Illustration of Chow Chow

The Chow is related to Spitz dogs of the Nordic type and has been known in China, where he was kept as a guard dog and also used for hunting, for upwards of 2,000 years. But because of China’s ‘closed door’ policy to the rest of the world, Chows did not begin to appear in other countries until around 1800 and were not really noticed in Britain until the 1920s, with a number being shown at Crufts in 1925.

He has a unique short striding movement and a bluish black tongue, and such is his appearance that he cannot be mistaken for any other breed. The Rough Chow has a coat that is abundant, thick and stands off from the body. It requires about five minutes’ daily grooming to keep it in good condition. The Smooth Chow has a woolly undercoat with a short top coat of plush texture. Although red is the most popular colour for both varieties, followed by black, they can also be seen in the most lovely whole blue, or shades of fawn.

The Chow is aloof, stand-offish and extremely loyal to his owner, with a tendency to be a one-man dog. He is not noisy, but when roused he is well able to defend home and owner.

Breed Group
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
Up to 1 hour per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
Every day
Supposedly sheds? *
Town or Country
Type of home
Large House
Minimum Garden Size
Under 10 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.


  • Smooth-Coat

The Utility Breed Group

This group consists of miscellaneous breeds of dog mainly of a non-sporting origin, including the Bulldog, Dalmatian, Akita and Poodle.

The name ‘Utility’ essentially means fitness for a purpose and this group consists of an extremely mixed and varied bunch, most breeds having been selectively bred to perform a specific function not included in the sporting and working categories. Some of the breeds listed in the group are the oldest documented breeds of dog in the world.

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