7 Facts About Chow Chows

chow chow puppy lying in grass

Chow Chows are muscled, compact, and medium-sized dogs that are known for their distinctive lion-like ruffs around their heads and shoulders and their blue-black tongues. They are refined, dignified, and loyal to their families. Here are some more facts about Chow Chows:

1. The Chow Chow is an Ancient Dog Breed

The Chow Chow originated in China and is one of the most ancient dog breeds. They were originally bred to be companions and all-purpose working dogs for the ancient Mongolian cultures throughout northern China.

From there, they continued to be popular throughout the region as all-purpose working dogs. They were prized as guardians and as hunting dogs during the Han Dynasty. Nobles valued their independent nature, powerful stature, and intimidating appearance as a guardian as well as their refined and dignified nature.

2. They Require Ongoing Socialization and Training

Because Chows have a guardian background, it is essential for them to be properly socialized and trained. They also require a more experienced owner and puppy training classes are recommended. Although they are intelligent dogs that are generally quiet and well-behaved, they can be stubborn.

It’s important for an owner to earn a Chow’s respect and admiration through consistent, positive, and patient training as a puppy. As a Chow Chow grows, they will reject authority from anyone who has not gained their respect and trust. They are fiercely loyal to their families, protective of them, and tend to bond more closely with one or two family members.

This means they are naturally aloof with strangers. It also makes ongoing socialization even more important to avoid over-protectiveness and potential aggression. A well-socialized, well-trained Chow will still be aloof with strangers and protective of their families, but they should not exhibit aggressive behavior.

3. Chows Have a High Prey Drive

With their hunting dog background and protective instincts, the Chow Chow has a high prey drive and an instinct to protect their family and property. Because of this, they should only be let off-leash in a securely fenced area. Otherwise, they may patrol their territory, attempt to expand their territory, and also chase after smaller animals.

4. They Have More Moderate Exercise Needs

Although Chow Chows are active dogs, they have more moderate exercise needs. Daily walks plus some moderate playtime or activity are usually enough for them. Because of their thick fluffy and dense double coat, they are more sensitive to heat and prone to overheating. This makes a Chow more susceptible to heatstroke in warmer weather.

Heatstroke in dogs is dangerous, so you want to do everything you can to avoid it. Knowing what to look for as a dog is overheating is also helpful and will help you cool them down before heat stroke can set in. It’s important to keep rough play minimal, to avoid high-impact exercise, and to avoid exercise during the hot and humid times of the day with any dog breed and particularly with a Chow Chow.

5. Sigmund Freud Had a Chow Chow

The famous German psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, owned a Chow Chow named Jofi. Jofi frequently attended sessions with Freud in an effort to calm children. It even helped Freud analyze his patients as he observed children’s interactions with the dog. The dog could tell which patients were nervous or scared and this allowed Freud to approach his sessions in a specific way.

6. Their Tongues Change Color

While Chow Chow puppies have a typical pink tongue when they’re born, their tongues change color as they age. The tongue will darken over time, becoming blue, purple, or gray, and can even turn almost black. While it can be alarming to someone not expecting it, it simply is the result of pigmentation and is a classic Chow trait.

7. A Chow Chow Inspired a Disney Movie

Walt Disney himself bought his daughter a Chow Chow puppy and presented the puppy in a hatbox. Not realizing there was a puppy in the box, his daughter was disappointed at first.
But, once she found the puppy, she was elated. Later, a similar scene was seen in Lady and The Tramp, with Lady given as a Christmas gift in a box.

These are just a few facts about Chow Chows. If the Chow sounds like the right dog breed for you, learn more about them and then look through the available Chow Chow puppies. You could end up finding a furry best friend!