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Chow Chow

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Physical Characteristics


Breed Group:

Non-sporting; utility


Approximately 45 – 70 pounds (20 – 32 kg)


Around 18 – 22 inches (46 – 56 cm)


The most common colors include red, black, blue, cinnamon, and cream.


The Chow Chow has dense, puffy coat that comes in smooth and rough varieties.



Chow chows can be stubborn, and they certainly have a mind of their own. While they are intelligent, they do not necessarily obey commands and can be hard to train; therefore, they are not usually recommended for beginners. Proper training and early socialization are important for this breed; a well-trained Chow Chow can be a loving, loyal companion despite their independent nature.

Country of Origin:



Chow Chow is one of the most ancient dog breeds. In China, they have been bred as general purpose working dogs for thousands of years. They were first introduced to Europe onboard merchant ships in the 1800s.


Their Chinese name, “song shi,” literally means “puffy lion.” The name Chow Chow came from a pidgin English word meaning “miscellaneous merchandise” on merchant ships when they were first shipped to England. They are also affectionately known as Chow.


The Chow Chow is sometimes described as “cat-like.” They are reserved with strangers, and can become aggressive if the stranger forces affection on them. This tendency means that they are often one-person dogs; however, it is possible for them to be family pets if properly trained. A well-trained Chow should be calm, patient, and confident. They tend to be protective with their owners and their homes, so they can be excellent watchdogs.



Firm training and early socialization are required for this breed. If not properly trained, their tendency to express dominance will prompt them to take over as the “top dog.” They do not do well in obedience training, therefore it is difficult to teach them to do “tricks.” However, their disobedience is not a lack of intelligence, and they can certainly learn if they can see the purpose of the commands.


Chows are not particularly active, and can be quite lazy indoors. Owners should take initiative to make sure they exercise regularly to keep them fit.


The strong personality of the Chow Chow demands an equally strong personality in the owner. Patience and consistency is a must with Chows. They can be great apartment dogs since they are quite content indoors, however regular exercise is still needed.


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