The Chow Chow - Intelligent and Independent
The Chow Chow is one of the varieties of dogs that come from China. Other China dogs include the Shar-Pei and the Pekingese. Each is very different and very unique. Chows range in weight from 45 to 75 pounds and are about 17-21 inches at the shoulders. They have the strength and will to be an excellent protector of family and home.
They are one-person or one-family dogs and need to be socialized at an early age to understand that you are the boss. Since Chows are hunters, unless they grow up with a cat they might view cats as game. Other than that, they usually get along with other family pets. Chow Chows are very easy to house break, are very rarely destructive of household furnishings, and are not diggers or barkers. When they do bark, it is wise to investigate. They are by nature guard dogs, are very alert watchdogs, and suspicious with all strangers.
They do not do well with young children but do quite well with older and considerate children. If cornered or in a strange situation they will bite, which often happens at animal shelters. The shelter personnel often don't understand this reaction and euthanize the dog. Even though they are devoted to their family, Chow Chows are highly independent and will often retire to a corner of the house that is out of the way. They are not for people who want an overly affectionate lapdog. Anyone who desires a dog that needs to be with the owner at all times should not get a Chow.
Chows do need to be with their family for socialization. These dogs, like most, should not be locked outside alone. Dogs are companion animals and need interaction with people. Chows shed heavily once a year and require frequent, thorough brushing. There are actually two different type of Chow, the rough coat and the smooth. The rough coat Chow has longer fur and needs brushing every other day year-round, and every day during the time of heavy shedding. The smooth Chow needs to be brushed once a week.
They do not require a lot of exercise and do very well in apartments. They are quiet, clean, and can be reserved. Since they have a heavy coat and they do not do well in hot climates but do very well in cold. Some Chows have extra skin in the back of their throats that causes them to become stressed from heat, exercise and excitement.
If they become stressed, this extra skin in their throat can put a strain on their heart so it is very important to provide these dogs with air conditioning during hot weather, and not exercise the dog in the heat of the day. The Chow Chow, rather than specializing in one thing, is good at a variety of jobs. These include hunting, herding, pulling and protecting.
Overall they are a wonderful dog for families with older children, and for people who do not want or need a dog that is always at their side. They are a devoted dog breed with the strength to be good protectors of their family and home. Perhaps this is the dog for you.