The Chow Chow: A Majestic and Independent Companion

Mar 14, 2024

The Chow Chow: A Majestic and Independent Companion

Table of contents:

  1. Breed Overview
  2. Physical Characteristics
  3. Personality and Temperament
  4. Exercise and Training
  5. Health and Care
  6. Living with a Chow Chow
  7. Is the Chow Chow Right for You?
  8. Conclusion

The Chow Chow, with its lion-like mane, distinctive blue-black tongue, and aloof demeanour, is one of the most visually striking breeds. Originating from ancient China, where they were bred for hunting, herding, and protection, Chow Chows carry a noble and somewhat mysterious aura. Known for their independence and reserved nature, they can make loyal and affectionate companions for the right owner. If you’re considering adding a Chow Chow to your life, it’s essential to understand this unique breed’s characteristics, care requirements, and temperament. This guide will delve into everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

Breed Overview

Chow Chows are medium-sized dogs, with males standing 19-22 inches at the shoulder and females slightly smaller. They’re known for their sturdy build, deep-set almond eyes, and the iconic ruff of fur around their head and neck, giving them a mane-like appearance.

Physical Characteristics

  • Coat and Colour: Chow Chows have a dense double coat that can be either smooth or rough. The most common colours are red, black, blue, cinnamon, and cream. Their thick fur requires regular grooming to maintain its condition and manage shedding.
  • Distinctive Features: One of the most distinctive features of the Chow Chow is their blue-black tongue, a unique trait among dogs. They also have a straight-legged gait, adding to their stilted and dignified appearance.
  • Lifespan: The average lifespan of a Chow Chow is around 8-12 years.

Personality and Temperament

Chow Chows are known for their independence and cat-like personalities. They are loyal to their families but can be wary of strangers, making early socialisation crucial. Despite their aloof nature, they form strong bonds with their owners and can be quite affectionate within their family circle.

They are not overly active but require regular exercise to maintain their health and prevent boredom. Chow Chows have a reputation for stubbornness, so patience and consistency are key in training.

Exercise and Training

Chow Chows do not have high exercise needs, but they benefit from daily walks and play sessions in a securely fenced garden. They are more prone to heat exhaustion due to their thick coats, so exercise during the cooler parts of the day is advisable.

Training a Chow Chow can be challenging due to their independent nature. They respond best to positive reinforcement and require a patient and consistent approach. Early socialisation is essential to help them become well-adjusted adults, comfortable around other animals and people.

Health and Care

Chow Chows are generally healthy, but they can be prone to certain conditions, including hip dysplasia, entropion, and skin allergies. Regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy diet are important for their overall well-being.

Their coat requires significant grooming to prevent matting and manage shedding. Brushing several times a week, and more during shedding seasons, along with regular baths, will keep their coat in good condition. Paying attention to their dental health and nail care is also important.

Living with a Chow Chow

Chow Chows are best suited to a home where they can be part of the family’s daily life but also have their own space. They can do well in flats or houses with gardens, provided they get enough physical and mental stimulation.

Their reserved nature means they might not be the best fit for homes with small children or for those looking for a highly sociable dog. However, for those who appreciate the breed’s independence and dignified demeanour, a Chow Chow can be a deeply loyal and rewarding companion.

Is the Chow Chow Right for You?

If you’re attracted to the Chow Chow’s majestic appearance and independent spirit, and you’re prepared to commit to their grooming needs and socialisation, this breed might be a good fit. They are suited for owners who have experience with dogs and understand how to navigate the breed’s strong personality and care requirements.

However, if you’re looking for a highly active, outgoing dog or you’re a first-time dog owner, you might want to consider other breeds that could be a better match for your lifestyle and experience.


The Chow Chow is a breed that commands respect and admiration, not just for their striking appearance but for their complex personalities. With the right care, socialisation, and training, they can make loyal and dignified companions. Understanding and respecting their independence while providing them with the love and care they need can lead to a deeply fulfilling relationship with this ancient and noble breed.

© Vet Verified 2024