Chow Chow or Chow as they are popularly known are one of the most beautiful and admired dogs in the world and are considered a bona fide head turner. Chow Chow as a breed originated in Northern China where they have been known as Songshi Quan which in literal translation means “puffy lion dog”. On first glance, the dog looks like a cross between a lion and a bear as it has a beautiful mane of fur around its head and the facial features resemble that of a bear. Even though they look extremely cute and cuddly, Chow Chow have a history of aggression especially if they have not been socialised from an early age.Chowdren, due to their aggressive past, have been ranked as one of America’s most dangerous dog breeds and that many insurance companies in the US refuse to give policy covers to owners who have a Chow Chow as a pet. Sigmund Freud owned a Chow Chow who was known to accompany him in all the therapy sessions that he took as the dog helped Freud get a better perspective on the mental state of the subject. Famous personalities such as Elvis Presley and Martha Stewart have been the proud owners of a Chow Chow.If you are a proud owner of this majestic breed or if you are planning to get one as a family pet, you are making a wise decision. We bring to you all the aspects that you will have to keep in mind before getting a Chow Chow so that you are able to provide an environment that develops a healthy dog and a long lasting companionship.History
According to many historians and experts, it is speculated that a Chow Chow is one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world and that the breed originated in China almost 2000 years ago. In various excavation sites across China and Mongolia, there are depictions of Chow Chow in pottery and paintings from the Han dynasty. Several Chinese emperors are known to have kept Chow Chows for hunting, pulling the sleds and guarding the gates of their palaces. In dog meat eating regions, the meat of a Chow Chow was considered a delicacy. Chow Chows gained more popularity when British Naturalist Gilbert White described a Chow Chow in his book. Queen Victoria took an interest in the breed and it led to the increase of it popularity. Takya was the first Chow Chow to make an appearance at an American dog show while it was in 1903 that the American kennel Club recognised Chow Chow as a breed. In present times, a Chow Chow ranks 64th in the popularity scale amongst 155 breeds that are recognised by the AKC.Unique Aspects
One of the most unique aspects of a Chow Chow is its black and blue tongue. If you are a novice owner, you will have to be prepared to see a Chow Chow puppy’s pink tongue turn blue black as they grow up. Ancient folklore suggests that the Lords above were pleased of the hard work that a Chow Chow put when with their owners and so they blessed him. As the Chow Chow raised its head, it tasted the blue sky and so the colour of the tongue. Another unique feature of the Chow Chow is its straight hind legs which can swing back and forth like a pendulum. Also unlike other dogs, a Chow Chow has a denture of 44 teeth as compared to other breeds which have 42 teeth.
One of the most celebrated Chows Chows that has helped a lot of people overcome problems will be Zovey, Sigmund Freud’s Chow Chow who accompanied him in his therapy sessions as well. He believed that Zovey helped him to assess the patient’s mental state efficiently.
Sadly, we could not find any movies featuring this cuddly breed. Though stay tuned for updates
Celebrities Chow Chow owners
Konarad Lorenz, nobel prize winner and founder of modern ethology had a Chow Chow mix, Martha Stewart was the proud owner of several Chows and they even appeared on the shows. President Calvin Coolidge also had a black Chow named Timmy. Buckwheat is a Chow that is owned by Janet Jackson and Italian Footballer Mario Balotelli also had two Chow Chows.
A Chow Chow has a two layered coat - one rough and one smooth. The top layer of the fur is the rough one and requires frequent brushing to keep it tangle free and also clean. The undercoat is smooth and keeps the dog warm from the extreme cold. The fur can come in five colours - red, black, white, blue and cinnamon, though red is the most common and popular fur colour.Chow Chows are seasonal shedders and shed heavily. They also require regular baths as their fur gets dirty when they play in the yard or garden.
Dental grooming is also a must for the Chow Chow. Regular brushing will ensure that there is no tartar or plaque buildup and the mouth of the Chow Chow remains clean and there are no chances of the onset of any periodontal problems.To avoid any injury to the feet especially during running or playing, it will be advised that the nails of the dog are regularly trimmed and kept short. Cleaning of ears using ear wipes will also help avoid any ear infections or wax buildup.
While grooming, check for any rashes or redness in the skin, especially between the paws and the ears. A good grooming regime begins from an early age. Introducing your dog to dental, grooming and bathing regimes will ensure that the puppy gets accustomed to the routine and is comfortable with it.
Chow Chows are generally a healthy breed of dog. However, before getting a new puppy it will be advised that all medical history of the parents of the pup is referred to rule out any genetic or hereditary disorder that might inflict the pup. Some of the common health issues that Chow Chows might be prone are:
Hip Dysplasia - Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disorder where the hip bone has a defect in connecting with the hip joint as a result of which the dog may experience pain or lameness in either of the rear legs. As the dog grows, he / she may also develop arthritis. Before getting a puppy, check the medical documents of the parents to rule out hip dysplasia.
Entropion - Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inwards causing injury and irritation to the eyeball. This is extremely common a health issue in Chow Chows and can be corrected surgically.
A Chow Chow is an independent thinker and may appear to be aloof in nature. Historically they were bred as working dogs but have continued to be of loving and warm temperament. Though they are fiercely loyal and protective of their pet parents, Chow Chows require cautious and firm socialisation to ensure that are friendly and do not get apprehensive or aggressive when in the company of other dogs and humans. New pet parents to a Chow Chow will have to be careful and may want to seek the help of a dog trainer or behaviourist especially while training and socialising a Chow Chow. Chow Chows make great family companions though they are a little wary of small children and may get a little aggressive. They are extremely territorial in nature.Environment
A Chow Chow is a territorial dog in nature but not a very active one, so they do well in apartments and condominiums as long as they get regular exercises. In case a Chow Chow does not get its regular exercise, it becomes lethargic and irritated. The chances of a Chow Chow gaining weight due to lack of ample exercise can also cause a serious health issue. Pet parents to a Chow Chow must be careful especially in hot climates. Chow Chows have a high risk of getting a heat stroke as compared to other dog breeds. Though Chow Chows thrive in cold weather, heat and humidity can be a serious concern for the dog. If you live in a city where there are high temperatures in summers, you may want to make appropriate provisions for air conditioning to keep the dog cool.Training & Intelligence
A Chow Chow is extremely territorial and nature and loves to please its family, so training a Chow Chow should not be difficult. Since they have a restricted peripheral vision, they tend to get aggressive if approached from behind their head. First time owners of a Chow CHow may want to seek professional help from Canine behaviorists or Dog Trainers to ensure that a comprehensive training regime is designed for Chow Chow that keeps them engaged and also meets the characteristics of a working dog breed. All forms of training for your Chow Chow puppy should start at an early age. It will be imperative for new pet parents to start house training as soon as the puppy arrives so that there are fewer incidents inside the house.
Chow Chows are a healthy and sturdy breed and become mature by the age of 1.5 years. If you are going to mate and breed your Chow Chow, make sure that you understand thoroughly the medical histories of his/her mating partner and also the medical history of the Chow Chow’s parents so make sure that they are not suffering from any serious genetic disorder that may be deterrent to the overall growth of the new puppies.If you are a first time pet parent, seek medical advice to ensure that the mating and breeding process is comfortable for both the dogs.Puppies
An average litter size of a Chow Chow varies between 4 - 6 puppies with an average life expectancy of 15 years When the puppies are born, it will be imperative to vaccinate them and to train them from early own as they are extremely active and if not monitored may destroy furniture and other things that might catch their attention. Also, they do not like being cuddled and hugged, so pet parents will have to be cautious to avoid any incidents of dog bites.
Chow Chows have long been a part of an argument as who they really resemble and the unanimous decision has been that they are a perfect mix between a lion and a bear. The fur around the head of a Chow Chow gives an appearance of a lion’s mane while the deep set eyes and large head gives a stark resemblance to a bear. A Chow Chow has straight rear legs which give him a stiff choppy gait. The dog has a large black nose with wide open nostrils. The 44 teeth meet in a scissors bite while the small erect ears are triangular in shape. A Chow Chow is a deep chested dog with a high set tail and carried closely to the back at all times. A full grown Chow Chow will stand proud with a height between 18 - 22 inches and weigh anywhere between 20 - 32 kgs.