Chow Chow

45-70 lbs
17-20"
China
Chow, Chowden

The Chow Chow’s most distinctive feature is its blue-black tongue. However, the breed also features a stilted gait unique to Chows, as well as a lion-like “mane” around its neck. The Chow is related to the Spitz family of dogs and is thought to have been bred in the cold, northern region of China. It was used for hunting, herding, pulling a cart (or any other vehicle), and guarding the home. The Chow is a medium-sized dog with a deep muzzle and broad head; small, triangular ears sit above the double coat on its neck. The Chow may be red, black, blue, cinnamon or cream.

Purpose
guardian, cart puller, food source
Date of Origin
ancient times
Ancestry
tibetan mastiff

Chow Chow Health

Sketch of Chow Chow
Average Size
Male Chow Chow size stats
Height: 17-20 inches Weight: 45-70 lbs
Female Chow Chow size stats
Height: 17-20 inches Weight: 45-70 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Entropion
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Stenotic Nares
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Distichiasis
  • Gastric Torsion
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Cataract
  • Elongated Palate
  • Persistent Pupillary Membrane
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Elbow
  • Hip X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Chow Chow Breed History

Most likely descended from Tibetan Mastiffs, the Chow Chow can actually claim to be an ancient breed. Fossilized bones have been found that can be linked to the Chow, and in 2004, a study was done to establish “genetic fingerprints” of 85 breeds; the Chow Chow was one of fourteen breeds determined to be part of an ancient group. The Chow Chow’s likeness was found on a bas-relief from the Han Dynasty (approximately 150 BC). He had an impeccable scenting ability and was often used to hunt game birds. Unfortunately, he was a food source as well as a great working dog. The dog’s name likely comes from the Chinese words that referred to a variety of miscellaneous items. (The ship’s cargo was a miscellany of items: knickknacks, curios, and the dogs.) However, it is also thought that the Chinese word for edible “chou” also had some influence on the name of the dog. In 1880, Queen Victoria took an interest in a zoo exhibit titled “Wild Dogs of China” which featured the Chow Chow. They first appeared in the United States in 1890. The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1903. 

Chow Chow Breed Appearance

The Chow Chow appears to look “square,” with post-like straight legs that contribute to the stilted gait distinctive to the breed. The ears are erect and short; its skull is broad, and its most original feature is its blue-black tongue (the tongue will be pink at birth, but change around six months of age). The Chow Chow has two coat types; most people are familiar with the rough, longer coat. A Chow Chow puppy with this type of coat often looks like a fuzzy teddy bear. The smooth coat is also shorter. No matter what type of coat the Chow Chow has, he will also have a dense undercoat. Any solid color is acceptable, but most Chows are red or black. Chow Chows do not come in “rare” colors. Any breeder that tries to charge more for a color other than red (on the premise that color is rare) is not being truthful, and this should alert you to anything else the breeder could be falsifying. These colors range from a light golden red to a deep mahogany, black, blue, light fawn to deep cinnamon, and cream. The ruff (the thick hair on the neck) may have lighter shading as does the tail and feathering. The tail of this attractive canine often curls up over its back and is thickly furred. Its facial wrinkles often give the dog a scowling expression. 

Appearance of Chow Chow
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Chow Chow eyes
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
black Chow Chow nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
black Chow Chow coat
Black
red Chow Chow coat
Red
fawn Chow Chow coat
Fawn
cream Chow Chow coat
Cream
blue Chow Chow coat
Blue
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Chow Chow straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Chow Chow Breed Maintenance

A rough-coated Chow Chow needs daily grooming in order to keep his coat free of tangles. Their smooth-coated counterparts need only weekly brushing to maintain their coat. It is important to keep the eyes and facial folds clean as their coat (and the wrinkles) can retain dirt well. Chow Chows should always live inside with their family. They can adapt to a variety of homes and may be placed in a fenced-in yard for exercise. They are a breed that is more easily housebroken. Crate training is encouraged as the Chow Chow may chew on your furniture or other inappropriate items while you are away. They do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. 

Brushes for Chow Chow
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Chow Chow requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Chow Chow Temperament

Contrary to popular belief, a Chow Chow can be excellent with other animals and children. However, they must be socialized from a young age to ensure best results. Training should begin when the Chow is a puppy; they need firm, consistent authority from their handlers. The breed tends to be dominant, so their owner should be gentle, but firm with the dog from a young age. The Chow often maintains an alpha position, and will attempt to be the alpha even among its human pack. The Chow Chow can be overprotective and may be stubborn at times. They are often a “one-person” dog, but they are immensely loyal. They are not very outgoing dogs; they tend to be hesitant around strangers and may be aggressive with strange dogs.

Chow Chow Activity Requirements


Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
8 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes

Chow Chow Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00

Chow Chow Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Chow Chow at six months
Male Chow Chow size stats at six months
Height: 14 inches Weight: 27 lbs
Female Chow Chow size stats at six months
Height: 14 inches Weight: 27 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Chow Chow at 12 months
Male Chow Chow size stats at 12 months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 47 lbs
Female Chow Chow size stats at 12 months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 47 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Chow Chow at 18 months
Male Chow Chow size stats at 18 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 57 lbs
Female Chow Chow size stats at 18 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 57 lbs

Top Chow Chow Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Chow Chow breeders of 2018.
Top Chow Chow breeder RHR Chow Chows
RHR Chow Chows
Ava, Missouri
Top Chow Chow breeder D & M Farm Kennel
D & M Farm Kennel
Fairborn, Ohio
Top Chow Chow breeder Forestway Chow Chows
Forestway Chow Chows
Monroe, Michigan
Top Chow Chow breeder Cherub Chow Chows
Cherub Chow Chows
Vader, Washington
Top Chow Chow breeder Eastway Chows
Eastway Chows
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Top Chow Chow breeder Thunderbolt Chows
Thunderbolt Chows
Jacksonville, Florida
Top Chow Chow breeder Pendleton Chows
Pendleton Chows
Longmont, Colorado
Top Chow Chow breeder FlamingStar Chow Chows
FlamingStar Chow Chows
Hodgenville, Kentucky
Top Chow Chow breeder Halliday Kennels
Halliday Kennels
Harrod, Ohio
Top Chow Chow breeder Bowens Chow Pals
Bowens Chow Pals
Loganville, Georgia

Chow Chow Owner Experiences

Champ
7 Months
5 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
My chow is a very hyper and he always bark whenever he's seing a cat. But he's very sweet and i really love him.
5 months, 2 weeks ago
5 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
The Chow Chow that I walked did not give one lick about who he was being walked by. When I put the leash on him he was very good about standing perfectly still and allowing me to put it on, but did not express excitement in ways that I have grown accustomed. We walked for our session together and he did very well. He didn't pull much, he did his business, he kept his head high and his body straight; overall he was very good. He wasn't, however, very good at listening to me when I suggested that he sit at corners and certainly wasn't about to show me any tricks. We had a very nice walk overall, but I did find his behavior to be pretty funny. I Brough him home and took his leash off and he just wandered into the living room without looking back. I suppose it could probably feel nice to be that independent...
7 months, 3 weeks ago
2 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Sniffing
Walking
Chow mixed with a lab. He is the sweetest dog around and though he is only one years of age, he is already displaying lots of intelligence. This dog I walked is very reserved and aloof with people but very friendly and playful with other dogs. Since I have walked him several times, he treats me as he would his owner. But he was not so welcoming in the beginning. I wouldn't say he was aggressive, just very cautious and indifferent. Definitely had to warm up and get used to me. He is the same to other people when they go to pet him. He does not shy away but there is no tail wagging or happy face when they interact with him. This chow mix is a very big dog...big boned not fat or furry at all. He is massive and thus needs proper training and cajoling to be controlled so that he doesn't pull too much. He has a healthy amount of curiosity and loves exploring everything in his surroundings. Surprisingly, he does not immediately have the urge to chase after small animals such as cats, birds or squirrels. Rather, he will just pause to intently stare them down, wait for them to leave and then go about his business. This chow mix had the defining face and characteristics of a purebred Chow Chow, with wrinkles in his face and the blue tongue. Very beautiful and sweet face. He has a cat friend at home who he gets along with surprisingly well. He is very gentle with her so he seems to be aware of their size difference.He does not bark at all, very rarely only if he is hungry or needs something. One negative aspect to this breed is its stuborness which this particular dog inherited. He tends to pull on walks and wants to go in his own direction. They definitely need training and a good amount of discipline but you will be rewarded with immense loyalty. It is scary to realize that in ancient (and probably modern) times, Chinese people would eat these gorgeous animals!! This is briefly mentioned above in the description but I feel like the subject is side stepped and not made out to be as abhorrent as it truly is. These dogs seem so very loyal to their owners, how could you possibly see them as a food source?
7 months, 3 weeks ago
1 Year
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Running
My experience is with a Chow mixed with a lab. He is the sweetest dog around and though he is only one years of age, he is already displaying lots of intelligence. This dog I walked is very reserved and aloof with people but very friendly and playful with other dogs. Since I have walked him several times, he treats me as he would his owner. But he was not so welcoming in the beginning. I wouldn't say he was aggressive, just very cautious and indifferent. Definitely had to warm up and get used to me. He is the same to other people when they go to pet him. He does not shy away but there is no tail wagging or happy face when they interact with him. This chow mix is a very big dog...big boned not fat or furry at all. He is massive and thus needs proper training and cajoling to be controlled so that he doesn't pull too much. He has a healthy amount of curiosity and loves exploring everything in his surroundings. Surprisingly, he does not immediately have the urge to chase after small animals such as cats, birds or squirrels. Rather, he will just pause to intently stare them down, wait for them to leave and then go about his business. This chow mix had the defining face and characteristics of a purebred Chow Chow, with wrinkles in his face and the blue tongue. Very beautiful and sweet face. He has a cat friend at home who he gets along with surprisingly well. He is very gentle with her so he seems to be aware of their size difference.He does not bark at all, very rarely only if he is hungry or needs something. One negative aspect to this breed is its stuborness which this particular dog inherited. He tends to pull on walks and wants to go in his own direction. They definitely need training and a good amount of discipline but you will be rewarded with immense loyalty. It is scary to realize that in ancient (and probably modern) times, Chinese people would eat these gorgeous animals!! This is briefly mentioned above in the description but I feel like the subject is side stepped and not made out to be as abhorrent as it truly is. These dogs seem so very loyal to their owners, how could you possibly see them as a food source?
7 months, 3 weeks ago
12 Months
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Playing in the snow
Walk
Playdate
Explore the city
Happy being around people and getting attention. Amazing looking dog. Purple tongue is a standout with a beautiful white coat. I'm not sure if this was a mixed Chow Chow because I have never seen one with a full white coat of fur. Happy with a big smile as we walked around the lower wet side. Great dog for cold climate region. Would not recommend them for hot region due to their heavy coat of hair.
7 months, 3 weeks ago
2 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
chasing squirrels
My walking with Miss Charlie the Chow Chow was a highly enjoyable walk indeed! As we were walking through central park, she definitely kept me on my toes chasing after squirrels! I did have to keep a firm grip on the lead because of this. She was very friendly to fellow dog lovers that wished to say hello. She did not jump on them, but offered her head for all the scratches! She often tried to chase squirrels all the way up trees, such a cutie! She was so floofy and happy on our walk! She had lots of energy and even when she wasn’t eye-ing a squirrel, wanted to walk/run at a fast pace! It was a pleasure walking with this Chow Chow Floof and I would love to walk with her again soon!
7 months, 3 weeks ago
7 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Gaurding
Cuddling
Walking
I grew up with two Chow Chows that belonged to my grandfather. These dogs are super cuddly but with family! Since they really weren't socialized with many people outside the family they has a little bit of a defensiveness to them. If something didn't seem right they would be the first to let you know whether it be from strong glares to loud barks. Other then that they are huge teddy bears. In the house they are very relaxed and often enjoy lounging around while observing what goes on in their surroundings. Outside alone they can be very interactive with you and bound about, but if they're with other Chows that are familiarized to them you'll really get to see that puppy playful side they have. Due to their long coats my grandfather often had them groomed to avoid any shed around the house. I would recommend these dogs to pretty much anyone who has the time to groom them as well as the time to train and socialize them at an earlier age so that they don't become overly protective about you. They can be the biggest gentle giants when raised correctly.
7 months, 3 weeks ago
1 Year
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Quite hard to walk. they are so strong. Not reliable off the lead.
7 months, 3 weeks ago
12 Months
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Super sweet and loving, was timid at first but once we started walking the dog was very comfortable and had a great time.
7 months, 3 weeks ago
9 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
barking
Playing
Walking
Chow chow’s are hit and miss breeds. They are sometimes absolute amazing dogs with no behavioral issues and then they can also be absolute terrors on the walk. I have experienced both scenarios. They are super sweet to their humans and great protectors of the home. They have always had an aggressive side to them and I do believe it’s in their breeds Blood. I’m not sure it would be my go to pet as they are 50/50 on growing into a well behaved dog. They also have had history of biting or snapping at people.
7 months, 3 weeks ago
2 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Chow chow is a little on the stubborn side. The one I walked walks very fast, pretty much jogged. They’re not the friendliest in the beginning and barks at strangers coming in to the home but is friendly once he warmed up.
7 months, 3 weeks ago
17 Months
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
The Chow Chow is a sturdily built dog, square in profile, with a broad skull and small, triangular, erect ears with rounded tips. The breed is known for a very dense double coat that is either smooth or rough.[1]:4–5 The fur is particularly thick in the neck area, giving it a distinctive ruff or mane appearance. The coat may be shaded/self-red, black, blue, cinnamon/fawn, or cream.[1]:4–5[9] Not all these color varieties are recognized as valid in all countries. Individuals with patchy or multicolored coats are considered to be outside the breed standard. Chow Chow eyes are typically deep set and almond shaped. The breed is distinguished by its unusual blue-black/purple tongue and very straight hind legs, resulting in a rather stilted gait.[1]:4–5 The bluish color extends to the Chow Chow's lips; this is the only dog breed with this distinctive bluish color in its lips and oral cavity (other dogs have black or a piebald pattern skin in their mouths).[1]:4–5 One other distinctive feature is the curly tail.[1]:4–5 It has thick hair and lies curled on its back. The nose should be black, but blue-coated Chow Chow can have a solid blue or slate-colored nose. According to the American Kennel Club breed standards, any other tone is not acceptable for contests.[10] FCI countries, however, do allow a self-colored nose in the cream.[11]
7 months, 3 weeks ago
3 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
2 year
petting
Walking
The Chow chow's that I have walked have all been so lovely. They are very friendly when I have arrived them and have loved being out and about on their walks. The chow chow's have kept a slower pace to their walk, and do not seem to speed up or pull at all during the course of their walks. They have always been friendly with other dogs as well when I have had experiences walking them.
7 months, 4 weeks ago
Bella
16 weeks
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Has never had a accident in the house, she goes to the door evertime and wakes me up once during the night. She's extremely smart and I have trained her to sit, stay, leave it, and stand which means stand still while I put on or take off your leash. She loves riding in the car and is gentle with the cats. I was extremely worried about aggression with the cats, but she has only wanted to play with them, she even allows them to eat out of her dish. I'm extremely happy I have her.
8 months, 1 week ago
Mia
6 Weeks
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Just introduced her to the rest of the pack. Has that dominant streak towards the bulldog, so that's a bit of a problem. Otherwise she is cute, beautiful and clever .
8 months, 2 weeks ago
Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd