Why We Love Them: Unraveling the Chow Chow Breed History

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Last Updated: August 4th, 2023

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Unearth the fascinating Chow Chow breed history, exploring their origin, purpose, and temperament. Discover if this unique breed aligns with your lifestyle.

An imposing Chow Chow dog, representative of its ancient and impressive breed history
The history of the Chow Chow is as captivating as its appearance

Chow Chow Breed History: Shrouded in Mystery

Unveiling the history of Chow Chows takes us on a journey through time and across continents. This breed, unique with its lion-like mane and blue-black tongue, has long intrigued and charmed dog lovers. But how was the Chow Chow breed created? And what is the history of a Chow Chow dog? We delve deep into the past to answer these questions.

Birth of a Breed

An Ancient Chinese Legacy of the Chow Chow Breed

Chow Chows are among the world’s oldest and most primitive dog breeds. DNA analysis shows their lineage dates back over 2000 years, with their roots firmly planted in the cold northern regions of China. Here, they were known as ‘Songshi Quan’, translating to ‘puffy-lion dog’. In fact, some sources, such as the American Kennel Club, suggest that the Chow Chow breed history could date back as far as 3000 years to the Han Dynasty in China.

This breed’s unique physical traits, such as its straight hind legs and distinctive fur, were likely adaptations to the harsh climate. Early Chow Chows were multi-purpose animals, performing various tasks for their human companions.

Original Purpose: How were Chow Chows Used?

Bred for Utility, Not War

Despite some misconceptions, Chow Chows were not bred for war. Instead, they served as all-rounders in ancient China, helping in hunting, herding, and guarding. Their strength, endurance, and keen senses made them valuable assets, offering protection and assistance in both home and work environments.

Transition: From Chinese Workers to Western Show Dogs

The Chow Chow’s Journey to the West

During the late 18th century, Chow Chows began their transition from being Chinese workers to Western show dogs. Queen Victoria’s fascination with the breed helped elevate their status in Western society. By the late 19th century, they had made their way to America, where they quickly gained popularity. The American Kennel Club officially recognized Chow Chows in 1903, further cementing their place in the annals of dog breed history.

Behavior and Temperament: Are Chow Chows Aggressive?

Protective, Not Aggressive

‘Are Chow Chows aggressive?’ This question often arises due to the breed’s reputation for aloofness and reserved nature. However, with proper training and socialization, they exhibit a loyal, calm, and protective temperament. They’re not inherently aggressive, but can be standoffish with strangers, which is why they make excellent watchdogs.

Graceful chow chow being serious and protective
Chow Chow makes for a great watchdog

Care Requirements: How Many Walks Does a Chow Chow Need?

Keeping a Chow Chow Happy

A common query for potential owners is, ‘How many walks does a Chow Chow need?’ Despite their robust build, they are not overly energetic dogs. Two daily walks, along with some playtime, is usually sufficient for this breed. They also appreciate a secure space to roam and sniff, stimulating their sharp minds.

Is a Chow Chow Right for You?

A Decision Rooted in Understanding

The enigmatic Chow Chow, with its deep-rooted history and unique temperament, is not a breed for everyone. It requires a committed, knowledgeable owner who appreciates its heritage and caters to its needs. If you’re willing to invest time in understanding and training this majestic breed, a Chow Chow can be a loyal, protective companion with a rich history that’s as captivating as its appearance.




Maja Sebenik is a proud owner of a Dachshund named Bimba. With three years of experience working as a researcher for a pet magazine, Maja's love for animals runs deep. Through her heartfelt writing, Maja shares practical tips, advice, and heartwarming anecdotes to inspire fellow pet lovers. Join her on a journey to explore the wonders of the animal kingdom, one paw at a time.

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