Chow Chow

Description: The chow chow is a furry, compact dog, with a curled tail over its back. I was once on an alley, and in front of me a lady was walking her chow. A little girl passed by, stared at the dog and then asked her mother: "Mummy, does that lady really have a bear with her ?" Well, that's it: the bear-like dog. And if you add the blue tongue, characteristic for this breed, you really have in front of you the two most specific things of the breed.
The chow dogs are "utility" dogs and, believe me, they ranks high on the utility scale. They were used in all immaginable ways, from hunting, cart pulling and guarding temples against evil spirits to feed the Chinese aristocracy, as a delicacy (poor little thing!).

Group: Well, utility, of course :-)

Physical characteristics: Height: 18-22 inches (46-56 cm), weight: 45-70 pounds (20-32 kg).

Temperament: If you want a loyal dog, the polite and well-behaved chow chow is the choice. Aloof with strangers and other dogs, it is patient with children. It tends to love a certain member of the family and can become over protective and aggresive with strangers if it feels unsecure.
Even if it is reserved in its behaviour, the chow chow is very fond of the family and has a feeling of belonging. Having a mind of its own, it needs to be reassured all the time and the favourite member of the family needs to show approval for other persons, including the groomer, for the dog to understand that it is a friend, not an enemy.
The chow chow is a dominant breed and needs dominant, firm and fair owners.

Health: Taking in account its dense, double coat coat, the chow does not stand well the heat, this is why the long walks in the sun are not its cup of coffee. Prone to hip dysplasia and entropion, the dog should not get to the surgeon's table, as this breed is very sensitive to anaesthetics.
To prevent that, try to feed it twice a day, with smaller quantities of food as they tend to bloat.

Maintenance/Grooming: Grooming demands are high, with a full grooming interval of 4 weeks at most. Combing and brushing its coat several times a week is essential to remove the hairs shed from the undercoat.
Before bathing is very important to remove the hairs as well, otherwise they will matt. Get used your chow chow with the grooming, and if you call a professional, take care: because of the loyality for their owners, some dogs might not stand being handled by a stranger and might become aggressive.

Training: The chow chow is an intelligent dog with a mind of its own. This is why you should not expect great results in obedience training.
But the most important thing with chow dogs is to be socialized properly with kids, guests and pets, otherwise they will become the terror of the neibourhood.
The chow is a serious dog with an independent spirit. The trainer of the dog should be the alpha male of the pack, otherwise the dog wouldn't listen, discerning by itself what is to be done and who is to be protected in a certain situation.
Indoors, the dog is quite inactive, but it needs exercise every day in order to remain healthy. Otherwise, the overweight will lead to hip dysplasia.
Due to its loyalty, the chow chow proves to be a good watchdog or guard dog if trained properly.

Breeding, puppies: Every litter counts between 4 and 6 puppies.

Varieties: After the characteristics of the hair, the chow chow comes in two varieties: rough and smooth. As for the colors, the most common are solid red, black, blue, cinnamon and cream (accepted in K9 contests), but the dog can also be tan, gray, or even white.

Famous dogs: maybe Martha Stewart's dogs, which appear in her shows.

For chow chow pics, click here.

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