Two Chow-chow puppies in front of a white background.

Chow Chow

Breed Characteristics

Some individuals are aggressive, and most are highly territorial. Very fine guard dogs; very powerful. If mishandled, Chow Chows can be self-willed to the point of obstinacy and may be overly protective. Can be dangerous, because they are famously unpredictable in actions. Not playful. They can handle cold but have no tolerance for heat. The Chow Chow can be quite a handful to passive owners; only for experienced dog owners who are equipped to handle such a dog.

Is the Chow Chow approved as a pet in a Singapore HDB flat?



The ancestry of the Chow Chow is attributed to China where he was kept as a guard dog, and also used for hunting. The Chow Chow has been known in China for upwards of 2,000 years and is related to Spitz dogs of the Nordic type, also containing something of the mastiff. Because of China’s ‘closed door’ policy to the rest of the world Chow Chows did not begin to appear in other countries until around 1800. He made his way to England some time during the late eighteenth century and was not really noticed in Britain until the 1920s, with a number being shown at Crufts in 1925. [source: FCI-Standard N°205 27.01.2011/EN]

Original Purpose

Fighting; guarding; cart-pulling; fur and food.

Behaviour and Temperament

Chow Chows are known to be self-contained, independent, dignified, strong-minded, stubborn, loyal, aloof.

What are some Physical Features of the Chow Chow?

The Chow Chow stands 43 between 56 cm tall, and weighs between 20.5 and 38.5 kg. Black or purple tongue and straight hind legs (almost). Has especially thick round neck forming mane or ruff. The deep-set eyes give him limited vision, and the dog should only be approached within those limitations. Colours are solid red, black, cream, blue, fawn, and cinnamon. The baby coat will change at about three months to the colour and texture of the adult dog.

Coat Type and Recommended Grooming

The Chow Chow sports two types of coats—rough and smooth; both have thick, plush double coats, with a soft woolly undercoat. High maintenance; brushing four times a week. Professional grooming is optional. The Chow Chow sheds profusely twice a year, during which grooming needs are heightened. This is especially so when the dog is shedding its dense undercoat.

Life Expectancy of the Chow Chow

The life expectancy of the Chow Chow is between 12 and 15 years.

Have a Chow Chow?

Health Concerns

Hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems (entropion, glaucoma, cataracts), osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), colour dilution alopecia, eczema.

Exercise Needs

Low to moderate, however, daily walks are bare necessities when it comes to mental stimulation.


Can adapt to any living situation. Will do okay in apartment life when sufficiently exercised. The Chow Chow is relatively inactive indoors, although a yard is desired. The Chow Chow has low tolerance to heat. Prefers cooler weather.


Generally picks one person in the family to bond to and may not always be friendly to others. Not good with children outside those in his own family, to whom he is usually devoted. Dislikes or ignores strangers. Most Chows Chows do not get along with dogs of their own sex and dislike cats. No, they do not like Pandas either.


Low to moderate; the dog will challenge his owner for dominance, therefore needs firm early obedience training and thorough socialisation; however, extremely easy to housetrain. The Chow Chow needs an experienced trainer.

Recommended Activities

Guarding, companion.