males reaching up to 20 inches in height at the withers. They have a sturdy build, with a thick outer coat and woolly undercoat, providing protection from the cold. The breed’s large head, blue tongue, and fluffy coat make chow chows instantly recognizable.

Behavioral Traits

Known for their independent nature, chow chow dogs can be aloof with new people. While they are loyal and affectionate with their favorite person, they may not readily warm up to strangers. This independent nature, balanced with affection for their family, makes chow chow dogs unique companions.


The chow chow breed is known for its loyalty, but it can also be reserved with strangers. Proper socialization from a young age is essential to ensure chow chow dogs are well-behaved and comfortable in new environments. With the right training and early positive experiences, chow chow dogs can become well-rounded companions, warning their owners of any potential danger.

Caring for a Chow chow Dog

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Owning a chow chow dog comes with the responsibility of providing the best care possible. From feeding guidelines to grooming needs and health concerns, let’s explore the key aspects of chow chow care.

Feeding Guidelines

Chow chow dogs should be fed a high-quality dog food suitable for large breeds, taking into consideration their age, weight, and activity level. It is important to monitor the chow chow’s weight to prevent obesity, which can lead to health issues. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the best feeding schedule and portion size for your chow chow dog.

Grooming Needs-Chow

Chow chow trainingChow chow healthChow chow dogs require daily brushing to prevent matting and maintain the health of their coat. Their thick, double coat requires extra attention, especially during the shedding seasons of the breed. Regular bathing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming are also important parts of chow chow grooming. In some cases, professional grooming may be necessary to keep the coat in optimal condition.

Health and Wellness Checks

Regular veterinarian check-ups are essential for the health of chow chow dogs. Routine health screenings, including hip dysplasia evaluations, can help detect any potential issues early on. Maintaining a balanced diet, providing regular exercise, and keeping the thick coat of the chow chow clean and groomed are all important factors in the breed’s overall well-being.

ChowChow’s Relationship with Families and Other Pets

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Chow chow dogs can form strong bonds with their families, but it is important to understand their temperament and social needs. Let’s explore the chow chow breed’s social interactions with people and compatibility with other pets.

Social Interactions

Despite their independent nature, chow chow dogs still crave affection from their favorite person, just like Sigmund Freud’s chow chow, Jofi, who had a calming effect on his patients during psychoanalysis sessions. Regular exercise, socialization, and training with people help them become well-rounded dogs, comfortable in new environments. Early training and positive experiences with new people, children, and other animals can help lessen any anxiety the breed may experience.

Compatibility with Other Pets

Properly introducing chow chow dogs to dogs of the opposite sex minimizes the potential for conflicts. Early socialization with other breeds and types of animals is beneficial, as chow chow dogs can be independent and may have a dominant nature. Supervised interactions with older kids can create positive relationships, but the breed’s independent nature means they may not always tolerate rough play. Consulting with breeders, veterinarians, or dog trainers can provide guidance on the best way to introduce chow chow dogs to new pets.

Training a ChowChow

Training chow chow dogs is an important aspect of their care, ensuring they are well-behaved and responsive to commands. Let’s explore the training techniques best suited for chow chow dogs, as well as the challenges that may arise during the training process.

Training Techniques

Chow chow dogs respond well to reward-based training, with treats, praise, and affection motivating their learning. Consistent daily training sessions with short, focused tasks yield the best results, as chow chows can sometimes have a stubborn streak. Incorporating interactive toys into training promotes mental stimulation, keeping the breed engaged and eager to learn. Using a leash during training helps maintain control and establish boundaries, ensuring the chow chow understands the expectations.

Overcoming Challenges in Training

Chow chow dogs can be independent, which means staying patient and persistent is crucial during training. Breaking training tasks into smaller, manageable steps helps the breed comprehend and achieve success. Consistent training routines with clear expectations aid in overcoming training challenges, with positive reinforcement encouraging the breed to cooperate. Modifying training techniques based on the breed’s temperament and individuality can also lead to successful training outcomes.

Exercise Needs of a ChowChow

Keeping chow chow dogs physically active is essential for their health and well-being. Let’s explore the recommended exercise activities for chow chow dogs, as well as strategies for managing their energy levels.

Recommended Activities

Long, leisurely walks with the chow chow dog allow them to explore their surroundings, providing the exercise they need to stay healthy during the summer months. Engaging the breed in obedience training exercises their mental capabilities, keeping their minds sharp. Activities that stimulate the chow chow dog’s sense of smell, such as scent training, can be enjoyable and mentally stimulating. Participating in dog sports, like agility or tracking, can fulfill the breed’s exercise needs, keeping them physically fit. Providing the breed with interactive toys or food-dispensing puzzles also keeps them mentally engaged, preventing boredom.

Managing Energy Levels

Regular exercise, both physical and mental, helps chow chow dogs manage their energy levels. Monitoring the breed’s diet and weight prevents excessive energy or fatigue, ensuring they have the energy to participate in daily activities. Maintaining a daily exercise routine, even with older chow chow dogs, supports healthy energy levels and overall well-being. Adequate rest and relaxation time is necessary for the breed, with consistency in exercise, training, and mental stimulation contributing to balanced energy levels. Breeds that need a lot of exercise, like chow chows, benefit from regular physical activity to release their pent-up energy and prevent undesirable behaviors such as barking, chewing, and digging.

Common Health Concerns in ChowChow Dogs

Like any breed, chow chow dogs are prone to certain health issues that owners should be aware of. Let’s explore the common health concerns associated with the chow chow breed, with a focus on early recognition, prevention, and treatment.

Recognizing Symptoms

Being familiar with the symptoms of health issues that chow chow dogs may face is crucial for early intervention. Watch out for signs of arthritis, especially in older dogs, as chow chows are prone to this condition. If your chow chow dog shows clear warning signs of allergies, such as skin irritations or excessive scratching, consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Keep an eye out for symptoms of elbow dysplasia, a health issue that can affect young chow chow dogs, causing lameness and discomfort. Any changes in behavior, eating habits, or weight loss should be noted, as they could be indications of health issues in chow chow dogs. Regularly brushing the thick coat of a chow chow dog can help prevent the occurrence of skin issues, such as hot spots or infections.

Prevention and Treatment

Preventing health issues in chow chow dogs starts with providing the best care possible. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and balanced diet contribute to the breed’s overall health and well-being, reducing the risk of weight-related health issues. Early age obedience training can help prevent behavioral issues, ensuring the breed remains well-behaved and responsive to commands. Regularly checking the ears of chow chow dogs, as they are prone to ear infections, helps catch any issues early on, preventing further complications. Regular grooming, including daily brushing, can prevent the formation of mats and tangles in the chow chow’s coat, ensuring the breed’s coat remains healthy and free of issues. Consulting with a veterinarian is crucial for the best way to prevent health issues specific to the chow chow breed, with early intervention and proper treatment being the key to a healthy chow chow dog.

Adopting a ChowChow

Adopting a chow chow dog is a rewarding experience, but it’s important to understand the breed’s specific needs and temperament before making the commitment. Let’s explore what you should know before adopting a chow chow dog, as well as how to find reputable chow chow rescue groups.

What to Know Before Adoption

Consider the size of the breed, as chow chow dogs are a large dog breed with a large head and thick coat, requiring extra attention to grooming. Ensure that the breed’s temperament matches the household, as chow chow dogs can be independent and reserved with new people. While chow chow dogs can be affectionate with their favorite person, they may not be the best fit for households with young children, as they have a lower tolerance for rough play. Understanding the grooming needs of the breed, with daily brushing being essential, helps potential owners prepare for the commitment of chow chow dog ownership. It is also important to be prepared for the breed’s independent nature, as chow chow dogs may not always be affectionate with strangers, requiring early training and socialization.

Finding Reputable ChowChow Rescue Groups

When considering adoption, it is crucial to research reputable chow chow rescue groups in your area or nationally. Look for chow chow rescue groups that prioritize the health and well-being of the breed, with clear adoption processes and thorough screening of potential adopters. Reading reviews, asking for recommendations from other dog owners, or contacting breeders, veterinarians, or dog trainers can provide valuable insights into the reputation of the rescue groups. Consider the adoption process, including the application, home visit, and adoption fees, when choosing a rescue group, ensuring the best match for both the chow chow dog and the new owner. It is also important to choose a rescue group that provides ongoing support and resources, helping new chow chow dog owners navigate the challenges of breed ownership.

The Lifespan of a ChowChow Dog

The lifespan of a chow chow dog can vary depending on several factors, including genetics, health issues, and the quality of care provided. Let’s explore the typical lifespan of chow chow dogs, as well as the best practices for ensuring a long, healthy life for your chow chow dog.

How long does a ChowChow typically live?

On average, chow chow dogs have a lifespan of around 9 to 15 years, with some dogs living even longer with proper care. Providing a balanced diet with high-quality dog food, regular exercise, and routine veterinarian check-ups can contribute to the health and longevity of chow chow dogs. Genetics, health issues, and the overall care provided, including training, exercise, grooming, and socialization, can all impact the lifespan of a chow chow dog. Maximizing the breed’s lifespan requires attention to their diet, weight, exercise, mental stimulation, and regular veterinary care.


In conclusion, ChowChow dogs are truly unique and captivating creatures. From their rich history and distinctive physical features to their loyal temperament and compatibility with families and other pets, ChowChows make for wonderful companions. However, caring for a ChowChow requires attention to their specific needs, such as proper feeding, grooming, and regular health check-ups. Training a ChowChow may present some challenges, but with the right techniques and patience, they can become well-behaved members of your family.

It’s important to note that ChowChow dogs have specific exercise requirements to manage their energy levels effectively. Additionally, being aware of common health concerns and taking preventive measures is crucial for their well-being. If you’re considering adopting a ChowChow, make sure to gather all the necessary information and connect with reputable rescue groups.

Overall, ChowChow dogs bring joy and companionship to any household. With proper care and love, they can live a long and happy life, becoming an integral part of your family for many years to come.

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