About Chow-Chows

Chow Chow, or Chow, is a breed of dog originating from China, where it is referred to as Songshi Quan (Pinyin: si­ngsh qun ), which literally means “puffy-lion dog.” It is believed that the Chow Chow is one of the native dogs used as the model for the Foo dog, the traditional stone guardians found in front of Buddhist temples and palaces. (Imperial guardian lions, also called Fu Lions or Foo Dogs, and called Shi in Chinese, are powerful mythic protectors that have traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces,temples, emperors’ tombs, government offices, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), until the end of the empire in 1911. In Greater Tibet, the guardian lion is known as a Snow Lion and similar to Japanese shishi. Imperial guardian lions are still common decorative and symbolic elements at the entrances to restaurants, hotels, and other structures. In Myanmar they are called Chin the and gave their name to the World War II Chindit soldiers). Definitively one of most impressive of all the breeds is the Chow Chow, an imposing creature with its appearance of lion and fine behavior. Watching well it has it similarity to one crosses between a lion and a bear, nevertheless, the true origin of the Chow Chow is not known and it was lost in the deep thing of the antiquity.

It´s assumed that during the Miocene period (between 28 to 12 million years back), the evolution of the Hemicyon, an intermediary between the Cynoelesmus (“father” of all the canine ones) and the Daphoneus (from which the bears descend as we know them actually), originated the Simicyon, an animal that varied between the one of the fox and a small bear that inhabited in the sub-Arctic regions Siberia and the Northwest of Mongolia and of which it is known had 44 teeth. The Simicyon is considered the predecessor of the Chow Chow. Combined to its similarity the bear, the Chow Chow shares the characteristic blue language with the small bears of Tibet and Manchuria, the ample skull, the short snout and the square body, in addition,while the common one of the canine races has 42 teeth, the Chow Chow have 44 teeth like the bears, although usually lose their extra pair of teeth when they become adults. The Chow Chow, or a very similar predecessor, established Mongolia and central China many years before the appearance of the Homo Sapiens. The Chow Chow as it is known today, is represented in the pottery and sculptures of the Han Chinese Dynasty (206 AC to 22 AC); other devices indicate that it was still a much more old race and can have come originally from the Arctic Circle, then migrated into Mongolia, Siberia, and China. Some scholars affirm that the Chow Chow is original ancestor of the Samoyedo, Norwegian Elkhound, Pomeranian and Keeshond. In more recent times, that is to say, in the T’ang Dynasty (of century VII DC), The Emperor Ling Ti bred Chows as members of the Imperial Household which were fed on the best rice and meat by an army of servants, had a military escort, slept on rich carpets and were awarded high courtly titles and decorations such as the Order of Kai Fu (Viceroy).

These Chows had the double purpose of guarding the Palace and looking handsome and dignified.Emperors of the Tang dynasty had hunting kennels of 25,000 couples of ‘hounds’ of true Chow type. In the Book of Rites (7th century EC) the ‘foreign chow’ was classified as a hunting dog used to attack wolves and leopards.In the monasteries of Tibet they specialized in the raising of Chow Chow blue, work that had to take to them to several generations and much dedication, since they managed to perfect a pale blue color.

The Chow Chow blue was and continues being used in the monasteries for the protection, as well as the hunting and the pasturing, in addition it says that the bad spirits auyentan.With the ending of the Tang dynasty came an increasing national poverty and, except within the monasteries, selective breeding ceased. The original pure race only stayed in the houses of the richest merchants some noble and in the monasteries.In those days people take advantage of the great force and coat of the Chow Chow for the hunting, the pasturing,the shot of sleighs, the monitoring, the manufacture of some articles to dress in its skin. Great farms of dogs were generated in the districts of the North of China in where the Chow Chow was strangled around the 10 to 12 months of age to avoid that the skin was damaged.In Manchuria when a girl farmer married she received a six dowry of Chow-Chow as she bases to form his farm. The tongue of the Chow Chow was considered like manjar, in addition of which it said it has curatives properties.The Chow Chow came to America via England of where it had been engaged in of China at the end of 1700’s. The sailors who returned from the East brought them in the compartments of the merchant boats.

The Chow Chow was a term of jargon applied to the great variety of articles taken by these boats. Like a nickname, the term surrounded these dogs.The first European person to mention and describe the Chow was Marco Polo, who visited China as a guest of the Great Mogul in the 13th century and who wrote about them in his account of his travels. But the Chow was unknown in the Western world until the late 15th century when it was brought back as a curiosity by sailors and merchants in the Clipper ships of the East India Company. Writing in his book The Natural History and Antiquities of Seaborne, the Rev Gilbert White describes in accurate detail the import of a pair of puppies from Canton by a young gentleman of the East India Company.

These were ‘of the Chinese breed of Canton such as are fattened in this country to be eaten’ He goes on to say’the hind legs are usually straight without any bend at the hock. The eyes are jet black. small and piercing, the inside of the lip and mouths the same colour and the tongues blue. Several Chows were housed in London Zoo in the Wild Dog area and in 1865 Queen Victoria was presented with some Chows which were kept in cages at Windsor. But an interest in Chows for breeding and exhibition must have begun in 1879 when a black Chow bitch named Chinese Puzzle came to England .

In the following year she was exhibited at the Crystal Palace dog show by her owner Mr W K Taunton.In 1884 the Earl of Lonsdale imported a Chow and three years later he gave the Marchioness of Huntley a dog named Peridot She then bred a Chow named Peridot II which was the foundation for Lady Granville Gordon’skennel. Lady Granville Gordon was instrumental in getting the Kennel Club to recognize the breed as a Chow Chow rather than as a ‘Foreign Dog’ She also owned the first blue Chows in England . Her daughter, Lady Faudel-Phillips, later founded the famous Amwell kennels and became the leading breeder and exhibitor until about 1898. In 1890 the first Chow was exhibited in America . This was ‘Takya’ owned by Miss A C Derby.

One of the most important years in the history of the Chow must surely be 1895. Four important events occurred. Champion Chow VIII became the first ever Chow Champion, Peridot II was awarded Best in Show at the LKA Championship show, the Chow Chow Club was formed and the breed standard was formulated based on Ch Chow VIII.Since then the breeding and exhibition of Chows has gone on apace. Mrs Jarrett of Philadelphia founded the first American Chow kennel and got recognition for the breed from the American Kennel Club.Chinese Chum was exported to Mrs Proctor of America where he became an American Champion and sired many American Champions including Am Ch Black Cloud and Am Ch Night of Asia , which were the foundation for her ‘Blue Dragon’kennels. In 1906 the American Chow Club was founded. This was followed in 1924 by the foundation of the French Chow Chow Club by Mme Mareschal (revived after the last war by Mme Yvonne Diot). Also in 1974 we have the first entry of a Chow in the German Stud Book.Gradually the Chow’s lovable character became more widely known and from the 1920’s the popularity of the breed steadily increased and is still increasing to this day. Quite a number of well known, not to say famous, people have owned Chows. In our own Royal Family others as well as Queen Victoria have had Chows as pets.Queen Alejandra, had a Chow Chow exported by Sir Henry Knollys.The last Duke of Kent own a Chow Chow and Queen Isabel II has infantile memories of the Chow Chow own by her relatives.The statesman Lloyd George had two Chows and President Calvin Coolidge had a Chow Chow (Timmy) in the White House in years 30.The actress Sarah Bernhardt, the dramatist George Bernard Shaw, the Dr Konrad Lorenz and the famous orchestra conductor Herberl von Karajan had Chow Chow.Another notable fanatical of the Chow Chow was Sigmund Freud, after his death, his daughter, Anna Freud, conservedthe Chow Chow of his father and increased the number that she had. Martha Stewart also is a fanatic of the Chow Chowand their dogs can be seen regularly in her tv show.One of the most enthusiastic descriptions of a Chow called Chow “Pooh-Baht” can be found in the book “The Bird in the Tree”wrote by Elizabeth Goudge that did not have a Chow Chow but it lived in same Villa who Mr. Martin Nitram (Nitram Chows) and obvious must been have fascinated by the character of the Chow Chow.The Chow Chow was admired by emperors as well as by the Western royalty, used by Chinese farmers for work, food and clothes, he has been favorite for a set of Hollywood’s stars in 20’s, presidents and personalities. Without a doubt the Chow Chow has had a dramatic history.


The Chow is a sturdily built dog that is square in profile with broad skull and small, triangular ears that are rounded at the tip. The breed has a very dense coat that is either smooth or rough. The fur is particularly thick around the neck, giving the distinctive ruff or mane. The coat may be one of five colors including red, black, blue, cinnamon, and cream. Individuals with patchy or multicolored coats are considered to be outside the breed standard. Chows are distinguished by their unusual blue-black/purple tongue and very straight hind legs,resulting in a rather stilted gait. The blue-black/purple tongue gene appears to be dominant, as almost all mixed breed dogs who come from a Chow retain the tongue color. This is not to say, however, that every mixed breed dog with spots of purple on the tongue are descended from chows as purple spots on the tongue can be found on a multitude of pure breed dogs.


Today the Chow Chow is most commonly kept as a companion dog. Their keen sense of proprietorship over their homes paired with a sometimes disconcertingly serious approach to strangers can be off putting to those unfamiliar with the breed. However, displays of timidity and aggression are uncharacteristic of well-bred and well socialized specimens. The proper Chow owner will be just as willful and stubborn as the Chow he keeps, thus weaker-willed individuals would be best served to evaluate their commitment in controlling an animal who is happy to take over any household. Specimens of opposite sex typically cohabitant with less tension than those of the same sex, but it is not unheard of for multiple chows of both sexes to live together peacefully in a home setting. Chows are extremely loyal to their own family, so visitors to the home should not press their affections upon the resident Chow. The typical Chow’s behavior is thought to be more similar to a domestic cat rather than a domestic dog.Chows are not a particularly active breed. Apartment life suits this breed. They can be rather lazy, so you need to be prepared to take him or her for a brisk, daily walk, even if you have a fenced yard that he can explore. Their independence and wistfulness is often mistaken for lack of intelligence. Chows tend to be stubborn, dominating, and at times disobedient, thus many trainers do not recommend. Chows as a good choice for first time dog owners.


A close-up of the Chow’s characteristic blue-black tongue. The chow chow is the number 1 ranked dog that is affected by elbow dysplasia. They are also prone to hip dysplasia, ocular disorders such as entropion, thyroid disease, and patellar luxation (slipping knee caps). The risks of such disorders increases exponentially when a chow is purchased from backyard breeders and those unscrupulous kennels that do not test their breeding stock for such genetic disorders. As such, a potential chow buyer would be best served to ask to see all health clearances for the parents of a litter such as Canine Eye Registration Foundation and Orthopedic Foundation for Animals up front.Reputable kennels will provide the new owner with a written and signed health guarantee as well. Although there is no way to accurately predict the lifespan of an animal, one should expect the healthy chow to live between 10 to 12 years.


The Chow is a unique breed of dog thought to be one of the oldest recognizable breeds.Research indicates it is one of the first primitive breeds to evolve from the wolf. Recent DNA analysis confirms that this is one of the oldest breeds of dog. From what records survive, some historians believe that the Chow was the dog described as accompanying the Mongolian armies as they invaded south into China as well as west into Europe and southwest into the Middle East during 12th Century,although a Chinese bas-relief from 150 BC shows a hunting dog similar in appearance to the Chow. Later Chow Chows were bred as a general-purpose working dog for herding, hunting, pulling and guarding.In China, some farms still raise chows for meat. The dogs are not called chows because they make good “chow”,as is commonly supposed. In fact, when they were first shipped to England, they arrived in boxes marked “chow chow”, pidgin English for miscellaneous merchandise.The customs people simply assumed that was what they were called and the name stuck.

“What kind of dog is that? It looks like a bear!”

“How did that dog get a black tongue?”

Definitely one of the most impressive of all dogs, the Chow Chow is an awesome creature with his lion-like appearance and regal manner. With puppies that look like walking teddy bears, it’s no wonder that the Chow is one of the most popular breeds today.

More than 2,000 years old, the Chow was bred to be an all-around working dog capable of surviving in a hostile environment. Hunting, herding, guarding, pulling sleds the Chow could do it all. First kept by fierce Mongolian tribes in China as a hunting and guard dog, the Chow was also used for their meat and fur. The true origin of the breed is unknown; some historians believe it descends from ancient Roman Mastiff-type dogs crossed with Spitz types. Others believe the Chow is the ancestor of the modern Spitz group of dogs as well as the Akita and Shar-Pei.

How the Chow got his blue-black tongue is also a mystery. A delightful old fable provides an answer: When God was painting the sky blue, He spilled a few drops as He worked. The Chow followed after, licking up the drops of paint and from that day forward, the Chow Chow had a blue tongue!

The Chow’s first appearance outside of China (where they are seldom seen today) was in England in the late 1800’s. Sailors returning from the east brought them back in the cargo hold of the great trade ships. “Chow Chow” was a slang term applied to the large variety of items carried by these ships. Like a nickname, the term stuck to these dogs.

Chows make exceptional house pets. Despite their size (17-21″ at the shoulder, 45-85 pounds), they are very quiet, naturally well-behaved, not diggers or barkers and aren’t destructive. They’re one of the easiest breeds to housebreak. Chows do, however, have a very different personality than other dogs. They are cat-like in their attitudes: aloof, reserved with affection, independent, dignified and stubborn. Although their soft fur is ripe for hugging, they don’t always enjoy being fussed over by children or strangers. For people who want a cuddly lap dog that will instantly love all their friends, the Chow is likely to be a disappointment.

Temperament and behavior

The Chow Chow is very intelligent but not always easy to train. They don’t have the strong desire to please their masters as do breeds like the Golden Retriever. They seem to please themselves first and don’t respond to the average methods of training and motivation. They do not tolerate physical punishment and can’t be forced into anything. Hitting or beating a Chow will either result in viciousness or a broken spirit. Like a cat, a Chow is only willing to do what suits his mood at the time. He’s an independent thinker and will make his own decisions if you don’t stay a step ahead of him! The Chow is a powerful, regal, beautiful animal and he knows it. He expects to be treated with dignity and respect respect that he will return if you show you’re worthy of it.

From this description, I think you can see that the Chow Chow is not a breed for everyone. Its temperament is often misunderstood and many people mistakenly believe that Chows are vicious dogs. This breed is naturally suspicious of strangers and very territorial. They take their homes and family very seriously as well as their responsibility to protect what they love. On his own property and especially without his owner present, the Chow can appear to be quite fierce. He will seldom let a stranger pass unchallenged. People used to the warm welcomes of other breeds are unprepared for the seriousness of the Chow; guests must be greeted by the owners before the dog accepts them.

The Chow’s appearance also contributes to the myths about his temperament. The scowling, sometimes wrinkled face, small deep set eyes, and lion like ruff are intimidating. Some people complain that they can’t “read” a Chow’s expression as easily as other breeds’. The Chow’s natural aloofness, dignity and indifference to people outside his family is often misinterpreted by people who expect most dogs to be outwardly friendly and affectionate. The Chow saves his affections for those he loves dearly and finds little reason to seek attention from anyone else. He minds his own business and simply doesn’t care what other people think of him!

The strong-willed Chow needs an equally strong-willed owner. They have definite minds of their own and can easily become your master if you allow it. Chow puppies are naturally well-behaved, more so than most breeds. They’re seldom destructive or disobedient. Because of their good behavior, many people fail to train them properly. When an untrained Chow reaches adolescence, that dreadful teenage stage all dogs go through, he may refuse to accept your authority. We’ve found that most people who’ve had behavior problems with their Chows failed to train them and earn their respect.

Although the Chow adjusts well to being alone during your working hours, he prefers to be with you when you’re home, not kept as an outside dog. He loves to spend time outside but tied up or confined away from people, he’ll become very anti-social. Because of their hunting instincts, Chows without training don’t always get along with cats or tiny dogs. They aren’t “pack” dogs either and seldom get along with large dogs of the same sex.

The dangers of popularity

In all honesty, some Chows do have temperament problems. The breed went through two periods of dramatic public popularity, once in the 1930’s and again during the 1980’s. In a rush to cash in on this popularity and sell puppies quickly for a profit, unscrupulous or inexperienced breeders and pet owners often used Chows with unsuitable temperaments for breeding. Believing the myths that Chows were supposed to be unfriendly or aggressive, they didn’t know or didn’t care that this kind of disposition is not acceptable in reputable circles. Experienced, responsible breeders with a sincere interest in what’s good for Chows and the people who buy them refuse to use stock that is aggressive or shy.

Coat care

The Chow’s thick coat requires a lot of care. Puppy coat is very dense and soft, easily tangled and can take several hours a week to groom. The transition period from puppy to adult coat may take several months and your Chow needs to be groomed almost daily during that time. Adult coat is easier to care for but will still need at least an hour or two a week to look its best and prevent matting. Chows shed seasonally, not daily. Once or twice a year they shed their coats and you’ll literally be filling trash bags full of hair at that time! Although the smooth coated variety would seem to be less work, it, too, sheds seasonally and needs regular, thorough grooming. You’ll need to train your Chow to cooperate and lie on his side during the long hours of grooming. Most Chows would prefer to be groomed by their owners rather than suffer the indignity of going to a professional groomer.

Chows come in five colors: red, black, cream, blue and cinnamon. There’s no such thing as “champagne,” “silver,” “lilac,” “chocolate” or “white” Chows — these “exotic” colors are just creative interpretations of the regularly accepted colors. Colors other than red are not rare and shouldn’t cost more.

Red varies from a deep mahogany to a light golden red with light shadings on the tail, breechings and ruff. Red puppies are born a “mousy” brown, often with a black mask. This mask will eventually fade is usually gone at maturity. The fluffy baby coat will start to grow at three months of age and often is not what the adult shade of red will be. To get a clue, look at the adult hair beginning to grow on the face and feet. The nose should be black with no pink spotting. Eyes on all colors of Chows should be as dark as possible.

Black is self-explanatory but some black Chows have silver shadings in tail or breechings (or both). Black Chows sometimes turn “rusty” when kept outside or in the sun. A “chocolate” Chow really is a rusty black! Black Chows are born black.

Cream varies from ivory to a very pale fawn. They are cream from birth and sometimes have tan ears and legs. Light red puppies are often mislabeled as creams by inexperienced breeders. Creams are seldom seen at dog shows because their noses, which may be black as puppies, always turn brown by maturity, and a brown nose is a disqualification.

Blue is a steel gray color, sometimes with silver shadings as in the blacks. Poor quality blues may have brown shadings and blues can also “rust” in the sun. The muzzle and legs have a salt and pepper mixture of light and dark hairs. Noses on blue Chows are often gray or slate-colored. This is the only color of Chow where a black nose is not required, but the nose must not be brown.

Cinnamon varies from a light tan or fawn to almost red. Very light red puppies are sometimes mislabeled as cinnamon. Like the blues, a true cinnamon has a salt and pepper mixture of light & dark hairs on its muzzle. The coat color sometimes has a pinkish cast. Cinnamons may be grayish at birth and have even been mislabeled as blues! This gray cast is usually gone within a few weeks. Cinnamons must have a black nose, not brown.

Chows’ tongues are pink at birth and gradually darken. They should be completely blue-black at the age of eight weeks. Some tongues don’t change completely. This fault disqualifies the Chow from the show ring and it shouldn’t be used for breeding.

As with any breed, Chows can be prone to various health problems. Hip dysplasia and entropion are probably the most common. The chances that your Chow will become dysplastic are reduced if you buy your puppy from a breeder who x-rays hips of breeding animals and certifies them free of dysplasia before breeding. Ask for a warranty against crippling hip dysplasia for a period of at least two years. It has been estimated that as many as 50 percent of all Chows have hip dysplasia. This percentage would be greatly reduced if more breeders would x-ray their stock before breeding.

Entropion is a condition where the dog’s eyelids turn inward toward the eyeball rather than outward as they should. This causes irritation to the eye and if left untreated, can lead to blindness. Entropion is usually inherited but can also be acquired later in life as a result of eye injury or infection. Entropion isn’t always apparent in young puppies. When you’re shopping for a puppy, you should expect to see, clear, dry sparkling eyes on the parents of the litter. Runny, inflamed eyes or crusty eyelids are not normal for a Chow and should be treated by a veterinarian.

Skin and hormone problems are also seen in Chow Chows. These, too, are often inherited and seldom apparent in a young puppy. Ask questions about the parents of the puppy you have in mind. If you’re not satisfied with the health, appearance or temperament of the parents, do not buy the puppy!

Good temperament in Chows is partly inherited and partly made by good training and socialization. Almost all Chow puppies are friendly and irresistible. Your puppy won’t be little for long and you want to be happy with the adult dog who’ll share your life for many years to come. Start out on the right foot by choosing a puppy from parents who have the kind of temperament you want! You should be able to touch and handle the parents of your puppy. They shouldn’t be overly shy nor aggressive toward you with their owner present. If you don’t like the disposition of the parents or can’t handle at least one parent of the litter, do not buy the puppy!

Another source of healthy Chows with good dispositions is through Chow rescue adoption programs. Most homeless Chows became that way through no fault of their own. Their owners had to move, divorced, or met with family tragedies that forced them to give up their dogs. Experienced Chow rescue volunteers screen dogs for good temperament and health and look for families especially suited to each one. These dogs are usually young adults although puppies and older dogs are sometimes available. Despite the Chow’s reputation as being a one-family dog, rescued Chows are adaptable and adjust well to a new home. Many of us are just too busy to raise and train a puppy. An older, rescued Chow may fit into your busy lifestyle much easier.

Those of us who know and understand Chow Chows cherish their quiet dignity, proud aloofness and their deep loyalty to those they love. To be loved by a Chow is like no other experience. After that, anything less is just another dog.

More than 2,000 years old and perhaps dating back over 3,000 years, the Chow Chow is one of the oldest known breed of dogs. Originating in China, some historians speculate that Chows may have originated in the Arctic circle, then migrated into Mongolia, Siberia, and China. This heavily coated dog was bred to be an all-around working dog, capable of surviving severely cold climates. First kept by fierce Mongolian tribes in China as a hunting and guard dog, the Chow was also used for their meat and fur. Chinese authors point out that the Pekingese, Shih-Tzu, and Lhasas were the “Royal Dogs of China”, and the chow was the only breed used for hunting. Before the Chinese used firearms for hunting, Chows were also used as retrievers, pointers, and sled dogs. The true origin of the breed is unknown; some believe it descends from ancient Mastiff-type dogs crossed with Spitz types. Others believe the Chow is the ancestor of the modern Spitz group of dogs as well as the Akita and Shar-Pei. Ancient artifacts such as pottery and sculptures dating back to the Han Dynasty, (206 B.C. until 22 A.D.) depict easily recognizable Chow Chows. There are two different theories as to how the Chow Chow got his name. Chow, or ‘chou’, is Chinese slang for edible. Will Judy, author of The Chow Chow, wrote that the name meant ‘edible dog of China”. Authorities claim that both Chinese and Koreans bred these dogs to be eaten, particularly the smooth-coated variety. In 1878, a British historian and authority on China claimed to have found 25 restaurants in Canton featuring chows on the menu. In 1915, a law was passed in China prohibiting the buying and selling of dog meat. The word chow means food in English, and theshipments of spices and mixed pickles from China became known as chow chow, as did a spicy pickle relish. The other theory of the name chow chow may not be as logical, but is still reasonable enough for debate. In the early 1800’s, clipper ships sailed from China to England, bringing back a various assortment of cargo, referred to as chow chow. These miscellaneous objects were stored in the ship’s hold called the chow chow hold, chow chow meaning bits and pieces of this and that. The first chow chow dog appeared in England in the 1830’s, and was known as the chow chow dog because he had been housed in the chow chow hold during the long voyage. The proud and regal chow we see today is more a product of what happened to the Chow in England and eventually the United States than the ancient Chinese chow of working origin who is seldom even seen in China today.



Rough – The Rough Chow Chow is a long-haired dog with a soft woolly undercoat that serves as insulation against heat and cold alike. A coarse outer coat adds to beauty and service.

Smooth – The smooth Chow Chow is judged by the same standard as the rough chow except that references to the quantity and distribution of the outer coat are not applicable to the smooth-coated Chow which has a hard dense smooth outer coat with a definite undercoat. There should be no obvious ruff or feathering on the leg or tail.

COLOR : Chow Chows are solid colors or red, black, or blue and some are cinnamon, fawn, shaded red, or cream.

SIZE : The Chow is of medium size. The distinctive feature of the breed is its blue-black tongue. One of the few breeds of dogs with the dark tongue, it shares this feature with the Sharpei and the bear; the only animal in the wild that has a dark tongue.

GAIT : Other characteristic points include his unique and unusual gait which is referred to as “stilted”. The rear legs are very straight in the stifle area and its gait is much like a choppy walk that results from this stilt-like rear assembly. This does not impair his ability to run at the speeds of most dogs.

HEAD : The Chow’s heavy head and muzzle is surrounded by an off standing ruff that is much like a halo. His eyes are almond shaped and deep set, giving him an unusual oriental look; mysterious, quiet and thoughtful.

SCOWL : The “scowl” of the Chow Chow is characteristic and is often misunderstood as a sign of being mean. This is as far from the truth as outward appearance does not indicate personality in the canine’s world as it does in the human species.

TAIL : The tail of the Chow Chow is curled up over the back. It is a brush type, high set, following the spine at the set and often reaching the back of the neck as it follows the spine.

PERSONALITY : The Chow Chow, though Mother Nature gave him a scowl, made him mysterious and quiet. He’s a dog that minds his own business thus giving the impression of an aristocrat. Dignity and aloofness should not be confused with a poor nature. He does not go about looking for trouble, but if confronted, he will stand his ground and protect those he loves. Ill-tempered Chows are not representative of the breed, but a result of indiscriminate breeding for popularity, fame or fortune.

HABITS : The Chow Chow is a dog of extreme cleanliness and it is not rare to see a puppy that is completely housebroken before it is eight weeks old. Many breeders say they have “never had accidents” and “chows seem to be born housebroken”. The Chow’s odour-free body and coat are said to be virtually vermin-free, making him a most acceptable household companion. After all, a Chow Chow is happiest when he has the company of those he loves.

TRAINING : If bred and raised properly the Chow puppy who so resembles the teddy bear will be an aristocrat from the time he arrives in the world. He is quick to learn and reason. Chows have been trained in obedience work and many have C.D., C.D.X. and some U.D. titles (Companion Dog, Excellent and Utility Dog). Chows serve as hunting companions, impressive show dogs and grand pets for the family. Their versatility proves their value as an all-round family dog. As any other dog, the chow, when reared with children will become a rough and tumble playmate for the tots, protecting them as instinct leads. The guard qualities need not be taught a chow, they will protect their loved ones simply because they love them deeply.

CARE : The Chow Chow requires brushing & combing in order to keep him at his best with regards to conditioning and appearance. Brushing once or twice a week will keep housecleaning to a minimum as a Chow sheds gradually during the year. Nails should be kept trimmed to a comfortable length and hair between the pads should be kept short so as to keep burrs and dirt from tangling and irritating the pads. Ears and teeth should be checked during grooming. Cleaning should be done whenever necessary according to veterinary instructions.

CONFINEMENT : Chows should be kept in a fenced-in area rather than on a chain. They resent being “trapped”. The dog that is chained is subject to teasing and becomes irritable. Chows prefer a fenced in yard and a home with their people.

ALIMENTS : Veterinarians should be aware that the Chow should be treated as the Bulldog or Boston Terrier when it needs anaesthesia. Many Chows could be saved if the knowledge of the black mouth and gums is made available. The color of the gums is often used as a guide during surgery or whenever anesthesia is necessary. The Chow is subject to heat prostration if left in a hot closed-in area or in the sun. Plenty of shade or a cool room should be provided along with quiet and rest. Should you find the Chow in “trouble” , call your vet for advice and in the meantime act quickly and wet down the dog with cold water or towels soaked with cold water.

SUMMARY : BEAUTY, LOYALTY, LOVING, CLEAN, ARISTOCRATIC, INTELLIGENT, MYSTERIOUS AND ALOOF; these are the words so often used to tell of the Chow Chow. The Chow will serve you if you will allow him to be your adoring slave and he will love you with all his being. He asks only for your faith in him.

Grooming Advice For Chows

Always brush your chow out completely before bathing.  Try to remove all dead undercoat before bathing and remove any mats.  If you brush your chow 10 minutes a week you will probably never have any major grooming difficulties. For the chow owner you will need the types of tools pictured above.  It is much more important to keep a chow brushed then bathed.  Brushing has several benefits.

  • Removes dead coat
  • Promotes healthier – fuller coat
  • Healthier skin and easier to apply flea control products (front line/advantage)
  • Eliminates matting problems
  • Makes your chow the talk of the town 🙂
  • Causes your chow to bond with you and to enjoying grooming

STEP 1 : (Pre-Brushing) We start with The Rake and then go over the coat with the medium Resco comb most often. Be sure to get all areas, including down the legs and every other place. The bathing and drying will be much easier with all dead or loose coat removed prior to the bath.

STEP 2: (Bathing) Use a quality shampoo and wash your chow fully including the under carriage, head, feet and rear area.  Rinse thoroughly (repeat if necessary) and depending on his or her coat you may need a light conditioner.  For all my dogs

unless needing a show quality product I use Oat Mella Shampoo on the adult chows and Fluffy Puppy Tearless Shampoo on the puppies and also on the adult chows heads as it does not irritate their eyes. For softening and condition we use Mane & Tail leave in conditioner and use it sparingly pre-diluted with water when needed- which is not often. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.  Depending if you have a professional dryer or just your preference, towel dry and then blow dry. Do not over bath your chow. Over bathing dries out the coat and skin.  Brushing is easier when the hair is dry.

STEP 3: (Drying) It is important for the health & comfort of the chow and the coat to not use much heat while drying.  Some vacuums can be reversed and used as a dog dryer. Hair dryers tend to over heat or get pretty hot. I recommend a professional dog dry for Chow owners who do their own grooming. Dry your chow to the skin. Feel down to their skin to be sure they are dry. You can brush while drying or wait till the end.  Always brush their coat towards the head. Sometimes the bath and drying will allow more undercoat to cut loose which is more reason to be sure to comb thoroughly first. Chows that are afraid to be dried usually get used to it.  It helps to love on the chow while being groomed.  This will not only comfort him or her but make it a positive time together for you both and usually will end up an enjoyable time for you both. The younger your Chow is when grooming is started the easier the task.

STEP 4: (Finish Brushing) This step can vary. Depends on several things. Coat type, goal and time of year and age of the chow. When your chow is completely dry, I recommend brushing or combing your chow to the skin. I like using a fine comb and or the slicker brush or pin brush, depending on the chow and if they are blowing puppy coat or winter coat….etc Combing to the skin is a must for going to the dogs shows, but will also get the final loosen coat out to eliminate more mats later. I really recommend all the above tools and you will use them all either always or parts of the year. Brush your chow forward. Use two hands to get to the skin. You cannot just skim down a chow one handed.

STEP 5: (trimming, optional) I recommend having good dog scissors. People scissors will dull fast. Keeping their feet trimmed, skirts, britches and around their anus are the most common trimmed areas on chows. Extra long shaggy bibs can be trimmed also. We don’t recommend shaving chows for their health. They can sunburn and their coat works to help keep them cool as wool does in the desert. We recommend The Rake for keeping their loose dead undercoat out for maximum coolness. We keep the straggles trimmed up and on some of our messy drinkers keep their bibs cut back some. We prefer the sculptured look to our chows.

STEP 6: (Nails) Don’t forget to keep your Chows nails trimmed. This is also important to start when the Chow is young and to touch their feet as puppies so they will more easily allow you to trim their nails. It is recommended to have Quick-Stop handy in case needed to stop bleeding. The quick will move back where you can cut the nails shorter and shorter if kept up on a regular basis. Most dogs should have their nails cut about 4 times per year , but monthly is ideal. Puppies much more often as theirs grow much more quickly.  We use a Dremel and grind their nails, we prefer grinding over cutting.

STEP 7: (Flea Control) Don’t forget month Frontline Plus. For dogs with a lot of fleas and prior to using the Frontline, you can suds your chow thoroughly with Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (original formula is what we use) and let stand 5 to 10 minutes and this will kill the present fleas. Now use the Frontline monthly to prevent fleas and ticks. Dawn is NOT a preventative and should not be used too often.



PATRONAGE: Great Britain.


UTILIZATION: Guard dog, companion

FCI-CLASSIFICATION:             Group        5          Spitz and primitive type.

Section   5            Asian Spitz and related


Without working trial.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: The ancestry of the Chow is attributed to China where he was kept as a guard dog, and also used for hunting. The Chow has been known in China for upwards of 2,000 years and is related to Spitz dogs of the Nordic type, also containing something of the mastiff. Because of China’s ‘closed door’ policy to the rest of the world Chows did not begin to appear in other countries until around 1800. He made his way to England sometime during the late eighteenth century and was not really noticed in Britain until the 1920s, with a number being shown at Crufts in 1925.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Active, compact, short-coupled and essentially well balanced, leonine in appearance, proud, dignified bearing; well knit frame; tail carried well over back. Should always be able to move freely and must not have so much coat as to impede activity or cause distress in hot weather. A bluish-black tongue is characteristic.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: The distance from withers to elbow is equal to the distance from elbow to ground.

BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT: Quiet dog, good guard. Independent, loyal, yet aloof.



Skull: Flat, broad.

Stop: Not pronounced.


Nose: Large and wide in all cases, black (with exception of cream and near white, in which case a lighter coloured nose is permissible, and in blues and fawns a self-coloured nose (but black preferable in all cases).

Muzzle: Moderate in length, broad from eyes to end (not pointed at end like a fox). Well filled out under the eyes.

Lips: A solid black mouth including the roof and flews, with a bluish black tongue is ideal. However, some dilution may be evident in the gums of blues and fawns and this dilution may be more pronounced in creams and whites.

Jaws / Teeth: Teeth strong and level, jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Eyes: Dark, oval shaped, medium sized and clean. A matching coloured eye permissible in blues and fawns. Clean eye, free from entropion, never being penalised for sake of mere size.

Ears: Small, thick, slightly rounded at tip, carried stiffly and wide apart but tilting well forward over eyes and slightly towards each other, giving peculiar characteristic scowling expression of the breed.  Scowl never to be achieved by loose wrinkled skin of head.

NECK: Strong, full, not short, set well on shoulders and slightly arched. Of sufficient length to carry the head proudly above the topline.


Back: Short, level and strong.

Loin: Powerful.

Chest: Broad and deep.  Ribs well sprung, but not barrelled.

TAIL: Set high, carried well over back.



Shoulder: Muscular and sloping.

Elbow: Equidistant between withers and ground.

Forearm: Perfectly straight, with good bone.

Forefeet: Small, round, cat-like, standing well up on toes.


General appearance: In profile the foot is directly under the hip joint.

Thigh: Well developed.

Stifle (Knee): Only slight bend.

Lower thigh: Well developed.

Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Hocks well let down. From hocks downwards to appear straight, never flexing forward.

Hind feet: Small, round, cat-like, standing well up on toes.

GAIT / MOVEMENT: Relatively short striding, hind feet not lifted high, appearing to skim the ground, resulting in pendulum like action when seen in profile. Its distinctive short-striding gait allows it to move freely, never lumbering and with excellent endurance. Forelegs and hindlegs moving parallel to each other and straight forward. Dogs should always be able to move freely and soundly without any sign of distress.


Hair: Either rough or smooth.

Rough: Profuse, abundant, dense, straight and stand-off but not excessive in length. Outer coat coarse, with soft woolly undercoat.

Especially thick round neck forming mane or ruff and with good culottes or breechings on back of thighs.

Smooth: Coat short, dense, straight, upstanding, not flat, plush-like in texture.

Any artificial shortening of the coat which alters the natural outline or expression should be penalised, with the exception of feet which may be tidied.

Colour: Whole coloured black, red, blue, fawn, cream or white, frequently shaded but not in patches or parti-coloured (underpart of tail and back of thighs frequently of a lighter colour).


Height at the withers:   Males:      48 – 56 cms.

Females:   46 – 51 cms.

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.


  • Aggressive or overly shy.
  • Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

The latest amendments are in bold characters.

 General appearance










                                                      POSITION AND TAIL