Chow Chow

Canis lupus

Last updated: September 23, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit Arne J. Enggrav/Shutterstock.com

The Chow Chow's lineage is hundred of years old.

Chow Chow Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Chow Chow Conservation Status

Chow Chow Locations

Chow Chow Locations

Chow Chow Facts

Fun Fact
The Chow Chow's lineage is hundred of years old.
Most Distinctive Feature
The adult Cho Chow have a blue tongue
Temperament
Not sociable or outgoing, sometimes aggressive, and often suspicious of strangers
Diet
Omnivore
Common Name
Chow Chow
Slogan
Loyal and affectionate to it's family!
Group
North

Chow Chow Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Fawn
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Cream
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
9-15 years
Weight
32kg (70lbs)

Chow Chow as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
High
Separation Anxiety
Low
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Low
Friendly With Other Dogs
Poor
Pure bred cost to own
$900
Dog group
Non-sporting
Male weight
45-70 lbs
Female weight
43-60 lbs

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View all of the Chow Chow images!



The Chow Chows are known to be all-purpose and come from ancient China.

They are short but muscular and have deep-chests, which may be part of the reason that they became working dogs.

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They are usually about 20 inches at the shoulders and have a reputation for being the cleanest of canines. Though they may have a slight aroma to them, they are known to be as fastidious as cats. Chow Chows have a double coat come in different colors like red, blue, black, cream, and fawn.

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Think You Can?

Chow Chows are unique animals, even though they look like the quintessential house pet. These dogs go by the scientific name Canis lupus familiaris, and their lineage is hundreds of years old. While most sources indicate that they come from ancient China, their actual origins aren’t clear.

The Chinese people used these dogs as working dogs, due to their strength and stocky build. However, they have since become beloved pets for many families.



Thes dogs has 44 teeth, while most other animals have 42 teeth. They also have quite a wide array of colors on their coat, including red, black, and blue.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Chow Chow

Pros!Cons!
Good watchdogs: Despite their tiny size and classification, these dogs make great watchdogs and are acutely aware of their surroundings.Aggressive: These dogs can display aggressive behaviors sometimes and can get overly suspicious of strangers.
Calm and confident: If you are looking for a stern breed, this might be the perfect choice for you.Decision-makers: These dogs have minds of their own. Therefore, any interference in their decisions could lead to troublesome behaviors.
Mannerly at home: These dogs do not create a lot of fuss at home, so they won’t turn your home into absolute chaos.Grooming: They need regular grooming so if you are not looking for a high maintenance animal, this might not be a good choice for you.

Chow Chow Size and Weight

With a UKC classification as a “non-sporting” breed, these dogs have a relatively small size. Don’t let the fluffy fur fool you – they are just as firm and sturdy as they are small. While males are about 17 to 20 inches, females call somewhere in the middle at 18 inches. Males are heavier than females at 45 to 70 lbs. Females, however, only reach a maximum size of 44 to 60 lbs. at their adult size.

Height (Male)17-20” tall
Height (Female)18” tall
Weight (male)45-70 lbs., fully grown
Weight (female)44-60 lbs., fully grown

Chow Chow Common Health Issues

Like every other dog, the Chow Chows (scientific name: Canis lupus familiaris) has its own set of problems that are consistent with small dogs. One of the biggest issues that this dog breed faces is both hip and elbow dysplasia. This condition is a congenital issue for the breed and simply means that the joints of the elbows and hips are not properly aligned.

Cruciate ligament disease is another issue among these dogs. The joint of the knee becomes unstable, leading to twisting and slipping at the joint, which is incredibly painful. This dog will show their pain by walking on only three of their four legs, limping carefully.

There is a bloating condition called gastric dilation volvulus that is common amongst these dogs as well. Gastric dilation volvulus can be fatal, and it mostly impacts dogs with a deep chest (which is typical of the them). As the stomach bloats, some cases never make any progression. However, the bloating can cause it to twist.

Entropion is another eye-related disease that these dogs suffer from. Also common in English bulldogs, it is caused by the eyelid rolling towards the inside of the eye, leading the hairs along the eyelid to rub against the cornea and cause severe pain.

Therefore, the health problems that these dogs suffer from are:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Cruciate ligament disease
  • Gastric dilation volvulus
  • Entropion

Chow Chow Temperament

Whether a purebred or a mix, these dogs are not known to be very social dogs and are also not very outgoing. Their temperament is such that they can get very suspicious of strangers and can often get very aggressive with other dogs.

For them to be comfortable around other dogs, they must be introduced to socializing concepts very early on in life. Though this disposition is what makes them protective watchdogs, families with other pets may need to put in extra work to train them to be civil.

They can also often cause chaos with their alarm barking that needs to be controlled. These dogs are intelligent but are also high-headed and stubborn. They need a patient and stern owner and trainer. They are known to be very protective of their owner families and can often turn dominant if not taught their position in the families. They can sometimes be obedient in the right direction.

How to Take Care of a Chow Chow

Owning a Chow Chow can take a lot of work in grooming, but their diets are fairly easy to keep up with. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind about taking care of your dog.

The Best Dog Food for Chow Chows

These dogs from ancient China often eat a diet full of grains and vegetables. You could occasionally supplement their diets with fish and soy. However, you need to go easy with the levels of proteins in their diets as high protein levels could lead to skin problems in these dogs. Still, they love a mix of dry foods and wet foods alike, so the only concern is that their food has minimal grains, since the breed may have allergies to these foods.

The puppies need to be given the same diet. However, you will have to feed the pups in smaller quantities at shorter intervals as their small stomachs are usually not able to digest too much food at once.

As a dog that’s susceptible to gastric dilation/bloat, use caution while feeding your Chow Chow, and always monitor feeding to ensure small enough portion sizes. Perhaps you’ll want to look for a sensitive stomach dog food that’s easy for Chow Chows to digest.

An excellent option for Chow Chows is Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Sensitive Skin & Stomach with Probiotics.

Not only does this protein-rich dog food offer EPA, omegas, and glucosamine to protect a Chow Chow’s joints, but it also contains probiotics for smoother digestion. This dog food uses salmon as a healthy source of high-quality protein that will keep Chow Chows full and reduce overeating.

Check Chewy or Amazon for this product.

Chow Chow Maintenance and Grooming

These dogs are known to be fairly high maintenance and need brushing every day. Their coats need very regular brushing. They have a double coat, and it may take quite a while to remove the hair that they shed. Luckily, most groomers are quite caring and gentle with the breed.

They can be bathed every week. However, you should not wait more than six weeks to bathe them, as they will have a terrible odor about them.

Chow Chow Training

Training these dogs is not at all an easy job, regardless of any mix of breeds. They have hunting traits and can often be aggressive and predatory towards other pets and animals in general, and these inclinations are hard to rid them of.

They are also very independent and are high-headed, which means that these dogs cannot be forced into anything at all. They would either completely shut down or show retaliating behavior if you try to train them under harsh conditions or with punishments. The best training techniques will need to involve encouragement with positive reinforcement.

Chow Chow Exercise

Every canine needs to have regular exercise to support a healthy weight and to regulate the release of mood-balancing hormones. This movement prevents them from becoming restless. However, they don’t like to be out too much – just a couple of walks a day might be everything that they need.
Their bodies are meant to be thicker, and most pups are ready to go inside within about 15 minutes. If you can get them to stay out a little longer, it is possible to get away with one walk that lasts a little longer each day.

Chow Chow Puppies

Chow chow puppy

BIGANDT.COM/Shutterstock.com

The puppy has a double coat early on, and they will need to be trained to socialize very early on in life so that they become sociable adults. The puppy will need to be fed in small amounts after shorter intervals because their small stomachs cannot digest a lot of food at one go. These frequent meals will likely last until the puppy reaches a year old.

Chow Chows and Children

If these dogs are taught how to be around children, they would be great with them. However, they are not very patient around children and would not take abuse from young children. They are great with families with children who know how to treat these dogs right.

For families that want to adopt one of these dogs, be sure to have a conversation with the children in the household about proper behavior to avoid any unfortunate accidents.

Dogs Similar to Chow Chows

As beautiful and sassy as a Chow Chow might be, this dog isn’t the right pet for every person. Here are some alternative breeds that may suit potential owners well.

  • Tibetan Mastiff: Much like the Chow Chow, Tibetan Mastiffs are also aggressive and headstrong. They are much larger than a Chow Chow in weight, but only a little taller.
  • Alaskan Malamute: Alaskan Malamutes are intelligent and are also highly social, making them a great pet for families that often interact with other people. They are incredible watchdogs but need much more space than an apartment to thrive.
  • Keeshond: Keeshonds are known to be very loyal and friendly towards their owners and have a highly affectionate nature. However, they are much more friendly to strangers, so they may not be the right watchdog for someone.

Famous Chow Chows

Several celebrities own these dogs. Some of them include Martha Stewart, President Calvin Coolidge, and Elvis Presley, and his girlfriend Linda Thompson. Famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud also owned one of them.

Some of the popular names for Chow Chows are:

  • Lucky
  • Chance
  • Daisy
  • Sparky
  • Bow-Wow

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AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Chow Chow FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does a Chow Chow cost to own?

These dogs usually cost about $900. Additional costs can come up to $700 to $1000 per year.

Is a Chow Chow good with kids?

If trained properly, the Chow Chow can be great with kids. However, they are not very patient around the children of the family – especially very young children.

How long does a Chow Chow live?

The lifespan of Chow Chows is usually 9 to 15 years.

Are Chow Chows aggressive?

Chow Chows can sometimes present aggressive behaviors towards other pets and animals in general.

Are Chow Chows good family dogs?

If trained how to live with the family, they can be great family pets.

What colors are Chow Chows?

They come in a variety of colors including black, fawn, cream, red and blue.

Are Chow Chows herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Chow Chows are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Chow Chows belong to?

Chow Chows belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Chow Chows belong to?

Chow Chows belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to Chow Chows belong to?

Chow Chows belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Chow Chows belong to?

Chow Chows belong to the family Canidae.

What order do Chow Chows belong to?

Chow Chows belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do Chow Chows belong to?

Chow Chows belong to the genus Canis.

What type of covering do Chow Chows have?

Chow Chows are covered in Hair.

What is an interesting fact about Chow Chows?

Chow Chows are loyal and affectionate to their families!

What is the scientific name for the Chow Chow?

The scientific name for the Chow Chow is Canis lupus.

What are the key differences between the Samoyed and Chow Chow?

The key differences between the Samoyed and Chow Chow are appearance, lifespan, temperament, energy levels, trainability, barking levels, and health.

Sources
  1. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chow_Chow
  2. Mental Floss, Available here: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/74605/11-fluffy-facts-about-chow-chows
  3. Cuteness, Available here: https://www.cuteness.com/article/diet-chow-chow
  4. Dogtime, Available here: https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/chow-chow#/slide/1
  5. Your Pure Bred Puppy, Available here: https://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/chowchows.html
  6. Hill's Pet, Available here: https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/dog-breeds/chow-chow
  7. PDSA, Available here: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/medium-dogs/chow-chow#contents-link-1
  8. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/chow-chow/

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