Small introduction to a Chow Chow care

Dogs Human Classroom

The Chow Chow breed is loved and sought after by many in addition to being seen as the teddy-bear version of a dog due to its large and long coat. They may well be adorable and some people consider the Chow Chow temperament very good, but most probably they are people who already have experience breeding dogs and know how to handle one with the distinctive personality of the Chow Chow. If you breed him well, you can get a dog with good manners, quiet and calm, excellent guard dog, and loyal, but it will only be like that under proper care and handling since he is usually compared with the personality of a cat, being a little independent. Honestly, he can be the ideal and perfect dog for your family, but you must know how to handle him or he will be the opposite of what people normally expect. Something you have to take into account is that they are excellent guard dogs because they do not usually get along well or deal with strangers, whether it is a person or another pet. Therefore, they are prone to have an aggressive attitude if not taught at an early age to control this type of behavior, that said, I hope you understand why they are not usually recommended in homes with young children. It is not a difficult task, if you set your mind to it you can overcome it and make their training stage not so annoying or tedious for both of you. 

If you want to adopt this lion-looking dog breed, I invite you to read a little about the Chow Chow before you decide to adopt one, so that you can be as prepared as possible to take home one of these wonderful living beings.

HISTORY

The Chow Chow is one of the oldest breeds of which records have been obtained, besides knowing that they come from China, throughout their history, they have suffered a lot as well as they have become very valued and loved by people during their stay with humans. Some historians comment that their origin is so ancient that they could well be the progenitor of all the spitz breeds (Finnish Spitz for example). It is believed that its origin is from long before 206 b.c. but being something so ancient, it is very difficult to determine its origin with accuracy. Another thing that has been complex to establish is the origin of their name, which as I mentioned, throughout their history they have come to suffer because they have been used as sources of protein or food, so it is believed that their name comes from a term referring to that end, a snack or some kind of appetizer. Some comment that their name comes from another term but being so uncertain, there are several theories but they are somewhat complicated to confirm. Nevertheless, in their country of origin, they have another term to refer to this beautiful breed, Songshi Quan, which means “Puffy Lion-dog”, which is something that makes more sense due to its appearance.

Although it is such an ancient breed, its popularity did not come until a few years ago, where it is rumored that it was after Queen Victoria came to adopt one of these beautiful creatures that people began to take it a little more into consideration starting in the mid-1800s. In China, the Chow Chow is considered an all-purpose dog, so for some, it may be a reason for them to become popular, but it may have kept certain people from adopting one because of its personality. They were used as sled dogs, hunting dogs, guard dogs, herding dogs, and as I have already mentioned, as a source of food. It was not until the end of the century, in 1890 or so, that they began to be exhibited in shows, so that Chow Chow dog would finally be admitted to the AKC a few years later, after the beginning of the new century. Thanks to this they started to gain more and more popularity and reached the top 10 breeds in the AKC. 

Even though it has been a long and difficult journey through history, it is now received as one of the best breeds for households.

DESCRIPTION

The Chow Chow is a medium-sized dog with a body that goes with all its history. To be able to carry out so many tasks or to be used for them, it consists of a strong body, well defined with a marked musculature and strong bone structure. Despite having this body type, it is registered in the AKC as a non-sporting breed. Once they reach maturity, they grow to be between 17 and 20 inches tall and weigh between 45 and 70 pounds. Weight gain is something to be aware of. They may be predisposed to obesity because of their past or ancestors who were destined for human consumption, and it may look that way because it is something genetic that has been going on in the breed for many years. Neither would it be a surprise to anyone that the human has sought to alter this aspect of the breed for that purpose since other breeds have been genetically manipulated to achieve one or several specific aspects. They have a flat face but not so much as a Bulldog but more like a Boxer, but in the same way they become part of the brachycephalic dog breeds. The rest of the aspects of their face include a pair of almond-shaped eyes, short erect ears, skin folds or wrinkles, and what many consider to be the most characteristic aspect of the breed, the color of their tongue which is between a blue-black tone. In a part of his face and what corresponds to the neck is where he has the longest coat that gives the resemblance to a lion, although his personality also seems a feline for some behaviors. 

The rest of its body follows the idea of a dog with defined muscles, straight limbs, and a semi-short curved tail with the tip towards its back or dorsum, similar to an Akita or Samoyed. Its coat consists of a double layer and you can have it in a long rougher coat or a smooth short hair, but being a double layer one they usually do not deal well with warm climates, especially long hair for obvious reasons. The color of the coat is a solid color that may well be cinnamon, cream, blue, red, and black, the last two being the most common or popular. Regardless of the presentation in which you obtain it, it will still require care and maintenance of their coat. They have 2 molts a year where they shed an excessive amount of hair loss that you will have to deal with no matter what you do, but it will be less tedious if you keep it in good condition. This will not only help you to maintain their coat but also keep an eye on the skin especially in the areas where there are folds as they are very prone to skin diseases, this is very important to prevent an eye condition and any similar symptom or painful condition.

A curious fact is that another aspect that usually Chow Chow has is their way of walking so elegant that some describe it as stilted gait.

PERSONALITY

The personality of the Chow Chow is what defines it as a breed. Even with its ancestor and corporal frame, it is a breed that requires little exercise, but it is just as necessary that you allow it to have time to recreate itself and to be able to play or to run freely at some moment of the day. Exercise is not only to maintain their physical state but also their mental state, although you should ever bear in mind their territorial nature, so you should take it out and keep it always with you on a leash. In this way, it is best not to let him loose to avoid any inconvenience or accident because you do not know who might cause him to get into trouble. A person with bad intentions does not need an excuse to generate some conflict. Their devotion and love for their loved ones or family members is unparalleled, but their distrust and suspicion of strangers is the other side of the coin you have with this pet. Within the family environment, he is a really quiet and calm dog, he is not as active as many other breeds, which makes him ideal for small spaces like apartments but you must assure him his respective time outside to avoid problems due to the confinement. From time to time, you will hear him snoring but it is due to his flat nose. 

Being an intelligent dog you could think that a Chow Chow is easy to train, that it would go well thanks to the problems that can arise with bad handling or poor training. But, the sad reality demonstrates that its independence and stubborn personality result in a bad combination for the training since it will not pay as much attention, because it is not a breed that’s eager to please their humans. Always consult with a professional before making any decision or even thinking about taking care of it yourself. Don’t feel sorry or afraid to seek help or school for your pet when it could be both the best option and solution for both of you. There is a big difference between doing things in a hurry or out of necessity, doing things right and properly. If something goes wrong in his training or handling, you will have a dog that will last you a decade where you will have to be careful with every person that wants to visit your home, watch and always keep the house safe to avoid him going where he shouldn’t or making a mess when he shouldn’t be, just as you would do with a small human except that for a much longer period, dealing with an alarm every time there is something that alerts him and also with those neighbors that won’t be blamed for it, in short, I think you get the picture. You can avoid several years of having a problematic and independent stubborn pet, that will give you so much work if you just dedicate at least a couple of years to make sure that it can be the well-mannered and well-loved dog that only a good and dedicated owner is capable of having.

Although it is grumpy, it does not mean that you limit or avoid its socialization as much with people as with other pets, because the answer to this problem is rather to expose it to this type of situations or other beings so that your Chow Chow can be accustomed to the company of other pets and strange beings so that you do not have a dog that ends up being a problem all because of not having helped it to socialize with other beings. Of course, you should know the limits of how much he can socialize when he is a puppy since he is exposed to some diseases that can be lethal. 

CARE & HEALTH

As if it was not enough, besides the problems that you can have with the personality of the Chow Chow, also there is a great variety of pathologies for which you should be always alert. Something that will help you in Chow Chow care is to maintain a good relationship with your pet because you will know all its tricks to detect in time any behavioral changes. In addition to this, you should also routinely visit your pet’s veterinarian as often as necessary to perform check-ups and keep his health under control as much as possible with every growing Chow Chows or pets in general. This is not something that should scare you, even though it is a breed predisposed to several diseases, it does not mean that it will have all of them, it is simply a greater probability that it can acquire them as well as be exposed to other pathologies. Among these diseases, like heart disease, an alteration of your Chow Chow’s elbows or wobbler disease, some can be genetic predispositions or inherited disease that is acquired through bad management. A health pet insurance will help you to provide a proper Chow Chow care, not only to maintain it but to assure its quality of life that it deserves so much. From something as simple as hair loss symptom can be determinant in many diseases, such as those relating to hormones that can even lead to cause a swollen belly or maybe may present weight loss due to problems with digestive enzymes.Remember also that you decided to adopt a Chow Chow puppy so you should be aware of everything you have to cover and take responsibility, which will not be a problem if you care about your pet.

Among some of the pathologies that are in their breeding is the handling of food. Nutrition in every living being is something of great importance, and in the case of dogs, you must give them the type and quality of food or diet for each breed to avoid any weight loss or overweight. The quality of good dog food not only assures you better health or prevents health issues in general but also a better coat and therefore a happy dog. Whatever the breed you acquire, you must provide it with the food that is appropriate for the stage of life of your pet. For the Chow Chow, the stage of the puppy is very important and will determine your Chow Chow’s lifespan. Not only it depends on its training, but also its sanitary control (vaccines and deworming) so that it can be safer in moments that you take it out to socialize or a school of training. Another thing regarding your Chow Chow puppy is the type of puppy diet you give him. You should always give your dog puppy food at a young age, there is a reason for all these types or categories of food. You must make sure his food is for large breed puppies, otherwise, you increase the chances of him suffering from some disease concerning his locomotive system or in his cartilages and joints more specifically. This is because if you give food for a small breed dog, your dog will grow faster without giving it the time it requires for its entire bone structure, which will make it prone to suffer not only from other types of pathologies, but you will also expose it to undue pain as an older Chow Chow. For that reason, it is always important that you maintain good communication and confidence with your veterinarian because he will offer you help in these types of subjects to assure a healthy and full life for your new Chow Chow puppy.

Something that is often commented on by some people is that it is a fairly clean breed and that you will rarely see the need for a dental cleaning, but you should not overlook this aspect which, in addition to the fact that it goes hand in hand with their food, can also be the cause of many other pathologies, not only dental disease. The care of the dog’s teeth and coat is something you should do weekly to avoid having to spend extra money with the doctor or having to deal with so much hair in the house, especially for the long rough coated Chow Chow. Remember that you should always use veterinary products or only those recommended by your veterinarian to avoid future problems because just as there are foods that you humans usually eat but that are harmful to pets, they are also lethal. Overweight dogs are a serious problem that many people ignore and you should not let your Chow Chow’s long coat (in case it is the one with long hair) deceive you about its conformation and weight. This can trigger so many problems that you can’t imagine and it’s something that you can control very easily. Always consult a professional about the proportions and the times of the day that you should feed your pet, which will vary with his age.

To manage your pet in a proper way you can start by talking to a reputable breeder before adopting your puppy. It is an important matter because with him you will be able to know which of these pathologies that I will mention next your Chow Chow is prone to suffer, being based on the history of its relatives, knowing the medical history of the rest of the litter, of its parents and even of its grandparents. This information is of extreme importance and that your veterinarian will appreciate a lot. As I mentioned near the beginning of the article, this breed is prone to skin diseases, among them is the pemphigus foliaceus or allergies, in addition to injuries that can be acquired by moisture in areas where it has folds by water retention after a bath and that has not dried well or some other type of compound that is between the skin or causes the rubbing of the same to injure the skin layer. Among the joints are both elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans, patellar luxation or a problem with the cranial cruciate ligament, and/or eosinophilic panosteitis. Most of these joint alterations have a surgical correction so it may be expensive for you and a traumatic or painful experience for your dog. Others that are often mentioned are cataracts, entropion, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, glaucoma, mast cell tumor, and gastric dilatation.

 CLOSING THOUGHTS

The Chow Chow is an excellent dog breed and a wonderful acquisition for those homes where the owners are prepared for everything this dog will demand. If it were an easy job, this breed would have nothing special when normally in life everything that comes easy doesn’t have as much value as what you acquire after so much effort and dedication. Maybe you run with luck and you get a puppy that comes out of the breed standards and you don’t have any problem, but it can also result in the opposite, so the best thing is not to trust everything you read. With good intention and devotion, you have a great advantage over other people who only look for a breed because of its appearance and do not care about their feelings and requirements.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or think I missed something please let me know in the comment section down below.

Professor Whiskers
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