Dispelling Chow Chow Myths

A prospective Chow owner has some concerns after hearing things about the breed.


Q. I am interested in buying a Chow Chow, but have been warned that they are stubborn and not easily trained. Also, I am told they are prone to hip dysplasia. Would one of these dogs be a good choice for me? My husband and I are retirees (no kids, no grandkids, just cats) and I have owned dogs all my life. I took my last dog to training classes for five years and have a pretty good idea of how to train a new dog. I enjoyed walking my last dog but have been told that Chows will not walk on a leash for any distance. Any insights you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

A. I'm curious what prompted you to consider a Chow? You seem to have been hearing a lot of opinions about the breed, and I suspect many of these comments have not come from Chow owners or breeders.

It's coincidental that you mentioned having cats because I would describe Chows as quite cat-like in their independence, cleanliness, and aloofness.

Yes, they are stubborn, a trait they share with all the Oriental breeds, from the smallest Pekingese to the biggest, burliest Tibetan Mastiff. Some of us love that quality in a dog while other owners need a dog that lives to please them and is more demonstrative in its affection. If you need a dog to fetch your slippers and the morning newspaper, forget the Chow.

A Chow would consider being asked to perform parlor tricks "demeaning." Yet the breed is intensely loyal to "its" chosen people.

They are a clean breed so puppies are quickly housetrained. Also their rough, stand-off coats are relatively easy to groom.

I recommend going to a dog show, meeting Chow breeders and approaching them after they're done in the ring to ask about the breed and make an appointment to visit their dogs at home. If there isn't a dog show in your area, visit the Chow Chow Club's website, where you'll find lots of information on the breed and locate a club and breeders in your part of the country.

Chow puppies are adorable teddy bears, but this is absolutely not a breed to buy from a pet shop or a casual, inexperienced breeder. Early socialization is a must, and a good breeder will be your mentor and friend for the life of your dog. Take the time to find a great one.


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Raven   Pike Road, International

4/9/2013 9:23:41 AM

I own a full bred cream coloured Chow Chow, with blue eyes and a purple tongue. And I have been searching the internet to understand people's distasteful opinions of the breed. Many CC's are bred by Back yard breeders and they are not being bred for temperament and bettering of the breed, but for the pleasure of money. My family and I adopted my CC from a nearby neighbor that breeds them. My family and I walked in, met the whole family (grandparents, parents, and 2 other litters, NONE of them barked, gnarled, bit, or even tried to come near us, they were very, well trained and as peaceful as they

My dog's name is Micah, and I MUST tell you, he is nothing like what people describe Chow's to be. I've had pomeranians, maltese, yorkies, and labs--none of them match up to my Chow. He is the best dog my family and I has ever had. We have neighboring dogs, oh they bark alllll the time and attempt to get Micah to bark along with them, but he doesn't, instead, he marks his territory and walks away from them. When my family and I have guests, he sniffs them and I let Micah know that they will not hurt us; they're our guess and he then becomes use to them after a good while. People call me on the phone telling me how much they love and miss Micah. I sit outside to read my book or meditate, and my buddy comes walking over to me, and sits right next to me. The breed is VERY calm and peaceful if you purchase them from the right breeder, and spend a great deal of time with them, and show them love. It is also the owner's job to make sure they are non-aggressive, but when an attack comes they will be that way-- anyway it's the animal's instincts. My dog only barks when an attack of an opposing force is crossing our yard, other times he is very quiet, you hear nothing from him. Micah is very similar to a cat. He does his business where it is not visible to us, and covers it with pine straw once he is done. He is very independent and tends to do his own thing when not strictly demanded by us. Toddlers and our elders have been around him and have had no complaint, at all they love him.


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Sarah - 243618   Port Charlotte, FL

4/7/2013 9:17:31 AM

We have a chow mix (mini Lab and Chow). Someone I met told me they use to breed chow and they were biter. I kindly informed them that she would not be a biter. We worked on Lady in that area and to this day we still try to put our hands in her mouth and she will spit it

As for her personality. She's got spunk. She is a loyal guard dog for sure. She is always on duty. We have another dog who is a male Lab mix and if he barks before she does to warn us that someone is coming to the house she corrects him. He's only allowed to back her

She has a fox-like face and very cat-like too. Her tactics are cat-like. She loves pouncing. She's not one for a lot of walking exercise but she can be active in other things. Retrieving is not a popular thing for her, she enjoys prey games (chasing and catching). She loves things that squeak and occasionally she likes to dig, especially to keep

She will do tricks for treats, but certain things we ask her to do she likes to talk back (is very vocal) while doing it. I guess that's a trick she finds "demeaning."

Oh, I forgot to mention, somethings were difficult to teach her, but other things like house-training were a breeze. She always lets us know when she needs out.

Thanks DC for the information on the breed. I discovered certain things about Lady and can better understand how to connect with her.

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Tricia - 256988   

7/21/2012 9:51:27 PM

We have a four year old Chow. She is a wonderful dog. She is first and foremost a guard dog. She lives to guard our front door and has an alarming bark. She is also patient, kind and very much like a cat. She will greet you at the door with great enthusiasm and a big smile but her greeting will only last 30 seconds and then she is back to her post near the front door. We walk her twice a day and she chases the rabbits away from my flower beds. She does not bark needlessly, jump, dig or chew up things not even as a puppy. She never has an accident in the house and potty trained herself. She is beautiful and very dignified yet will let my grandchildren crawl on her!

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Tiffany   Seminale, FL

11/22/2011 2:10:37 PM

Well I own 3 chow chows and I love them they don't have a big temper and if you train them well they won't chew things depending on the type of chow and I walk my chows 2 times a week and they love it

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