Group: Non-Sporting group.
Purpose of Breed: Guard dog and pulling carts.
Country of Origin: China
Average Size: Chow Chows average 18 - 22 inches tall and weigh 45-75 pounds.
Color(s): The Chow Chow comes in five different colors: red (light golden to deep mahogany), black, blue, cinnamon (light fawn to deep cinnamon) and cream.
Coat Type: Chow Chows have either a rough or smooth coat. The rough coat is most common and has a longer and coarser outer coat. The smooth coat has a shorter and sleeker outer coat. Both types are double-coated and have a dense, woolly undercoat..
Grooming: This breed is susceptible to eczema, so the coat requires regular grooming-especially the mane around the collar. Extra brushing is needed during shedding season and standard care should be exercised for ears, pads and nails. The eye should be monitored closely for signs of trouble.
Exercise Needs: Chow Chows need lots of daily exercise and attention to maintain a healthy mental and physical state. This dog has a highly independent nature and should live in a house with a fenced yard.
Temperament: This breed is intelligent, independent and tends to be extremely loyal to only a few people. This breed is not easily dominated and if not properly trained, the Chow Chow can be unfriendly toward people and very aggressive toward other dogs. The owner of a Chow Chow needs to be a consistently calm and assertive leader. Chows are best acquired as puppies and need to be raised with a loving and patient, but firm, hand.
Common Ailments: Highly susceptible to eye disorders, skin disorders and also prone to hip dysplasia.
Life Expectancy: Averages 8-12 years.
Trivia: Martha Stewart owns Chow Chows and often featured them on her show.
More Information: Chow Chow Club, Inc.
Your descripiton of temperament of a chow chow was right on the mark. My ex-husband had a one and it was loyal only to him and his wife. When my children went to visit he had to put the dog in the backyard for the entire visit. He was vicious. And I know that he was never abused. It was just his way. And I don't mean to imply that they are all like that. That was my only experience with a chow chow. I believe obedience training at an early age is a must with this breed. Especially if you have young children.
In reading about the Chow's temperament & the post by nana6x it would appear that this cuddly looking breed is not really suitable for households with children. Some animals are just naturally more suitable for adults only households. You just can't be too safe when it comes to the interaction of child & dog. It was wise of the man with the pet Chow to keep the dog separated from the children for the duration of their visit. All too often people view & value their pets the same as children. They don't want to hear or think that their dog might have aggressive tendencies, even if only in certain situations. Many times children (the real human variety) end up getting hurt, severely & permanently even if "only" emotionally. This results in the dog being labeled vicious & often forcibly put down. Both of these tragedies can be avoided or lessened by the careful supervision & separation if necessary of children & dogs. This applies to any other animal as well. To truly love pet animals you must be a responsible owner & have the realization that these beautiful creatures can have some tendencies toward aggression. They can also be the best of companions & friends. A responsible owner would never allow their pet to be placed in a situation where such an incident might occur, or ignore the warning signs that are present.
I raised 2 chows one died suddenly when my daughter was about 2, the other lived until she was about 7, my son was 5 & my youngest son 2. We had our chows around LOTS of people when they were pups & they were great with my kids - & other kids who came over. Just to be safe I would put them up to ease the minds of other kids' parents. Plus I taught my kids not to walk up to strange dogs because you just never know how they may react. Any dog can inflict injury....I know a lot more mean LITTLE dogs than big ones! Chows (& Rotties) tend to get a bad rap. You just need to train your dogs to not be aggressive when they are little. We have a 2 yr old Golden mix & a 1 year old Rotty (both sweet great dogs!). We would like another Chow one day, but here we don't see many in the paper anymore.
Jackie in Tennessee
I had a chow/collie mix that a friend gave me. He was 1-1/2 yrs old. He had bitten two kids and was wanted by the police. I took him and we had our problems. Whenever the door bell rang he'd run to the door and wouldn't let me answer it-instead he tried to bite me! I took him to my vet because I thought if I neutered him he'd stop the aggressive behavior. No such luck so my Vet gave me the phone number to a dog trainer. The trainer wanted $1,000 with no guarantees, she said I really should put him down! I told her I'd pull all his teeth before I did that. She said I'd have to make special food for him - I already was doing that.
Two weeks later I was talking to my tenant in the basement when the dog came & stood between us. I didn't want him to do that so I pushed him aside. Again he came & stood between us but when I started to push him aside again he reared up and bit me in my upper arm-OUCH!!! He fell to the ground and started to come back at me. Luckily my tenant was holding the TV remote control in his had and whacked the dog over his head with it. Dazed the dog ran & hid under a computer table. I ran & got a broom and started wrapping on the top of the table with it while screaming NO over & over. He started shaking so bad I thought he'd shake himself out of his coat. I never hit him with the broom. Finally I left him alone to think about it.
A week later he started to act up again. All I had to say was "Where's my broom" and he'd run for cover. I'd leave him alone because he was in his "safe spot." Sometimes when he'd get aggressive I'd distract him a cookie and he'd forget all about being aggressive. 6 Months later for his Vet checkup I told the Vet what happened. He said: "you saved this dogs life!" I guess I did. It's all about learning what triggers your dog and how to handle it. He was the best dog I ever had and once he learned that I was the Alpha dog in the house he actually looked relieved. I should add that he ended up being a great dog with kids too.
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