• Chow Chows Pets in the UK
  • Chow Chow Dog Breed
  • Chow Chow Dogs
  • Chow Chows in UK
  • Chow Chow Dog
  • Chow Chows
  • Chow Chow
  • Chow Chow Pet in the UK
  • Chow Chow Breed information
  • Chow Chow Breed
Exercise Level:
Barking Level:
Good with Children:
Good with other pets:
Height: 43 - 51cm M | 43 - 51cm F
Weight: 20 - 32kg M | 20 - 32kg F
Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 Years

Searching for a Chow Chow?


The Chow Chow is also known as Chow, Chowdren, and Chinese Chow Chow. It is an easily identifiable breed, thanks to its blue-black tongue and bear-like appearance and stilted gait. Chows are large built dogs belonging to the utility group.

The Chow Chow breed was developed in China and Mongolia and used as a guard and hunting dog. Boasting a muscular and a stocky body, this utility dog weighs 20–32 kg and stands 43–51 cm at the withers.

Although the Chow Chow has an adorable appearance and takes time warming up to strangers. When it comes to its family, the Chow is fiercely loyal and very affectionate.
Here is a brief background of the Chow Chow breed if you are interested in owning this cute bear-like dog.

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Genetic tests prove that the Chow Chow dog is an ancient dog breed 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.

The Chow Chow breed is an indispensable dog to the Chinese nobility. Chows were bred to guard homes and hunt deer. They were said to take down dangerous predators such as tigers and wolves. The Chow Chows can hunt alone and in packs. Sometimes their group is made up of a hundred dogs.

Unfortunately, the Chow dog’s usual prey became scarce. Thus, between the 1700s and 1800s, it shifted from hunting large animals to smaller ones such as pheasants, quails, and sable.

This large breed of dog is even believed to catch the fancy of a Tang Dynasty emperor around the 18th century. It is still up for debate if he kept 2,500 or 5,000 Chows in a kennel due to his love for the breed.

The Chow Chow dog breed was not exclusively for the Chinese nobles. The Chinese peasantry raised the breed for its meat and fur. They were forced to use the breed for survival when sources of protein and clothing became scarce when the Chinese population surged.

Some say that the dog's name sprung from this part of history. Chow Chow can mean either the Chinese word "chou", which means edible or food, or the Chinese phrase "ch'ao", which translates to fry or to cook.

Chow Chow dogs also have a history of being used as combatants in dog fights. Their facial wrinkles and loose skin are said to protect them from getting bitten by their opponents. These also prevent the vital areas of the neck from becoming damaged whilst Chows fight off other dogs.

Two coat type variations of the Chow Chow were created in China. How these dogs were developed is unclear. According to a few European reports the Chinese nobles prefer the rough-coated Chow whilst the Chinese peasants are favour the smooth-coated Chow more.

In 1780, the breed arrived in England thanks to an employee of the British East India Company, who brought two Chow Chows. Another theory states that the name Chow Chow was coined by British merchants, referring to miscellaneous items in Chinese cargo ships that included dogs, which eventually got stuck with the breed.

The Chow Chow breed gained more attention from dog fanciers after a pair of Chow Chows were imported to the London Zoo in 1828. These dogs were advertised as the "The Wild Dogs from China" and the "Chinese Black-Mouthed Dogs", which is due to their distinctive feature of having blue-black tongues.

Queen Victoria received a Chow as a gift in 1865, but the breed was promoted by Marchioness of Huntley in the UK. Between the queen’s reign from 1837 to 1901, the Chow Chow dog’s popularity greatly soared.

In 1894, the Chow Chow breed was recognised by the Kennel Club. The first Chow Chow breed club was formed in the UK in 1895.

Around the 1800s, the Chow breed reached the United States and was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1903. Chow dogs became a famous pet among the high society. President Calvin Coolidge and his wife kept red and black Chows named Timmy and Blackberry.

The renowned Sigmund Freud also fell in love with the Chow Chow. His beloved daughter Anna shared his affection for the breed too. She did not only care for Chow but also bred them. Martha Stewart also owned Chow Chows and they even appear on her shows.

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Appearance and Grooming

With the Chow’s unique bear-like appearance and a blue-black tongue, the Chow Chow is a large-sized dog that is hard to miss. Weighing 45–70 pounds and standing 43–51 centimetres, it is a muscular and powerful breed with a stocky body.

Chow Chow puppies reach their full height within eight months. However, their weight continues to bulk up until they reach two years of age.

The Chow Chow 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.

Do Chow Chows shed?

Chow Chows are heavy shedding dogs due to their thick fur. There are two types of Chow Chows according to their coats. The first is the rough coated, which has 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. Both varieties shed heavily twice a year, during which time the coat will come out in handfuls.

The second is the smooth-coated Chow, which has a shorter double coat with a hard, dense, and smooth outer coat with no ruff or feathering. It has long 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. Chow dogs with rough coats require daily brushing to keep their fur tangle and mat-free.

Smooth-coated Chows need once or twice a week of brushing. Regardless of the breed's coat type, brushing should be done more often during the spring and autumn when the Chow Chow sheds 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 ticks/fleas. When these aspects are neglected, your dog may be prone to preventable infections.

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Temperament and Intelligence

Although Chow Chow looks like a cute teddy bear, the Chow’s disposition is often compared to that of a cat. It tends to be reserved, independent, and aloof.

Although Chow Chows usually develop the strongest bond with only one person, usually the one that takes care of them, they are also loyal and loving to other family members.

The Chow thrives in any living conditions, including apartments as long as there is access to a fenced outdoor area.

The Chow Chow breed is not the best choice 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.

Chow dogs need to be handled and trained appropriately and taught their place in the pack. They are also best for families with one member staying at home as they cannot tolerate being left alone for long periods.

The Chow is wary of strangers, so owners should warn guests not to have any physical contact with the dog before being introduced. This breed of dog is protective but should never be aggressive.

The Chow dog is good with children that it is raised with, but it doesn’t tolerate too much rowdiness or abuse. Chows are more suitable for families with older children who are mature enough to understand this breed.

The Chow 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 can sometimes lead to dog fight. To curb some of its dominant tendencies, early socialisation and training are necessary.

Chow Chow s are naturally intelligent, but as previously mentioned, they can be stubborn, so training will be more challenging. As long as they know their place in the pack and they understand why they are asked to do something, they will oblige.

In fact, the Chow dog is easy to house-train since it has cat-like cleanliness which is the same as the Akita.

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Nutrition and Feeding

The recommended serving for an adult Chow Chow is 2–2 3/4 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. Its amount highly depends on its age, build, activity level, size, and metabolism.

Below is the general calorie needs of an adult dog per day:

  • Senior and less active: up to 1,300 calories daily
  • Typical adult Chow Chow: up to 1,400 calories daily
  • Physically active/working dog: up to 1,600 calories daily

Breed experts believe that the Chow Chow should be nourished close to its natural diet as it was exposed to a very diverse environment in China and Mongolia.

The Chow Chow 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.

Chow dogs need less protein because it can lead to kidney disorders. Instead, their diet should be mainly composed of oats, brown rice, chickpeas, lentils, and other vegetables.

Their source of meat should come from lamb or other lean meat like chicken and turkey. They also need healthy fats ideally from fish to maintain their beautiful thick coat.

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Health and Exercise

A healthy and well-cared-for Chow Chow can live between 12 - 15 years. The breed is prone to several hereditary health issues, and whilst your dog may not develop these diseases, they are still worth knowing. Chows are predisposed to certain health problems including:

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

Another term for GDV is canine stomach bloat. It is a very prevalent condition in Chow dogs due to their deep chests, large size, and overbreeding. When a Chow Chow has bloat, its stomach is filled with liquid or gas and as a result, its digestive tract gets twisted.

Bloat is a condition that needs immediate vet care as it can quickly turn fatal. It causes breathing problems, internal damage, and prevents proper blood flow to the heart. The best way to treat GDV is via surgery.

Precautionary measures you can apply on your Chow are splitting its meals into smaller portions and providing fresh water at all times. Some vets advise prophylactic gastropexy surgery to lessen the risk of dog bloat.

Orthopaedic Problems

Chows are highly in danger of developing bone and joint disorders because of their large size. Elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia are common in the breed. So are luxating patella and cruciate ligaments. These conditions are always very painful for dogs and may even occur in Chow Chow puppies.

Treatment for orthopaedic problems include medications, supplements, and sometimes surgery for severe cases. Avoid overexercising your Chow puppy and mind what surfaces he runs and plays on too.

Hard surfaces and pavements can put pressure on the joints and lead them to deteriorate quickly. Be sure to bring your pup to the vet for routine health check-ups as well.


The Chow Chow's deep-set eyes are prone to an eyelid deformity called entropion. It causes the eyelids to turn inwards so that the eyelashes end up frequently rubbing the eye’s surface. A Chow with entropion will suffer from eye irritation, pain, and discomfort. This eye disorder can be reversed through surgical correction.

The Chow Chow is not a high-energy breed, but it needs a decent amount of exercise to be a well-rounded dog. At least forty minutes of physically and mentally stimulating activities will suffice. It loves being outdoors, but make sure that the fencing is secure and that it does not go out in hot temperatures. Because of its thick coat, it can easily overheat.

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Cost of Ownership

How much is a Chow Chow?

If you are interested to buy a Chow Chow puppy, be ready to spend £2,500 - £3,500 for a well-bred pedigree Chow Chow puppy from reputable breeders from the Kennel Club assured breeders scheme. You can also adopt a Chow Chow dog from animal shelters and rescues.

Feeding your Chow Chow high-quality dog food can set you back another £50 a month. Good nutrition is important in maintaining your dog's health and minimising visits to the vet.

You also need to factor in the basic accessories and equipment that can cost up to £200 initially. These include bowls, collar and leads, bed, grooming kit, and toys.

Routine checks with the vet and preventive care, including neutering and spaying, can cost £1000 annually. This does not include major treatments and confinement in case of health emergencies. Getting a pet insurance is recommended. It will cover veterinary bills for illnesses or in case your dog gets into an accident.

The cost for basic coverage is normally £40 per month and £100-£150 per month for lifetime coverage. These prices also depend on several factors such as your location and your dog's health and age at the time of acquiring a policy. On average, caring, and raising a Chow Chow can cost £120 a month.

Chow Chow Breed Highlights

  • The Chow Chow is a large dog that can live in an apartment setting as long as there is access to a fenced yard or garden.
  • This breed develops a bond with family but can be aloof and wary of strangers.
  • The Chow an intelligent breed, but it is stubborn by nature.
  • The Chow Chow has a thick, high-maintenance coat.
  • The Chow is suitable for experienced owners and families with older children.
Chow Chow

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The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page is provided for general reference purposes only.

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