The Chow Chow weighs in at around 50-75 pounds, and the height of the Chow Chow is around 17-21 inches. A member of the Spitz family, the Chow Chow has a sturdy build, and quite a dopey expression. The coat of the Chow Chow is dense, coarse, and rough, and there is a distinctive ruff around the neck. However, there is also a smooth coated version of this breed, and these have a dense exterior coat with a softer undercoat, without any riff or feathering.
Chow Chow Temperament
The Chow Chow is a dignified, faithful, and independent breed, with a serious attitude and a somewhat protective streak, which makes him an effective watchdog. These dogs are alert and intelligent, and it can be difficult to get some Chow Chows to do anything that they do not want to do, which makes them more suited to those with more experience with dog ownership and training. This breed does have territorial instincts, and needs to be socialized early on in order to ensure that he has an even temperament and stable personality.
The Chow Chow will get on well with children when raised with them, and with older, more considerate children, but needs to be supervised around animals as he may be aggressive towards dogs and cats. He tends to be reserved and wary around strangers, perhaps because of his protective streak. The Chow Chow is a dog that will often keep himself to himself unless provokes, but do bear in mind that these dogs do have predatory instincts and can therefore be dangerous around smaller dogs and cats. Although training can be difficult because of the nature of the breed, housebreaking of the Chow Chow is normally quite easy.
The grooming requirements for a Chow Chow will depend on whether you have rough coated or smooth coated variety. With the rough coated Chow Chow you will need to brush the coat twice weekly, and more often during heavier shedding. You will also need to brush the smooth coated variety regularly. You may need to have these dogs professionally groomed occasionally, and you can dry shampoo when necessary. Both variations are medium shedders.
Originating in the frigid northern steppes of Mongolia, Siberia, and China, the Chow is noted to be one of the oldest species of dog still around. The dog was bred for pulling sleds, hunting, guarding temples and in some cases, they were used for meat and fur in resource barren regions. While there is some debate as to how the breed ended up with the name Chow Chow, their original name is known as Songshi Quan, translated quite literally to 'puffy lion dog'. Their DNA shows an ancient line that indicates the breed to be one of the first to become domesticated from wild wolves. They are also believed to be relatives of the Spitz, Akita and Shar Pei breeds.
The Chow breed later made its way across the ocean in the cargo holds of merchants in the spice trade. There is also much in the way of legend as to how the breed got its blue tongue. Accordingly, as the gods painted the sky blue and drops of paint were spilled, a faithful Chow Chow followed close behind licking up the drops. The dog breed has consistently been a favorite with many distinguished personalities, including well known world leaders.
Training a Chow is a matter of great importance that requires a good amount of diligence. To be effective, training must start at a very early age, establishing the owner as the dominant or alpha in the relationship. As with all dogs, consistency is an absolute must. Understanding the temperament of the breed will be the number one thing that allows an owner to keep conflicts and power struggles to a minimum. While the Chow has great loyalty to its owner, it simply does not rely on anyone outside of itself for validation. They are self governing and autonomous breed, a trait that is the result of their extensive 3,000 year old history.
For successful training, only firm consistent commands will suffice. The breed simply does not respond to begging, pleading or cajoling; nor do they respond to heavy handed, harsh or inhumane tactics. In order for the breed to fully accept a command, they must know that there is a basis for the action they are about to perform. While there are many exceptions, this is not a breed known for willfully performing tricks and stunts. Though it may seem the Chow is stubborn and inflexible, in reality it is a breed with a strong sense of self. Those looking for a type of dog that is bent on pleasing its master are not a good match for the Chow.
Socialization from an early age is also a necessity for this breed. Bred throughout the centuries to be guard dogs, it is in their nature to take an aggressive stance when new situations present themselves. While they do not often carry through with aggression, socialization can help them realize not every situation needs the same knee jerk reaction. Chows can be just as loving as any other type of dog.
The life expectancy of the Chow Chow is around 8-12 years, and there are a number of health problems associated with this breed. This includes allergies, skin conditions, sensitivity to chemicals and medications, glaucoma, entropion, thyroid problems, and renal cortical hypoplasia. The parents of the Chow Chow puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates.