The Chow Chow: A Complete Guide

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The wolf-dog, the bear dog, the Black-Mouthed or the Black-Tongue dog, are all the names for one breed – The Chow Chow.

This is a breed that is considered as one of the oldest in the dog world.

If you are looking for a dog that is one fashionable companion, yet also a serious, muscled up watchdog that looks like a lion, the Chow Chow might be your ideal choice.

If you don’t know much about this breed, it might be smart to have all the important information.

For example, you should be aware of the price range and the little-known facts about the Chow Chow puppies.

You should know how to find a reputable breeder and have an insight into the overall living-with-a-Chow Chow experience.

This guide deals with exactly those things and is meant to help you in making the right decision, without spending hours and hours on research.

Let’s start with the things you should know about puppies and how to find a high-quality one.

The Chow Chow Puppies – Before You Buy…

A small Chow Chow looking curious
Chow chow likes to dominate in your household.

Before buying any breed pup, not just the Chow Chow, there are certain things you should know.

For example, before you say “Yes, this is definitely the breed I want!”, you need to make sure you can afford it because some breed tends to be really expensive.

So, let’s see how much of your budget, you need to spend if you want to buy a healthy Chow Chow puppy.

What price are the Chow Chow puppies?

For a Chow Chow pup, the average price is around $900. Sure, you can find one much cheaper, but then you won’t have the reassurance that the parents were health tests cleared.

You also don’t know if the temperament of the pup matches your needs when it becomes an adult dog.

On the other hand, the price can also be much higher, but that puppy is probably with “royalty” genetics and is meant to win nothing but gold in the competitions.

So, to get a final estimation of the amount of money you will have to spend, you need to find a breeder that will help you decide what personality traits you need to look for in a Chow Chow.

For that, you need to find a reputable breeder, and finding the right one is not that easy.

How to find reputable Chow Chow breeders?

The Chow Chow is not a lap dog that is all bark no muscles. On the contrary, this can be quite a powerful dog and you need to know that the pup you bought has the right set of genes.

Therefore, the breeder you are planning on buying the puppy from must know what he is doing.

To know what, You are doing, keep an eye on the following red flags:

  • The breeder doesn’t tell you much about the breed or offers you advice on how to properly take care of a Chow Chow puppy.
  • Doesn’t have a complete medical history of both the parents and the litter, nor the health tests clearances for the parents.
  • The pups seem to be weak or uninterested in interacting with the “guest” (you), or the “breeder” has many different litters available at the same time.

These are all indications that you are dealing with either a backyard breeder who isn’t well informed about the whole breeding process, or a puppy mill owner who is in the business just for the money and not for the love of the breed.

In either case, the chances are great that the puppy you buy will have health issues right from the start, or later in life.

And, most likely, the temperament the dog develops as he ages, will not be the one you were looking for, despite the training.

3 Little-known facts about the Chow Chow puppies

Two large fluffy Chow Chow's
The Chow chow is very strong.

Once you are certain that you have found the right breeder, it’s time to see if you are up for it when it comes to living with a Chow Chow puppy.

Here are some little-known facts that will help you in having an insight into what to expect.

  • They are independent

This is a very independent breed. Even while young pups, Chows will show you that they “can take care of themselves”.

But, you should not allow such behavior and work on making the puppy realize that you are the Alpha and you take care of everyone, including his little, stubborn self.

Otherwise, he might get the impression that he is in charge and that he pulls the strings.

  • They need early socialization

To make sure your pup grows into a well-behaved dog that is relaxed and not with a short fuse, early socialization is a MUST.

Introduce your puppy with as many as possible different situations, sights, people, and other animals. This way, he will get more relaxed and not bark at everything that moves.

  • The whole family needs to get on-board

Chows are known for their bonding towards just one person from the family.

If you want the dog to bond with the entire family, the entire family needs to get on-board with the feeding, training, walks, and socialization.

Otherwise, the dog might only bond with you and even act protectively when other family members are around.

Physical Traits of the Chow Chow

Okay, you know what to expect while your Chow Chow is a puppy, but what about when he fully develops into an adult dog?

To make your choice the one you are not going to regret, let’s see if the full size of the Chow Chow meets your standards.

How big is a full-grown Chow Chow?

The average size of this breed’s males goes up to 20 inches in height. The females are slightly smaller and they are around 17 inches in height.

As for the weight, again. The males are bigger, thus heavier as well, and they can get up to 70 pounds of weight.

The females are significantly lighter and weigh around 45 pounds.

What is the life expectancy of the Chow Chow?

Even though this is not a lap dog breed, which is well known for living up to two decades, the life expectancy of the Chow Chow is some 15 years.

This means plenty of time for happy, family-album photos from the toddler-hood to adult age for both the kids and the dog.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Chow Chow

A light brown Chow Chow
Chow chow is also called a bear dog.

The Chow Chow is famous for his mean-face expression and an imposing appearance, as well as for his loud bark.

But, that shouldn’t come as a surprise because this breed has been bred for hunting wolves and to keep guard and even pull crates on the Chinese docks while the cargo has been loaded on the boats.

So, even today’s Chows, carry that DNA and are excellent guard dogs.

If you want to make a family-pet out of this dog, you also need to keep in mind that he can become very dangerous when it comes to protecting your family.

They can easily become aggressive when the family or the property is in question. Therefore, being a first-time dog owner with this breed means that it can get complicated.

You will need plenty of energy and time if you want to commit to training a Chow Chow, as well as socialization, knowing his overly protective nature.

This is a dominant dog, a true Alpha leader. So, if you don’t manage to make him realize that you are in charge and you make all the calls, you will have a problem on your hands.

Chow Chows don’t like being bossed around. And, if you try to force your will with a strong hand, you can just get hurt.

The approach you need to have when training a Chow Chow includes first of all consistency all the time, but plenty of positive reinforcement as well, and of course, doggy treats, lots of them.

They are well capable of learning everything you have to offer, but with a gentle yet firm approach.

It takes just a vocal command to correct his behavior, without using your hand as a “correctional” tool. Using force during the training, in many cases, can end up with an attack by the dog.

The training of this breed is demanding and not as easy going as with some other, lighter temperament breeds. But, the housetraining, on the other hand, is a completely different story.

When it comes to kids, the Chow Chow is not famous for being patient with the overwhelming “I want to play with you like with a stuffed toy” child attitude. So, this is not the perfect breed if you have small kids.

The Chows can get along quite fine with older kids, as long as they know how to behave around a dog. In this case, he can turn into a respectful and loving companion of your kids.

Of course, early socialization and having friends come over is needed if you don’t want to have problems each time someone visits your home when the dog is all grown up.

Chow Chow Diet

When talking about the Chow Chow diet, there isn’t a one-fits-all recipe because. Like humans, dogs all come with different feeding needs.

How much food your Chow Chow eats, greatly depends on his size, metabolism, and how much exercise he has daily.

Some, overall Chow Chow food amount requirement rule, on the other hand, says that your puppy will need 2 and a half cups of dog food daily. Also, this amount should be divided into 3 separate meals.

Once they are grown up and fully formed, Chow Chows can eat twice a day and the overall food amount should be reduced to two cups of food.

Of course, you can change the amount based on your dog’s activity. For example, if you have a couch potato pet, you can even feed him with one and a half cup daily.

Also, if your Chow has higher activity levels and loves to play and run a lot during the day, the amount of daily food intake can go up to 3 cups.

You just need to monitor your dog’s weight and adjust the amount accordingly.

How much Exercise does a Chow Chow need?

The Chow Chow is a large dog breed, yet its exercise requirement levels are relatively low.

To maintain good health, your Chow will need two or three walks daily, combined with short running sessions in the yard or the dog park.

But, you need to know that due to his thick, double coat, he will be less active during the summer. His season is definitely the winter and that is when you can expect your Chow Chow to be active the most.

This breed can live in an apartment as long as he has enough walks and exercise. But, a Chow is the happiest on farms where there’s plenty of animals to herd and “boss” around.

Chow Chow Health and Conditions

This is a relatively healthy breed and is known to live a long life when speaking in dog years of course.

However, Chow Chows can in some cases suffer from health issues such as elbow and hip dysplasia, eye disorders such as ectropion and entropion, and other health problems that include thyroid disease and patellar luxation.

The breeder you bought the puppy from, should provide the entire medical history and test clearances for all the named issues.

This way, you know that your companion has a much lower chance of suffering from any of the illnesses.

Of course, assuming that you are taking proper care of him during his life.

Mental Stimulation

The Chow Chow is an intelligent breed of dog which can easily learn anything new you try to teach it.

Therefore, make the most out of this ability of your dog and mentally stimulate it to enhance its intellect.

You can try what’s called a ‘Shaping Game’ with your Chow Chow.

This is a very fun activity where a box, or literally any item, is left on the ground for your dog to make something out of it.

The main idea behind this game is to make your pet exercise its mental skills and use them to accomplish different tasks.

Apart from this, playing the ‘Shell Game’ can be quite effective with your Chow Chow.

This is a game where you hide a treat under one of the three similar cups and keep moving around the cups.

All that your Chow Chow needs to do is keep its eyes focused on the cup you placed the treat under.

Also, make sure you do not move around the cups too fast because your Chow Chow would not be able to keep up with you.

However, during any of the mental stimulation activities, it is important for you to keep checking the response and behavior of your Chow Chow.

This dog has an alpha personality and can get stubborn really quick if it feels irritated.

This is why if you notice that the activity is causing your dog too much confusion or frustration, take a small break where you let your dog relax and shower it with praise to motivate it.

My final thoughts on the Chow ChowA Chow Chow close up

With the Chow Chow’s health section, we have come to the end of our guide.

If you have a much better insight into this breed and are closer to making the right final choice, our mission was a success.

But, just to be sure you have the right image about this breed, and to avoid some second thoughts, here is the Chow Chow in a nutshell.

This breed comes with muscles and strong bones and is not to be messed around with.

They are an excellent guard and working dogs but can be complicated to live with if you are a family because their shorter fuse temperament is not well suited for small children.

They are dominant, meaning they will challenge even you for the role of the Alpha in the beginning, but with a firm and consistent attitude toward the training, you will let your dog know that you are in charge.

You will gain his respect this way and have a great companion that will be a fearless protector of the family and the home.

In the end, all that is left to say is thank you for being with us till the end of the guide, and feel free to share it on social media if you think your friends should also get familiar with this interesting breed.

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