Chow Chow Temperament: What Makes These Dogs So Unique? – Best Guide

By: Mo


Last updated:

Chow Chow Temperament

When I first considered adopting a Chow Chow, I wondered what kind of personality this breed would bring into my home.

Chow Chows are known for their dignified and independent temperament. This can be a delight or a challenge, depending on the owner. These distinct dogs are often serious and aloof, making them quite different from more playful breeds.

My experience with my Chow Chow was eye-opening. They are extremely loyal and can be very protective of their family. This breed’s unique temperament makes them intriguing companions, but they do require an experienced hand when it comes to training and socialization. Sharing the same space with such a regal breed brings both joy and responsibility.

Caring for a Chow Chow isn’t just about meeting their physical needs but also understanding their behavioral traits. From their stoic charm to their stubborn streaks, these dogs offer a fascinating blend of traits. If you’re ready to dive into the world of Chow Chows, you’re in for an engaging and rewarding journey.

Key Takeaways

History and Origin of the Chow Chow

The Chow Chow has a rich and fascinating history that spans thousands of years. From its ancient roots in Northern China to its global spread, these dogs have remained a symbol of stability and beauty.

Earliest Records and Chinese Heritage

The Chow Chow is one of the oldest dog breeds with origins tracing back over 2,000 years to Northern China. It was believed to be favored by Chinese emperors during the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). These dogs were used for various purposes, including hunting, guarding, and herding. Ancient art and pottery often depict Chow Chows, highlighting their popularity and importance in Chinese culture.

I remember reading about a legend where Chow Chows were even thought to guard the gates of heaven. Dogs with their unique blue-black tongues were especially revered. This feature sets them apart and adds to their majestic appearance. Merchants and travelers helped spread the breed beyond China, but it wasn’t until much later that these dogs became known worldwide.

Chow Chows Around the World

Chow Chows began making their way to the rest of the world around the 18th century. They were first introduced to England by merchants and gained immense popularity. Queen Victoria herself was known to adore these dogs, further boosting their status. By the early 20th century, the breed had also captured the attention of American dog lovers.

The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in the 1920s, solidifying its place in dog shows and homes across the United States. Some famous individuals, like Sigmund Freud, reportedly owned Chow Chows, which added to their allure. Today, Chow Chows are loved by many for their unique appearance and independent temperament.

Physical Characteristics

A Chow Chow stands tall and proud, with a thick, fluffy coat and a sturdy build. Its expression is dignified and aloof, exuding an air of confidence and independence

Chow Chows are known for their unique look, including a lion-like mane and a sturdy build. This section focuses on their size, build, fur types, and color varieties.

Size and Build

Chow Chows are a medium to large breed. Males usually stand at about 17-20 inches tall, while females are slightly shorter, around 18-19 inches. These dogs are robust and muscular, which makes them appear very strong.

Their weight ranges from 45 to 70 pounds. Despite their solid appearance, they are quite agile and can move gracefully. I remember thinking my own Chow Chow, Bruno, looked like a fluffy lion ready to pounce! The deep chest and erect ears give them a dignified look.

Fur Types and Color Varieties

Chow Chows come in two main coat types: smooth and rough. The rough coat is more common and has a thick, dense, and straight texture with a soft undercoat. It’s especially prominent around the neck, creating a lion-like mane.

The smooth coat, on the other hand, is shorter and less fluffy but still dense and coarse. The colors can range widely, including red, black, blue, cream, and cinnamon. My Chow Chow has a beautiful cinnamon coat that catches everyone’s eye.

The variety in colors and the stunning thick coat, whether smooth or rough, are truly what set Chow Chows apart visually from other breeds. These unique physical traits make them one of the most easily recognizable breeds out there.

Behavioral Traits of Chow Chows

A Chow Chow stands confidently, with a dignified and aloof expression. Its thick, lion-like mane frames its face, and its sturdy build exudes strength and resilience

Chow Chows are known for their independent and dignified temperament. They can be quite reserved and even aloof around strangers but fiercely loyal to their owners. Now, let’s dive deeper into these fascinating traits.

General Temperament

From my experience, Chow Chows are unique dogs with distinct personalities. They tend to be quite independent and often enjoy spending time alone. Unlike some other breeds, they don’t always crave attention.

They’re also known to be very dignified and quiet, which makes them good pets for a calm household. This breed has a natural dominant and protective disposition, meaning they can be aggressive if they feel their territory or family is threatened. It’s important to be aware of this nature if you’re considering bringing one into your home.

Additionally, they can be stubborn, which might make training a bit challenging. I found that patience and positive reinforcement work best. Despite their sometimes challenging nature, if a Chow Chow picks you as “their person,” you’ve got a loyal friend for life.

Socialization and Interaction

Chow Chows can be pretty reserved when it comes to socialization. Early and continuous socialization is crucial. When I socialized my Chow Chow early on, it made a significant difference in his behavior with other people and animals.

Because of their aloof nature, they might not always warm up to strangers right away. They can be quite protective, so it’s essential to expose them to various social scenarios continually.

Interaction with children and other pets should be supervised. Start with short, controlled meetings and gradually increase the duration as comfort grows. Be aware that un-socialized Chow Chows can display aggression.

Teaching your Chow Chow to remain calm and consistent helps minimize unwanted aggressive behavior. Remember, a well-socialized Chow Chow is more likely to be a confident and manageable pet.

Caring for Your Chow Chow

Providing proper care for your Chow Chow is essential for their health and happiness. Ensuring they receive the right diet, grooming, and exercise will help them thrive.

Diet and Nutrition

Feeding your Chow Chow a balanced diet is crucial. These dogs can be prone to health issues like bloat and hip dysplasia, so high-quality dog food is best. I always choose foods with real meat as the first ingredient and avoid fillers like corn and soy. You can also add some fresh, unseasoned veggies for variety.

Portion control is important. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which can worsen joint problems. Use a measuring cup for dry kibble and follow the recommended serving size on the dog food packaging. Keep an eye on treats; they should be no more than 10% of their daily calories.

Fresh water should always be available. I find it helpful to establish a feeding schedule and stick to it. This keeps my Chow on a routine and helps prevent overeating.

Grooming Needs

Grooming a Chow Chow requires commitment due to their thick double coat. Regular brushing, at least three times a week, helps manage shedding and prevents matting. A slicker brush and a wide-toothed comb are my go-to tools. This routine not only keeps their coat in good shape but also strengthens the bond between you and your dog.

Bathing should be done every six to eight weeks. Use a dog-specific shampoo to avoid skin irritation. During shedding season, you might need to brush more frequently. I always check their ears and trim their nails regularly as part of the grooming routine.

Keeping up with dental hygiene is also vital. Use a dog toothbrush and toothpaste a few times a week. These steps help avoid common issues like dental disease, which can be painful and costly to treat.

Exercise and Activity Requirements

Chow Chows aren’t as energetic as some other breeds, but regular exercise is still necessary. Aim for at least two 15-minute walks per day. This helps manage their weight and keeps their minds active. I find that my Chow enjoys a good game of tug-of-war with a rope or old towel, especially on rainy days.

Mental stimulation is as important as physical activity. Puzzle toys and obedience training sessions can keep them engaged. Training should be consistent and positive, rewarding good behavior with treats or praise. This approach helps manage their independent temperament and can reduce instances of disobedience and destructiveness.

Being aware of their limits is key. Some Chows may have health problems like hip or elbow dysplasia, so always monitor their activity and avoid high-impact exercises.

Training and Mental Engagement

Training a Chow Chow can be a rewarding experience if done correctly. These dogs are intelligent but can be stubborn, so patience and consistency are key.

Obedience and Skills Training

When I started training my Chow Chow, I focused on basic commands like sit, stay, and come. Positive reinforcement works best; my dog responded well to treats and praise.

It’s crucial to keep training sessions short, about 10-15 minutes, to hold their attention.

Early socialization is vital. I introduced my Chow Chow to various people and environments to prevent aggressive or fearful behavior later. Socializing them with family, children, and other pets from an early age makes a significant difference.

Using interactive toys and puzzle feeders can keep their minds engaged. This breed needs mental stimulation as much as physical exercise.

Challenges and Solutions in Training

Chow Chows are known for their independence. My dog often seemed uninterested in training.

Patience and consistency were essential. I found that mixing up training methods and keeping sessions fun helped a lot.

If you find your Chow Chow is resistant, focus on positive experiences. Avoid harsh corrections, as they can become more stubborn. Instead, use treats they love and lots of encouragement.

One real challenge I faced was their aloof nature with strangers. To overcome this, I gradually introduced my dog to new people in controlled settings, rewarding calm behavior.

For owners, joining a puppy class can provide both training and socialization opportunities, making the process smoother. Remember, consistency is key, and always reward good behavior.

Health and Lifespan

A Chow Chow dog sits calmly with a stoic expression, exuding confidence and independence. Its thick fur and sturdy build convey strength and resilience

Chow Chows are unique dogs with specific health challenges and a lifespan that varies based on several factors. Understanding these can help ensure a long, healthy life for your furry companion.

Common Health Issues

Chow Chows can experience several health problems, some of which are more prevalent in the breed.

Hip dysplasia is a common issue, where the hip joint doesn’t fit properly, leading to arthritis and pain. Regular vet check-ups can help manage and identify this early.

Elbow dysplasia is another joint problem that Chow Chows can suffer from. It’s an abnormal development of the elbow joint, causing lameness. Maintaining a healthy weight and providing joint supplements may help reduce the impact on your dog.

Eye issues, like entropion, are also common. This condition causes the eyelid to roll inward, irritating the eye. Surgery is often required to correct this problem and prevent pain or blindness.

Bloat is a serious and potentially fatal condition where the stomach twists. It requires immediate veterinary attention.

Life Expectancy and Care

Chow Chows typically live between 8 to 12 years, though some can reach up to 15 years with proper care.

Ensuring a balanced diet and regular exercise can enhance their longevity. Consistent veterinary visits are vital to catch any health issues early.

Daily exercise, like brisk walks or playtime, keeps your Chow Chow fit. A nutrient-rich diet helps maintain their weight and metabolism. Regular grooming prevents skin problems and keeps their coat healthy.

Never underestimate the power of early intervention. Addressing health problems as soon as they arise can significantly impact your Chow Chow’s quality and length of life. Take care of their joints, eyes, and overall well-being to enjoy many happy years together.


Chow Chows are unique dogs with distinct temperaments. They may be independent yet loyal, and sometimes show a stubborn side. Let’s explore some common questions about their behavior and suitability as pets.

What common challenges might one face with a Chow Chow’s behavior?

Chow Chows may appear aloof and independent. They often need early socialization to get accustomed to people and new environments. If not socialized properly, they might become wary of strangers, which could lead to aggressive tendencies.

Can a Chow Chow get along well with other pets?

Chow Chows can live with other pets if socialized from a young age. They may show dominance, so it’s important to introduce them slowly and under supervision. In my experience, my Chow Chow adapted well to our family cat after a careful introduction.

How does the typical temperament of a Chow Chow influence its suitability as a family pet?

Chow Chows are not typically lap dogs and might not be as openly affectionate. They’re quiet and reserved but form strong bonds with their family. They do well with families that respect their space and understand their need for independence.

What’s the real scoop on Chow Chows having a stubborn streak?

Chow Chows are known for their stubbornness. Training requires patience and consistency. Positive reinforcement works best. I found that treats and gentle persistence helped my Chow Chow learn commands without feeling pressured.

Could a Chow Chow’s aggression be managed or is it ingrained in the breed?

Aggression in Chow Chows can be managed with proper training and socialization. It’s often linked to fear or dominance. Ensuring your Chow Chow feels secure and respected helps reduce aggressive behaviors. Professional trainers can also be helpful if aggression becomes a concern.

Is there truth to the notion that Chow Chows may become disloyal to their owners?

Chow Chows are loyal but in a reserved manner. They might not show excitement like other breeds, but they are devoted to their families.
My Chow Chow is always by my side, quietly watching over us, showing loyalty in his unique way.