Chow Chow dog breed

Chow Chow At-a-Glance

The Chow Chow is an ancient dog breed. It originated in northern China over 2,000 years ago. Chow Chows were bred as guard dogs and have the stunning looks of a cross between a bear and a lion. People will stop on the sidewalk to admire this dog as it walks by. They are well known for their blue-black tongues. Chow Chows are territorial and aloof but can turn into loyal, devoted, and protective dogs if socialized early and trained properly.

Weight (pounds)
Male: 50-70
Female: 40-55
Height (inches)
Male: 19-21
Female: 17-19
Lifespan (years)

Dog Breed Group

Characteristics Ratings

We rate 19 characteristics for each breed, divided into three categories:
Highest Rated – Characteristics for which this breed is rated 4 or 5 stars (on a 5 star scale).
Neutral Rated – Characteristics that rated 3 stars.
Lowest Rated – Characteristics that rated only 1 or 2 stars.

Highest Rated

  • Good Family Dog
  • Protective Nature
  • Low Amount of Barking
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone
  • Tolerates Cold Climate

Neutral Rated

  • Kid Friendly
  • Low Shedding
  • Low Drooling
  • Likes to Play
  • Handles Change Easily
  • Easy to Train
  • High Energy Level
  • Suitable for Small Yards/Apartments

Lowest Rated

  • Good With Other Dogs
  • Friendly to Strangers
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Tolerates Hot Climate
  • Good General Heallth
  • High Intelligence

General Overview

Unfortunately, Chow Chows have a reputation for being aggressive and are even banned in certain communities. Some insurance companies will refuse to insure homes that contain a Chow Chow.

Despite this reputation, properly socialized and trained Chows can make wonderful family dogs and loyal companions. They are fiercely protective over their owners, which can cause them to be quite aggressive if they sense danger to a member of their family.

These are not the right dogs for young children. They simply do not have the patience required to accept the rough play of toddlers. They are not good with other dogs or strangers, as well.

They are also not lap dogs and as such will not jump on your lap to show affection. Instead, they will show their love by staying close to you, such as sitting by your feet.

Chows are by nature independent and reserved. They are fine when left alone and do not suffer from separation anxiety. They will also happily assume the role of alpha if not properly trained, which can be a real problem due to their protective and aggressive nature.

Chows are heavy shedders and require daily brushing during the shedding season.

On the plus side, Chows are incredibly clean dogs and will almost potty train themselves. Add to this that they are not heavy droolers or frequent barkers.

And, as previously mentioned, they are quite independent and do not mind being left alone. Sometimes they even prefer it!

Chows are fairly low on the energy scale, so a couple of 15-minute walks daily is all they need. This means they are suitable for apartments and small yards.

We have to say that Chows are not known for their intelligence. When you combine this with their territorial instincts and aggressiveness, you have a breed that is difficult to train properly and requires an experienced owner who can overcome their alpha tendencies.

As a result, this is not the breed for inexperienced owners, which partly explains why they are so often found in shelters.

From a health standpoint, Chows have some problems, most commonly elbows and hip dysplasia.

While they thrive in cold weather, they do not do well in hot weather and are prone to heatstrokes.

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