History and Appearance
Originally established over 2100 years ago in Mongolia, the Chow Chow is a good companion and superb watchdog. He is a medium sized breed with a thick puffy coat that makes him look like a living teddy bear. The breed comes in solid black, and shades of red/brown. Chow Chow tongues, noses and the inside of their mouths are blackish blue in color.
Although he appears cute and cuddly, his lordly attitude and scowling visage has gained the breed a reputation for being mean. It’s true; some individuals are grouchy and perhaps even mean, while other individuals are indifferent or even playful. As a breed though, the Chow Chow is always haughty, aloof and snooty.
The Chow Chow is a fiercely loyal animal; he will protect his family to the ends of his ability. This trait makes a Chow Chow a good choice for a watchdog. If you mess with anything that he considers his own, he will eat you!
He will also choose a person to bond with, and will only obey that person. He will tolerate other people in the family, and obey them only if they have a treat. People outside of the family are ignored. This would make the Chow Chow the wrong choice if you often leave your house with a house sitter. The dog will do whatever he wants much to the irritation of someone else.
Chow Chows must have a strong human master, they are strong willed themselves. The human must be able to impress upon the dog who is boss, and make the dog believe it. The human must be in charge, or the dog will take advantage of him. If you are weak, or if he thinks you are, he will place himself in charge; thus turning aggressive.
The Chow Chow is not an easy dog to train. He is stubborn to a fault and in most cases you will either have to convince the dog that it is his idea to do something or resort to bribery. Most Chow Chow owners have found that parenting methods used for dealing with teenagers, work well for the dog. Be firm and consistent, while loving and your dog will turn out just right.
Chow Chows have a double layer coat; the undercoat is soft downy fuzz. This fuzz is shed in the spring, depending upon the climate; some individuals shed year round. You may find that your dog sheds enough to build another dog, or two! Do not choose a Chow Chow if your vacuum cleaner does not work. This double layer coat needs to be brushed several times a week and a good bath and grooming should happen once a month at the least. Shaving him, is not necessary, and in some cases dangerous, as the double coat is in place for a reason: insulation. It works in the summer to keep the dog cool and in the winter to keep him warm. Chow Chows are sensitive dogs, if you laugh at them (because of the way they look after being shaved or when they are all wet), it will hurt their feelings. So, unless his coat is terribly matted, try to avoid shaving him.
Some Chow Chows are prone to skin problems and allergies. Allergies will vary among individuals and like humans, not everyone will have allergies. Flea bite allergy seems to be common though some individuals may be allergic to cat dander or pollen. A veterinarian can prescribe something that will provide relief. He can also verify that it is an allergy causing the trouble and not a parasite.
Chow Chows are also prone to hip dysphasia. Because one of the traits of the breed is a stiff military style gait, with his hind legs locked at the knees, he may develop hip and knee problems. Again, a veterinarian can prescribe something for the pain.
Older dogs may also develop something akin to Alzheimer’s. If you are lucky, your dog will only be confused. If not, he may turn on you, because he has forgotten who you are. This is very serious and has given the Chow Chow the reputation for turning on his master. Be sure to take him to a veterinarian as soon as you notice any change in his demeanor.
Housebreaking is very easy for a Chow Chow. He is highly intelligent and learns very quickly. This makes him a good choice for apartment dwellers, as long as he can go outside at least once a day. In exchange for a good walk, your Chow Chow will protect your belongings from everything, including your upstairs neighbor! He will be generally quiet, and only bark when there is a reason to do so. Mostly, if he is comfortable with his surroundings he will lie around and wait for something to happen. Chow Chows don’t chew on things like most dogs, puppies will chew, but as he ages, chewing on sticks or bones beneath him; it is not cool. Therefore, he won’t do it. However, he is not above eating the occasional pig ear, or doggy treat. Pork rinds are another good choice as a treat for your dog; they have no calories, and no sugar. Dogs just love them, too.
Famous Chow Chows and Their Owners
Some famous Chow Chow owners are Queen Victoria, Elvis Pressley, and Martha Stewart.
The Chow Chow is a great choice for a pet, as long as you understand him and his quirks.
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