The Chow Chow is a proud and independent working dog that is reckoned to be one of the oldest officially accepted canine varieties. With its rather phlegmatic and impatient disposition it won’t make a perfect pet for a family with children. Nonetheless its distinctive look and fierce loyalty won the hearts of thousands canine fanciers from all over the world.
The age of the Chow Chow as a unique breed numbers more than 2 000 years. According to the predominant theory it was developed by crossing of the old Tibetan Mastiff with the Samoyed in the northern regions of Siberia. In fact it has characteristics of both of these canine varieties. But because of its unusual black-blue tongue some canine specialists affirm that it may be one of the primary breeds, which contributed to the creation of the Samoyed, the Norwegian Elkhound, the Keeshond and the Pomeranian.
Irrespective of its origin the Chow Chow established an excellent reputation in the role of a hunting dog and was especially famous with Chinese emperors and affluent hunters. This hardy and light-footed dog was equally effective in tracking and pointing various types of game although it commonly specialised in hunting birds. In historical perspective it was also utilised for cart pulling, herding and protection. Initially the breed was highly valued as the source of protein and fur. Its meat was reckoned to be a true dainty and its skin was a widespread material for clothing.
In its native land this dog was known under different names: black-tongue dog (hei shi-tou), wolf dog (lang gou), bear dog (xiang gou), and Canton dog (Guangdong gou). During the second half of the XVIII century British merchants often treated these canines as sought-after goods and added some of them to their cargo. Heterogeneous articles, including dogs, were called «chow chow» and the nickname stuck to this canine variety.
For the first time the members of the Chow Chow were brought to England in around 1780 when a partner of the East India Company took a pair of these dogs back to his homeland as «rarities». The London Zoo acquired several «Black-Mouthed Chinese Dogs» in 1828 and since that time the breed’s popularity in this country grew permanently.
American breeders learned about this dog in 1895 when it was first introduced to public attention at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The American Kennel Club (AKC) began registering the breeds’ specimens in 1903. The most of the present-day Chow Chows are companion animals although this dog retains its strong working drive and can be successfully tasked with a guarding job.
The Chow Chow is the dog of character that always demands to itself respectful treatment. Although it will bravely protect all members of its human family it usually displays especially warm affection to one person whom it recognises as a master. The training of this breed may appear too challenging for a novice dog owner so it’s not the best option for the role of the first dog. It also stands out for hot temper and should never be trusted around small children. Correctly socialised specimen gets on well with courteous kids of older age.
Human aggressiveness is the usual concern for the Chow Chow. To certain degree this fault can be amended by early and thorough socialisation but this dog will never be openly friendly with guests in your house. It can be entrusted with both guarding and watching duties and it will give up its life for its favourite people and territory without a moment's thought. This breed is predisposed to unreasonable barking so it’s advisable to teach your pet to fall silent at the command.
The Chow Chow is commonly hostile towards both canine and non-canine animals. It’s particularly intolerant of its counterparts of the same sex and must be kept securely leashed on a stroll. This dog can be easily captivated by prey drive and poses stern threat for any homeless creature (including small dogs). However there is a good chance that it will put up with joint residence with those cats and dogs with which it has been raised since its puppyhood.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· canine hip dysplasia;
· elbow dysplasia;
· patellar luxation;
· thyroid disease;
· eye problems.
The Chow Chow has thick beautiful coat that needs a great deal of care. Its owner will have to brush it three to four times a week to forestall the development of tangles and mats. This dog sheds very copiously in the autumn and spring so during these times daily brushing helps to cope with heaps of canine hair in the house.
For optimal grooming of this breed you may need such tools as a medium-coarse brush, slick brush and pin brush. Additionally it’s highly advisable to spray its coat with a canine conditioner before each and every brushing procedure.
The breed needs to be bathed on a monthly basis or more frequently if your pet likes frisking in the mud. It’s also important to pay regular attention to ear cleaning, tooth brushing and nail clipping of your Chow Chow.
The training of the Chow Chow needs substantial investments of both time and efforts. That’s why it’s wise to commission the job with a professional handler. It’s a very authoritative dog, which has to be treated with moderate firmness but without unnecessary harshness. Consistent approach, lots of tasty treats and short lessons are obligatory for its successful training.
Be aware that this dog has tendency to become totally unmanageable if you physically punish its disobedience. As a rule the master has little to no problems in housetraining this breed as its puppy learns very quickly to do its business outside.
The Chow Chow demands fairly reasonable amount of daily exercise to stay healthy and fit. This breed loves playing in the snow so the winter is its favourite part of the year. Due to its rich coat it feels itself rather uncomfortable during the summer months so its physical activity during this period should be reduced to a minimum.
This canine will make a good apartment dog but it will be very happy to have a roomy and well-fenced yard at its constant disposal. The Chow Chow that doesn’t get enough physical outlets is prone to fall into habits of continuous barking and chewing your stuff.