Did you know?
It is believed that the Chow Chow is one of the native dogs used as the model for the Foo dog, the traditional stone guardians found in front of Buddhist temples and palaces.
The dog’s most important job is still around. Like the legendary Cerberus, the dog still keeps many of us from the Hell of Loneliness. – Tara and Kathy Darling
Another member of the Spitz family of dogs, the Chow Chow has been raised in China for over two thousand years. DNA analysis confirms the Chow Chow is one of the oldest breeds and that he came from the high steppe regions of Siberia or Mongolia. In China he is known as ‘Songshi Quan’, which means ‘puffy-lion dog’.
A Chinese legend mentioned war dogs described as black-tongued lions coming from Central Asia. Some historians believe that the Chow was the dog described as accompanying the Mongolian armies as they invaded southward into China, west into Europe, and southwest into the Middle East in the 13th century AD.
Marco Polo, in his famous travels noted that Chows were used to pull dog sleds. Over the years, these dogs have had many functions from a temple guard dogs in Mongolia, Tibet, and China to hunting companions for Chinese emperors. They have even been raised for food. ‘Chou’ is Cantonese for ‘food’.
The Chow’s most unusual characteristic, his blue-black tongue, is shared by only two other dogs, the Chinese Shar-Pei, and the Thai Ridgeback.
Photos displayed courtesy of Margit Lassen
The Chow stands up to 21 inches (53 cm) tall at the shoulder. He has a long, thick, dense, double coat that comes in two types. The rough coat has a lion-like ruff that stands out all around his head and neck. The smooth coat has no ruff. The Chow’s coat may be any clear solid colour. Regular grooming is necessary to keep the coat tangle-free. Like other Spitz dogs, the Chow carries his plumed tail curled up over his back.
The Chow Chow is friendly and faithful to his family. He tends to be a one-person dog and bonds closely to that individual. Although he has the appearance of a cuddly stuffed animal, he is proud, reserved, independent, and goes his own way! He is also alert and naturally wary of strangers. The Chow makes an excellent guard dog and is a tenacious fighter if provoked. He may be aggressive towards other dogs and cats and is best with older children.
The Chow is intelligent but strong-willed. He should be put in obedience training and socialized from a young age. Training may be a challenge! The Chow needs a strong, confident owner otherwise he may try to dominate. A tendency towards laziness should be curbed with regular, daily walks. The Chow does best in a house with a fenced yard. Due to his heavy coat, he is really unsuited to hotter climates.