Height: 17 – 20 inches at the shoulder; dogs can be larger or smaller but must be proportional.
Weight: 45 – 70 pounds with the males being larger.
Life Expectancy: 9 – 15 years
Litter Size: 5 – 7 puppies
A Chow Chow’s coat can come in two textures, either smooth or rough. Both coat types are thick and course, requiring regular maintenance. The American Kennel Club (AKC) allows Chow Chows to come in five coat colors: Cream, Red, Blue, Black, and Cinnamon. Although variations of these colors are allowed, parti-colors are not.
Chows are medium built dogs of the arctic type. They are heavy boned and have strong muscular development. The Chow Chow’s body is compact with a tail that is set high, but carried close to the dogs back. The breed has very straight hind legs which results in the breed’s characteristic stilted gait. The gait causes the dog to look very proud when it walks. This is a breed with a large amount of dignity.
The dogs have large heads with a muzzle that is short and broad. The Chow Chow has an unmistakable scowling look on his face with his deep set, almond-shaped eyes. The most well-known characteristic the breed possesses is the blue-black tongue. The AKC requires the tongue to be this color to be accepted into the club. However, occasionally the breed with have splashes of pink which is acceptable. Experts say diluted coat colors such as cinnamon and blue are more susceptible to pink splashes, as well as older Chows. An interesting fact is that all Chow Chow puppies are born with pink tongues and by 8 – 10 weeks of age most tongues have completely turned blue-black.
Due to the large amounts of fur around their heads and looming eye problems within the breed lead the dogs to have poor peripheral vision, so it is important to approach these dogs from the front or announce your presence.
Temperament and Personality
Chow Chows are intelligent, keen, independent dogs who have a certain aloofness about them. The breed is interested in what they want, when they want. This is not a breed that can be controlled easily or who wants to be loved on constantly, although they do love attention from their friends and family. The breed is known to be a “one-owner” dog, however, they do well in families as long as they are properly introduced or raised with the family.
The breed is very discerning and reserved with strangers which make it an excellent guard dog. It is very important to socialize your Chow puppy at a young age. If socialized correctly, the breed can get along well with children, cats, dogs, or other animals. The breed is very well-mannered and clean which makes it an easy breed to potty train; sometimes, it seems as if the dogs potty train themselves as long as owners take them outside often enough when young. The dogs are very clean which helps make them easy to train. The breed is rather low-maintenance and can do well in most living conditions as long as it is exercised properly. Whether the dog is kept on a lot of land or in an apartment, the Chow makes a wonderful pet for experienced owners.