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Chow Chow

40 replies

liadaintheirishpoetess · 23/04/2017 12:47

A good friend of mine has asked me to find some information on Chow Chows. She wants a puppy and would like ideas of health problems, temperaments, grooming, colours of coats, breeders and tests that should be done. Please do reply as she's relying on me. Also, how are they with other dogs and exercise requirements.
Thanks, Liadain Smile

OP posts:
user1492950003 · 23/04/2017 13:33

One word - AVOID. A number of health problems in the breed. A friend of mine loves the breed but her first one had numerous health problems including EPI. My friend got a 2nd from totally different lines who also developed EPI by the age of 2 and also cruciate problems, entropion etc.

The breed is one that is being monitored by the Kennel Club

The Chow Chow is one of the high profile breeds designated by the Kennel Club as requiring particular monitoring by reason of visible conditions which may cause health and welfare concerns.

This website has more info

The Chow Chow is one of the high profile breeds designated by the Kennel Club as requiring particular monitoring by reason of visible conditions which may cause health and welfare concerns.

GinIsIn · 23/04/2017 13:35

It's a breed utterly plagued with health issues and in turn those health issues can lead to aggressive behaviours - absolutely one to avoid!

Floralnomad · 23/04/2017 14:29

I know one , he's very dog aggressive and has developed an horrendous skin condition , he's also stubborn as a mule and basically when he's being walked he goes where he wants , when he wants an if he wants to stop he does . The owner ( very nice chap) is on his third chow and they've all been the same except for the skin condition . He has never had one that he can let off the lead as they have all been too aggressive to everybody/ dogs except the family , apparently they are lovely indoors with family although he has adult children and no GC .

CornflakeHomunculus · 23/04/2017 15:06

As has already been pointed there are rather a lot of potential health issues within the breed and unfortunately a lot of these currently can't be tested for. This means that extreme care needs to be taken when finding a breeder who takes health seriously and is doing absolutely everything they can to ensure the future health of the puppies they breed. Even then, as there aren't tests available for many health conditions it's always something of a lottery.

The minimum tests that should be done are hip scoring, elbow scoring and a BVA eye test plus they should have participated in the breed council health scheme which checks for skin issues, eye conformation (they can be prone to entropion) and general soundness. The breeder should also be well versed in health issues present in the breed and have thoroughly researched the lines they're using for any signs of any of these conditions. The breed is also becoming increasingly brachycephalic (short-nosed) and I wouldn't touch a breeder who isn't purposefully trying to avoid this.

Temperament-wise they're also not for everyone and are relatively specialised dogs. They're traditionally a guardian breed and haven't completely lost those traits, they also tend to be relatively prey driven. Your friend would need to be very confident in their ability to manage both these things effectively. Due to their conformation their body language can be quite hard to read, both for humans and other dogs.

They need plenty of socialisation as puppies and even when well socialised they're generally not the type of dog who backs down from a confrontation.

Obviously they're very heavily coated so do require a fair amount of grooming to prevent the coat becoming tangled or matted.

They don't need masses of exercise but providing what they need can be tricky as they're not always brilliant off lead and you need to be very careful in summer that they don't overheat.

In short, they're pretty specialised, it's difficult to find decent breeders and they're not dogs for inexperienced owners.

If she's still keen on the breed I would recommend they go along to shows and talk to as many owners and breeders as possible, as well as meeting lots of examples of the breed.

TakeASipOfDancingJuice · 23/04/2017 15:12

I got bitten by a Chow Chow on my paper round. It was a horrible dog! I've never met a friendly one, they always seem to be on leads and being kept away from other dogs.

Whatslovegottodo · 23/04/2017 15:19

I would strongly advise to avoid.
They are renowned for terrible hip and elbow dysplasia, which least to arthritis. They also have lots of skin and allergy issues. Generally they are not friendly with people outside the family, at best standoffish and aloof, at worst highly aggressive. They are not gererally companionable dogs who enjoy much human interaction such as fuss or play. The fact your friend wants you to research it probably is enough to suggest she should get an easier dog.

travelmad · 23/04/2017 15:35

We had three chows when I was a child and they are definitely not family dogs (my dad had them before he met my mum). They were all bonded to my dad but didn't really show any interest in the rest of us, and were aloof with anyone else. They didn't get on well with other dogs (always walked on a lead), and we always kept them away from other children - they weren't aggressive, but they certainly weren't happy with interaction with other children. They didn't play and they preferred to be alone than with any company. They are fantastic guard dogs though! They successfully stopped a burglary by barking so loudly they woke the whole street up.

I don't know if we were just lucky but I know my dad took his time to select a fab breeder (over 30 years ago now) and fortunately our 3 never had any major health issues. They lived to 12, 15 and 10 years respectively.

I love chows dearly, but I'd personally never get one myself now (said with a cocker spaniel sat next to me!)

Veterinari · 23/04/2017 15:38

As PL have said - avoid!

Why has your friend decided that she wants a chow when it seems that she's done no research on the breed? What's her preference based on?

If she's open to other breeds then if you can give us info about her lifestyle, we may be able to suggest more suitable breeds? Smile

liadaintheirishpoetess · 23/04/2017 18:59

She wants a chill dog as she has a Beagle, Irish Terrier and Pug and wants a dog similar in terms of temperament as the pug. She is willing to go above and beyond to find a good breeder though as she did with her pug to prevent health issues. Something calm and relaxed.

OP posts:
CornflakeHomunculus · 23/04/2017 19:23

If she's already found a breeder of healthy pugs (rare as hen's teeth) and she wants something similar to the pug logic would suggest another pug.

If she wants something different then she'd probably be best looking at some of the other toy breeds, or maybe some sighthounds providing she could cope with the prey drive and potential difficulty in letting the latter off lead.

I really don't think a chow is what she's looking for. They're very independent and aloof, can have some pretty well developed guardian tendencies and can also sometimes be prone to same sex aggression. Even if the breed did suit your friend I'm not convinced a chow and a game little terrier are going to be a brilliant combination.

Veterinari · 23/04/2017 19:26

Why on earth does she think a chow would be 'chilled! Or similar in temperament to a pug?
They're about as different as can be. Chows are an ancient breed - independent, aloof, challenging to train and with a strong guarding instinct.

I suggest that she needs to do a LOT more research before choosing another dog.

fuzzywuzzy · 23/04/2017 19:34

Slightly different experience from everyone else's, my IL's have one they got it for their DD's when they were about 9 years old.

I've met the chow chow and he's like a large teddy bear, he wouldn't hurt a fly, and loves having his back scratched, comes and leans on you and then howls when you stop. He is very loud and badly when anyone approaches the house but then runs away when you go up to him (he's a big coward, the cats chase him around the house).
He is very stubborn and wilful and FIL's wife needs to use an electric collar when she takes him for a walk otherwise he ends up walking her, but she's tiny, DP can walk him no problem, he refuses to listen to FIL tho.

He's adorable and I've never felt scared of him.

A bit worried now I've read everyones posts here tho as I'll be taking our baby down to them when she arrives. Hope it doesn't upset the dog.

fuzzywuzzy · 23/04/2017 19:35

Loud and barky not badly

DearMrDilkington · 23/04/2017 19:36

A chow isn't a chilled dog. Tell her to avoid.

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe · 23/04/2017 19:40

If she wants calm and relaxed she should get a golden retriever, not a chow.

liadaintheirishpoetess · 23/04/2017 19:58

She doesn't want another pug, i've suggested and been rejected. She might consider a goldie but wants to know exercise requirements and is a bit worried about size. I've no idea why she wanted a chow chow. Her dh would love a goldie. Please do suggest more calm breeds. Thank you Smile

OP posts:
GinIsIn · 23/04/2017 20:28

Greyhound is the calmest and most chilled of breeds but as they sleep an average of 18-20 hours a day might be a bit too chilled.... lovely dogs though!

liadaintheirishpoetess · 23/04/2017 20:30

Yep @FenellaMaxwellsPony suggested both greyhound and whippet (my dog) but been shot down in flames. Her reasoning is that they aren't as cute as she wants.

OP posts:
CornflakeHomunculus · 23/04/2017 20:30

Chows aren't that much smaller than GRs plus they're heavier set and the profuse coat makes them seem even larger than they are Confused Is there any chance she's possibly confusing chows wth another breed?

If she's not set on any particular breed, other than wanting something different to the dogs she already has, then a rescue could be a great option.

I've no doubt she'd be able to find a nice, chilled out dog of a suitable size.

nancy75 · 23/04/2017 20:33

I think the problem with people choosing chows is that the dogs looks & personality don't match, they look like big cuddly toys but don't have that temperament

CornflakeHomunculus · 23/04/2017 20:34

It's far from perfect but the KC breed quiz isn't a terrible place to start when looking for a breed. At the very least it'll give a short list of breeds that can then be looked into in a bit more depth.

GinIsIn · 23/04/2017 20:34

I don't think I can help in that case - I think people who choose their dogs based on cuteness are idiots!

ohtheholidays · 23/04/2017 20:37

She wants a Goldie but is worried about size Confused does your friend have any idea what size a Chow chow can get to?

I've known some lovely one's but I've always grown up around very large very strong dogs and a Chow Chow is nothing like a Pug!

CornflakeHomunculus · 23/04/2017 20:41

I agree it sounds like she's putting way too much importance on appearance over suitability.

I can completely understand having preferences but it's just daft to either pick an unsuitable breed because it's "cute" or rule a very suitable breed out because it doesn't look right.

She's also likely to get very short shrift from decent breeders if she's more concerned with temperament than anything else.

CornflakeHomunculus · 23/04/2017 20:42

Sorry, more concerned with appearance than anything else Hmm

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