The rough-haired Chow Chow is a short, compact, squarely built dog. The tail is curled over the back. The inside of the mouth and the tongue are blue/black in colour. There are two coat types – rough and smooth – and a wide range of colours (black, red, blue, fawn, cream or white). Adult males measure 48-56cm at and weigh about 26-32kg. Adult females measure 46-51cm and weigh 20-25kg.

Yes. I'm a confident owner with lots of experience
I'm an experienced trainer and comfortable with any breed
I'd like to go on active walks with my dog
For an hour a day
I'd love a large dog
Dog drool? I can tolerate some.
I can fit in daily grooming sessions
I prefer quiet dogs that only bark from time to time
Yes - Physically protective
Chow Chow (Rough)


The origin of the Chow Chow dog breed is a bit of a mystery, but they probably came from Mongolia and Manchuria, where their meat was once a delicacy and their fur was used for clothing, and were then introduced to China. Centuries ago they were used to guard the temples against evil spirits. The Chow was also used as a hunting dog by the aristocrats, a guard dog against intruders, sled and cart pullers and as watchdogs. It's thought that spitz breeds originally came from the Chow Chow.


The Chow is an aloof, independent dog that can be stubborn. They can become attached to one person and can snap if they feel they – or their owner – is threatened. They may look like a cuddly teddy bear, but they are not. Breeders have improved their temperaments over recent years and many bad-tempered Chows are thought to be due to lack of proper training and socialisation when young. As long as they are introduced to children, cats and other household pets when young, problems can be prevented.


The most common health problems in the Chow are elbow dysplasia and eyelid problems. Like many breeds they can also suffer hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.


The Chow Chow does not require a lot of exercise – about an hour daily – but they do like the outdoors, and are quite happy doing their own thing in the back garden. They must have somewhere shaded and cool that they can retreat to in warm and hot weather. Too much exercise too young can lead to bone and joint problems in later life, so exercise must be monitored closely.


Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.


Both Chow coats are dense and straight. The rough variety is coarse-textured, stand-off, not excessive in length, and the undercoat is soft and woolly. There is thicker hair around the neck and the backs of the thighs. This rough coat needs grooming daily. The smooth coat is shorter and needs grooming a two or three times a week.

Best Dog Breeds for Children

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children , all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

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Short and curly-tailed, Chow Chows are stubborn and independent. With a reputation for being 'snappy', this is a dog for experienced owners. Read more here.

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Is this the right dog breed for you?

All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.


What to Consider next


It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.

Finding a good breeder

If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.

Welcoming your dog home

Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information