Cart is Empty

Chow Chow: Everything You Need to Know about the Puffy Lion Dogs

chow chow for dogs


Hi, Jope's squad!

Meet the Chow Chow, a unique and captivating dog breed that resembles a small lion with its puffy fur and distinctive blue-black tongue. This ancient breed, with roots stretching back to China's Han Dynasty, has a rich history and a loyal following. If you're considering adding a Chow Chow to your family or simply want to learn more about this fascinating breed, read on for a comprehensive guide to the Chow Chow dog.


Origin and History of Chow Chow Dog

The Chow Chow's lineage can be traced back over 2,000 years to Northern China, where it was originally bred for hunting, herding, and guarding. The breed's name is thought to derive from the pidgin English term "chow," which means "miscellaneous" and was used to describe the various cargo aboard ships from China in the late 18th century - including these dogs.


Physical Characteristics of Chow Chow

Physical Characteristics of Chow Chow

Distinctive Features

Chow Chows are easily recognized by their broad skulls, deep-set eyes, small triangular erect ears, and famous blue-black tongue. The thick fur around their necks gives them a mane-like appearance, adding to their lion-like persona. If you're looking to bring a Chow Chow into your family, make sure to find a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs.


Size, Weight, and Build

Chow Chows are medium to large dog breeds, with males standing 18-22 inches tall and weighing between 55-70 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, standing 17-20 inches tall and weighing between 45-60 pounds. They have a sturdily built body with a broad chest and muscular legs, making them a sturdy companion. Their dog's weight and dog's skin are important factors to consider when caring for their overall health.


Coat Types and Colors

Chow Chows have two coat types: rough and smooth coated chows. The rough coat is dense and coarse, with a thick undercoat that provides excellent insulation against cold temperatures. The smooth coat is less common and has a shorter, more refined texture.


Chow Chows come in a variety of colors, including red, black, blue, cinnamon, and cream. The American Kennel Club recognizes all of these colors, and you can find a variety of dog breeds to choose from. Remember, their distinctive blue-black tongue is a hallmark of the breed!


Temperament and Personality

Independent Nature

Chow Chows are known for their independent and reserved nature, which can make them a unique addition to any family. Unlike some other dog breeds, they are not as eager to please, which can make training a bit more challenging. However, with patience and consistency, Chow Chows can become well-mannered and obedient companions. As a dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, Chow Chows are known for their distinctive temperament.


Loyalty and Protective Instincts

Despite their independent streak, Chow Chows are extremely loyal to their families and make excellent guard dogs. They can be protective of their homes and may be wary of strangers, so early socialization is essential to help them develop good manners around new people and animals. While they may not be as high-strung as some high-energy breeds or active breeds, Chow Chows are naturally protective and will defend their loved ones when necessary.


Living with Chow Chows

Living with Chow Chows

Ideal Living Conditions

Chow Chows can adapt to various living situations, from apartments to large homes with yards, making them a great choice for many pet parents. However, they do require regular exercise and mental and physical stimulation to stay healthy and happy. A visit to the dog park can be a great way to provide them with socialization and exercise.

Exercise Needs and Activity Levels

Chow Chows have moderate exercise needs and will benefit from daily walks, playtime, and training sessions. Be mindful of their sensitivity to heat, as their thick coats can make them susceptible to overheating during strenuous activities or hot weather.


Regular exercise will also help maintain a healthy weight, which is crucial for preventing hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Compared to some other breeds, Chow Chows are relatively low-maintenance in terms of exercise needs.

Grooming Requirements for that Luxurious Coat

Chow Chows, especially rough-coated Chow Chows, have high grooming needs. Regular brushing (at least twice a week) is necessary to prevent matting and remove loose fur. They also require occasional bathing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming to keep their coats and skin healthy.


Pet parents should be prepared to invest time and effort into grooming their Chow Chow to prevent skin problems and keep their coats looking their best. With proper care, Chow Chows can form strong bonds with their owners and become fiercely loyal companions.

Chow Chow Health

Common Health Issues

Chow Chows are charming companions known for their loyalty and distinctive appearance. However, they are susceptible to certain health conditions, particularly joint issues. Notably, Chow Chows have one of the highest rates of elbow dysplasia among all breeds, with a staggering 48.6% prevalence. They also face a significant risk of hip dysplasia, present in 19.2% of the population.


These joint disorders, characterized by malformed joints where the bone does not fit properly into the joint socket, can lead to arthritis, causing pain and limiting mobility. Risk factors include genetic predisposition, rapid growth during puppyhood, and environmental factors such as improper weight management or insufficient exercise.


In addition to these joint conditions, Chow Chows may also suffer from entropion, an eye condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing irritation and potential damage to the eye. Dermatological issues such as hot spots and allergies are also common and can exacerbate discomfort and health complications.

Tips for Maintaining their Health

To maintain the joint health of your Chow Chow, focus on preventive care and regular monitoring. Introduce supplements with proven ingredients like UC-II collagen and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) from as young as one year old to support joint health. Manage their activity by encouraging low-impact exercises—water-based activities are excellent for reducing stress on the joints while keeping them active.

Key facts about UC-II®

UC-II® = Undenatured Type II Collagen

  • UC-II® reduces dog pain and inflammation.
  • According to scientific studies, UC-II® works better than the combination of chondroitin and glucosamine to relieve your dog's pain and help them regain mobility.
  • UC-II® and Omega 3s are the only supplements that demonstrated benefits in plate-force studies. Chondroitin and glucosamine failed to do so.
  • UC-II® is an undenatured type II collagen derived from chicken sternum cartilage with a patented extraction process.
Learn more

Maintain regular veterinary visits to catch and address any health issues early. A balanced diet is crucial with premium food; ensure your Chow Chow maintains a healthy weight to avoid extra stress on their joints.


Lastly, consider physical rehabilitation options if your dog shows signs of joint discomfort, as this can significantly enhance their quality of life. By taking these steps, you can help ensure your Chow Chow enjoys a healthy, active life.

Chow Chow Diet and Nutrition

Chow Chow Diet and Nutrition

Best Foods for Chow Chows

When selecting food for your Chow Chow, consider home-cooked meals as they can be highly beneficial when properly balanced under the guidance of a veterinary nutritionist. This ensures that all nutritional needs are met without any deficiencies or excesses, and it can be tailored to individual health requirements, such as joint support or managing allergies.


For a more convenient option, opt for premium dog food or veterinary-recommended brands that use high-quality ingredients. These brands are often specifically formulated based on scientific research and are manufactured under strict quality controls, making them a reliable choice. Veterinary brands in particular are designed to support specific health needs and are a safe bet for providing balanced nutrition.


Additionally, fresh food diets from reputable brands with certifications like Safe Quality Food (SQF) can be a good alternative. These certifications ensure that the manufacturing processes meet high standards for quality and safety. Always make sure any diet—commercial, fresh, or home-cooked—is balanced. If in doubt, consult a veterinary nutritionist to verify the food's nutritional content.


Including omega-3 fatty acids, particularly from sources like fish oil, is crucial. These nutrients are vital not only for maintaining a shiny coat and healthy skin but also for supporting joint health. This is particularly important for Chow Chows, given their susceptibility to joint issues like hip and elbow dysplasia. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and support overall joint function, enhancing mobility and quality of life.


Feeding Schedule and Portion Control

Establish a consistent feeding schedule for your Chow Chow, providing two meals per day spaced evenly apart. This routine helps regulate their digestion and energy levels. 


Portion control is crucial to prevent obesity, a common issue in Chow Chows. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate portion size based on your dog's age, weight, and activity level.

Special Dietary Considerations

  • Some Chow Chows may have food allergies or sensitivities, which can manifest as skin problems or digestive issues. If you notice any signs of allergies or sensitivities in your dog, such as itching, redness, or gastrointestinal upset, consult your vet promptly.
  • They may recommend an elimination diet to identify the problematic ingredient or suggest alternative food options that are hypoallergenic or suitable for sensitive stomachs. Prioritizing your Chow Chow's dietary needs ensures they lead a healthy and happy life.
  • Otherwise, as previously mentioned, they are prone to joint issues, so you might need to consider a therapeutic diet specifically for their joints.

Training and Socialization

Chow Chow Training and Socialization

Importance of Early Training

Training and socialization are crucial for Chow Chows, particularly during their early age. Consistent training sessions will help establish good manners and prevent unwanted behaviors, while socialization will expose your dog to various people, other animals, and environments, promoting a well-rounded temperament.


It's essential to start training at a young age to lay the foundation for a well-behaved and well-adjusted adult dog. Obedience training is a vital part of this process, teaching your Chow Chow to respond to commands and behave obediently.

Handling Their Independent Streak


Chow Chows can be stubborn and may require patience and persistence during training. Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, to encourage desired behaviors.


Make sure to provide fresh water and a comfortable environment to help them focus during training sessions. With consistent effort, you can develop strong bonds with your Chow Chow and help them become a well-behaved companion.

Socializing With Other Pets and People

Early socialization will help your Chow Chow develop good manners around new people and other pets. Enroll your puppy in socialization classes, visit dog parks, and arrange playdates with other dogs to foster positive interactions.


Socialization comes in various forms, including exposure to different sights, sounds, and experiences, which will help your Chow Chow develop problem-solving skills and improve their decision-making abilities. By investing time and effort into training and socialization, you can help your Chow Chow become a confident and well-adjusted adult dog.


Interesting Facts about Chow Chow Dog

Chow Chows are one of the oldest dog breeds, with origins dating back over 2,000 years. Their sturdily built dog bodies and thick coats made them well-suited for various tasks like hunting, guarding, and even pulling sleds. They are one of only a few breeds with a blue-black or purple tongue. Some Chow Chows may also sport black, blue, or cinnamon-colored coats.


Chow Chows have been owned by famous figures, including Martha Stewart and Sigmund Freud. Their distinctive appearance and independent nature hold a certain appeal.


Chow Chow Care Tips

  • Regular grooming is essential to maintain your Chow Chow's luxurious dense double coat and prevent matting.
  • Provide consistent training and socialization to help your Chow Chow develop good manners and a well-rounded temperament.
  • Monitor your dog's activity levels and provide plenty of physical activity, such as daily walks, to keep them healthy and happy.


Chow Chows are unique, captivating dogs with a rich history and striking appearance. With their independent nature, loyalty, and protective instincts, they make excellent companions for the right family. By understanding their specific needs and providing proper care, you can enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling relationship with your Chow Chow.

Author: Dr. Jeremy

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), MS

Meet Jeremy, a passionate veterinarian and co-founder of Jope, with a decade of experience—7 years in the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industry and 3 years as a veterinarian. Passionate about enhancing the well-being of pets, Jeremy's mission is to provide practical, evidence-based advice and products that support pet parents and their furry companions. His favorite breed, the Australian Shepherd, holds a special place in his heart for their playfulness, cleverness, and beauty.

Join Jeremy on an insightful journey through the world of pet health and discover how science and compassion come together to improve the lives of pets.

The content presented here is for informational purposes and reflects Jeremy's own opinions, expertise, and experience. It is not intended to replace professional veterinary consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. For personalized advice and care for your pets, always consult with your veterinarian.

Related Articles

Pumpkin for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Discover the wonders of pumpkin for dogs! Learn a...
See More

4 Basic Things to Know About Your Puppy's Food Requirements

According to the Humane Society of the United States, puppies are usual...
See More

5 Best Joint Supplements for German Shepherds - Expert Vet Opinion

In this article, we will discuss why German Shepherds need joint sup...

See More

Leave a comment