Chow Chow

Lifestyle Needs

Chow Chow

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.

Genetic Diversity
(Known as Coefficient of Inbreeding: 'COI'. It should be as low as possible.)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 6.6% - See 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Gene Pool Size
(Known as Effective Population Size: 'EPS')


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

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia:  breed 5 year mean score 14.9 (parents should be lower)
  • Elbow dysplasia:  ideally O:O
  • Eye Scheme, including annual testing for entropion
  • 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) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

None applicable

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening 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)

  • Cranial cruciate ligament rupture
  • Alopecia X
  • UveoDermatological syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Addisons Disease
  • Cushings Disease
  • Gastric dilatation volvolus (GDV)  (Torsion/Bloat)
  • Cancer: gastric carcinoma

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.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

Breed Health Information