Identify a Chow Chow

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How to Identify a Chow Chow

A non-sporting breed from ancient China, the Chow Chow is possibly one of the world's oldest dog breeds. Chow Chows, or Chows for short, have several distinctive physical traits and a unique temperament that make them stand out. By being aware of these key traits, you can get a better idea of whether a dog is a Chow Chow.

Checking the Body Structure

Identify a Chow Chow

1. See how large the dog is.

Chow Chows are not small dogs. They are 17–20 inches (43–51 cm) tall and can weigh between 45–70 pounds (20–32 kg).

2. Check the dog's tail.

Chows have high-set tails. Their tails are carried closely to their backs.

3. Spot small ears.

Sometimes hard to find, the ears of a Chow Chow are small and triangular. They stand erect, slightly tilted, and are firm at the base and slightly rounded at the tip.

4. Inspect the eyes of the dog.

Chows have dark brown eyes. Their eyes, placed wide apart, are deep set and resemble the shape of almonds.

5. Look for a blue tongue.

Perhaps one of the Chow's most identifiable traits is a blue or purple tongue. If you see the dog's short, broad muzzle as it opens its mouth, see if it has a blue tongue.

6. Notice the dog's build.

Chow Chows have strongly musculed bodies. They are described as short, broad, and compact.

Noticing the Coat

Identify a Chow Chow

1. Check the dog's coat color.

Chow Chows have five coat colors: red, black, blue, cinnamon, and cream, all of which are equally accepted by the AKC. Red and cream coats can range from light to dark.

2. Look at the length of the coat.

There are two types of coats seen in Chows: rough and smooth. Rough Chow Chows are frequently seen in dog shows, and they have long fur that makes a ruff around their heads. They also have feathered tails. Smooth Chows have less of a ruff and feathering.

3. Assess how the coat feels.

Chow Chows have double-coats. Their outer coats are dense, straight, and coarse, while their undercoats are soft, thick, and wooly.

Identifying Temperament

Identify a Chow Chow

1. Recognize a cat-like personality.

Chow Chows have interesting personalities in that they somewhat act like cats. They are aloof and typically only make close bonds with their owner rather than others.

2. Notice independence.

Chows do things on their own. They can make good watchdogs or guard dogs because their independent personalities lead to them making their own decisions.

3. Check for aggression.

Around others, Chows can show signs of aggression. They don't easily allow others into their home and may bite or growl. They shouldn't be around cats or small animals due to their hunting instincts and may be aggressive around other dogs.

4. See if the dog is calm.

Chows have a calm and quiet disposition. They are not very destructive and usually don't act entirely aggressive unless provoked.

5. Look for loyalty.

Chows may have some negative traits, but if it's just them and their owner, they can become very loyal. Despite being independent and stubborn, they have the potential to show loyalty to one person close to them.


  • If you're trying to figure out the breed of your dog, consider using a DNA test, as this will confirm their breed.