VCA Abbott Animal Hospital

Chow Chow

Chow Chow

Basic Chow Chow Information

  • Lifespan: 8 - 12 years
  • Height: 17 - 20 inches
  • Weight: 45 - 70 pounds

Medical Conditions Seen in Chow Chows

Chow Chow Traits

  • Joggin Partner
  • Lap Dog
  • Good with Children
  • Warm Weather
  • Cold Weather
  • Grooming Requirements
  • Shedding
  • Barking
  • Ease of Training

Chow Chow History

  • Recent DNA studies indicate that the chow chow is among the 14 most ancient breeds recognized by the AKC.
  • Its origin is unclear except that it has been known in China for hundreds or even thousands of years.
  • They may have been used as hunting dogs for the Chinese nobility, and later kept in monasteries. Other accounts claim they were used for food in Mongolia and Manchuria.
  • The dogs were brought to England in the late 1700s, and were dubbed chow chows by the English. The name is probably derived from a term meaning Oriental knick knack.
  • Only in the late 1800s, with the sudden interest in exotic breeds aroused by the advent of dog shows, were chows earnestly brought to the western world.
  • Queen Victoria was a proponent of the breed.
  • The AKC recognized the chow chow in 1903.
  • In the 1980s, the breed soared in popularity in America, peaking when it was the 6th most popular breed.
  • Since then they have plummeted in popularity, their numbers falling by 91% in the last decade.
  • The black or blue tongue is a breed characteristic, as is the somewhat stilted gait.

Chow Chow Behavior Concerns

  • Makes a devoted and protective family member.
  • Generally tolerant of children, but may not be playful enough for them. As with any large dog, they should be supervised when around children.
  • Not overly demonstrative.
  • Reserved toward, and even wary of, strangers.
  • Not friendly towards strange dogs.
  • Usually good with small pets.
  • Tends to be independent and stubborn. Rebels against forceful methods.
  • Does best with a firm owner who can combine reward-based training with good control and leadership.

Chow Chow Suggested Exercises

  • Makes a calm and alert housedog.
  • Requires daily exercise in the form of a leisurely walk, short jog, or quick game. It is not physically suited to overly vigorous exercise.
  • Enjoys cold weather.
  • Becomes overheated easily.
  • Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.

Chow Chow Grooming

  • The chow chow comes in two coat types. The rough coat is straight and off-standing. The smooth coat is hard and smooth. Both coat types have wooly undercoats.
  • The rough coat needs brushing every other day to remove dead coat and prevent serious matting. The smooth coat needs brushing once or twice a week.
  • Shedding is above average.

Suggested Chow Chow Nutritional Needs

  • Cow chows tend to stay in good weight or to be slightly overweight. You must use your hands to feel beneath the thick coat.
  • Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
  • Puppies should be fed a large-breed growth food, which slows their growing rate but not final size. This may decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia in adults.

Did you know?

  • Grapes and raisins are harmful to dogs.
  • Some dog parasites are transferable to humans.
  • Many common pet ailments may be detected early and prevented by visiting your veterinarian twice yearly - saving both time, money, and most importantly, ensuring the best quality of life for your dog.

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Have unanswered pet health questions? Dr.Donna Spector, with 10+ years of hands-on Internal Medicine experience, is here with your answers every Friday.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If we are in a staff meeting you can still come to the hospital for help. If it is after hours please call:

VCA Southshore                         781-337-6622  South Weymouth

VCA Boston Road                      413-783-1203 Springfield

Tufts Small Animal Hospital    508-839-5395 North Grafton