It is an old Chinese breed, known for over 2000 years, fact proved by the Chinese basreliefs, which show hunting scenes with these dogs. It is the descendant of the Han Dog breed. The Chinese waggoners used it to guard the barges and the carts. Many Chinese would trade its rich fur and eat its flesh, which was considered a delicacy. One of the emperors of China had more than 5000 Chow- Chow dogs, which he used for hunting. Its name could come from the sailors slang referred to the mixed cargos - chow-chow, or it could come from the term from the Cantonese dialect - chow, which means food. In Europe it appeared in 1880, in England, where it was raised and then selected, quickly becoming a luxury dog, very appreciated in the whole of Europe and in the USA.
The Chow-Chow and the Shar-Pei are the only dog breeds that have a blue-purple tongue. They are different compared to other dogs through the shape of the paws of the hind legs, which are similar to a cat's paw - being round. It is a medium-sized, Spitz dog, with a square body. The head is broad and big with a short muzzle, a moderate stop and a black nose, except for the blue specimens which have a slate-coloured nose. The eyes are small, almond-shaped, dark and deeply-set, fact which causes a limited side-view. The ears are small, triangular with rounded tips and erect. The tail is short and carried arched on the back. There are two varieties: with long hair and with short hair (rarely met). The fur is double-layered with a short, thick, fluffy inner layer and an outer layer with long, erect, soft or rough, thick hair. Around the neck and head the thicker hair forms a mane. It can be pure red, black, blue or cream. The tongue and skin have a blue pigmentation.
This dog is intelligent, brave, watchful, calm, not too sociable, lonely, quiet, independent, with a mind of its own, dominant and full of character. It is attached and devoted to its owner, accepts children but it is cautious with and suspicious of strangers. It must be socialized from an early age with other animals so it doesn't have problem with them later on. Generally they are dominant towards other dogs.
The fur of the long hair variety needs regular and intense brushing especially in the areas where the fur usually gets tangled. The dog must be accustomed to the brushing from an early age, so it doesn't become difficult when it grows up. The fur of the short hair variety must be brushed regularly, but less often than that of the long hair variety. The brushing is done more frequently in the shedding period.
It is dog resistant to weather changes, which prefers to live in the open, but can adapt to life in a flat if it has the necessary conditions, having a medium level of activity. It is a dog recommended only to people with experience in raising dogs, who are firm, calm, well-balanced and authoritative. It needs socialization and training.
It is a rather hard to train dog, even one of the hardest to train breeds. The training must done only by a person with experience, calm, authoritative and well-balanced. It is not a very energetic dog, it has a medium level of activity, but it still likes walks. It can't stand the sun and must be protected in the summer.
It is a very good watchdog and lately it has been wanted more and more as a companion dog.