When it comes to owning pets, there’s no denying that dogs are one of the best. However, due to the many breeds, sometimes it might be hard to pick just one. The variety of physical characteristics is accompanied by personality, nutrition and exercise, and other features that vary across each other. Also, it is vital to know which breed fits your lifestyle to be able to live a healthy life with your pets. The chow dog is one to consider, and it comes with its specifications. For one, it is a sturdy dog with a broad but small skull and erect triangular ears that are rounded at the tips. At first glance, it looks like a mean dog with its large head surrounded by a mane of hair and deep-set almond-shaped eyes. The chow chow tongue is one of the features that you can distinguish them by, because of its purple or blue-black color. They can also be identified by their curly tail, which has thick hair and lies on its back. In this article, facts about this breed, including their health, exercise, training, grooming, and nutrition requirements, as well as temperament, will be discussed. This is to help you determine if this breed will be best for you.
History of the Chow Chow Dog
The chow chow dog Is not to be one of the dog types bred explicitly by humans for specific tasks. The breed Existed before the 19th century when modern kinds emerged. There is documentation that proposes that the chow chow breed came from China about 2000 years ago or Migrated into China from the Arctic Asia 3000 years ago. There is a legend that speaks about big dogs from central Asia that were used for a war that looked like lions with black tongues. Chinese are famous for owning this breed of dogs with one ruler owning about 5000. They were also used to pull sleds, and there’s an author that states that humans consumed the breed. Teddy bears are rumored to have originated from and model of queen Victoria’s show chow chow puppy, which she carried everywhere she went. Legend has it that her friends did not approve of her carrying a dog around because it was not befitting for a queen and so they employed a dressmaker to make a stuffed animal version for her. In recent times the American kennel club Registers about 10,000 chow chows a year, while the Canadian kennel club registers about 350.
Quick Facts About the Chow Chow Dog
- They were Chinese working dogs: As mentioned, this breed was popular among the Chinese and was used for activities like guarding, hunting, or sometimes to herd cattle. Their popularity in the region, even though they are initially from the North, is what originated the assumption that they are indigenous to that China. This is evident because of the Chinese Emperor, who owned 5,000 and had 10,000 men trained to hunt with them.
- Their names are not Chinese: You might be wondering where the exciting name came from and why. Even though the Chow Chow dog is associated with China, the Chinese refer to them as songshi Quan. ‘Chow Chow’ is a Pidgin English term used in the 18th century to describe anything from the East. Even though they are living creatures, they were included in the word meant for items like porcelain and dolls. It was mainly merchants who propagated this name primarily because they were not concerned with properly marking their shipments.
- They have a different tongue: Chow chows, in general, have a unique mouth and dental arrangement that sets them apart from other breeds. The blue-black or purple tongue of this breed is one that catches a lot of attention. It is known to be a dominant gene in the breed that can be passed on from generation to generation. The chow chow puppy has a regular pink tongue, but with age, the purple/blue-black color emerges and becomes almost lizard-like. In addition, they have two extra teeth making 44 rather than the usual 42 teeth in other dogs.
- They are not good around water: The coat of this breed comes in five colors, which are blue, cinnamon, red, cream, and black, and can be either rough or smooth. The Chow Chow Dog also has a very dense double coat, which tends to get heavy when wet. They can be weighed down by the wetness, which can be fatal if they are in a large, deep pool. It is better to not involve them altogether from any activities involving water, especially if you are not sure how they will fare. You and your pet will be safer that way.
- They come from old money: If you were looking for a list of ancient dog breeds, you would probably find this breed on it. This dog has been around for 4,000 years ago and has been working for the human species for that long. Some dog experts believe they are one of the first to have evolved for wolves just that they do not howl at the moon.
Things You Should Know About the Chow Chow Dog
On average, the Chow dog can live for about eight to twelve years, with some living for 15 years. They are prone to specific health issues during their lifetime that you will have to look out for. Heatstrokes are not uncommon with Chows primarily because of their dense coats. They do not do well in the summer and prefer to be in cold temperatures. Also, the breed is susceptible to eye problems like glaucoma and cataracts as well as Entropia, which is a disorder of the eyelids. They are also likely to develop thyroid diseases, including autoimmune thyroiditis, which is a hypothyroid condition. Symptoms of this disorder can cause the dog to have weird behaviors and so must be taken seriously. The chow chow size is medium to large, and with the others, this breed may experience joint issues within their lifespan. The most common risks are hip and elbow dysplasia, which occur when there is an abnormal formation of the bones in those joints. Also, the breed is at risk of patella luxation, which occurs when the knee cap slips out of the socket. These deformities can cause crippling pain to the dog and must also be taken seriously and treated correctly. The breed may also experience gastric distortion, which causes bloating mainly due to a fill-up of fas and fluids and twisting of the stomach. This condition requires immediate medical attention since it can be fatal.
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Generally, Chows are stubborn and aggressive, so it can be challenging to train them. It will require tons of patience and care, but firm training to get the dog to behave in a desirable manner. The key is to start with the baby chow chow so that the good habits stay till adulthood. Because of their guarding instinct, they must be trained to respect their owners; otherwise, there may be clashing over superiority. Treats motivate them, and it will make training sessions easier for both of you. Each task has to be well defined with short courses and the treats you use must be something they enjoy. It will take longer to train an adult Chow since it has already known what independence is. Sessions must be repetitive and so you will need a lot of patience and commitment to get through it. You can use enforcement like dog toys for training and keep the dog engaged throughout the sessions. Use the same command for tasks so that your dog can associate sounds with behavior and learn quickly. Hand gestures are also another way of training Chows and have proven to be useful. Clicker training is also a method of training Chow Chow dogs and you can get a professional dog trainer to help. Remember to make sure your dog is comfortable before training sessions begin.
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Chows easily get bored and so you need to find a way to keep them busy so that they don’t engage in unproductive behaviors. Aside from training, exercise is one way to ensure they are getting the physical stimulation they need. Even though some consider the breed to be lazy, 15-minute daily walks around the neighborhood or even the apartment will be okay for them. They are mostly indoor animals and are not prone to wandering, but it will still be wise to put a fence around the yard.
It is advised that Chow Chows consume two to 2 ¾ cups of high-quality meals twice a day. Factors like size, age, nutrition requirements, activity level, and metabolism can also determine how much the dog eats. For example, younger puppies will need a different diet mainly to stimulate growth from that of adult dogs. The dog should have a balanced meal made up of majority proteins, fat, and amino acids, as well as carbohydrates. The better the meal the more nourished the dog is going to be to live a healthy life. Always inspect the ingredients on the dog food you buy to ensure that you are feeding your pet the right meal. To be very sure, consult a vet to help with things like ingredients, and how much of each to feed the dog. It is not advisable to leave food in their bowl all the time for the dog since it might lead to excessive weight gain. The average adult chow chow weight is 40 to 70 pounds and it should be kept in that range for a healthy and active animal.
For more guides on choosing the right dog food, you may wish to check out our reviews of the best dry dog food, organic dog food, grain free dog food, wet dog food and dog food toppers.
When it comes to grooming, this breed is considered to be cat-like because they are clean and graceful. As earlier mentioned, they have a double coat which is thicker around the head and on the tail. They come either rough or smooth and will need brushing three times a week in both cases. This keeps them from shedding everywhere and also, and they will smell good all the time. Always use the appropriate tools so that you do not hurt the animal, and keep the coat wet during the process to prevent hair breakage. You can bathe the dog once a month with dog-friendly shampoo or anytime it becomes visibly filthy. Dental hygiene is as important and you will need to brush this breed’s teeth twice to three times a week. This removes bacteria and tartar buildup to keep your dog’s mouth clean and fresh. Also, clip the dog’s nails using dog nail clippers as and when it becomes necessary. The dog’s nails are too long when you can hear them clicking as they walk. Grooming should be gentle and if you cannot handle it, a professional groomer will be of help.
For more help on dog grooming, you may wish to read our guides on the best dog nail grinders, dog wipes, dematting tools for dogs, dog paw washers and dog shampoo.
The chow chow temperament is aggressive and aloof, especially towards strangers, but can be tamed with training and socialization. They are the type to inform strangers that they are not welcome on their property. Their aggression is also exhibited in the presence of other Chows of the same gender with no concrete explanation. The most tangible reason is due to their work as guard dogs throughout history. They are considered high-risk dogs by many insurance companies because of their aggression. They are a one-person dog, giving all their loyalty to their owner and hence do not fare well in a family. They are naturally quiet but can get stubborn and attach to their owners fiercely. Their stubbornness stems from their desire to be independent and their need to exert dominance in their environment. They can be overprotective of their caregivers or owners without the proper training. They do not respond well to violence, and they might become more vicious or down spirited.
From all the information gathered in this article, it is clear that this breed is not for everyone. This dog type is very loyal but only to a few and so they are not suitable for large families. They will survive in an apartment since regular light walks are enough to keep them fit. They are famous for their mean look, which is usually translated into behavior but is dedicated when trained and socialized. You will need a lot of patience and dedication to live with this breed and also a vet to help improve their quality of life.
- Caring For Your Chow Chow – ChowChow.org