The Chow Chow is a Spitz type dog – a guarding and hunting dog originally from China and adapted to life in a cold climate. He can be rather aloof in temperament – loyal to his owner but not suited to life as a family dog. He will typically warn quite noisily if strangers visit his home. He ideally needs to live in a house with a garden and should have plenty of exercise every day. His abundant, thick coat needs a great deal of careful grooming – at least daily. He is definitely not suited to a warm climate or warm weather.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 6.6% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS132.59
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
- Abundant and thick hair which will cause the Chow Chow to overheat readily. He will not be happy in hot weather.
- Unusually small eyes, causing entropion – eyelids are turned inwards and the lashes rubbing on the surface of the eye – causing irritation, pain and discomfort.
- Snoring and laboured breathing, caused by insufficiently wide respiratory channels and throat
- Unnaturally angled joints causing unsound movement
- Bluish-black tongue, which is a characteristic of the breed, could be mistaken for a circulatory problem
- Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and disability): breed mean score 18.9 (parents should be lower)
- Elbow dysplasia (malformation of the elbow joint causing pain and disability): ideally O:O
- Eye Scheme
- The Chow Chow is one of the high profile breeds designated by the Kennel Club as requiring particular monitoring by reason of visible conditions which may cause health and welfare concerns.
Identified by the UK Kennel Club as part of their Breed Health And Conservation Plan
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Breed Council Bronze Health Scheme – general veterinary health assessment for all dogs over the age of 15 months.
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Cruciate ligament rupture (knee ligaments, causing lameness)
- Patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap) and other joint related problems
- Panosteitis (bone inflammation)
- Stomach torsion/Bloat (twisting of stomach – requiring urgent vet attention)
- Cancer: gastric carcinoma
- Hypothyroidism (underactivity of thyroid gland, causing lethargy and other symptoms)
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (increased appetite, loss of weight)
- Heart disease: Pulmonic stenosis (valve abnormality, causing exercise intolerance and risk of heart failure)
- Myotonia (delayed muscle relaxation after exercise)
- Hydrocephalus (water on the brain)
- Persistent pupillary membranes (eye disease)
- Uveodermatological syndrome (autoimmune disease) (tissues are progressively destroyed leading to blindness and death)
- Pemphigus foliaceus (skin lesions) (autoimmune disease)
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: