First introduced in China, and dubbed the ‘cat of the dog world’, the Chow is an affectionate and devoted little fellow – provided you’re one of his family members. As with many cats, Chows are aloof and picky when it comes to outsiders, and they’re also not big on people pleasing. Combine this with their stubborn nature, they can be tricky customers when it comes to training, but an early and consistent approach generally yields great results.
As well as a dignified demeanour, the physically robust Chow will make new friends if properly introduced by their owner, though they aren’t always suited to off lead walking. Bred for hunting among other skills, they can become selectively deaf to commands to ‘heel’ when the urge to track kicks in!
They are fiercely loyal to their owners, viewing them as the centre of their universe. They’re also frequently described as refined and serene, and with little need for exercise, taking well to apartment living. Though low key, Chows will become destructive if isolated from the family – and as a highly intelligent dog, will require mental stimulation to remain well mannered.
Regular grooming is a must
Chows have an abundant, double coat (the undercoat will ‘blow out’, which is dog speak for shed rapidly, twice a year). This means daily brushing, and frequent washing - you’re looking at logging at least an hour or three per week on brushing alone. They have plenty of folds around their face, and it’s important to make sure they are thoroughly dried following a wash. They’ll also require regular nail clipping, teeth brushing and the inside of their ears checked for wax build up.
Read more: Is it important to wash your dog?
Tidy dogs, and again, like cats, Chows keep themselves meticulously clean, give off little doggie odour and are easy to toilet train. That said, every drink of water will result in a ‘beard’ full of water, which will then make its way around the house as they walk. So while they themselves are tidy, be prepared for some dog related messes with hair and water.
Health issues to watch for
Chow Chows are sturdy little fellows that are usually of good health with few issues. The key health concerns to look out for are a hereditary predisposition for hip and elbow dysplasia and eye disease. As with other breeds, this makes choosing a quality breeder and viewing blood tests to rule out the genetic markers for these diseases important – responsible breeders work hard to breed dogs free from these diseases. Also be wary of heat stroke with their thick coats, keeping them indoors in the cool when it is hot outside, or ensure they have access to shade and water.
Read More: The painful truth about hip dysplasia
While the Chow Chow is a less popular dog in Australia, for the owner prepared to put in the training and grooming required, they offer a truly unique pet that will become a most loyal companion.
- Life span: 9 – 15 years
- Height: Male: 48–56 cm, Female: 46–51 cm
- Weight: Male: 23–32 kg, Female: 18–32 kg
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- PAW Classic Care Shampoo
An everyday shampoo that cleans the coat effectively while being gentle on the skin.
- PAW Gentle Ear Cleaner
A natural, gentle ear cleaner that cleans without irritation.