Breed Spotlight: the Chow Chow

The Chow Chow, or Chow, is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence today. His ancestors can be traced back to the eleventh century BCE, with DNA studies suggesting that it is one of the world’s most primitive breeds to have been developed in the world. DNA evidence also suggests that the Chow was first developed in the high mountains of either Siberia or Mongolia, and was later brought to Tibet and Mongolia and used to guard sacred temples. When Mongolia invaded China, legend has it that the Mongolians were accompanied by large, fierce, black-tongued war dogs that resembled lions. 

Once the Chow’s ancestor’s reached China, it was kept from the outside world for thousands of years. In China, it was developed as a general purpose breed, whose duties included that of a guard dog, a herding dog, a hunter, a draft dog, as well as a source of food and was considered a delicacy. The first Chows were not exported outside of China until around the late 1700s, which is when they were initially smuggled out of the country. 

Queen Victoria was an admirer of the Chow Chow breed and kept a number of them as companions. It is rumored that the first teddy bear was modeled after her pet Chow, and the stuffed animal was designed so she could keep a Chow next to her even when her dogs were elsewhere. Today, with his fluffy coat, small ears, and black tongue, the Chow is one of the most easily recognized dog breeds throughout the world.

Want to learn more about the Chow Chow? Click here for the full breed standard.

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