Meet the breed: Chow Chow

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle presents the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for a one-woman dog that makes an excellent companion and watchdog, learn all you need to know about the Chow Chow.


  • Loyal
  • Independent
  • Quiet
  • Stubborn
  • Cat-like


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The Chow Chow is one of the most ancient known breeds and is believed to have some relation to the Chinese Shar-Pei. Both natives of China, these breeds have a blue-black tongue and are working dogs. The coat was used for human wear and the breed was sometimes eaten as a delicacy. Moved to England in the 1800s, the Chow Chow is now used as a companion and guard dog. Cat-like and not very affectionate, the breed isn’t known for appeasing his owner, but does make for a great companion.

Breed standards

    • AKC group: Non-sporting
    • UKC group: Northern Breed Group
    • Average lifespan: 9 – 13 years
    • Average size: 45 – 70 pounds
    • Coat appearance: Rough or smooth, puffy appearance
    • Coloration: Black, red, cinnamon, cream and blue
    • Hypoallergenic: No
    • Other identifiers: Double coat with lion-like appearance; large and stocky body type with broad head and wide nostrils; blue-black tongue; dark, almond-shaped eyes; broad chest with tail set high
    • Possible alterations: N/A

Is this breed right for you?

A great guard dog, the Chow Chow does well with all family members and pets if raised with them, but does best as a one-woman dog. In need of good leadership from its owner and proper obedience training, this breed will need a calm and confident leader who is consistent with him. If the Chow Chow does not receive this, he will believe himself to be the alpha and have the potential for behavioral problems. Due to his dense coat, this breed requires a lot of grooming and sheds often. The Chow Chow will do OK in apartment life if he is exercised regularly. Known as an inside dog, the breed cannot withstand warmer climates due to his double coat.

A dream day in the life of a Chow Chow

A lazy breed, the Chow Chow would be completely content staying indoors alone all day long. However, since this does not best suit him, his owner should take him on a short walk in the cool morning air. After a quick training session, the Chow Chow will be happy to hang around with his master while keeping his home safe from harm and strangers.

Other breeds you might like

Chinese Shar-Pei