When you see a fluffy, royal dog with a signature lion-like mane and teddy-bear face, then it’s a Chow Chow dog breed for sure. Before we learn what’s under all that fluff, let’s take a look at the unique characteristics of this iconic breed.
Chow chow dog breed traits
Serious-minded: The chow chow dog breed has a tendency to be serious and laid back at all times.
Royal: The distinctive looking breed always stays dignified and king-like, and carries a proud, independent spirit similar to a cat.
Protective & Watchful: Chows don’t bark much, but when they do, it is only to alert you.
Loyalty: This stunning breed can be very affectionate loyal companions to their human family.
Suspicious to strangers: The chow chow dog breed is quite reserved in nature for everyone else except their human family and they can be downright suspicious to strangers. Not everyone is their best friend.
Good with kids: The fluffy breeds make good family dogs and do well around kids.
Chow chow dog breed facts
1. Ancient dog breed
The Chow Chow dog breed originated in the northern part of China around 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. Many historians have found records that show existence of a chow-like dog in texts from the 11th century, and in the 13th century, the great explorer and writer, Marco Polo wrote about them in his travels. This makes the Chow chow dog breed one of the oldest dog breeds in the world.
In fact, many researchers believe that the Chow could be the result of mixing the mastiff of Tibet with the Samoyed in northern Siberia or actually be one of the very first breeds to have evolved from the wolves.
Now that’s a howling history – no wonder why Chow Chows are called lone wolves!
2. The name chow chow
In China the chow chow dog breed is known as Songshi Quan, so where did the name ‘chow chow’ come from?
Despite their Asian ancestry, the Chow Chow name has an English origin. The English used the word ‘Chow Chow’ for the breed the first time just like how we sometimes use the word ‘knick-knack’ today, and this is how the breed got its name.
Interestingly, anything new and unique coming from the East was likely to be called chow chow be it porcelain dolls, furniture, clothing, food, or an animal. So, it was in the 18th century when the dog breed first arrived by ship to England, all the sea merchants simply referred to them as chow chow and the name stayed.
3. Extra teeth
Chows have a little something extra in their mouths apart from a toothy grin – Two extra teeth!
Most dog breeds only have 42 teeth, but the chow has the unique distinction of having two extra teeth in puppyhood which makes them sport 44 teeth in total. These extras are just milk teeth and they fall off when the adult set grow in.
4. The unique black-blue tongue
One of the most interesting facts about Chow Chows is their black-blue tongue. While most dogs have a reddish-pink tongue, the Chows have a deep black-blue tongue.
Apart from the chow, the only other dog that shares this rarely-colored tongue feature is the Shar-Pei.
The blue color is totally breed specific and harmless. Though there’s an old wives’ tale by urban legends which states that the Chow’s tongues are actually poisonous. Now this myth is obviously untrue but people say it due to the Chow tongue’s resemblance to that of the venomous Australian Death Adder snake, a fellow blue-tongued creature.
5. Straight back legs
Another fun fact about the chows is their straight hind legs which gives them a very visually intriguing walk. Unlike other dog breeds, the chow chow dog breed back legs are completely straight and do not bend, which gives them an unmistakable stilted gait – their natural fluffiness and curly tail bobbing simply adding to the ballerinas en pointe look.
More importantly, this also means that chow chow dog breed owners have to be careful and keep an eye for the signs of hip dysplasia in older Chow dogs.
Beyond doubt, chow chow dog breed is very attractive to look at, however, they are not for novice dog parents. Truth is, even though these are purebred dogs, one can sadly find them in animal shelters. Remember to always adopt, because you can.
Chows are medium sized dogs and while they can adapt to apartment life, they need plenty of exercise and walks. Like other dogs, they don’t enjoy being left home alone for long hours and need good care and attention.
If you can provide experienced training, lots of physical activity regularly, and have been a responsible dog parent before, you’ll have a loyal, protective, furry family member.
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