Dog Health & More
This distinctive-looking dog breed has a proud, independent spirit that some describe as catlike. He can be aloof — if you're looking for a cuddle buddy, this probably isn't the best breed for you — and downright suspicious of strangers. But for the right person, he's a fiercely loyal companion.
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With his deep-set eyes and large head, accentuated by a mane of hair, the Chow Chow (Chow for short) is an impressive-looking dog. His looks might make you think he's mean or ill-tempered, but a well-bred and well-raised Chow isn't aggressive.
Instead, it's said that the Chow combines the nobility of a lion, the drollness of a panda, the appeal of a teddybear, the grace and independence of a cat, and the loyalty and devotion of a dog. He's also dignified and aloof, as befits a breed that was once kept in imperial Chinese kennels.
He's not really fond of being hugged or fussed over, but he'll be a quiet, attentive companion to his favorite person, and his loyalty extends to other family members. If he's raised with children, he'll accept them willingly, but he's not the type of dog to tolerate abuse, so he's best for homes with older kids who know how to treat dogs.
If he has lots of positive encounters with strangers during his impressionable puppyhood, he'll handle strangers with equanimity. This is, however, a highly territorial and protective breed, who'll give a clear warning to anyone approaching without his person's welcome.
The breed's most memorable physical feature may be his blue-black tongue. According to Chinese legend, the tongue got its blue hue at the time of creation, when a Chow licked up drops of the color as the sky was being painted. He also stands out for his almost straight rear legs, which give him a stiff, choppy, or stilted gait. He's not speedy, so he's not the best choice for a jogger, but he has excellent endurance and can be a good walking companion.
When it comes to training, a verbal correction is usually all that's required to set the Chow Chow straight. No dog should ever be hit, but it's especially counterproductive with this breed. The fiercely proud and independent Chow will never respond to physical abuse. But earn his respect with firm consistency, and you won't have any problem training him.
If you admire the Chow Chow's unique appearance and independent spirit, you'll have a fiercely loyal companion who will be a true treasure in your household.