Everything You Need to Know about the Chow Chow Breed


When a dog has a lifespan that can reach up to 15 years and a body that could get up to 70 pounds (or more if he’s a bit of an over-indulger when it comes to eating and a little bit lazy when it comes to exercise), it’s important to make sure your family is ready for this type of commitment. Because introducing your family to a dog is just that; a commitment no different than the introduction of a baby to your household with the exception of the daycare costs and need for date night babysitters. A Chow Chow is a beautiful dog that’s a little bit on the large side – even though he’s technically considered a medium dog by the AKC. He has a beautiful long coat and a very distinct look that sets him apart from other breeds. He’s also a dog with a lot to offer a family. The American Kennel Club describes the Chow Chow as almost cat-like in its independence, but fiercely loyal to its family. It’s been said that this is a breed that may or may not find one particular person in a household to attach itself to and forge a bond, but that it’s going to love everyone in the household regardless of picking its favorite.

Are Chow Chows Aggressive?

If you go by what you’ve heard, you might think that this is a breed that’s a bit aggressive. It seems almost comedic to think a dog that looks like a really fuzzy teddy-bear would be an aggressive dog, but the rumors are rampant. According to Vetstreet.com, these rumors are unfounded. Provided a Chow Chow is raised in a home where socialization occurs throughout its life, where it’s met with different experiences, sounds and people, it’s going to be just wonderful to have as a pet. A dog that’s not been properly socialized, exposed to people, noise, sounds, and experiences is more likely to become an aggressive dog simply because it’s on the defensive when a sudden new experience arises that it’s spent its entire life missing. Additionally, these dogs can become unhappy and sometimes act out if they are not raised properly inside the home. Oftentimes it is thought that this breed makes a good outside dog, but it does not. According to vetstreet, a Chow stuck in the yard with no interaction with humans is unhappy and potentially going to act out.

Chow Chow Health Concerns

Like all people and all animals there is always some concern for health issues. The Chow Chow could potentially develop any kind of disease or illness without warning, and that’s just a chance dog owners take no matter which breed they choose to go with. However, there are some breed specific health concerns you should be aware of before you take in this breed, and if you already have one so that you know what to look out for.

Elbow and hip dysplasia are both a cause for concern for this particular breed. Autoimmune thyroiditis and cataracts are also a cause for concern when it comes to this breed. Your vet will be able to help you diagnose any issues that your dog might develop as it grows older with regular checkups and appointments made when you feel there might be something worth checking out as far as the health of your dog is concerned. Otherwise, your dog is not going to be any more prone to health issues than any other dog, cat or human in this world.

Grooming a Chow

Here is where you do have to consider whether or not this breed is right for your family. Some people don’t mind a dog that requires frequent grooming, while others aren’t interested in a dog that requires as much grooming as this particular breed. If you’re not into frequent brushing, you might consider finding a Chow with what’s considered a smooth coat. This type only requires weekly brushing to keep the fur in good condition. A rough coat Chow, however, will require more frequent brushing; as in every other day brushing according to vetstreet. Additionally, this is a dog that – regardless of its coat type – is going to shed heavily. It’s not going to shed heavily day in and day out, but twice a year. When it’s time for a Chow to shed, it’s going to do it heavily in a way that chunks and handfuls of fur will come out all at once. It’s more important than ever to brush these dogs at this point in the year so that you catch as much of the shedding as possible in your brush rather than all over your home.

Chow Personality

According to the AKC and vetstreet, this breed has a tendency to be a bit stubborn. This is a breed that is described as occasionally difficult to train, aggressive toward other dogs and distrustful of strangers. A dog that barks or growls to warn off other animals or strangers and is not trained to stay put at command could potentially become a bit more physical in its warning, which is one of the reasons that this dog gets such a bad rap for being aggressive. Remember – this dog is typically only aggressive when its owners do not raise it properly and provide it with the socialization and training that it requires. Because it can be stubborn and difficult to train at times, some owners will give up on training and let the dog make its own decisions, which can be dangerous.

The AKC recommends that Chow owners begin training the day that the dog comes home as it is a dog that will understand what you are teaching it. It’s said that a Chow owner is one who has to be exceptionally patient and firm, but kind, with training. It’s also been said that this breed requires a great deal of positive reinforcement in training since it does respond well to that. Of course, who doesn’t respond well to positive reinforcement in any situation?

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