Chow Chows Are Dogs for Cat People

Chow Chows

We dare you to try walk past a chow chow in the street. It’s impossible not to reach out and path that famous lion’s mane. No wonder they were the inspiration for the Teddy Bear–they’re irresistible. But they’re more than a pretty face: they had a long history as working dogs before they transitioned to be companions. That does means it’s vital that they are well socialised as a puppy or they can revert to behaviours more suitable to their working days. Just like cats, they have a tendency to want to go their own way.


Chow Chows have a long history dating back thousands of years in China, Mongolia, and Siberia. Their DNA is thought to be the closest to wolves of any dog. Through that long history, they have been war dogs, hunting dogs,  sled pullers, guardians, food for humans (eek!) and now companions.

In the 18th century, traders brought them to Europe where Queen Victoria had a puppy. This was the inspiration for the Teddy Bear.

Weight: 20-32kg

Colour: Generally black or Red, but come in a large range. They have a blue-black tongue and lips.

Life Expectancy:  11-13 years

Chow Chows

What You’ll Love about Chow Chows

  • Chill: Being not particularly active, they handle apartment living well as long as given daily strolls.
  • Loyal: Generally they’ll form a strong bond with one family member, and then accepts the rest.
  • Relatively quiet: As mentioned, they’re low-key.
  • Independent: Or, arguably aloof, depending on your perspective.
  • Smart: Their colourful history means they’re easy to train and pick a lot of things up. But that big brain also makes them stubborn.
  • That mane: So darn fluffy!

What You Might Find “Challenging”

  • The other side of loyalty: That extreme closeness to one family member can also become overprotective. Also, if not socialised well, they can be overly wary and aggressive to strangers.
  • Grooming: All that beautiful hair takes work. You’ll need to commit to daily brushing to keep the coat nice. Plus they have two major sheds per year so invest in a good vacuum.
  • Not super social: If not brought up with children, cats, or other dogs, they might not be great around them.
  • Bossy: Don’t be surprised if they try to become the dominant member of the household pack.
  • Not as cuddly as you would expect: This ball of fluff needs their space.

Common Health Issues for Chow Chows

  • Skin infections: The folds around their face need to be kept clean.
  • Eye diseases: Chow Chows can be prone to cataracts, distichiasis, and glaucoma.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Keep an eye on their joints, they can have issues as they get older.

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Written by Wendy Syfret
Wendy is Head of Media at Scratch. Which is a good fit, because she's never met a dog she didn't like. Although she has a special place in her heart for muts: three legs, one eye, missing fur, bit of a weird walk? The scruffier the better. Her favourite dog in the whole world though is her terrier-mix Stevie.