The Chow Chow is a very distinctive dog breed, thanks in part to their huge, fluffy coats that are both long and dense, giving dogs of the breed an almost leonine appearance. This is part of what makes them such a popular breed, and the Chow Chow is ranked 50th out of a total of 241 different dog breeds and types in terms of their popularity in the UK.
The breed is recognised for Kennel Club registration within the utility grouping, which reflects the breed’s historical working origins – although today, they are almost exclusively kept as pets. Chow Chow owners need to spend a significant amount of time grooming their dogs and taking care of their prolific coats, and if this is neglected, their fur will soon become dirty and matted, which can be really hard to sort out due to the sheer volume of it.
Additionally, whilst Chow Chows don’t tend to shed heavily all year round, they do go through a large moult twice a year in spring and autumn, which can make the dog’s coat look quite untidy as well as making a lot of mess within the home!
If you already own a Chow Chow and want to make sure you’re caring for their coat in the right way – or if you are considering buying one and are trying to find out how to care for the Chow Chow coat properly – this article will cover the basics.
Read on to learn more about grooming and caring for the Chow Chow coat.
Chow Chow coats actually come in two variants, known as smooth and rough, with the rough coat being the more common of the two.
Both coat types have a really thick, dense undercoat that can make it hard to get right down to the dog’s skin, and on top of this is the top layer of the coat that is longer and rougher in texture. The coat of the breed also tends to stick straight out, giving the breed their hugely fluffy appearance, rather than lying flat against the skin.
Like many spitz-type dogs, the Chow Chow sheds most of their coat twice a year in a process that results in prolific fur loss over a fairly short period of time – often just a couple of weeks. This is known as blowing the coat, and the fur will often fall out in hanks rather than individual strands. When your Chow Chow is blowing their coat, you will probably be able to pull handfuls of hair out with gentle pressure, which can help to keep shed hair around the home to a minimum but that can also be a fairly messy process in itself!
The rest of the year, Chow Chows shed a moderate amount, but a lot of the shed fur will remain trapped within the rest of the coat, requiring removal by brushing and combing.
Grooming a Chow Chow is something that you will need to dedicate quite a lot of time to, and dogs of the breed benefit from being brushed daily. At a minimum, you should try to brush and comb your dog’s coat at least three times a week, and more often if possible.
You will need a variety of different tools to do this, to take into account the different fur textures in the coat, the length of the fur, and the need to reach every part of the dog’s body.
A comb with a blunt pointed end, a pin brush and a slicker brush will be required to thoroughly groom a Chow Chow.
When you groom your Chow Chow, you need to work right down to the roots of their fur at the skin, and ensure that you don’t just smooth over the top layers of the coat.
You can use your comb to part the fur into sections, and use it to carefully comb from root to tip before following with your pin brush. Pay particular attention to the long, thick ruffles around the neck and armpits, as these areas are the most prone to becoming knotted and tangled.
Only when you have thoroughly brushed and combed through all of the dog’s undercoat should you move on to using the slicker brush to smooth down the top layers of the fur.
Using a conditioning spray can be really helpful when grooming your Chow Chow, to help to smooth the coat and make it easier to work the brush and comb through it. You might also want to buy a mat splitter or shedding blade to help with clearing the tufts of fur that are shed when your dog goes through a moult.
All dogs can benefit from regular bathing too, and it is a particularly good idea to bathe your dog when they are coming towards the end of a moult, to remove all of the shed hair and keep your dog comfortable.
You might want to find a local groomer to take care of this for you and help to ensure that your dog’s coat is smooth and healthy – but you will still need to brush and groom your Chow Chow at home between appointments too!