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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?

Hip Surgery for rescued puppy

2 weeks ago whilst we were in Fiji we rescued an abandoned puppy that we estimate is about 3 months old. She was starving, filthy, covered in ticks and could barely stand or walk. We fed her, washed her, removed all ticks and just gave her love. We called her Pretzel as she was so skinny when we found her that all her bones were sticking out and her hip bones looked like a big twisted pretzel and her long skinny legs looked like Pretzel sticks. Our intention was to find her a home in Fiji but after a week or so she had gained weight, but we noticed that her left hip bone was still protruding and that when she walked we noticed that her left back foot turned out slightly. Also, when she ran she would use both back legs together and hop like a bunny. We took her to an animal shelter in Fiji called Animals Fiji and they examined her and advised that they thought it might be dislocated. They X-rayed her and then sedated her to try and manipulate the bone back into the socket. This was unsuccessful. The vet advised that it appeared that the end of the bone where the ball should be round was malformed either from a trauma/injury when young or by birth. He advised that he does not have the equipment in Fiji to treat her properly and that she would need surgery to correct the bone and to tighten the ligaments to her support her leg. We are exporting her to Australia on the 7th of March and are trying to raise some funds to assist us. We are hoping that you can assistance to find a Vet in Melbourne that could assist with the operation at a reasonable price.