Canine Breed Spotlight: Chow Chow


The Chow Chow

Dog breed group: Non-sporting
Average lifespan: 9-13 years



The Chow Chow is one of the few ancient dog breeds still in existence today. They are believed to have originated in Mongolia and Northern China. The breed slowly made its way south with the nomadic tribes of Mongolia. In Mongolia the Chow Chow is referred to as Songshi Quan which means “puffy-lion dog”.  They were used as working and sporting dogs in China for many centuries. They were used for herding, pulling, protection and as scenting and pointing dogs for hunting.


Aloof and not very social or outgoing the Chow Chow makes for a quiet and attentive companion for their favorite person. They are a loyal, devoted and dignified breed, completely committed to their person or family. They are not quick to make friends with strangers and can show an aggressive streak to other dogs if not trained and socialized properly as a puppy. They are not a breed that enjoys a lot of attention and being fussed over, which can make them unsuitable for a family with young kids that want a dog to play with them all the time.

Is this breed right for you?

  • They need an experienced dog owner who has the time and devotion to properly train and socialize them.

  • The need to be brushed on a regular basis to keep their coat in good condition.

  • They have moderate exercise needs. They need daily walks, but are well suited to indoor and apartment living and tend to be couch potatoes.

  • Due to their history of being hunting and protection dogs, they can have an aggressive streak and may be holding on to some hunting instincts, it is recommended that the Chow Chow is kept away from cats and small dogs.


Health concerns

Both pure-bred and mixed-breed dogs have varying incidences of health problems that may be either influenced by genetics or environmental factors. Here are some health concerns that more commonly affect the Chow Chow.

Hip and elbow dysplasia is a congenital disorder where these joint sockets are abnormally loose. Dogs inherit the condition from their parents. Dysplasia will cause your dog to experience joint pain or laxity.

Entropion is a condition where the dog’s eyelid will roll inwards toward the eye, causing the lashes to rub against and irritate the cornea. This condition usually requires surgery to correct it.

Pemphigus Foliaceus is a common autoimmune skin disease with a higher occurrence rate in Chows. It typically causes hair loss, scabs, and ulcers around the head, face and ears.