|Sensitivity to strangers|
|Affection for family|
|Suitable for first-time owners|
|Ease of grooming|
It is one of the most special breeds on the planet due to its dark-blue tongue. Ladies and Gentlemen, here is the Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is a unique breed that has become a true icon. Its aspect is unmistakable; it could be recognized among thousands of specimens of different breeds.
It resembles a lion to some people, though a smaller one. For others, it resembles a bear due to its rounded shape. But there is another characteristic that makes the Chow Chow truly special: its tongue, and it has nothing to do with its way of barking since it is quite shy. We mean its tongue as an organ of the body.
The Chow Chow’s tongue is the protagonist of more than one legend. Why? Because of its color. This breed has a tongue ranging from blue to purple.
In this article, we will try to explain the reasons for this strange coloration, but above all, we will try to give an comprehensive overview of this breed’s characteristics.
Chow Chow: Origins
Before discussing the Chow Chow’s origins, let’s first discuss its name. As you may have probably heard, it is an “exotic” breed, it comes from the East.
Let’s look at its family tree, since in this way we can explain this rather particular and somehow “onomatopoeic” name.
What does it mean? It seems that it is due to the ancient term “chaou” or “tchaou”. These were the names assigned to Chinese merchants who traded goods in Old Europe, purchasing and selling different products.
Apparently, they carried with them these funny-looking but very beautiful dogs. Thanks to the commercial trade between China and Europe, the breed spread in Europe, especially in England.
We can say that this continent was the Land of Albion, i.e., the first “European home” of the Chow Chow. From the middle of the 18th century onwards, “the Chinese lion with blue tongue” became increasingly popular. Almost a century later, it is said that a specimen found residence in Windsor Castle!
It is a dog that comes from very far away, as it originated in China. It is no coincidence that its appearance is difficult to classify since this breed’s atypical nature and its bluish tongue bring with them an almost mystical and magical aura.
At the beginning of the article, we mention there are some legends related to this breed. Many of them try to give an “explanation” to the pigmentation of the Chow Chow’s tongue. These are obviously unprovable hypotheses but undoubtedly suggestive. Let’s get to know at least two of those legends.
Legends about Chow Chow’s Tongue
The first legend tells of an elderly monk who was seriously ill. As he was unable to gather wood to put on the fire to warm himself, he asked his faithful four-legged friends for help.
The Chow Chows quickly went into the forest to fetch the firewood, but something went wrong: There was charred debris from a fire, so when they grabbed them with their mouths, they slightly hurt their tongues. From that moment on, they acquired a purple hue due to the burns they suffered.
The second legend about the Chow Chow’s tongue color is perhaps even more suggestive because it refers to the Supreme Buddha. It is said that when the Divinity decided to paint the sky blue in the company of his Chow Chow (this means that this breed would be the one chosen by the Buddha), the animal used its tongue to clean the drops of color that fell from the Celestial vault, causing the tongue of this dog breed to acquire the coloration it has today.
Chow Chow: Tongue Pigmentation
Leaving legends aside and returning to a scientific approach, we can say that it is simply a somatic characteristic of this breed, endowed with a particular type of pigmentation inside the oral cavity, which is not uncommon in some species of animals.
It is good to mention that this peculiarity of the Chow Chow is not visible from birth, but it appears some time later. Do you remember the “spots” of the Dalmatians in the movie 101 Dalmatians? It takes a couple of months for the Chow Chow’s tongue to acquire the color that made it so famous.
But are there other dogs that have the same characteristic? Or other animals in which a tongue of an uncommon color is recorded? Well, always focusing on Eastern breeds, we can say that some Shar Pei specimens have a very dark-blue, almost black tongue.
However, there are also some types of bears that can present this characteristic. This encouraged some paleontologists’ studies, which suggested that this breed could be related in some way to bears.
Chow Chow: Characteristics
Having gone through the Chow Chow’s history and legends, we will analyze this breed’s main physical characteristics.
First of all, the Chow Chow is morphologically in the “Lupoid” category and is classified as a primitive or Spitz-type dog.
How much may it weigh? In general, the Chow Chow is quite compact and well proportioned. A healthy specimen ranges from 55 to 84 pounds, and it may stand 20 inches (50 cm) tall at shoulder. There is not much difference between male and female Chow Chows.
They have a rather thick mane from which the comparison with a lion arises. Their way of walking and moving are just as special as that of “felines”. After growing up, the Chow Chow walks “on its toes”, resembling a cat, proudly and elegantly.
The breed has a rather large and heavy skeleton. The eyes are small and dark, slightly almond-shaped, which suggests the oriental origin of the animal.
The tail is always carried over the back. The coat is thicker than that of other dogs. Colors vary from shades of brown to black; white specimens are rare. The Chow Chow always needs careful brushing.
Chow Chow: Temperament
The Chow Chow has a calm and polite temperament. This breed does not bark much and is rarely bothersome. It is a dog that seems to have all the security and pride of a lion and a bear.
The Chow Chow is, above all, a reserved dog, rarely offering immediate confidence. It prefers to be alone, just enjoying its spaces, but this does not mean that it is not used to demonstrate love and affection: it just does it in its own way, without making such a fuss.
This is a very independent breed, but this does not mean that you can leave him alone for a long time: in fact, independence does not mean extremely solitary. The Chow Chow appreciates its owners’ presence in the house and always shows affection in a discreet but not caring way.
After all, despite its initial “shyness”, it proves to be a loyal dog, as well as being very patient. However, it does not like orders at all, as it is susceptible to have a contrary attitude towards instructions. Consequently, training this breed is not an easy task, and it certainly requires an expert’s intervention.
This aspect becomes essential if you plan to use the Chow Chow also as a watchdog, a function that falls flatly into its characteristics-skills. Did you know that it was originally used as a sled dog and as a wolf hunter?
But the Chow Chow is also a great pet dog. It can live without major problems even in an apartment, despite its size. However, you will certainly have to go for long walks with him and do a lot of exercises, so that it does not become too sedentary and turn into an obese dog.
Chow Chow: Food
What is the best diet for this breed? The Chow Chow, perhaps because of its Chinese origins, loves rice! However, protein will obviously play a key role in a dog’s diet of this size.
Pay attention to carbohydrates containing starch in large quantities as the Chow Chow does not digest it easily.
In general, if the dog was bought from a certified breeding establishment, it is recommended to rely on the diet suggested by the breeder. However, try to evaluate the needs of your four-legged friend as it grows.
You can also opt for ready-made food, always focusing on quality products or a homemade diet (if you have time and skill in the kitchen). To be a little more specific, let’s say that around 7-10oz (200-300 grams) of white meat or fish, plus another 7oz (200 grams) of well-cooked pasta or rice, should be enough food to feed your Chow Chow, keeping it at the ideal weight.
Remember that if you have any doubts (or if you observe strange feeding habits, for instance), we recommend that you consult a reliable veterinarian immediately.
Chow Chow: Price and Puppies For Sale
These dogs are not too expensive. Let’s say that for a properly certified purebred, the average price varies between 900 and 1100 dollars, about 800-1000 English pounds. However, in some cases, the price can also go up to 1400-1600 dollars, about 1400 English pounds, depending on the specimen’s pedigree.
In other words, it is quite affordable. In any case, evaluate the breeder you visit.
Now that we have clarified all the most important aspects, you can go in search of your new 4-legged friend, who is surely waiting for you.
You may be interested in reading another article related to other dog breeds such as: