Height at the withers: Males 43 – 51 cm, Females 43 – 51 cm
Average weight: Males 25 – 32 kg, Females 20 – 27 kg
The Chow is a large dog that boasts some unique physical traits, one of which is the fact they have blackish/blue tongues and the other being they have very thick, dense coats. They have large heads that does not have a very noticeable stop, their muzzle is moderately long and their nose is wide and large being black in colour except dogs that boast near white or cream coats where their noses are much lighter. Chows with a fawn or blue coat should have black noses, but self-coloured is allowed as a breed standard.
Their eyes are oval shaped and dark, but dogs with blue or fawn coats have eyes that match their colouring. A Chow Chow’s ears are small, slightly rounded at the tips and very thick. Dogs carry them upright and they are set wide apart on their head, tilting forward over their eyes. The way a Chow’s ears stand up on a dog’s head gives them the appearance of always scowling which is another unique physical trait that makes these dogs stand out in a crowd.
They have strong mouths with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. They have bluish/black tongues and in fawn or blue coated dogs, their gums tend to be various lighter shades with cream and white dogs having the lightest coloured gums of them all. Chows have very strong necks which they hold slightly arched giving them their proud and aloof look.
Their shoulders are well developed, muscular and sloping with dogs boasting straight front legs with lots of bone. Chows are deep chested dogs that have a well sprung ribcage, powerful loins and a strong, level back. Their hindquarters are powerful with well-muscled first and second thighs. They have very cat-like feet being small and round with dogs standing well up on their toes. A Chow’s tail is set high which dogs carry them well over their backs.
When it comes to their coat, Chow Chows can either have smooth or rough coats which are as follows:
Rough-coated dogs have thick, dense straight hair that stands well off from their body. Their outer coat is coarse, but their undercoat is woolly and much softer. Dogs have much thicker hair around their necks which forms a lion-like mane and they boast breeches on the back of their thighs which adds to their overall appeal and impressive good looks.
Smooth-coated dogs have a shorter double coat with dense, straight hair that stands upright and which is very plush to the touch.
The accepted colours for Kennel Club registration for the Chow are as follows:
- Shaded Red
When Chow Chows move, they have quite a short stride and their back feet do not come very high off the ground so it looks like a dog is skimming it. The result gives the impression of a pendulum-like gait when a dog is seen in profile. Their front and back legs move in parallel motion remaining very straight when they move.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the Chow breed profile and would judge any faults on how much they affect a dog’s overall health and well-being as well as their ability to perform.
Male Chows should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that some Chow Chows can be a little taller or shorter as well as slightly heavier or lighter than set out in their Kennel Club breed standard which is given as a guideline only.