The Chow Chow is undoubtedly descended from the Arctic dog. They come from the north of China, where they are used to draw sledges and also for hunting. The head and ears and general expression as well as their fur-like coat and curled tail, all indicate their relationship to the Esquimaux. They are sometimes referred to as the edible dog of China, from the fact that the Chinese breed them for food, puppies eight to ten months old being selected for that purpose. Although Chows have been brought to this and other countries for the past one hundred years, it is only within the last quarter of a century that they have been received with much favor. At the present time they are very popular.
There is a good deal of character to the Chow, despite the fact that he is sometimes referred to as a Chink. No dog has a braver spirit or is more devoted to his master. They are not, however, what may be called sociable, and do not make up with strangers, and hold themselves aloof even from their own species. They are not quarrelsome, but will not evade a combat, and in a mix-up can hold their own with any dog of their size. Their homing instinct is remarkable and it is almost impossible to lose them. They will find their way for miles through a country entirely new to them, and if they become separated from their masters in a crowd will thread their way through with the utmost confidence in their own ability until they find him; all of which are traits inherited from their Arctic ancestors.
Up to the present time there has been no interest shown toward dwarfing this breed to increase their popularity as pets. Dogs weighing from forty to fifty pounds are considered by judges as the most typical of the breed. The most popular color is the red, with black next, and following in favor is the red with white markings, fawn, white and blue.
The chief points to look for in the selection of puppies of from two to four months old, are: Short faces, short backs, dense coats, great hone, short feet, and well-twisted tails.
The standard description issued by the Chow Chow Club is as follows:
HEAD.-Large and massive; skull flat and broad, with little stop; well filled out under the eyes.
MUZZLE.-Moderate in length, and broad from the eyes to the point (not pointed out at the end like a fox’s); lips full and overhanging.
NOSE.-Black, large, and wide. (In cream or light-colored specimens a pink nose is allowable.) TONGUE.-Black.
EYES.-Dark and small. (In a blue dog light color is permissible.)
EARS.-Small, pointed, and carried stiffly erect. They should be placed well forward over the eyes, which gives the dog the peculiar characteristic expression of the breed-viz., a sort of scowl.
TEETH.-Strong and level.
NECK.-Strong, full, set well on the shoulders, and slightly arched.
SHOULDERS.-Muscular and sloping.
CHEST.-Broad and deep.
BACK.-Short, straight, and strong.
TAIL.-Curled, well carried over back.
FORE LEGS.–Perfectly straight, of moderate length, and with great bone.
HINDLEGS.-Same as forelegs, muscular, and with straight hocks.
FEET.-Small, round, and cat-like, standing well on the toes.
COAT.-Abundant, dense, straight, and rather coarse in texture, with a soft, woolly undercoat. COLOR.-Whole-colored black, red, yellow, blue, white, not in patches (the under part of tail and back of thighs frequently of a lighter color.)
GENERAL APPEARANCE.-A lively, compact, shortcoupled dog, well knit in frame, with tail curled well over the back.
DISQUALIFYING POINTS.-Drop ears, red tongue, tail not curled over back, white spots on coat, and red nose, except in yellow or white specimens.
N. B.-Smooth Chows are governed by the same scale of points, except that the coat is smooth. The points to avoid are: Other than black tongues, long faces, drop ears, open coats, bad fronts, long backs, and very straight stifles, which latter is a rather common defect in the breed.