The Chow Chow originates from China where it is known as Songshi Quan (Puffy Lion dog). Little is known about the exact origin, but it is believed that Chows were the inspiration behind the Foo dogs, the stone guardians which stand guard outside Buddist tempes and palaces. They have a distinctive blue-black tongue.
The Chow is an independent dog, which needs firm handling. They are devoted to their owners, but that doesn't mean they will listen to them. Chows need obedience training from the day you get them home. They are very quickly house trained, but obedience training will take a long time. Food aggression, aggression towards other dogs and possessiveness of their toys are just some of the problems, but very early classes and training should stop these issues.They make good watchdogs and guard dogs. They rarely dig and don't seem to chew furniture. They are more stubborn than stupid and know exactly what you want of them, but choose not to do it. Chows are good with children if brought up with them and the same goes with other pets. They are very wary of strangers, so as many people as possible should be introduced to them from an early age. They need to learn that they are not the boss of the house. They have poor peripheral vision, so owners and children must take care when approaching from behind/side as the dog could be startled and snap. They need minimal exercise and dislike rain; A fair weather dog. They will be happy with a daily walk in the morning when it is cooler or late evening. A play session in the house at other times keeps them happy. They can overheat in hot conditions, so somewhere cool to sleep and water must always be available. The chase instinct is strong with this breed, so best walked in a secure area or on a lead. They will kill cats/sheep/squirrels if given the chance. They form close bounds with family members and can become protective and aggressive towards anyone who comes near. Alternating who walks the dog is a good way of stopping this problem. Asking friends to hold the lead when out walking will also help.
Chows shed a lot of fur during Spring and Autumn, but will need regular brushing every couple of days. Canine Hip Dysplasia and Entropion (inward rolling of the eye lid) can be a problem for the breed. Due to their thick coats, fleas can also be a problem.
Chow Chows have a reserved and independent temperament. They can be stubborn dogs and a notoriously difficult to train. That said, they make great companions and will become tremendously loyal to their owners. It is important that Chow Chows are socialised with as many humans and other dogs as possible during puppyhood otherwise they may become suspicious or aggressive toward strangers.
Health problems that may affect Chow Chows include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), patellar luxation (dislocation of the knee cap), bloat, elbow dysplasia and entropion (inward rolling of eyelid which causes irritation to the eyeball).
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 8 - 15 years
- Weight: 20 - 32 kg
- Height: 17 - 20"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Medium - Double
- Grooming Requirements: Everyday
- Town or Country: Country
- Minimum Home Size: Large House
- Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
- Breed Type: Companion Dog
- Size: Large
- Energy Level: Low
- Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour
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