Breed Category: Non-Sporting
Country of Origin: China
Average Size: 45 cm at the withers
Average Weight: 25-40 kgs
Average Life Span: 12-15 years
Grooming Requirements: Medium to high
Exercise Requirements: Medium




The Chow Chow is a breed of dog originating in China The breed was originally kept for hunting, herding and guarding, though it is now most commonly kept as a pet.

This breed is known  to be an early descendent of the wolf, originating some 150,000 years ago in the subarctic  the steppes of Mongolia and northern China .  It is thought to be one of the earliest domesticate dog breeds, as a sculpture from 150 BC depicts a dog similar in appearance to the modern Chow Chow. .  The breed became increasingly popular as a pet in the 19th and throughout the 20th century, particularly in the United States.


As suggested by its present day Chinese nickname of “puffy lion dog,” the Chow Chow is a medium -sized dog with a thick double coat.  The fur, which may be smooth- or rough-coated, is most prominent around the neck, where it resembles a lion’s mane.  The most common colour for a Chow Chow is red, but they also come in black, blue, cream or fawn.  In order to keep its coat free of tangles and mats, regular brushing is recommended.  It is more likely to shed during warmer months of the year.

The breed has a strong build with strong boning and cobby in the body.  It is approximately 45 cm in height, with an average weight of 25-40 kg, with the males generally heavier and sometimes a bit taller .

It has triangular-shaped ears that are small in size and lean forward rather than straight up.  Its muzzle is square in aspect  and it has, almond-shaped eyes.  The Chow Chow has a curled tail which is carried over its back.  One of the Chow Chow’s most notable physical characteristics is its bluish black tongue.  There is also black colouring on its lips and inside the whole of its mouth , which is a rarity in the canine world.


Chow Chows are mainly kept as companion dogs, as their personality is loyal and protective.  Conversely, they may be standoffish and waryof unfamiliar people and animals.  Obedience training, early socialisation and firm leadership will help to ensure that this wariness does not translate into aggression.

The Chow Chow is generally good with children, especially within its own family.  If it is around other animals from an early age, it will generally get along well with them.

This breed is independent and strong-willed, so it is important to keep the dog on a leadwhile outside so that it does not run away or chase another animal.  A daily walk will suffice, as the Chow Chow does not require much exercise, but it does enjoy being outside.  It is also a calm dog that takes pleasure in the peace and quiet of the indoors.


The Chow Chow is susceptible to a number of health problems, including hip and elbow dysplasia.  This breed is also more prone eyelid problems such as entropion and ectropion, which can lead to eye disease if not medically remedied..

A healthy Chow Chow will live an average of 10-14 years.


Breed description gratefully received from

Judith-Ann Robertson
Secretary, Chow Chow Club of Victoria