A large, smiling, fluffy, golden dog, stands looking up at the camera.

Chow Chow

27 January 2023

Let’s talk about… Chow Chows: what are they?

  • Chow Chows are a distinctive and ancient breed with a rich history.
  • Originating from China, they were originally bred for various purposes, including herding, guarding, and pulling sleds.
  • Chow Chows have a unique appearance with their thick double coat, lion-like mane, and blue-black tongue.
  • They have a sturdy and compact build, with males typically reaching a height of 48 to 56 cm and females averaging slightly smaller at 46 to 51 cm.
  • In terms of weight, males usually weigh between 25 to 32 kg, while females range from 20 to 27 kg.
  • Chow Chows have an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, but it is not abnormal to see an older one.
Chow Chow  Exercise Needs 3/5 Grooming Ease 3/5 Trainability 2/5

What is the temperament of Chow Chows like?

  • Chow Chows are known for their independent and aloof nature.
  • They are often described as dignified and sometimes even cat-like in their behaviour.
  • While they can form strong bonds with their families, they may not be as demonstrative in their affection as some other breeds.
  • Chow Chows are generally reserved with strangers and can be protective of their family and territory.
  • Early socialisation is important to ensure they develop into well-rounded and confident dogs.
  • Training should be firm, consistent, and reward-based to establish a strong bond and prevent any potential stubbornness.
Bruno, the Chow Chow

How much exercise do Chow Chows need?

  • Chow Chows have moderate exercise needs and typically require around 1 to 1.5 hours of exercise per day.
  • They enjoy leisurely walks, playtime in a secure area, and mental stimulation activities such as puzzle toys or obedience training.
  • While they are not overly demanding in terms of physical exercise, it's essential to provide mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
  • It's important to note that Chow Chow puppies have different exercise requirements.
  • As puppies, they should engage in shorter play sessions to avoid putting excessive strain on their developing joints and muscles.
  • Consult with your vet for specific exercise guidelines based on your Chow Chow's age and development.
Cooper, the Chow Chow

Do Chow Chows need a lot of grooming?

  • Chow Chows have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition.
  • They have a soft undercoat and a dense outer coat that provides insulation. Regular brushing, ideally a few times a week, helps to prevent matting and keep their coat healthy and free of tangles.
  • During shedding seasons, which can occur twice a year, more frequent brushing may be necessary to manage the increased hair loss.
  • Chow Chows have a distinctive ruff around their neck and longer hair on their tail, which may require extra attention.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Mickey and Minnie, the Chow Chows

Are Chow Chows easy to train?

  • Chow Chows have an independent and sometimes stubborn nature, which can make training a bit challenging.
  • They are intelligent dogs but may not always be eager to please or highly motivated by food rewards.
  • Early socialisation and consistent, patient training are crucial for Chow Chows.
  • Positive reinforcement techniques, including praise, treats, and rewards, work best to motivate them. It's important to be confident and consistent, yet calm.
  • With proper training and early socialisation, Chow Chows can learn and respond well to commands and be well-behaved companions.
Teddy, the Chow Chow

What do Chow Chows eat?

  • Chow Chows, like all dogs, require a balanced and nutritious diet to support their overall health and well-being.
  • Feeding a high-quality commercial dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level is recommended.
  • The amount of food to feed will depend on factors such as their weight, metabolism, and individual needs.
  • It's important to monitor their weight and adjust the portion sizes accordingly to prevent obesity, as Chow Chows can be prone to weight gain.
  • Most adults do well on being fed twice daily.
  • As puppies, they should be fed a specially formulated puppy diet until they reach approximately 12 months of age, at which point they can transition to adult dog food.
  • Puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day until they are 6 months old when they can reduce to twice daily.
  • Consult with your vet for specific dietary recommendations for your Chow Chow.

Are Chow Chows healthy?

Chow Chows, like any breed, can be prone to certain health conditions. It's important to be aware of potential health concerns to ensure proactive care and early detection. Some health issues that Chow Chows may be susceptible to include:

Bones and Joints

  • Cruciate Disease - when a cruciate ligament of the knee is either partially or fully torn leading to discomfort and lameness
  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis.


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye
  • Entropion - this is where the eyelids roll in, causing eyelashes to rub onto the surface of the eye


  • Diabetes -  a condition where your dog can’t produce enough insulin to control their blood sugar levels
  • Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone

This list is by no means comprehensive. If you have any concerns about the health of your Chow Chow or want to discuss further if this breed is right for you, consult with your veterinarian.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Chow Chows

BorrowMyDoggy has 823 Chow Chow members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

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