By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 21st February 2023

Chow Chow


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 21st February 2023

Chow Chow is a fierce looking dignified dog breed, originating in the northern part of China. The breed is known by several names one of them being Songshi Quan, meaning a “puffy-lion dog.” They have also been referred to as Tang Quan, translating to “Dog of the Tang Empire.” This sturdy dog marked by a square built and heavy muscle teamed with its teddy bear coat alongside a regal, serious, snobbish and scowling look is indeed a delight to watch. 

Chow Chow Dog Pictures

Quick Information

Other namesChow, Chowdren
CoatRough (Outer coat: Dense, abundant, straight; Undercoat: Thick, soft, woolly); Smooth
ColorBlack, cinnamon, blue, red, cream
Breed typePurebred
Average life expectancy (How long do they live)8 to 13 years
Size (How big do they get)Medium
Height of a full grown Chow Chow17 to 20 inches
Weight of a full grown Chow ChowMale: 55 to 70 lbs; Female: 45 to 60 lbs
Litter size4 to 7 puppies
Behavioral characteristicsIntelligent, reserved, independent, dignified, aloof
Good with childrenNo
Barking tendencyExcessive
Climate compatibility No able to withstand scorching climate
Shedding (Do they shed)Moderately high (seasonal shedders)
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationFCI, CKC, ANKC, NZKC, CKC, KC(UK), UKC

What does a Chow Chow dog look like

Head: Large and lion-like coupled with a broad and flat skull.

Eyes: Dark brown, almond-shaped, deeply set

Ears: Small, thick, triangular shape, rounded at its tip

Skull: Broad and flat

Muzzle: Short and broad

Tail: High set, carried closely

Tongue: Bluish-black or purple (most crossbreeds having Chow Chow as one of its parents might have a tongue of this color)

Video of Fluffy Golden Chow Chow Puppies

History and Origin

Considered to be one of the ancient breeds of the world, the first reference of the Chow Chow is present in the artifacts of the Han dynasty of China as early as 206 B.C. However, according to evidence, they are said to have existed at a much earlier time, also being the progenitor of certain breeds like the Pomeranian and the Norwegian Elkhound.

They were said to be trusted companion of the Chinese nobles. As legend has it, an emperor belonging to the Tang dynasty owned about 5000 Chow Chow dogs and had keepers almost double this number to take care of them.

However, their utility changed with time, and they gradually began to be used as guard, hunting and sled dogs. It has also been said that they along with their ancestors served as a source of food, with their name Chow being derived from the Cantonese term, meaning edible.

When Britian came to China for trade, they took along with them some of these dogs. In the 1820s they were put up for exhibition in the London Zoo under the name of the “Wild Dogs of China.”  However, it was only when Queen Victoria acquired a Chow, did its popularity increase in Great Britain. From Europe it gradually reached the United States in the 1890s, achieving AKC recognition in 1903. The formation of the Chow Chow Club of America occurred in 1906, and at present, they rank 65th of the AKC registered breeds.

Temperament and Personality

The cute, teddy bear looks of the Chow Chow is a complete contrast to its aloof, independent and dignified disposition.

Nevertheless, it would be a great family pet, displaying immense loyalty towards its kith and kin. However, your Chow Chow may keep its affection reserved for one particular member of the family.

It is entirely distrustful towards strangers, and its deep, loud growl could be sufficient enough to threaten the intruder away. They may even get physical with a stranger and resort to hurting him if the latter does not take the dog’s initial aggression as a warning sign.

Because of their territorial nature, they also do not get along well with other dogs especially those belonging to the same sex as well as cats. They are even not desirable for younger children who are more intent in patting or cuddling a dog. However, older kids who can handle a pet with maturity and control are better suited.



These alert and energetic dogs would do well with a moderate amount of exercise. Take them out on a brisk walk two or three times a day and give them adequate playtime in a fenced yard or at home to channelize their energy positively. Never take them out when the weather is warm as Chow Chow dogs are unable to withstand an intense amount of humidity and heat.


The rough, as well as smooth coated varieties, possess an abundant double coat requiring a biweekly brushing or combing. To brush the coat on its body use a medium sized pin brush while a slicker brush would be appropriate for its legs. Since a lot of hair is lost during the shedding seasons, i.e., spring and fall, you need to comb it on a daily basis at that time.  Trimming its nails, cleaning its eyes and ears with a damp cotton ball as well as brushing its teeth are the other grooming needs required to be adapted.

Health Problems

Though they are a healthy breed, some of the common issues they might face include hip dysplasia, entropion, lymphoma, glaucoma, diabetes mellitus, juvenile cataracts, and gastric cancer. Since they have a thick coat, the Chow Chow could be more prone to suffer from fleas.


Aggression is a common trait and a problem indeed in the Chow Chow which provokes them to resort to destructive behavior, making them deemed as a dangerous breed. Hence, it is essential to train it as early as possible, since its puppy days, so that it may be able to correct this adverse trait and be groomed into a disciplined and obedient dog. Be firm and tactful, make the sessions short and interesting, as well as provide it with a lot of positive reinforcements to yield positive results.

Socialization: As they are aggressive, socializing them is a mandate so that they may not bark or at or attack every stranger or dog that they see. Since the time you bring your Chow Chow puppies home, make sure you acquaint them to a host of experiences and also people having varying physical features. The more they get exposed to different kinds of situations, the easier it becomes for them to adjust comfortably with people.

Note: Even if you have socialized your Chow Chow, it is still needed to keep a watch on its behavior when interacting with kids, strangers or other dogs, to avoid any unpleasant occurrences.

Obedience: Commands such as “stay,” “stop,” “no,” is necessary to be taught since its puppyhood to keep a check on all the disciplinary issues.

Leash: Because of its hunting and chasing instincts leash training is a mandate.


Dry dog food of reputable brands devoid of any artificial colorings and flavors is needed to keep them in good health. While adding homemade food to their diet make sure it contains sufficient protein sources like poultry and fish, though an increased amount of it is to be avoided since Chow Chows find it difficult to digest it in large quantities.

Interesting Facts

  • Prominent celebrities like Sigmund Freud, Elvis Presley, Janet Jackson, and Martha Stewart owned Chow Chow dogs.

Chow Chow Dog and Biting Statistics

The Chow is said to be one of the top dogs when it comes to biting statistics. In fact, in between 1979 and 1998, 8 of the 238 deaths caused due to dog bites were attributed to the Chow Chow, as per a finding published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  

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