Chow Chow Dog Breed Profile

All About the Chow

Chow Chows (Canis lupus familiaris) in garden setting, UK
Nick Ridley/Oxford Scientific/Getty Images




The Chow Chow is a native of China and among the most ancient of all dog breeds, dating back as early as 206 B.C. Though today's Chow is a member of the non-sporting group, the breed was actually used for hunting over 2000 years ago.

This breed was called by several names in China, none of which were "Chow Chow." In the late 1700s, English merchants brought miscellaneous cargo from the far east that they called "chow chow." Because the dogs were sometimes a part of that cargo, the name eventually caught on.

Chows were brought to the US in the late 1800s and were officially recognized by the AKC in 1903.


40-70 pounds

Coats & Colors

Coats: rough or smooth
Colors: black, blue, cinnamon, cream, red

Health Problems

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

About the Breed:

The Chow Chow is a stoic and independent dog breed that is known for its bear-like appearance and blue-black tongue. Though the breed sometimes has a reputation for being aggressive, most Chows are loyal, calm dogs that make excellent companions.

The Chow Chow is a medium to large-sized dog with that may have a rough or smooth coat.

Rough-coated Chows have a soft, wooly undercoat and a medium-length topcoat that is straight, dense, coarse and very full. They have longer hairs (feathering) on the legs and tail, and a thick, long "mane" around the head and neck. Smooth Chows also have a double coat, but it is much shorter. regardless of coat, routine basic grooming is essential.

However, the rough coat variety will need much more maintenance to avoid tangles and matting. Chows shed seasonally at a very high rate, and extra maintenance is necessary at these times.

The Chow is an intelligent, independent and sometimes aloof dog that tends to have a dominant and protective nature. This breed needs an assertive owner who will provide discipline, socialization and a solid foundation of obedience training. Poorly trained Chows might act territorial and unfriendly, which unfortunately perpetuates the stereotype that they are aggressive by nature. Your Chow needs to know that you are the boss in the household. While not overly active dogs, Chows still need routine exercise to stay healthy and happy.

The Chow Chow is definitely not the right breed for everyone, but can be an excellent addition to the right home. This breed can work out well as a watchdog or guard dog. The Chow tends to be a one-person dog, focusing its loyalties on the main owner. However, with proper training and socialization, the breed can get along with all family members - including children, though a home with older kids will be a better fit. This beautiful, loyal and smart dog breed is beloved by many and can be a lovely companion.​