Embarking on a journey with a Chow Chow is not just about bringing a pet into your home; it’s about welcoming a magnificent, ancient breed that carry’s a storied past and has a unique personality. This fluffy breed are known for their lion-like appearance and strange aloof character, they will provide you with a unique experience as a dog owner unlike any other breed. In this guide, we are going to explore the ins and outs of owning a Chow Chow, the interesting facts about their past as well as providing insights on creating a loving and enlightening journey with your Chow.
Unusual Facts about Chow Chows and their history
The Chow Chow is a fascinating breed originating from Northern China; they are one of the oldest dog breeds in the world and were originally bred as guard dogs. Chow Chows first came to the UK in the late 18th century, when some sailors from England, returning from their travels in the East, brought these exotic dogs with them. The British were quite fascinated by these fluffy creatures.
Here’s a fun fact: Queen Victoria, known for her love of dogs, was gifted a Chow Chow. Guess what? She absolutely adored it! With a royal stamp of approval, the popularity of Chow Chows skyrocketed in the UK.
Why Do Chow Chows have blue tongues?
The most iconic feature of the Chow Chow is their blue tongue, they are one of only two dog breeds to have a blue tongue making them truly iconic. There are many theories and myths as to why they have blue tongues, our favourite is that a Monk was painting the sky, and left their brush on the ground. Their dog picked up the brush and forever stained their mouth blue. The most realistic explanation for their blue tongues is related to pigmentation. In Chow Chows, the blue-black colour is a result of pigmented cells, similar to how freckles or birthmarks appear in humans. (Head to our blog about the Chow Chows blue tongue to find out more!)
Understanding the weird but unique personality of a Chow Chow
Chow Chows are known for their aloof and independent personalities, this has often contributed into forming a deep bond with one person in the household. They are not overly affectionate, but their loyalty and commitment to their family is unbreakable. It’s crucial for potential owners to understand this breed’s personality to establish a harmonious living arrangement. Do your research and understand the breed before purchasing or adopting a Chow. They may seem like cuddly teddy bears who do not require a lot of care but there is a lot more to them.
Grooming your Chow Chow and tackling the mounds of Fur!
Its important to note that Chow Chows require lots of maintenance when it comes to grooming. Its a task that requires a good sense of humour and a durable hoover (We recommend the Henry hoover) as you will find fur in every area of your home! Like most double coated dogs, chow chows shed twice a year, meaning during these periods your house will require daily (maybe even twice daily) hoovering and most importantly your chow will require daily grooming. Daily brushing is essential especially during the shedding seasons, this is to prevent there coat from matting or tangling and will assist in keeping your Chows coat healthy. Two of the top recommended brushes to use by professional Chow Chow dog groomers are A Slicker Brush & A Stainless Steel Comb.
- A slicker brush is a must have for any owners who have a double coated dog and should be used mainly on the areas that are thicker, for example the main body area and their mane. This brush features 2 types of pins, soft and hard.
- A Stainless Steel Comb is a perfect way to keep your Chow Chows coat tidy. This tool helps to remove tangles in any hard-to-reach areas such as behind the ears or on the legs.
Check out our ‘Essential brushes for your chow chow’ blog to find out more
Should I take my Chow Chow to a professional dog groomer?
Given their high maintenance grooming needs, taking your Chow Chow to a professional dog groomer can seem like an easy option, while this may be true in some instances it is important to do your research before selecting a groomer or even deciding to groom your Chow Chow at home. It is recommended to take your Chow Chow to a professional dog groomer every 6-8 weeks for the more intricate grooming service, and to do the basic brushing and grooming yourself daily.
Unfortunately, there have been instances where groomers are unfamiliar with chows and struggle to handle them appropriately, this has lead to issues such as charging higher fees or even refusing to groom them again due to hostile behaviour from a Chow Chow that hasn’t been introduced to the groomer correctly. This is undoubtedly disheartening for chow owners who want the best care for their furry companions. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to seek out a groomer who has experience with chow chows. Once you find the right groomer they will have access to a wide range of high-quality grooming tools that most pet owners don’t have at home. Professional groomers have the skills, knowledge, and experience to groom your Chow Chow properly and safely.
Grooming your Chow Chow at home is a fantastic way to bond with them. It’s a quiet, relaxed time that can foster trust and affection between you both. Regular trips to a professional groomer can be expensive, especially considering the frequency required for Chow Chows. If you’re willing to learn and invest in some basic grooming tools, home grooming can be a more affordable alternative if a professional groomer isn’t an option.
Addressing the misconception: Chow Chows are aggressive
The perception that Chow Chows are aggressive stems from their protective nature and the history they have as guard dogs. Like most dog breeds, aggression can arise from poor socialisation, lack of training, and the way their owners treat them. So, why do Chow Chows have a reputation for being aggressive? With proper socialisation and training, Chows can be well-mannered, loyal, and loving pets. Chow Chows are stubborn, but this certainly isn’t a bad thing; it’s all part of their unique personality.
So, are Chow Chows aggressive? Not really. Like any dog, they can be if they’re not treated right. But with love, care, and proper training, Chow Chows make wonderful pets but will always have a guard dog nature about them.
Exploring the Unique ‘Merle Chow Chow’
A Merle Chow Chow is a result of unconventional breeding practices, which may have implications for their health. This breed exhibits a distinct coat pattern with three varying shades of the same color, often featuring a paler base with darker highlights. The characteristic appearance of the Merle Chow Chow arises from their genetic makeup, specifically the presence of the Merle gene. This gene is responsible for the lighter or mixed colouring of their coat and is dominant and non-standard in its expression. Consequently, for a Chow Chow to exhibit the Merle pattern, it only requires one parent with the Merle gene. For more detailed information and facts, consider exploring our blog on Merle Chow Chows.
Should I purchase a dog bed for my Chow Chow?
Should I buy my Chow Chow a dog bed is an often asked question among our community. After carrying out a survey 90% of Chow Chow owners said there is no need to buy your Chow a bed as they are quite comfortable sprawling out on your sofa, carpet or the most unusual the cold floor! Saying that all Chows hold their own unique preferences and its really up to what works best for you and your Chow Chow. If you decide to try a dog bed, remember that picking out the right one for your Chow Chow isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario, It will largely depend on your dog’s size, age, and personal preferences. An Orthopaedic Bed is often a top choice within our community as it can provide excellent support for your Chow Chow’s joints, making them a great choice for older dogs or those with arthritis.
The Common Chow Chow Health Conditions
As a Chow Chow owner, it is essential to understand the potential health conditions that can arise in this breed.
- Entropion – Entropion is a common eye condition in Chow Chows where the eyelid(s) roll inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the surface of the eye. This can cause irritation, pain, and even corneal ulcers or scarring, which may result in vision loss if left untreated.
- Hip Dysplasia – Hip dysplasia is a common condition in Chow Chows that affects the hip joint, causing it to develop abnormally. This can result in joint instability, pain, and mobility issues which can be very painful and uncomfortable for your Chow Chow.
- Hot Spots – Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are a common skin problem in Chow Chows. Hot spots are areas of the skin that become inflamed and infected, often due to scratching or licking. These areas can be painful, itchy, and can quickly worsen if not treated promptly.
(Head to our ‘5 Common heath conditions‘ blog for more important information)
Walking your Chow Chow: A simple guide
Every Chow Chow owner knows the drill. One moderate-length walk a day keeps the vet away. But remember, this isn’t just about physical exercise. Oh no. It’s about letting your Chow Chow sniff every. single. thing. And trust me, they will. From that intriguing blade of grass to the trees and the path, nothing goes un-sniffed.
A sturdy lead like the Flexi Retractable Dog Lead is perfect. It gives them the freedom to explore, while you can reel them in when they decide to audition for a detective role by inspecting every nook and cranny.
Selecting the right harness is also critical for a breed like the Chow Chow, which is not only powerful but also has a tendency to be independent and even stubborn at times.
The Julius K9 Harness standing out as a community favourite, this harness ticks all the boxes. It’s sturdy, versatile, and explicitly crafted to manage larger breeds with strong personalities. This is a top choice for Chow Chow owners looking for control and durability.
Owning a Chow Chow is a journey filled with unique challenges and learning opportunities. With the right approach to care, training, and understanding, your life with a Chow can be a deeply fulfilling and memorable experience.