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Chow Chow

The Chow Chow’s structure is very similar to that of the oldest fossilized dog remains dating to back several millions of years ago. Popular in China for thousands of years the Chow was used for many things: cart pulling, boat guards and hunting. The fur from Chow’s was used to trim coats and their flesh was considered a delicacy! The Chow has been depicted on pottery and sculpture dating back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC until 22 AD)

Some historians believe the Chow Chow may have originated in the Arctic Circle, being their coats are so thick and dense. Although the true origins are not known, the popular theory is that the Chow Chow is a cross of the Tibetan Mastiff and the SamoyedFirst brought to England by merchants in the late 1800s, it is believed the breed got its name “Chow Chow” from the Pidgin English term used to describe articles from the oriental empire during the latter part of the 19th century. The hold was where all the miscellaneous things were held and was called the Chow Chow. The first Chow to appear in England in the 1830s was known as the Chow Chow dog because he was held in the hold for the duration of the voyage. The Chow Chow was presented to the London Zoo as the “Wild Dog of China”. After Queen Victoria became interested, the breed’s popularity quickly took off. The breed was first exhibited in the U.S. in 1890, was recognized by the AKC in 1903 and admitted to the AKC in 1906.

Seldom seen in China today, the Chow we have become used to seeing is more of a product of American and English influence than the ancient Chow Chow of China. Today’s Chow is a family dog, excelling in being a guard and watch dog. Often a one person dog he is reserved and aloof breed that is very dominant and can be a handful, but also a loyal and protective dog to his owner.

The Chow comes in many colors: Red, Tan, Cream, Blue, Black, Gray, and rarely, White.

Height: average about 20 in.

Weight: average about 70 Lbs.

Size: Medium

Lives About 15 yrs.


  • Ok for apartment if exercised properly
  • Relatively inactive indoors
  • Great guard and watchdog
  • Generally good with other pets
  • Very versatile and intelligent


  • Extensive grooming needed
  • Seasonably heavy shedder
  • Prefers cooler climates can become “snappy” if overheated
  • Not recommended for novice owners
  • Likes to bark
  • Very wary of strangers
  • Slightly difficult to train
  • Very dominant

Chow Chow dog

  • Needs people a lot
  • Best with older children
  • Tends to be fairly dog aggressive

Prone to:

  • Hip Dysplasia and eye defects



Roger L. Welton, DVM

Founder and Chief Editor,

President, Maybeck Animal Hospital


Article updated 9/17/2012

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