≡ Menu

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

Few can deny that the Chow Chow is a magnificent animal, and we challenge anyone to try not to pick up a baby Chow Chow puppy! But that does not mean that the Chow Chow dog breed will 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 explore it by first discussing 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 species was first created. , 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. Its ancestry can be traced back to 150 BC, which is evident by looking at some of the ancient art created during this time, not to mention that the “Foo” statue dogs have a powerful resemblance to the Chow Chow as well!

But the history…

The Chow Chow is not just limited to its time in China. You see, initially, 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. At this time, 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…

In the 1700s, when Chinese merchants introduced the breed to England, the Chow Chow became much more popular and cherished as a companion animal. Legend has it that Queen Victoria became very attached to the species and insisted on carrying her Chow Chow puppy with her, taking it everywhere she could.

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

Her court frowned upon it, 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…

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! As we all know, once you have a celebrity endorse a product, that product tends to become very popular. In the case of Chow Chow, this is precisely what happened. This brings us to the present day, where the American Kennel Club registers an average of 10,000 Chow Chow puppies yearly!

What will my Chow Puppy look like?

The first thing you must understand about your Chow Chow puppy is that it will grow 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 an 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,

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 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 dog with a scowling expression. And we couldn’t agree more. It should also be noted that the Chow Chow dog breed was initially 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 be referred to as such.

Personality and Temperament

Your Chow Chow puppy will need early socialization as a matter of course. Do not skip out on obedience classes either. This dog does not do well with strangers or other dogs and might even attack without the proper training. Remember, the Chinese once used these dogs as sled and guard dogs, so he has immense strength and an independent spirit that makes this breed known for its stubborn temperament.

The Chow…

It 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 aware that visitors to your home need to be introduced to your dog, and do not allow strangers to pet him on the street.

Potential Health Concerns

Now, since the Chow Chow breed has been bred for thousands of years – one should expect that they may be prone to suffering from some hereditary and genetic conditions just like any other famous dog breed would. Now, in the case of the Chow Chow, they do 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 also to consider purchasing a pet insurance policy so that you won’t be on the “hook” for the total cost of treating your Chow if he does become sick or injured later on in life!

Please check out our article for more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • 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.

  • Dale. D November 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 November 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

Leave a Comment