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Chow-Chow – the Quiet and Dignified "Lion Dog" with a Blue Tongue

07.10.2022 - Reading time: 3 minutes

Chow Chow Hund mit einer Löwenmähne

This is a breed with a long history – and it seems proud of that fact. The Chow-Chow can be described as quiet and reserved, but is also loyal and vigilant. It needs lots of opportunities for exercise and prefers to bond to one specific person.


Newsletter Chow-Chow

Guard and service dogs
48 to 56 centimetres (male), 46 to 51 centimetres (female) at the withers
20 to 32 kilograms
short and compact
dark, oval eyes
small, widely-spaced pointed ears
Coat and colour
two varieties: long and short-haired; colours: black, red, white, blue, fawn, cream, thick mane or fur collar around the neck
Special features
blue tongue
vigilant, wilful, quiet, loyal
daily brushing and regular checks of the skin folds around the neck
tendency toward skin and eye diseases

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Asian roots

The Chow-Chow is one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world. That, at least, is clear. What remains a mystery even today is whether it originated in China or Manchuria. The oldest images and sculptural representations of the breed go back to the time of the Chinese Han Dynasty (206 to 220 B.C.E.). The Chow-Chow seems to have been the preferred breed of the Chinese emperors.

The dog with the luxuriant fur first came to Europe at the end of the 18th century. However, it first became popular in the 1920s as a “Guangzhou dog” as its ancestors came from Guangzhou.

Character of the Chow-Chow

The Chow-Chow impresses with its extraordinary personality – it is incredibly proud and exudes an almost stoic calm. It is loyal to its owner, without subjugating itself. Strangers, on the other hand, are greeted with shyness and, often, rejected. Thanks to its vigilance, it is an excellent guard dog.

The Chow-Chow likes to withdraw to a quiet place and is not known for its playfulness. Retrieving games are not attractive. For this reason, it is not an appropriate playmate for children.

Training and husbandry of a Chow-Chow

The Chow-Chow has a mind of its own – you should respect that, but you should also make clear to him through consistent and loving training that you are the one who makes the decisions. Good socialisation with people and other dogs is immensely important for this breed, as these shy dogs will otherwise always remain mistrustful of strangers.

The dog with the lion’s mane likes to bond with one human, maximum two. What it doesn’t like is to be rushed – running alongside a jogger or cyclist is not its style. Instead it prefers long, more contemplative walks where it can take its time and follow its nose. With most dogs of this breed, you won’t get far with dog sports, either.

As leisurely as the Chow-Chow is, it also has a strong hunting instinct. For that reason, you should only allow it to walk off the lead if it is very well trained.

Eine Nahaufnahme eines Chow Chow

Care of a Chow-Chow

In order to prevent the thick fur from matting, you should ideally brush your Chow-Chow daily. Pay close attention to the fur behind the ears and in the fur collar around the neck, as the fur here mats particularly easily.

Characteristics of the Chow-Chow

The Chow-Chow is susceptible to skin and eye diseases. Problems are particularly caused by the many skin folds around the neck which can easily become inflamed and therefore have to be regularly checked and cleaned. In recent years, breeders have begun to change their approach and there is a noticeable trend towards lighter dogs with fewer folds. You can obtain addresses for responsible breeders from the Chow-Chow-Club in Deutschland e.V. or the non-profit Allgemeinen Chow-Chow-Club e.V. (ACC) for example, the oldest association for this breed that maintains a pedigree book.

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