The Chow Chow is a strong, sturdy dog breed that hails from northern China, and which is most distinctive thanks to its coat, and rather unusual tongue! The breed is often said to resemble the lion, due to its very thick double-layered coat, which is particularly long around the neck, giving it a ruffled appearance similar to that of the male lion.
The breed also has a highly distinctive blue-black coloured tongue, and a highly curled tail that is typical of spitz-type dogs. The breed can be seen in colours including black, blue, fawn, red, cinnamon and cream. The coat should be all one colour, with coats containing two or more colours considered as outside of the preferred breed standard. Dogs of the breed stand between 17-20” tall at the withers, and males can weigh between 55-70lb, with females falling between 45-60lb.
The Chow Chow is classed as a high profile dog breed by the UK Kennel Club, meaning that the breed is subject to careful monitoring for their hereditary diversity and breed-specific health problems. If you are considering buying a Chow Chow dog, it is important to make yourself aware of what this means for your dog in terms of their health and longevity.
In this article, we will look at the hereditary health, genetic diversity and longevity of the breed in more detail. Read on to learn more.
The average lifespan of the Chow Chow can be rather variable, with the median figure for UK dogs being between 9-15 years, covering the range from a relatively short lifespan across the board for dogs of a similar size, to the top end of the scale.
A large part of this variance can be attributed to the propensity for hereditary health problems within certain breed lines, and breed lines that are free or mainly free of such problems will tend to be much longer lived than others.
The coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the Chow Chow is 6.6%, which is only a touch higher than the ideal of 6.25% or lower. This means that there is a relatively high degree of genetic diversity across the breed as a whole, and that the breed is not subject to a particularly high degree of inbreeding.
Health testing prior to breeding is recommended by The Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association, to identify a predisposition to certain hereditary health problems:
The build and conformation of the Chow Chow can itself lead to a range of potential problems and challenges for the breed, which all owners should be aware of:
The Chow Chow is also known to have a propensity to some other health conditions too, for which no pre-breeding screening is currently available. These include: