In the dog world, there aren’t many breeds quite so different from one another as the Chow Chow and the German Shepherd. Whereas the Chow Chow has a reputation for being stubborn and aloof, the German Shepherd is known for being needy. The German Shepherd wants to be at its master’s feet 24/7; the Chow Chow would sooner chew off its own foot than admit to even having a master. Polar opposites then, and as unlikely a pair of bedfellows as you’ll ever meet. But occasionally, opposites really do attract. Sometime in the not too dim and distant past (or around 20 years ago, if you want to get specific), a Chow Chow and a German Shepherd managed to put aside their differences for long enough to produce a little brood of Chow Chow/ German Shepherd pups. The pups found an audience, a name (the Chow Shepherd) and a place in the new world of designer cross breeds. But what exactly are they? Prepare to find out as we take a look at the ten things you didn’t know about the Chow Shepherd, but really ought to.
1. They’re not great with kids
If you have kids, steer clear of the Chow Shepherd. Like the Chow Chow, they can be dominant and territorial, as likely to take kindly to a stranger or a boisterous toddler as they are to a missed meal. They’re not great with small pets, either – cats, hamsters, and guinea pigs are more likely to be seen as annoyances than potential friends, so think twice before introducing a Chow Shepherd pup into a multi-pet or child-friendly household. If you do decide to give it a try, remember that early socialization is the key to future harmony.
2. They’re a big dog
Physically, a Chow Shepherd is often said to resemble a lion or a bear. Most of that has to do with their incredibly soft, downy coats, but at least a small part can be attributed to their hefty bulk. Because make no mistake, these are big dogs. Like the Chow Chow and the German Shepherd, the Chow Shepherd is a strong, muscular breed. As dogtime.com notes, expect a fully grown pooch to stand anywhere between 22 and 26 inches tall and tip the scales between 40 to 95 pounds.
3. They’re hard work
If you want an obedient, docile dog who will come when called and sit when asked, look away now. The Chow Shepherd is many things, but ‘easy’ isn’t one of them. Novice owners would be well advised to steer clear of this headstrong breed, as would anyone who lacks the time and patience to give them the attention they need. But put the work in, and you’ll be rewarded with a loyal, affectionate companion.
4. They need lots of attention
As herepup.com notes, the Chow Chow is notorious for being independent and aloof, almost to the point of being cat-like. The German Shepherd, on the other hand, craves human interaction. Their offspring most definitely takes after the German Shepherd side of the family tree, at least in this regard. The Chow Shepherd would happily have you dedicate every waking moment to them – so much so, in fact, they’ll become quite vocal if you don’t. As a lack of attention can lead to them becoming miserable and even destructive, they’re best suited to owners with plenty of time to spend with them.
5. They’re high energy
If you want a dog with energy to spare, you’re going to love the Chow Shepherd. Unlike some large breeds who need to be coaxed away from the sofa, Chow Shepherds love nothing more than a gallop around the park. A sedate stroll around the block won’t cut it for this boisterous breed: ideally, they need a yard to play in and access to open space. As they’re likely to chase after things off the leash, be careful to only let them cut loose in a safe area.
6. They’re generally healthy
While purebreds can be prone to certain genetic conditions, crossbreeds tend to be hardier by nature. In this, the Chow Shepherd is no exception. Although you’ll need to keep an eye out for the complaints known to trouble their Chow Chow and German Shepherd parents (namely, CHD, eye problems, bloat, DM, EPI, Joint dysplasia and allergies), you shouldn’t have too many concerns when it comes to their health. Just be sure to buy from a reputable breeder and, as with all dogs, get them checked out by a vet at the first sign of trouble.
7. They’re high maintenance
As dogbreedplus.com writes, the Chow Shepherd has a long, luxurious coat that sheds easily and frequently, especially in shedding season. Prepare to invest in a strong vacuum cleaner to keep your home free of hair, and aim to give their coat a thorough groom at least three times a week, if not more. An occasional bath wouldn’t go amiss either – like all dogs, Chow Shepherds like a roll in the dirt from time to time. Teeth should be cleaned a couple of times a week (if they’ll tolerate it) and toe nails should be professionally clipped as soon as they start to make a clicking sound on tiled surfaces.
8. They make great guard dogs
If you’re looking for a dog that will alert you to intruders, you’ll find few that fit the brief quite so well as the Chow Shepherd. Although they don’t bark much as a matter of habit, their natural caution around strangers will have them howling up a storm if anyone dares come into the house without your (or their) permission.
9. They’re smart
A Chow Shepherd may be brawny, but they’re brainy too. Although they can run rings around a novice trainer, an experienced pair of hands will find them a responsive and willing student. Just be aware that like the Chow Chow, they have a stubborn streak a mile wide – something that will become painfully obvious the moment you ask them to do something they wouldn’t otherwise bother with.
10. They have more than one name
Like a lot of designer dog breeds, the Chow Shepherd answers to more than one name. Depending on where in the world you are, you might also hear them referred to as ‘Sheprachow’.