Chow Chow

Chow Chow dog
Males: 19 to 22 inches; Females: 18 to 20 inches
Males: 57 to 70 pounds; Females: 44 to 55 pounds.
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A regal breed with strong muscles and heavy boned, the Chow Chow is an ancient breed from northern China. Although affectionate, he can be stubborn.  

Temperament of the Chow Chow

The affectionate Chow Chow is devoted and loyal to his family, but indifferent to strangers. He makes an excellent guard dog, but his independent, stubborn streak means he needs early socialization and training.  

Moderate daily exercise like walks or play with toys will help keep the Chow happy and healthy.  

Breed Characteristics

The Chow has a muscular, powerful build in a fairly compact body. His signature look includes a lion’s mane-like ruff of fur around his head and neck. He has a blue-black tongue, deep almond eyes and a slightly wrinkled forehead, lending to his judgmental expression.  

How Long Do Chow Chows Live?

This breed will typically live between 8 to 12 years. 


Standard Chow Chow colours include red, black, blue, cinnamon or cream. 

Do Chow Chows Shed?

The Chow’s thick double coat may be rough or smooth. Either way, it requires regular grooming. Chows shed seasonally, so brushing twice per week and more frequently during the spring shedding season will suffice.  

Common Health Conditions

Aside from being intolerant of high heat and humidity, the Chow Chow dog may also suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, patellar luxation and thyroid disorders. Working with a responsible breeder will help avoid these health concerns.  

Best Dog Food for Chow Chow Dogs & Puppies

Chows will do well on a complete and balanced wet or dry dog food. Chow puppies need puppy food to get all the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development during their first year of life.  

History of the Breed 

The Chow Chow may be the world’s oldest breed. Chows were depicted in Chinese artifacts dating back to approximately 206 BC. They spent much of their early years serving as companions to Chinese nobility.  

Throughout their long history, however, Chows had numerous jobs, including guarding, hauling and hunting. Chow Chow ancestors may have even been a food source for the northern Chinese.  

In the 1820s, Chows were part of a “Wild Dogs of China” exhibit at the London Zoo. It wasn’t until Queen Victoria acquired a Chow in the later 1800s that the breed gained popularity.  

Chows came to the U.S. in the 1890s and the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered its first of the breed in 1903. 


  • Martha Stewart owns several Chow Chows who were often featured on her morning show.  

  • Many owners believe Chows are cleaner than most dogs, as they have less odor than other canines and housetrain easily.