A powerful, sturdy, squarely built, upstanding dog of Arctic type, medium in size with strong muscular development and heavy bone. The body is compact, short coupled, broad and deep, the tail set high and carried closely to the back, the whole supported by four straight, strong, sound legs. Viewed from the side, the hind legs have little apparent angulation and the hock joint and metatarsals are directly beneath the hip joint. It is this structure which produces the characteristic shorter, stilted gait unique to the breed. The large head with broad, flat skull and short, broad and deep muzzle is proudly carried and accentuated by a ruff. Elegance and substance must be combined into a well balanced whole, never so massive as to outweigh his ability to be active, alert and agile. Clothed in a smooth or an offstanding rough double coat, the Chow is a masterpiece of beauty, dignity and naturalness. Essential to true Chow type are his unique blue-black tongue, scowling expression and stilted gait.
Like all breeds there may be some health issues, like hip and elbow dysplasia and eye disease. Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of Chow Chows are healthy dogs.
Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Chow Chow can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.
Owners say Chows are the cleanest of dogs: They housebreak easily, have little doggy odor, and generally are as fastidious as cats. Responsibly bred and socialized Chows are never fierce or intractable, but always refined and dignified (the word “dignified” occurs constantly when discussing Chows). Aloof with outsiders, Chows accept new friendships if introductions are made by their owner, who is the center of the universe for these eternally loyal dogs. Serene and adaptable, with no special exercise needs, Chows happily take to apartment living