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A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

NZKC - Breed Standard - Chow Chow - Non Sporting

Chow Chow

Non Sporting

Group: Non sporting
Size: medium
Lifespan: 10 -14 years
Exercise: low
Grooming: low to high
Trainability: very low
Watchdog ability: very high
Protection ability: high
Area of Origin: China
Date of Origin: ancient times
Other Names: none
Original Function: hunting, guardian, food source
Arguments prevail as to whether the Chow Chow is one of the truly original dog breeds or whether it is a descendent of the Tibetan Mastiff. What is known, is that this breed with the unique blue-black tongue has existed in China since 150 BC. Many of the Chows were used as, hunting, herding and sled dogs, although the few that were born with the smoky blue colour were often elevated to the role of Buddhist temple dog. At one time, this breed was also raised as a food supply for Chinese tables, hence the name "chow" which is Cantonese for "food." Chows found their way to Britain in the 1800's and gained popularity once Queen Victoria herself took a liking to the breed.
The Chow Chow is an intelligent, independent and protective dog breed who tends to be loyal only to a few people. The Chow Chow is an aloof breed, they can be unfriendly to people not knowing. Socializing is recommended as to its aloof nature. The owner of a Chow Chow should be confident and patient in training as they can be resistant.
This is an alert breed that needs regular, but not strenuous, outdoor activity. It does not do well in hot humid weather. Its needs are best met with casual morning or evening walks in warm weather or several short play sessions throughout the day. It can live outdoors in temperate or cool weather, but it is best allowed to stay inside during warm weather. The smooth type needs brushing once weekly; the rough type needs brushing every other day, and daily when shedding.

Official Breed Standard

A well-balanced dog, leonine in appearance, with proud dignified bearing; loyal yet aloof; unique in its stilted gait and bluish-black tongue.

An active, compact, short-coupled and well-balanced dog, well knit in frame, with tail carried well over back.

Head and Skull:
Skull flat and broad, with little stop, well filled out under the eyes. Muzzle moderate in length, broad from the eyes to the point (not pointed at the end like a fox). Nose black, large and wide in all cases (with the exception of cream and white in which case a light-coloured nose is permissible and in blues and fawns a self-coloured nose); but in all colours a black nose is preferable.

Dark and small, preferably almond-shaped (in blue or fawn dog a light colour is permissible).

Small, thick, slightly rounded at the tip, carried stiffly erect but placed well forward over the eyes and wide apart, which gives the dog the peculiar characteristic expression of the breed, viz., a scowl.

Teeth strong and level, giving scissor bite. Tongue bluish-black. Flews and roof of mouth black. Gums preferably black.

Strong, full, set well on the shoulders and slightly arched.

Shoulders muscular and sloping. Forelegs perfectly straight of moderate length and with good bone.

Chest broad and deep. Back short, straight and strong. Loins powerful.

Hindlegs muscular and hocks well let down and perfectly straight which are essential in order to produce the Chow's characteristic stilted gait.

Small, round and catlike, standing well on the toes.

Set high and carried well over the back.

Abundant, dense, straight and stand-off. Outer coat rather coarse in texture and with a soft woolly undercoat. The Chow Chow is a profusely coated dog and balance should therefore be assessed when the coat is at its natural length.

Whole coloured black, red, blue, fawn, cream or white, frequently shaded but not in patches or parti-coloured (the underpart of tail and back of thighs frequently of a light colour).

Weight and Size:
Minimum height for Chows to be 45.7 cm (18") but in every case balance should be the outstanding feature and height left to the discretion of the judge.

Drop ears.
Tongue splashed or patchy.
Off black noses except in the colours specified, viz., creams, whites, blues or fawns.
Tail not carried over the back.
Any artificial shortening of the coat which alters the natural outline or expression of the dog should be penalised.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

The Standard of the smooth variety is identical with the above except that the coat is smooth.

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

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