The Chow Chow- Some information please

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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Jake Earned- his wings- 10.02.15

I am Murphy's- Law Embodied! <3- Me!
Barked: Mon Feb 27, '12 3:27pm PST 

When i was a kid i had a friend who's father owned a chow chow. That dog was this huge furry monstrosity that would snap at child and was all around mean and unsocalized.He'd even bite at my friend. It never surprised me with a dog like that why they were banned in so many places.

Flash forward like 14 years and I've started to come across more and more chow chows that are nothing like that guy. They're friendly, love to be pet and are rather playful and yet serious when it comes to their owners.

So i'm hoping to get a better understanding of this breed of dog. I'm almost sure that the first one i met honestly suffered from just being left in the backyard all the time and little if any true socialization.

So can someone tell me more about chow chows? i'm trying to give this breed another chance. I'd hate to be one of those generalizes about an apparently wonderful breed.red face

Thank you, puppy

hey good looking- ....what ya got- cookin
Barked: Mon Feb 27, '12 3:48pm PST 
i knew a few super nice chows when i was younger.I also knew few super mean chows.i knew a man used to show and breed chows they were beautiful smart and sweet dogs...but they had a very serious side,they were by no means happy go lucky dogs but they did love to be pet and loved to play ball with every one they met....but dont even think about trying to go near his kids if you didnt know them those dogs would have killed you...i love chows i think they are great dogs not for me but i dont like independent breeds.i dont think they are all nasty mean dogs most i have known are family dogs.just because a dog doesnt act like a happy go lucky lab doesnt mean they are nasty evil dogs.
Trixie Bean!

none so blind as- those that will- not see
Barked: Mon Feb 27, '12 4:10pm PST 
Im NOT a Chow Chow fan.. They aren't particularly friendly dogs- they generally like their people, and thats it. Tehre are some bizarrely aggressive, or bizarrely friendly ones but in general they just prefer to avoid strangers shrug

I see it as Chows having a "bubble".. They'll put up with a certain amount of *******, then are very happy to tell you when you overstepped the mark. They are a breed I dread to see walking through the doors at the groomers where I work because as a general rule they are not a breed which are happy in that situation and like I say, they WILL let you know.


Barked: Mon Feb 27, '12 5:02pm PST 
I love chow chows. I even considered owning one in my future, but upon doing further research, I discovered they're not the breed for me. My friend's parents are looking to get a pair of chow chows as soon as she and her malts move out. I hope they know what they're getting theirselves into. :-X

I will continue following this thread. I am learning about the breed too. smile This is probably a silly question, but you know how chow chows have purple tongues right? Is there a tactile difference from other breeds when they lick you? I also have never been able to get a good look at a chow chow's tongue, so if anyone has good pictures, could you please post them so I can see?
Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
Barked: Mon Feb 27, '12 5:12pm PST 

Chows are a fairly primitive breed. Their historic purpose was mostly as guardians, (though they have also served as all-purpose working dogs, herding, hunting, drafting, etc) so they're usually territorial and can be suspicious of strangers. They were bred to work mostly alone, not in packs or under direct human control, and are emotionally more self-sufficient than most dogs. Energy-wise, they're not hyper or impulsive, more steady and considered. Not particularly eager to please, you have to earn his love and respect first. Can make a great companion for those that do earn it, though.

Without a lot of puppy socialization and handling, Chows can be stranger-aggressive, they can be intolerant of forceful handling by vets, groomers, etc, and many don't love other dogs. Not necessarily DA, just aloof and may correct pushy, over-friendly dogs. Not really a "dog park" dog in most cases. Same-sex aggression isn't rare either.

They're sometimes described as "cat-like" for their cleanness and calm, inscrutable appearance, their self-sufficiency. They also are cat-like in that they are mostly sedentary, but capable of great speed and power when it's called for.

I don't own a Chow, but I respect them. Bruno is probably at least a small part Chow, and is frequently pegged as a Chow-mix by people. Temperamentally, he really fits the descriptions except for his wanderlust, athleticism, and super prey drive (Chows should have some, but not to the extreme). He's definitely more serious and independent than a lot of dogs, calm and low-energy when nothing is going on. He's also very clean like a Chow.

I would consider owning the breed in the future, but I don't like what modern breeding has done to them. I think the Chows of 50 or 100 years ago were a lot more attractive. They were more natural and athletic in appearance, and didn't have the heavy facial wrinkles, more like an Akita or Samoyed.

Member Since
Barked: Mon Feb 27, '12 5:20pm PST 
My great aunt and uncle used to have a pair. We visited them the first time when I was 12. The adults went inside to chat, and us kids stayed out. Before long, we were in the pen with the dogs, playing. After a while, I went inside and overheard my aunt tell my mom she would have to walk her through the dog yard to get to the guest house and that the dogs wouldn't let anyone through. I chimed in that we had been playing with the dogs for hours, and my aunt was stunned.
All weekend, the dogs loved the kids, but would not let any of the adults near them. They are beautiful and incredible creatures, but not friendly with strangers!
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Feb 27, '12 7:56pm PST 
Ok....here is the Chow Chow translation.

Chows are a very unique dog, and they are so NOT for everyone. But for some, they would never do without. I, and many, find this breed far, far too popular. Everything the dog fancy is meant to be about....a breed that certainly would have died off, they are extremely unique and offer a singular experience in terms of dog ownership. But I find that for many, the "perfect match" is not with the majority of dog owners, and many get them wanting them to be something they are not.

Correct temperament is a very self assured dog. He's not like most in that class, though. Few breeds....and his will surprise a lot of people....come with as many perks as a Chow. He is quietly very confident, fearless and protective, but not all with with bluffs or drama that tend to come with that package more typically. He is a reserved, dignified animal by nature. Curiously....given that so much of his history is anti pet.....he is naturally well mannered, tends to be easy to housebreak due to his fastidious nature, and seldom makes a pest of himself....rarely is noisy as well. He is not bursting with energy, propensities towards fear and anxiety are rather foreign in a correct example of this breed, equally foreign are exercise-stemmed issues, mental stimulation-stemmed issues and separation anxiety. This is a very well within himself dog. He is also, surprising some I think, wicked intelligent! So that is a pretty amazing package. He is unique looking and gorgeous, for those who prefer such things confident and self assured, yet also naturally well mannered, doesn't need a ton of exercise, and has brains to spare to boot.

Ok. Now to the bad part. It is quite natural for a Chow to have levels of major time funk over people coming in too close or being touched unexpectedly. If they do not expect something, they can turn from a composed and quiet dog to a furnace VERY quickly. They also are not overly fond of strangers nor of strange dogs, and their nature isn't goofy or playful. Even Chow puppies can be....act....a tad different than your average bear.

A huge amount of Chow aggression, which is infamous in this breed, will link to one of three causes. One, they are poorly bred. Two, they lack proper socialization, which in their case includes a lot of desensitization to touch. And three, this is such a naturally composed dog, that you may not see it coming. There can be complacency.

Some vets refuse to treat Chows. Other vets won't do it without a muzzle. It can be almost be a Pit Bull-esque experience owning a Chow, only with a Pit you are prepared for it. It can be very upsetting to people who own their, fluffy, regal dog and all of a sudden are refused or put under big restrictions with a vet, a groomer, a doggie daycare.

This is a breed very well suited to apartment living. I, and most breeders, also suggest that you like cats, because there are aspects to Chows that a cat like. You will *NOT* like a Chow if you appreciate an effusive dog. You will *NOT* like a Chow if playing with your dog, or having him play with others, is a big deal to you. You will *NOT* like a Chow if a readily trainable dog is important to you. He knows his own mind and is not a natural pleaser. Very independent. You will *NOT* like a Chow if you are more of a casual owner. But you WILL like a Chow if you want a responsible protector who is sans the drama that usually goes along with that and if you appreciate a dignified companion....and think cats are cool laugh out loud

The recipe is simple. Start with a good breeder. Like a REALLY good breeder. If this breeder, amongst all the other regularly important issues, does not stress an extraordinary amount of imprinting touch and handling on their puppies from a VERY young age....do NOT deal with that breeder! This shows an awareness and commitment to their breed. Chow breeders are stuck in a difficult situation, because to be correct, a Chow SHOULD be aloof and dignified. So to better the temperament without losing that aura is a fine line. But it must be bettered, and the puppies MUST be acclimated as best they can, if a successful life is to be assured. And then you have to pick up the ball, and socialize crap out of them. Socialization in a Chows case must include a lot of touch. And a dog who will learn to be handled by strangers and be exposed to the unexpected. A lot of Chow aggression, in an otherwise perfectly safe seeming dog, is when he does not expect touch, so socialization ought graduate, when young, from staged scenes where he knows what is going on, to less staged, less expected, so that he develops a better coping mechanism. If not, one brusque vet tech can turn your gentleman into lion for a split second that leaves everyone jaw dropped.

Training....oh heck, it's a Chow laugh out loud A lot of massively stubborn dogs are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Chows are actually extremely intelligent, pick up on training patterns quickly, and can outwit their trainers. They are more than intelligent enough to pick up things quickly, but as they are not particularly arouse-able (meaning that in a good way, like a happy dance or "mommy has a piece of liver!"), extremely independent and non-servants to the max, you need to have the right knack. Only go to a trainer who is experienced with Chows. Well-bred Chows.

Chows can be intolerant of other dogs without wearing that on their sleeve. They aren't going to bluff, but if a dog shoots a serious, dominant challenge, then again....they go from gentleman to lion. Funny aside, but Southpaws had a Malamute who was a bit of an alpha girl. We were letting her meet other dogs at an adoption event....she was principally doing ok. But when a woman walked by with a Chow, I warned Duncan....nuh uh. And one look from that Chow and the Mal changed her affect fast, and wanted to rumble. So you may well end up with a very composed Chow who will set other dogs off. It is nothing we notice with the usual markers, but they can spew dominance to another dog.

I think it's a great breed. If you think cats rock wink I appreciate something more emotive, but spare for that, and the fact that they don't always share space well, I think they are extraordinary. They are spared so many of the typical doggie problems, and while you may not hear a lot of it in PPD circles, an untrained dog rising in the moment....this breed is WAY up there. They have an exceptional devotion to their families, their people, and are extremely loyal.

Edited by author Mon Feb 27, '12 8:02pm PST


The Guardian
Barked: Mon Feb 27, '12 8:37pm PST 
Glad you made a thread about chows, I love chows! They're my "heart breed". lol

I love them for exactly everything Tiller has written. The one person nature, protective, low energy, chilled out without all that hyper, happy-go-lucky energy. lol I never really cared for that for some reason, I like a more serious dog. Then again, I fell in love with Ny's happy-go-lucky attitude and saved her from being brought to the shelter, but I still prefer serious. I'm not much of a social person, myself, so I can relate to the chow's nature.

I've never actually owned a purebred chow (just mixes, and my first dog, a chow mix, was A-MAAAZING, and yes, EXTREMELY intelligent as Tiller mentioned). But I have known a couple of purebreds and they were very sweet.

One was my friend's aunt's dog, chained outside his whole life, yet I could go to him and he was so happy to see me and I'd play with him with toys and everything. He was awesome. Never once showed an ounce of aggression. I even pet-sat him for a while when they were gone (feeding/watering every day) and no problem. My friend and I took him for walks sometimes too. He was also aaaaalways pulling his stake out the ground, chain dragging behind and I often had to catch him for them.

The other purebred I knew was a dog who roamed loose all the time. This was a female and actually sister to the male I mentioned previously. She belonged to a neighbor. She was loose for a while and a few times, she came into my yard and I went up and petted her and she was just a sweetie. Always had children running around back here and she was never a problem. Unfortunately, when she had pups, she was tied to a tree with them and a shelter worker I knew seemed almost happy that she died (don't know how) b/c "that dog was ------- mean!".... but jeez, I'd guess so, having pups, tied to a tree (trapped), how could she not be defensive? -_- -sigh- Poor thing.

Both these dogs came from a "breeder" right here on this street who once told me "I used to breed huskies but got rid of them b/c they weren't mean enough".... Exactly the way he said it. -rollseyes- Oi...

My friend also had a high chow mix and he was, of course, a sweetie too. He stayed chained outside also but got walks all the time for a while. I'd go walk my dog with her and her chow mix (Titan). I even bathed and brushed him, got all the mats out 'n such when I pet sat him once and he never showed any aggression at all.

Both purebred chows and my friend's chow mix were fine with other dogs too (not social butterfly's but got along fine). My first dog (the chow mix) was dog aggressive/dominant but I had neeeeeeever socialized him to other dogs... ever. (Except my mom's chi mix who he was fine with b/c he grew up with her). I didn't know better, then, so that was all my fault.

But yea... chows are awesome if you like low energy, serious, one person, dogs. And they can be quite playful with "their people". The male purebred I first mentioned loved to play and I would have DAILY wrestling sessions with my first dog. It was a BLAST. lol I just melt any time I see a chow or high chow mix. lol

Edited by author Mon Feb 27, '12 8:44pm PST


When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Mon Feb 27, '12 9:22pm PST 
This is the only breed I can honestly say I don't like. For all the reasons mentioned.
IMHO they are not nice dogs, fully half of the dogs that have ever bitten me were Chows or crosses. On top of that I watched one bit my 3 year old son in the face just because and then a day later stalk and attack him and then try to kill Sabi. I would never condem a whole breed based on one dog but I have never met a nice one. I am glad some people have but based on what I have experienced I would never let one near a child.

dog-sitter in- charge.
Barked: Mon Feb 27, '12 9:36pm PST 
I think whatever breed Tiller doesn't like, I'm a huge fan of ... Roxy too. laugh out loud
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