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Chow Chow

Feature image

Strong, loyal, protective and independent. Not the most common traits of a cute and fluffy breed. The Chow Chow may seem like the dog for a large handbag but it is anything but. This stubborn furball can be a real handful if not firmly raised, or a loyal companion when properly trained.

Where I'm From

Although widely believed to come from China, it is speculated that the breed’s true origins lie to the north in Mongolia. Pottery paintings from this area resembling the Chow, date back as far as 200BC, however they are believed to have been around for a lot longer. It is unknown whether the Chow is the origin of the Spitz-type of dog, which also includes the Samoyed and Pomeranian, or just another iteration of an even more ancient breed.

Migration to the rest of Asia was thanks to nomadic Mongolian tribes who would keep the dogs as companions as they moved from place to place.

The breed is considered a working dog, however it has been recorded to have fulfilled many more roles. The Chinese used the Chow as a hunting companion, to herd cattle, as a cart and sled puller and a protector of property.

The breed was brought to the Western world in the 18th Century by British merchants who used to call miscellaneous items in their cargo, like animals, Chow Chow. The name has been used ever since.

Their popularity grew over the next century and the Chow started to be regularly imported into the UK from the late 19th Century.

What I Look Like

The Chow Chow is a short, solidly built dog with sunken eyes and a curled tail.

They come in two fur types, rough and smooth. Rough is the most common type with longer hairs that when brushed, give them their famously fluffy appearance. Smooth is a lot denser, and a lot easier to maintain.

Rough or smooth, the breed comes in five colours, red, black, blue, cream and cinnamon.

What sets this breed apart from other dogs, and even makes them unique amongst the Spitz-type, is their black/blue tongue. The only other dog associated with a black tongue is the Shar-Pei, which also hails from China. Other animals that share this trait are the Polar Bear and Giraffe.

How I Act

Even though the Chow looks like the perfect cuddle buddy, they certainly don’t enjoy the affection as much as you would hope.

Early socialisation and training is a must with these guys. They are protective, fiercely loyal and will not take easily to strangers. So much so that they can snap if they feel like their owners are under threat.

It is easy to turn a blind eye to bad behavior because of their cuteness. This is a big mistake as the Chow will take full advantage if not properly disciplined. They require a calm, firm and dominant owner who will take the position of alpha in the relationship. If left unchecked, they will believe they are the boss of the house, and it will be very hard to keep them grounded.

If raised correctly, the Chow is an excellent family companion who should not display any signs of aggression.

Due to the need for consistency in training, they are not ideal for smaller children. Furthermore, as is the case with most fluffy dogs, smaller children are likely to try and pick up the dog or not recognise when they are becoming aggravated. For these reasons the Chow is recommended for households with children who are aware of responsible pet ownership.

Am I the pet for you?

How do I toilet train my cat

I rescued an adult female, desexed cat six months ago. Apparently she’s always been an outside cat. I have another cat who is mostly indoors and I would only let outside during the day if I was home. Luna didn’t like being indoors and wasn’t using the litter tray properly. I had her confined in the bathroom for a few days to get use to it and she would go next to it, rarely in it. She will sometimes use a tray otherwise will urinate or poop on the floor. I am at wits end. I have two trays, I’ve changed the type of litter, put dirt in the tray, picked up the poop and put it in the tray to show her that where it goes. I’ve used spray in the tray to attract her to want to use the tray. I bought felliway diffuser which is meant to calm cats and have also used the rescue remedy drops in her food. I’ve recently moved house where there is a cat enclosure so she can go in and out when ever she pleases but still goes in the kitchen (as I now close the bathroom door when she started going to the toilet in there), but tonight I noticed she’s been going in the spare room if anything is left on the floor which is carpeted. So I’ve now cleared that whole room to prevent her from going to the toilet. She is still going in the kitchen. I’ve tried cleaning the area and eliminating her scent by using water and vinegar then once dry use bi carb soda and hydrogen peroxide and it has made no difference. She’s been tested for a bladder infection which came up negative. I love animals. I have another cat which she now gets along with and two dogs which she is still getting use to. I don’t know what else to do and I don’t want to give her up but feel like I will have no choice.