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The Chow Chow…. Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Few can deny that the Chow Chow is certainly a magnificent animal and we challenge anyone to try and not pick up a baby Chow Chow puppy!

But that does not…

Mean that the Chow Chow dog breed is going to be the “right” dog breed for everyone.  This is why in this article, we’re going to review some of the pros and cons of owning a Chow Chow so that if you’re currently considering either purchasing a Chow Chow puppy or better yet, adopting a Chow Chow rescue dog, you won’t regret your decision six months from now.

So, without further ado, let’s drive right into it by first discussion where the Chow Chow comes from.

Chow Chow Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  China

Original Purpose:  Personal protection, cart pulling and food!

Height:  16 to 20 inches tall

Weight:  45 to 70 pounds

Unique trait:  One of only two types of dogs that have a purple tongue (Chinese Shar Pei being the other)

Breed Classification:  Non-sporting group


Origin of the Chow Chow.

As with the case of many ancient dog breeds, there are usually many “ancestral” stories surrounding when and where a particular breed was first created.  That said however, in the case of the Chow Chow, there is little doubt that this dog first originated in China.  Or more specifically, from the Northern regions near Mongolia and Siberia.

In fact…

Its ancestry can be traced all the way back to 150 BC which is evident by looking at some of the ancient art that was created during this time not to mention that the “Foo” statue dogs have a VERY strong resemblance to the Chow Chow as well!

But the history…

Of the Chow Chow is not just limited to its time in China.  You see, originally, the Chow Chow was believed to be primarily a hunting dog for the Chinese nobility, and as this “sport” died out, so too did the popularity of the Chow Chow breed within China.

It was at this time…

That the Chow Chow went from being a dog for the nobility to a working dog and even “food” on some occasions!

It wasn’t until…

The 1700’s when Chinese merchants began introducing the breed to England that the Chow Chow began to become much more popular and cherished as a companion animal.

In fact…

Legend has it that the Queen Victoria herself became very attached to the breed herself and insisted on carrying around her very own Chow Chow puppy around with her, taking it everywhere she could.

“the original celebrity with a puppy in a handbag!”

Her court…

Frowned upon it of course, with the ladies whispering behind fans that it was unseemly for a Queen to be so attached to an animal. So, rather than see their beloved queen mocked; they hired someone to have a doll version of the puppy made for her to carry.

It is also possible…

That she had the dog-doll made herself when the puppy became too large to carry. At any rate what resulted from that situation was the world’s first teddy bear… even if it was never meant to be a bear in the first place!

And as we all know…

Once you have a celebrity endorse a product, that product tends to become very popular, and in the case of the Chow Chow, this is exactly what happened.  Which brings us to present day where we see that the American Kennel Club registers an average of 10,000 Chow Chow puppies every year!

What will my Chow Puppy look like?

The first thing that you need to understand about your Chow Chow puppy is that he or she is going to grow up to be BIG!


He’s also going to have a “mane”, a mane like a Lion… he can grow up to 70 pounds and is a square chested breed with the erect, triangular variety of ears.

The Chow Chow also has…

What is commonly referred to as a double coat that can come in several colors including:

  • Red,
  • Black,
  • Blue,
  • Cinnamon or cream,

Where he has a rough outer coat and a smooth inner coat that sometimes tangle together without regular grooming.

And if that wasn’t enough…

To make this breed totally unique, he also has an odd looking bluish- blackish tongue and giant paws that look like Bear paws!


The Breed Standard on the AKC website says that the Chow Chow is an Arctic type dog with a scowling expression. And we couldn’t agree more.

It should also be noted…

That the Chow Chow dog breed was originally called a Shonshi Quan, which loosely translates to “puffed up Lion” dog.  Which makes perfect sense to us!

You may also hear native Chinese speakers refer to the dog as a Tang Quan, because it was a favored court dog during the Tang dynasty and will occasionally still be referred to as such.

Chow Chow Temperament

Your Chow Chow puppy is going to need early socialization as a matter of course. Do not skip out on obedience classes either. This is a dog that does not do well with strangers or other dogs, and that might even attack if he hasn’t had the proper training.

Remember, the Chinese once…

Used these dogs as a sled dog and as a guard dog, so he has immense strength coupled with an independent spirit that makes this breed known for its stubborn temperament.

The Chow…

Is not a dog for the inexperienced owner. He will devote himself to one individual and this is usually the person in charge of his discipline. He needs a firm but fair hand that doesn’t mind taking a break to play now and again.

He will be super protective of your whole family and any other pack members so be very, very aware that visitors to your home need to be introduced to you dog, and do not allow strangers to pet him on the street.

Is the Chow Chow a healthy breed?

Now since the Chow Chow breed has been bred for 1000’s of years – one should expect that they may be prone to suffering from some hereditary and genetic conditions just like any other popular dog breed would.

Now in the case…

Of the Chow Chow, they due seem to be prone to suffering from:

And a series of degenerative eye conditions such as:

So needless to say…

If you do choose to purchase a Chow Chow puppy or better yet adopt a Chow rescue dog, be sure to also consider purchasing a pet insurance policy so that you won’t be on the “hook” for the full cost of treating your Chow if he does in fact become sick or injured later on in life!

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies in the industry, feel free to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Dale. D January 21, 2020, 10:55 pm

    Have owned ( or should i say 3. chows have owned me) and would love to have another. Unfortunately I don’t know any rescue and can’t afford a breeder any more.

    • indulgeyourpet January 22, 2020, 7:58 am


      Thanks for sharing. As for being unable to afford a breeder, that’s OK, we’re sure there are a lot or rescues out there, you just need to know where to look. Our recommendation would be to contact your local shelter and let them know you would love to rescue a Chow and have them contact you when/if one becomes available We would also recommend that you reach out to any Chow Facebook pages/clubs let them know you are available should the need arise.

      Thanks and good luck,


    • Dotz July 15, 2021, 3:14 pm

      I have em but I’m in Africa

  • Sharleen February 13, 2020, 9:37 am

    We.have had 4 chow over the years loved each one on our 5 one now. They are a devoted family dog

  • Ken October 11, 2020, 3:49 pm

    Just lost our 3rd chow in the last 20+ years, this one to just old age. Best dog one could ask for, never further than an arms length. Out of the three the last was the one to watch for aggressiveness the other 2 were absolutely no problem and wouldn’t bite their fleas. I personally love the breed but you need to be the boss and socialize them as soon as you get them. They will be the boss if you don’t become one yourself. Lot’s of care in their coat department but if you keep up it’s not a problem and it’s the best bonding with them anyway. Very clean dogs and they in most cases potty train themselves. I miss mine very much and promised myself he would be the last one because of my aging but I don’t think I can live without that loyalty and love in my life. Yep, I’m looking again, just hope I’m not the one that will leave him or her missing their friend this time.

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