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The Chow Chow is an easily identifiable breed thanks to its bluish black tongue and bearlike appearance. It was developed in China and Mongolia and used as a hunting and guard dog. Boasting of a muscular and a stocky body, it weighs 45 to 70 pounds and stands 43 to 51 centimetres at the withers. This breed may have an adorable appearance but it cannot be easily approached or touched by strangers.
Here is a brief background of the Chow Chow if you are interested owning this cute, yet stocky bearlike dog.
Genetic tests prove that the Chow Chow is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, which originated in China and Mongolia. Similar-looking dogs were depicted in old paintings and pottery from the Han Dynasty, dating back to 206 BC to 22 AD. Aside from being used as hunting and guard dogs, their meat was unfortunately considered a delicacy. It had different Chinese names that translated to black-tongue dog, bear dog, wolf dog, and Canton dog.
The Chow only arrived in Europe in the 18th century because China closed their borders prior to this time. The name Chow Chow was coined by British merchants, referring to miscellaneous items in cargo ships that included dogs, which term eventually stuck with the breed. Queen Victoria received a Chow as a gift in 1865 but the breed was promoted by Marchioness of Huntley in the UK. The first Chow Chow Club was formed in the UK in 1895. Among the most popular dog breeds in the world, it is registered with The Kennel Club under the Pastoral group.
With its unique bearlike appearance and bluish black tongue, the Chow Chow is a large dog that is hard to miss. Weighing 45 to 70 pounds and standing 43 to 51 centimetres, it is a muscular and powerful breed with a stocky body. It has a large head, moderately long muzzle, strong jaws with a perfect scissor bite, oval-shaped dark eyes, and slightly small ears that are set wide apart. Its wide and large nose is usually black but it can be lighter or self-coloured, depending on its coat colour.
There are two types of Chow Chows according to their coats. The first is the rough-coated, which has a thick, dense and abundant straight hair that stands off from the body. The hair is thicker around the head and neck, which forms a ruff and mane. It also has a soft, thick and woolly undercoat. The second is the smooth-coated, which has a shorter double coat with a hard, dense and smooth outer coat with no ruff or feathering. It has longer hairs on the ears, body, legs, tail, and body. According to KC standards, both types come in black, blue, red, fawn, white, and cream. With its thick coat, the Chow has high grooming requirements. It needs to be brushed at least three times a week, and more frequently during the spring and autumn when they shed heavily. Brushing also lessens the chances of having that doggy smell. It is important to use the right tools such as a medium-coarse brush for the body, a pin brush for the longer sections and a slick brush for the legs. Always use a conditioner when brushing to avoid breakage.
Other basic grooming elements are regular tooth brushing, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and skin inspection for bumps and fleas. When these aspects are neglected, your dog may be prone to preventable infections.
Although it looks like a cute teddy bear that you just would like to hug all day, the Chow’s disposition is often compared to a cat’s. It tends to be reserved, independent and aloof. Although Chows usually develop the strongest bond with only one person, usually the one that takes care of them, they are loyal and loving to other family members. They thrive in any living conditions, including apartments as long as there is access to a fenced yard.
The breed is not suggested for first-time owners because of its stubborn nature. An experienced dog owner that could take on the alpha role would be better for the Chow. The breed needs to be handled and trained appropriately and taught its place in the pack. It is also best for families with one member staying at home as it cannot tolerate being left alone for long periods.
The Chow is wary of strangers so it is best for owners to warn their guests not to have any physical contact with the dog before being introduced. This dog breed is protective but should never be aggressive. When it comes to children, it does well with kids it is raised with but as an arrogant dog, it doesn’t tolerate too much rowdiness or abuse. It is more suitable for families with older children who are mature enough to understand this breed. The Chow does get along with other dogs in the same household. Introducing it to other pets can get quite tricky especially to dogs of the same sex, which cans sometimes lead to fighting. To curb some of its dominant tendencies, early socialisation and training are necessary.
Chow Chows are naturally intelligent but as previously mentioned, it can be stubborn so training will be more challenging. That being said, as long as it knows its place in the pack and it understands why it is asked to do something, it will oblige. In fact, it is easy to house train especially that it is an extremely clean dog.
A typical serving for an adult Chow Chow is 2 to 2 3/4 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. The amount of food you provide for your dog highly depends on its age, activity level and metabolism.
Typical calorie needs of adult Chow Chows per day:
Breed experts believe that Chows should be nourished close to its natural diet as they were exposed to a very diverse environment in China and Mongolia. This breed was often fed with diverse yet simple and healthy food. That being said, it is wrong to assume that all dogs need a significant amount of protein. The Chow actually needs less protein because it can lead to kidney disorders. Instead, its diet should mainly be composed of oats, brown rice, chickpeas, lentils, and other vegetables. Its source of meat should come from lamb or other lean meat like chicken and turkey. Of course, it needs healthy fats from fish to maintain its beautiful thick coat.
If you are interested to purchase a Chow Chow, it is a good idea to know about the financial setbacks that come with it so you can be prepared. The price of buying a well-bred pedigree puppy starts at £800. As a rough estimate, the average cost of caring for this breed is around £120 to £180 a month. The total monthly costs depend on several factors like the type of insurance you choose and for this breed, insurance is expensive (starting price of coverage is £50 a month).
The initial cost of basic equipment composed of a bed, grooming kit, bed, leash/collar, and toys can be around £200. Food expenses are around £50 a month, while costs for veterinary routine check-ups and preventive care can go as high as £1,000 annually. This does not include major treatments and confinement in case of health emergencies.
Healthy and well cared for Chow Chows can live up to 15 years. The breed is prone to quite a number of hereditary health issues and while they may not develop any or all of them, they are still worth knowing. They can develop skin problems like hot spots or Eczema and VHK-like syndrome or Uveo Dermatological UV syndrome. You also have to be cautious of Entropion and other eye issues, bloat, heatstroke, breathing problems, Alopecia X, Cruciate ligament, Hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, Cushing's disease, Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, Phemghigus foliaceus, Hip Dysplasia, and Elbow Dysplasia.
Chow Chows are a not high energy breed but they need a decent amount of exercise to be well rounded dogs. At least 40 minutes of physically and mentally stimulating activities will suffice. They love being outdoors but makes sure the fencing is secure and that they do not go out in hot temperatures. Because of their thick coat, they easily overheat.
Are you sure the Chow Chow is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
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