One of the most unusual characteristics of the Chow Chow is his black tongue that has a distinctive bluish tint.
This breed was developed in China, where it was used as a hunting dog. Asian sailors conveyed these dogs with them to England, where their exotic appearance promptly made them popular. The breed is classified by the American Kennel Club as a member of the Non-Sporting group.
It is a 45 to 70 pound dog that stands 17 to 20 inches high. Its down turned lips can give this breed a deceivingly angry appearance. This unfriendly impression is counterbalanced by the tail curling over the dog's back and its thick double coat. The red Chow Chow is most common, but these furry dogs also can have black, blue, cinnamon, or cream colored coats.
These are not high energy dogs, but they do need a little more exercise than an apartment allows. A small fenced yard is sufficient for this breed. If you do live in an apartment, be prepared to take your dog for a daily run. However, don't permit him to run loose in the park, as they are prone to aggressiveness toward other dogs.
While this breed is faithful to it's family and usually loves children, it does not often do well with other pets. New owners should concentrate on socializing their puppies to be sure they do not grow up to be dangerous or aggressive to strangers. Puppy obedience classes are a good way to socialize your puppy while being sure it receives thorough obedience training.
In addition to their tendency to be aloof and unfriendly to people outside the family, these dogs do have a few other drawbacks. They have an inclination towards the domination of people if they can get away with it and they can intimidate inexperienced dog owners. You will have to be firm with your dog and should always be sure to follow through on commands.
While they are big dogs, they should not spend too much time outside during the summer, since their thick coats don't protect the Chow Chow from heat sensitivity. These dogs also can suffer from hip dysplasia and often have problems with their knee joints.
Chows are not very active dogs, so they are very economical to feed. You should feed your dog a nutritious puppy food while he is young and a good adult dog food when he grows older.
While they are easy to feed, they do need rather a lot of grooming. Their thick coats are hard to brush because they are so dense.
If you don't mind that a Chow Chow can have a bit of an attitude problem when they are dealing with strangers or other animals, then this might just be the right breed for you. After all, there is nothing quite like hugging one of these fuzzy, bear like dogs on a chilly winter night.