The large, stocky Chow Chow may look like a big teddy bear but is no pushover.
They have quite a stiff, short gait because their hind legs are nearly straight. They also have a large head with a ruff behind and a famously blueish-black tongue. Their coat is thick and furry and often red although can come in shades of black and blue. There is a soft smooth-coated variety and a coarser rough-coat.
They are one of the oldest of the breeds from China and were used for herding, guarding and pulling carts. They are naturally protective and can be willful so close attention needs to be paid to their training.
Loyal to their owner, they need to be trained to accept other people, they may have a tendency to want to be pushy around other animals. They tend to be sedentary indoors so need a good walk outdoors every day. The thick coat needs regular brushing and they moult heavily at certain times.
They are prone to an eyelid abnormality called entropion where the eyelid turns inwards. This can usually be corrected with surgery. They can also suffer from hip dysplasia, stomach cancer and ear infections.