Many refer to this dog simply as the Chow.
The Chow Chow originated in Northern China and was originally used as a working dog.
Average weight for males is between 55 and 70 lbs. (25 to 32 kg).
Average weight for females is between 45 to 60 lbs. (20 to 27 kg).
Average height for males is 19 to 22 inches (45-56 cm) from floor to shoulder.
Average height for females is 18 to 20 inches (46-51 cm) from floor to shoulder.
Life span is 12 years on average however the normal expected range is 11 to 15 years.
Standard litter size is 5 with 4 to 7 being the expected range.
They are in the Non-Sporting Group of the AKC, recognized in 1903.
Color and Appearance Chow Chow Facts
Many compare the appearance of this breed to that of a lion or a bear. Puppies are compared to stuffed teddy bears.
The Chow Chow can be found in 5 colors: Blue (a diluted black) cream, cinnamon (any hue from a pale beige to a dark cinnamon), red (any color that ranges from light golden to dark mahogany) and black.
Purebreds should not have any patches of color...however it is common for the under part of the tail and the backs of the legs to be a lighter color than the rest of the coat.
An interesting Chow Chow fact is that the color of this dog’s tongue is a blue/ black hue. The gums are commonly a black hue. When they are puppies, the tongue is pink and it will have a slow and steady changeover as the dog matures. In most cases it will be that exceptional dark blue by the age of 8 weeks.
There are 2 types of coats on this breed: Rough or smooth. With rough coated Chow Chows the outer layer is thick, straight and stands off from the body and is somewhat coarse. The ruff is obvious and there is a nice feathering effect in many places. Smooth coat Chow Chows do not have an obvious ruff as the rough coats do and there is no feathering as well.
The thick and fluffy coat is a double coat, with both an inner and outer layer to protect against cold.
Most have dark brown almond shaped eyes.
Eye rims are black.
Ears are erect and are tilted slightly forward on the head.
Lower lips are completely covered by the upper lips when the mouth is closed.
The nose is relatively large and is black. Only a blue colored Chow Chow will not have a black nose, it will be a grey color and brown is not preferred…in fact it is a disqualification in AKC conformation events.
They have a very unique stiff gait.
Adult males will grow to be between 19 to 22 inches (48-56 cm) high at the shoulder... females, between 18-20 inches (46-51 cm) at the shoulder.
Puppy Color Facts
Potential buyers should beware that some breeders will advertise the puppies in colors that are simply marketing terms… some include sliver, lilac or white….These are not standard colors and most likely the pup is a normal color and is called by a more creative one as a marketing technique.
It is a fact that red Chow Chows are red with a black mask when born….When mature, the mask will fade away.
Another Chow Chow fact is that black pups are born black, there is no change in coat or markings. However, if the dog is exposed to too much natural sunlight, the coat may develop rust colored markings.
Cinnamon Chows are often a grey color when born, but will have a changeover by the age of 3 weeks.
Chow Chow Facts Regarding Grooming
The thick coat of this dog does require quite a bit of grooming. There are 2 phases of coat: puppy and adult.
The puppy coat is very thick yet soft. This means that it can develop mats easily. Mats is a term that means knots or tangles develop in the fur. For this reason, a puppy should be brushed just about every day. The coat should not be dry when you do this, it is best to spritz it with a canine leave-in conditioner as you go section to section.
Also, be sure to brush it out before bath time so that any potential mats do not become soaked, if so they will be hard to remove.
Once the adult coat grows in (at approximately age 2) the coat will be easier to care for. Brushings should be done 2 times per week. It is recommended to use a wire brush.
Surprisingly, they are moderate shedders throughout the year as opposed to heavy. However, 1 to 2 times per year, depending on the climate of the area in which you live, they will have a heavy shed. During this time, brushing should be done 1-2 times per day. It may take a long time to go over the entire coat and many owners find it easiest to have the dog lay down and do this in a relaxed position. Due to their personalities, many behave much better when the owner does this as opposed to a professional groomer.
Chow Chow Facts on Health
The 2 most common issues that this breed is prone to are hip dysplasia and entropion. Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the hip joint and socket roll out of place. This can be genetic or caused by injury. Most reputable breeders will offer a 2 year guarantee against this potentially genetic defect.
Entropion is an eye issue in which the eyelids turn inward. It can cause quite a bit of irritation to the dog and can be treated by an experienced veterinarian.
How much does a Chow Chow eat? In general am adult will eat 1 and 1/2 cans (14oz./400g size) of a branded meaty product, with a biscuit added in equal part by volume. Do keep in mind that each dog is different and the amount that they will eat on a daily basis will vary depending on how active they are, their age (puppies will eat like there is no tomorrow and seniors will have a decreased appetite) and each dog will have a slightly different metabolism.
Behavior and Temperament Chow Chow Facts
The personality of the Chow Chow is unique.
They are very independent and this translates into an owner needing to be persistent and consistent with all types of training, from housebreaking to teaching commands.
They will retreat and emotionally withdraw if yelled at or scorned.
While they have a reputation of being aggressive, it is a fact that most will fight if confronted but they rarely will be the aggressor.
Most are extremely well behaved as they are not known to bark, dig or display negative behavior.
The Chow Chow fact that separates this breed’s personality from many others is that most have a personality that is more similar to a cat than a dog…While they are not aggressive or mean natured, they are reversed, do not show much affection, do not crave cuddle and attention like many breeds and do not usually like to be hugged or have their luscious fur patted.
Even though the Chow Chow does not need constant attention and will often keep themselves occupied, they do surprisingly thrive much better when in the company of their human family members. In other words, just because he or she seems unconcerned about the movement of people, they would much rather be relaxing in front of the television while you are in the room than to be left outside alone….They are most certainly indoor dogs.
In the News
Martha Stewart’s’ Chow Chow named Genghis Khan won Best Breed at the Westminster Kennel Dog Show in 2012.
A Chow Chow named Jarod saved his owner Donna Perreault and another dog in his household when a black bear attached the smaller dog named Meesha. Owner Donna had swung a bucket at the bear in an attempt to distract the attacking animal, however the bear swung back. It was then that the Chow Chow jumped onto the bear's back. As he bit the attacker, both Meesha and the owner were able to escape back into their home. Luckily, Jarod was able to make his escape after being chased around the garage and only suffered one bite to his back. He fully recovered.
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