Have you ever thought what it would be like to own a lion as a pet. Well then, this is your chance. But there is a catch. This pet will be a miniature version of a lion. It only has an unmistakable similarity in appearance, but it really is a dog. Not just a dog, but one of the cutest dogs you must have ever set your sights on. This breed is absolutely adorable in not half as ferocious as a real lion, which is just another point of attraction. Those cute eyes look like buttons in the middle of that face that resembles the face of a lion, complete with a mane. In fact the Chow Chow originated in Northern China, where it was known as Songshi Quan, which translates to puffy-lion dog.
Chow Chows are also called Chows. It is one of the oldest breeds in the world believed to be used as a model for the Foo dog. The Foo dog is the traditional stone guardians found in front of most Buddhist temples and palaces. They are said to be descendants of wolves. They were first found in the high steppe regions of Siberia or Mongolia and went on to be used in China, Mongolia and Tibet. Evidence points to existence of dogs that looked like Chow Chows as far back in time as 150BC. They were essential companions to the Mongolian armies in their various invasions in China, Europe and even the Middle East.
Their original purpose was herding, hunting, pulling and guarding. They were then used as general-purpose working dogs with the demise of the aforesaid activities with time. They were also bred for human consumption. Not only that, they were also used as sled dogs and war dogs, because of their ability to pull heavy loads and their large size. It has been said that breeds like Pomeranians and elkhounds have descended from Chow chows. Interestingly enough, it is believed that Queen Victoria’s pet Chow inspired the creation of the first teddy bears, due to their cute and cuddly appearance. She was so in love with her chow that she would carry it everywhere with her, which apparently went against the royal of code of conduct, which lead to the idea of a teddy bear that looked similar to the pet.
The Chow has a characteristic blue black tongue and a unique shaggy lion-like appearance of their face. This sturdily built dog has a square profile. Their short triangular ears with rounded tips perfectly compliment their lovable appearance. As a consequence of their origin being from the coldest parts of the world, they have a very dense double coat that is rough or smooth, which looks mane-like as it is particularly thicker in the neck region. Chows exist in colors such as red, black, fawn, cinnamon, cream or even blue, although not all of them are acceptable color schemes among show dogs, nor are they all available in all countries. Their deep set, almond shaped eyes have the capacity to make you melt. Their tail too is distinctly curly and thick. Their hind legs tend to be unusually straight that gives them a stilted appearance.
They are fiercely protective of their owners and their property, and are usually discerning of strangers. They might be unusually aggressive or even extremely timid, which gives them cat-like attributes. They are fairly passive in their temperament and so can be conveniently kept as house pets, as they don’t tend to be too active. But at the same time, one must make sure, that the chow gets sufficient physical exercise to avoid lethargy and boredom. It has direct consequences on its health and restlessness. Once a routine is set that involves Daily exercises, the chow will look forward to it, as that could be the only source of activity for it. Ideally they weigh between 45 to 70 pounds and grow to a height of about 17 to 20 inches. Fleas, cancer, glaucoma and hip dysplasia are some of the most common ailments in chows.
They can be extremely stubborn in nature, and can develop attachment to certain things as they grow. It is extremely loyal towards the family members. They are usually calm and well behaved, but they are also not particular fans of training, which is crucial especially in their early years to teach them to value those who love them. In order to avoid aggressiveness and the over protective behavior, it is advisable to expose them to other animals and people as a means of increased social interaction. But some dogs can be easy going enough to seem aloof towards everyone except their owners. They are considered as one of the most high risk dogs, hence, it is better to keep them leashed to avoid unnecessary tussles with cats or small dogs or even strangers, but with training this too can be avoided.
Chows continue to be extremely popular pets among dog owners, mainly due to their cuteness factor. Apart from feeding, training and grooming chows are fairly low maintenance and yet are adored at dog shows. It is no wonder then that they are a favorite choice among several celebrities too from Walt Disney’s wife to Janet Jackson, and Sigmund Freud to Martha Stewart.