Chow Chow’s are ancient Chinese dogs that are known to be around several millenniums ago at a minimum. Seen on old paintings from older Chinese civilizations, Han Dynasty, it is easier to put them in this time frame.
They hold the distinction of being one of the oldest breeds in the world. The area most people assume they come from is Mongolia. Old references to the dog still name them as lion dogs or some description of their black tongues.
Like most working dogs they were in different capacities including pulling, herding, hunting, and acting as a guard dog at the same time.
Getting their name from the Europeans makes for an interesting twist. The importing of this fluffy dog with a black tongue they called them what they call all miscellaneous items they come in. Referring to all miscellaneous items as Chow Chow.
Travelers mention the Chow when they visit Chinese regions and describe the dog in detail.
Arriving in America in the 1890’s they are right along the lines of most dogs that came before or right after 1900. Matter of fact the breed standard was made before the 1900s.
The Chow is a member of Kennel Clubs all around the world. Boasting a popularity among many countries. The American Chow Club began in 1906 and is still the official Kennel Club of the breed.
Here are a few of the Kennel Clubs international and local that Chows belong to:
- American Kennel Club (AKC)
- Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)
- Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)
- Kennel Club United Kingdom (KC)
- New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC)
- United Kennel Club (UKC)
Few aspects vary but there is some subtle difference between the standards. Understanding the standards in your area is important for breeding and getting papers for your dog.
Chow Chow Size
Male Weight: 55-70 pounds
Female Weight: 45-60 pounds
Male Height: 19-20 inches
Female Height: 18-20 inches
Chow Chow size is in accordance with their kennel club breed standards.
Chows have five official colors:
Different Types of Chow Chow
There is only one type of Chow. The biggest difference is in the coat. Maybe a rough coat. And there can also be a smooth coat.
Naturally there is one coat that is most known on this dog. Rough coat is the first one that comes to mind. Less known to the world is the short coat or smooth coat of the Chow.
Both are acceptable under their breed standards and acknowledged by each Kennel Club.
Chow Chow Black Tongue
Nobody can offer you an explanation of why the chow tongue is black. Mystery is an understatement to the reason their tongue is black. Chow Chow tongue is a cold case and will never be solved.
A lot of other breeds that have the same tongue come from the Chow and they don’t have any definitive description of why their tongue is black or blue either.
Keep in mind that other breeds have black spots, but the entire black or blue mouth and tongue is almost exclusive to the Chow Chow.
Chow Chow Price
Surprisingly they are affordable if you want to get them without papers. Costly around $300-$500 for starters. Chow Chow prices varies depending on location, supply, demand, and other factors.
For owners who want to get a dog with documentation of the blood line you will have to pay more for the quality of dog and insurance of a pure breed purchase.
Expect to spend around $1,500 to $3,000 to purchase a Chow. There is some wiggle room and you may find one for cheaper but expect to pay somewhere around this price to get papers.
One of the biggest decisions you must make when getting a Chow is the grooming process. The process of grooming is something you must deal with daily.
Failure to keep a daily regiment will result in tangling and matting of the coat.
You should shampoo as you see fit. Once the dog is dirty you can wash them or keep them on a schedule of a few times a month or once a week. More frequency isn’t necessary.
Next, make sure you brush and comb to the skin. Goal isn’t to get close to the skin, but on the skin. After that you should be able to go throughout the entire coat in the same fashion.
Trim the nails and keep the ears clean always.
If there is any doubt that you will be able to groom them daily or frequently you must be able to afford a groomer. Failure to do either of those can result in unfavorable coat conditions for the Chow.
Resulting in the mistrust of the owner whenever the process starts. Positive associations can become negative ones with the wrong approach or dedication to the coat.
Exercising daily and grooming right after will be a powerful combination of getting the dog to relax and let you groom them. Failure to exercise before will give you mixed results.
Chow Chow Life Span
Chow Chow lifespan is between 12-15 years. That is a very decent lifespan for any breed of dog. As a medium size dog that is right where it should be.
That can be a huge chunk of your life owning one dog so make sure you make it a great experience. You should be able to train your puppy in the first year and be on autopilot the rest of the dog’s life.
Ideal and doable if you make the commitment to exercise and train from day one.
A Chow is a healthy dog, but all dogs have some health concerns you must be aware of. Some of these are routine due to the size of the breed. Important to understand the conditions and the symptoms so that you can take your dog to the vet and get them some assistance right away.
Hip Dysplasia – is a condition where the bone doesn’t fit in the socket properly. Dogs will not want to exercise and will often stop in the middle of play. If you notice a high level of discomfort take your dog to the vet and get an x-ray done.
Elbow Dysplasia – like hip dysplasia there is a malfunction when it comes to the joints in the elbow area. Large and extra-large dog breeds have a tendency to get this condition. All ages can show progression of the condition. Take your dog to the vet if you experience any discomfort in the region.
Bloat – dangerous and can cause the dog to die in short amount of time. Twisting of the stomach internally makes the disease important to recognize and get immediate help. Reasons why bloat happen are currently unknown other than opinions with no hard evidence to back up the claim.
Diabetes – is unfortunate if your Chow develops the condition. You will have to give the dog insulin shots daily and it is hard on both the dog and the owner due to the maintenance of the condition. Changes in behavior ranging from extreme thirst, urination, and appetite are signs you should head to the vet for a checkup.
A proud member of the working group. You can see how the breed belongs in the group due to the way they work in different areas like guarding, herding, pulling, and other activities with documentation throughout history.
There are a lot of dogs that fit the description in the group. Those dogs are
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Cane Corso
- Caucasian Shepherd Dog
- Doberman Pinscher
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- German Shepherd
- Giant Schnauzer
- Great Pyrenees
As you can see the Chow belongs with some elite popular company. Dogs in this group may not be fit for a first-time owner without experience. You will have to deal with their nature to work and provide the outlet along with training them.
As a dog owner you need to provide both to any dog, but with a working dog experience will help you establish yourself. Keep this in mind before getting a Chow or any of the dogs in the working group.
Chow Chow Exercise Needs
Exercise needs for a Chow is medium! You don’t need high levels of exercise to provide them with the outlet they need. You may find one that does, but generally you will have a smaller task than most owners.
Take your dog out as often as possible. That means take them out every single day or 6 times a week. Start with this program and we will discuss how to adjust after
1 hour in the morning (Walk, run, or treadmill)
30 minutes at night (Walk, run or treadmill)
That is a gentle schedule believe it or not. If you have a young Chow get them runs in often. No need to sugar coat the obvious. Younger dogs need to run and as the owner you should give them as much burn as they request.
As the dog becomes a few years older you should scale back on the runs unless the dog really needs it.
Here the signs you dog really needs a run.
- Bad Behavior
- Over excitement
- Pulling on the walk
Signs your dog doesn’t need to run as much
- Good behavior
- No excitement
- Walking on the side not pulling
Following these instructions for any dog will provide you with the ultimate guideline. There is excellence in the basics. Start the program slow and start to progress as you see fit.
Don’t walk your dog to the mailbox and call it exercise if the dog is jumping out of their skin. Owning a dog is a huge responsibility. Outside of shelter, feeding, and buying toys/collars your main responsibility is to exercise and train forever.
Chow Chow Training
Chow Chow training should be viewed as exercise, commands, socialization and discipline. You need all three to start shaping the behavior. One of the best things you can do from day one is to exercise and continue to increase or decrease depending on behavior.
Commands are simply the sit, stay, and lays of the world. Regardless of training style with enough repetition your dog will start listening to you whether you use treats or not.
Chows need socialization as soon as you get them. We will provide an in-depth article, but here’s what you need to know as a summary. Get the Chow on the exercise program and after they have exerted themselves take that recovery time to socialize them.
They need to have time with other dogs of all ages, kids, adults, and other animals that aren’t dogs if they will be around each other.
Discipline is another area that you need to master the basics. Short summary I would describe any correction as getting the dog’s attention. For example, they see a cat and you tell them to stop. The dog should stop right away.
If you can’t get the dog’s attention, then you will need to follow our progression of correction steps. Starting with the lowest level and increasing to get the attention you request.
If you use the following resources, there is no dog you shouldn’t be able to train.
- Pack Leader Alpha Dog Training
- Ultimate Guide to Walk a Dog
- 16 Tips for Dog Park Training
- How to Socialize a Dog or Puppy
- The Best Dog Correction Guide
Are Chows Aggressive?
All dogs can become aggressive. That’s why we have ankle bitters that are three pounds with a collar on. Properly exercise, socialize, and train your dog to not behave aggressively.
The owner should have the ability to tell the dog no and all aggression stops. When you let the dog become aggressive you are failing as an owner due to being unable or unwilling to train your Chow.
Can Chow Chows be Friendly?
Any dog can be friendly, but one thing to remember about the breed is that they’re guard dogs by nature. They will not be kind to strangers in most cases.
If you bring friends and family over the Chow should know the difference between guests and strangers. Control of the dog should always be attained by the owner.
This ancient Chinese dog has to ability to work in many capacities and needs a daily outlet from exercise. Additional links and resources from the blog can assist you in becoming a more knowledgeable dog owner.
Knowing what to do in different situations will help you with health issues and training. Chows are a great dog but having experience can help the process.
If you don’t have the experience becoming a student of the game will be a requirement to the development of the puppy to adulthood.