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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Chow Chow


Chow Chow Facts

  • Group
  • Non Sporting
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 17" - 20"
  • Weight
  • 50-75 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Low - This breed requires little daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Difficult
  • Colors
    • Red
    • Fawn
    • Cream
    • Blue
    • Black
    • White / Cream
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Hunting heritage
    • Ok outdoors
    • Should sleep indoors
    • Tendency to bite

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

lang gou, xiong gou, chow


The Chow Chow was developed in China.

Date Of Origin

It is believed that the Chow Chow is more than 2,000 years old. Recently there was a bas-relief discovered from the Han dynasty (about 150 B.C.) that depicted a Chow Chow hunting.


Some experts believe that the Chow Chow is one of the founding breeds of dogs and is the parent breed for Samoyeds, Keeshonds, and several other similar breeds. Others claim that the Chow Chow is the result of a cross between the old mastiff of Tibet and the Samoyed. The theory is refuted because the Chow Chow has a black tongue where as the dogs it supposedly descended from do not. The importation of Chows into England began about 1880 and the breed started toward its present popularity after Queen Victoria took an interest in this "Wild Dog of China," as it was called when on display in the London Zoo. The first specialty club was formed in England in 1895. The breed was exhibited for the first time in the United States in 1890. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1903. The Chow Chow Club of America was admitted as an AKC member club in 1906.


The chow chow is a medium sized, sturdy dog. It has a square body and large, broad head with a short muzzle. It has prick ears with rounded tips and a scowling expression. The eyes are dark brown, almond shaped, and deeply set, giving the dog limited peripheral vision. Its tongue is bluish black and its nose is large and black, except in blue chows when it is slate colored. The tail is set high and curled over the back. It is double coated and the outer coat can be smooth or ruff. The smooth coat is short and dense. The ruff coat is longer and abundant. There is a ruff around the head and neck and the tail is plumed. It may be red, black, blue or cream.


The chow chow is a dignified and aloof dog. It is intelligent but can be detached and is especially reserved with strangers. It is loyal and protective with its family. With socialization and training it can be quite good with children but often does poorly with other animals.


The chow chow is a companion dog, adapted to tranquil people. It seems that thousands of years ago it was used for hunting.

Health Concerns

Anesthesia sensitivity, cancer, entropion, heat sensitivity, hip dysplasia, knee problems.

Additional Information

The name Chow-Chow has little basis for its origin in China; it is believed that the expression evolved from pidgin-English terms for knick-knacks brought over from the Orient in the 18th century.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

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