Everything about dog care, dog grooming and dog training

Chow Chow

Good points

  • Beautiful
  • Good endurance
  • Loyal
  • Odourless

Take heed

  • Formidable opponent
  • Needs firm gentle handling . Strong willed
  • One-man dog (but will accept owner’s family)

The Chow Chow, whose name is perhaps derived from the Chinese Choo Hunting Dog, is a member of the Spitz family known for over 2,000 years. It is lion-like in appearance and famed for its blue­black tongue. It is free of odour and makes an incredibly loyal companion, tending to devote itself to one member of the family though accepting and returning the affection of other household members. It needs quiet but firm handling: with its aloof temperament it is unlikely to deign to walk at your heel without persuasion. It does not take kindly to strangers and is a fearsome fighter if provoked.


Minimum height for Chows is 18in (46cm), but in every case balance should be the outstanding feature and height left to the discretion of the judges.


Most Chow owners seem to manage with regular on-the-Iead walks, with runs in permitted areas. However, mindful of the Chow’s prowess as a hunter of wolves, game and anything that moves, it seems unfair to keep it in confined surroundings or to deprive it of the open spaces that it relishes.


About five or ten minutes’ brushing a day and about half an hour each weekend with a wire brush should maintain the Chow gleaming.


Recommended would be 13-200z (369-587g) of a branded, meaty product with biscuit added in equal part by volume, or 1314-3 cupfuls of a dry, complete food, mixed in the proportion of 1 cup of feed to 112 cup of hot or cold water. Perhaps not surprisinglly, they also do well on rice or on tripe, chicken and lean beef.

Origin and history

Although there are other black­mouthed dogs, the Chow is the only dog with a blue-black tongue, although small bears – to which it has some resemblance – share this characteristic. Reputed to be the original Lama’s Mastiff, the Chow Chow must be one of the oldest members of the Spitz family and was bred variously for its flesh – which in many parts of Asia is considered a delicacy – and for its fur and as a useful hunter of game. In early Chinese writings, it was known as the Tartar Dog, or Dog of Barbarians. The first breed members imported into England, in 1760, were exhibited in a zoo. Sadly, a reputation for ferocity has come down with the Chow, yet it is an affectioante, devoted animal. It is unlikely to fight unless provoked, but then it will be a formidable opponent. The Chow Chow Club was formed in the United Kingdom in 1895, and today around 600 or 700 breed members a year are registered with the Kennel Club, and interest in the breed is constantly growing.


General appearance. An active, compact, short-coupled and well­balanced dog, well knit in frame with tail camed over the back.

Colour. Whole-coloured black, red, bue, fawn, cream or white, frequently shaded but not in patches or partl-coloured (the underpart of tail and back of thighs are frequently of a light colour).

Head and skull. Skull flat and broad with little stop, well filled out under the eyes. Muzzle moderate in length, broad from the eyes to the point (not pointed at the end like a fox). Nose should be black, large and wide (with the exception of creams and whites, in which case a light-coloured nose is permissible, and in blues and fawns a self­coloured nose); but in all colours a black nose preferred.

Body. The back is short, straight and strong. The chest is broad, deep and muscular.

Tail. Set high and carried well over the back.

Feet. Small, round and cat-like, standing well on the toes.