Chow Chow (Rough)

Chow Chow (Rough)
The Chow Chow is a large, compact, bear-like dog with a thick, abundant top coat, a woolly undercoat and a tail curled over its back. This breed is gaining in popularity and with their striking looks they’re sure to leave a lasting impression on everyone who lays eyes on them.
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Non Hypoallergenic breed
  • Quiet dog
  • Guard dog. Barks, alerts and it's physically protective
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Chow Chow Key Facts:

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years

Weight: 18 – 31.5kg

Height: 46 – 56cms

Colours: Red; black; cream; blue or cinnamon

Size: Large

Kennel Club Group: Utility

Ratings

Family-friendly: 2/5

Exercise needs: 2/5

Easy to train: 2/5

Tolerates being alone: 5/5

Likes other pets: 1/5

Energy level: 2/5

Grooming needs: 3/5

Shedding: 1/5

History and Origins

The origin of the Chow Chow dog breed is a bit of a mystery, but they probably came from Mongolia and Manchuria, where they were bred for food, and their fur was used for clothing. They were later introduced to China. Centuries ago they were also used to guard the temples against evil spirits.

The Chow was a multi-purpose dog and was used as a hunting dog by the aristocrats, a guard dog against intruders, sled and cart pullers and as watchdogs.

Personality

While bonded to their owner, the Chow Chow is generally aloof and reserved, is both stubborn and independent, is not playful, and in general neither gives or likes affection (and may actively object to it!). This can be problematic in a dog who looks like a giant teddy bear.

Their thick coat also means that in hot weather they can get over-heated which can increase any irritability. Breeders have worked hard over the years to improve temperaments so it’s important to get your puppy from a responsible source.

The Chow Chow will suit an owner who will enjoy their aloofness and independence and who doesn’t want a dog that shows a great deal of affection and instead gives their love at a distance!

Health and Common Issues

The most common health problems in the Chow are elbow dysplasia and eyelid problems. Like many breeds they can also suffer hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important. Some are also prone to cruciate problems.

Exercise Needs

The Chow Chow does not require a lot of exercise – about an hour daily – but they do like the outdoors, and are quite happy doing their own thing in the back garden. They must have somewhere shaded and cool that they can retreat to in warm and hot weather. Too much exercise too young can lead to bone and joint problems in later life, so exercise must be monitored closely.

Space Requirements

The Chow Chow is a large dog with territorial tendencies so they do best in a large house with a big well-fenced garden. They need to have shade so they can enjoy the outdoors without getting over-heated.

Nutrition and Feeding

Your Chow Chow's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed them at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of their particular food.

Grooming Chow Chows

Both Chow coats are dense and straight. The rough variety is coarse-textured, stand-off, not excessive in length, and the undercoat is soft and woolly. There is thicker hair around the neck and the backs of the thighs. This rough coat needs grooming daily. The smooth coat is shorter and needs grooming two or three times a week.
 

Training Chow Chows

Chow chows are resistant to obedience training but do need to be taught to walk well on a lead and should have plenty of early and ongoing socialisation. They are unlikely to be particularly social to dogs or people they don’t know but they do need to learn to tolerate them.

Any training should be done with positive reinforcement as this breed does not tolerate being told off.

Best Family Dog Breeds

The Chow Chow doesn’t make a great family dog as they are not particularly tolerant or playful, although they can learn to live with sensible older children.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

Did You Know?

  • The Chow Chow has a blue/black tongue (as does the Shar Pei, polar bears and giraffes!)
  • They have 44 teeth unlike all other dogs which have 42
  • The Chow Chow has been a very important part of Chinese cultural history. One 8th century Emperor is reported to have kept a kennel of 5,000 Chow Chows looked after by 10,000 huntsmen.
  • Psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud always had a Chow Chow in the room when he was seeing patients – partly because it seemed to make them far more inclined to talk about their problems, but also because Jofi, his favourite dog would always indicate when the patient’s hour was up and so Freud never had to look at his watch
  • As the Chow Chow has deep set eyes, they have poor peripheral vision so always make sure you approach them from the front

Similar Breeds:

St. Bernard

Shiba Inu

Samoyed

dog

Is this the right breed for you?

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What to consider next

Adoption

It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption. Click here for more information.

Finding a good breeder

If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed. Click here for more information.

Welcoming your dog home

Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information.