Chow_chow The Dog of Tang Empire -by Bernice Leroy

Active, impressive, square dog with a blueblack tongue, Chow-Chows are an epitome of loyalty and love towards their pet parents. 

 

Bernice Leroy

Bernice Leroy

Spitz type, active, compact, square, well balanced, leonine in appearance, proud, dignified bearing; good muscle tone; tail carried over back—that’s how a Chow-Chow looked! He should always be able to move freely with a pendulum type swinging of the back legs. A characteristic feature of this breed is his bluish black tongue.

 

Apart from the bluish black tongue, other distinctive feature of Chow-Chow is his curly tail with thick hair and always lying curled on the back. Chow-Chow is considered to be the only dog breed with bluish colour lips and oral cavity while other breeds normally have black or piebald patterns of skin in their mouths.

 
In the history…
Origin of Chow-Chow is traced back to northern China where the breed is locally called Songshi Quan, meaning ‘puffy lion dog’. Another local name of the dog is Tang Quan, which means the ‘Dog of Tang Empire’. In the history, it is believed that Chow-Chow was one of the native dogs in China who was used as the model of Foo Dog – the symbolic traditional stone guardian put up in front of Buddhist temples and gates to palaces. Chow Chow is one of the ancient dog breeds still in existence all round the world.
 
United colours of coats…
Their coat is smooth (in short-haired) varying between 2-6 cm in length while it is rough (in long-haired) with a distinctly fluffy tail, ‘trousers’ and a mane (longer hair around the neck). Both coat varieties have a layer of short undercoat (which is shed twice yearly) and a layer of longer, shiny coarse guard hair. They are found in various colours like Black (can have grey hair in tail), Cream (varies from reddish cream to near white), Fawn (also known as cinnamon – varies from a beach sand colour to the colour of spice – some have lighter shades on tail), and Red (varies from a solid dark red to light red with light shading on tail and ‘trousers’).
 
Pleasant temperament…
They are good way watchdogs and natural hunters. Well bred, they have correct temperament, which is Untitled-3independent and cat-like, i.e. they choose whom to be friendly with and when to obey. A Chow-Chow is playful and loving with his pet parent and his family, but aloof with strangers. They are extremely loyal to their pet parents.
 
Living with them…
They view their humans as ‘part of the family’ and need to be near them and involved daily. They do not do well as kennel dogs. It is easy to live with them if you understand and like their temperament (independent – don’t easily obey) and if you don’t mind the regular coat maintenance. They are neither destructive nor noisy. They accept family’s other animals but will hunt strange animals off properly. A well-bred Chow-Chow of correct temperament is exceptionally good with children but both dog and child must be trained—as with any breed.
 
Pup care…
They need regular vaccines and deworming. Teach them to stay still for daily brush time from very young age and take them for puppy socialising classes for at least one year.
 
Exercise needs…
It varies from individual to individual. As adults, some don’t need much (short daily walks), others need long walks (3+ km) at least three times a week. Regular exercise is very important for a healthy body and mind, but do not over-exercise a puppy.
 
Grooming needs…
Regular brushing—minimum two times a week—even on the short-haired variety is recommended It is essential to remove hair when shedding to prevent coat problems. Never shave a Chow, even in hot weather. he will lose his undercoat, which can be damaged and may never grow back! They shed hair two times a year (females with their cycles/seasons).
 
Games they play…
Some play more than others. In a multi-Chow household, they like playing with one another. They enjoy games which involve their hunting instincts. They enjoy times spent with their pet parents walking or going
for a drive in the car more than playing games.
 
Health…
Some of the hereditary problems of Chow-Chow include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, entropion, skin sensitivity (could be related to poor feeding by pet parents. Be careful of every heavy headed/boned dog’s health as they can have breathing difficulty, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, knee weakness, etc.
 
(Bernice Leroy is Johannesburg-based breeder of Chow-Chow breeds at Ciao Chows.She strives to maintain the essence of the breed’s ancient legacy).