If you are looking for an adorable dog that is fluffy and cute but also smart and powerful, then a chow chow might be right for you. This is a smaller dog that requires less maintenance than other larger dogs, but the question is, are they good with kids? Today, we will talk a bit about the chow chow breed, how to prepare to bring one into your home, and whether or not they are suitable for a family with small children.
How Big Do Chow Chows Get?
Although they may look small, the chow chow breed is actually considered a medium to large breed. As you may expect, males are typically larger than females. Male chow chows grow to 24 inches in height at the shoulder while females can reach 18 to 22 inches at the shoulders.
Females and smaller dogs can weigh between 45 to 70 pounds, while males can weigh closer to 95 pounds. Keep in mind that these are just estimates. The weight and size of your dog will also depend on other factors, such as their diet and overall health. Feed your dog high-quality food, and they will be healthy and happy.
How Much Energy Do Chow Chows Have?
In general, chow chows are moderate to low energy dogs. Although they were originally bred for working purposes, they handled simpler tasks, so they will not have the same amount of energy as larger dogs like retrievers, rottweilers, and other herding dogs.
Although they enjoy time outside, usually, the chow chow breed will be happy with a single daily walk or play session. With that said, this is a dog that also enjoys time at home, and they are content with a quiet and relaxed lifestyle. Because of their mild temperament, they are great dogs for older people, folks who are not as active, and families with kids.
However, chow chows do need time outside, and to stretch their legs throughout the day. Make it a point to come up with a routine that allows them enough exercise but also relaxation time and stick to it.
How to Train a Chow Chow
Chow chows are a more laid-back breed, but you still need to put time aside to train them properly. Although they’re cute, dogs of this breed can also be stubborn and independent at times, so plan accordingly.
The key is to start early while they are puppies and to be consistent with their training. Stick to the routine and display your dominance, but also avoid punishment-based training whenever possible. Being too rough can hurt the bond that you create with your chow chow.
When your chow chow does a command properly, make it a point to reward them with positive reinforcement via praise, treats, and affection. Don’t let a chow chow’s stubborn behavior get to you. Reinforce them when they do a good job and ignore unwanted behaviors. Because of their stubborn personalities, this breed may also try to test your boundaries. You can quell that negative behavior by establishing clear rules and boundaries and sticking to them without giving in.
Socialization and Obedience
In addition to obedience training, you should also make it a point to socialize your chow chow. To prevent behavioral issues in the future, spend a lot of time getting them out into public, especially when they are puppies. Bring them on walks through town, take them to the dog park, and let them meet new people. By doing this, you can ensure that they are not easily spooked around strangers or your kids.
Training is so important that you don’t want to rush or skip the process. If you try training and you are unsuccessful or you simply don’t have the time, then consider enrolling your pup in obedience classes. There is nothing wrong with bringing your dog to a professional. These classes will provide a neutral environment where your dog can learn the tricks that can ensure positive behavior over time.
How Much Maintenance Does the Chow Chow Breed Require?
Although chow chows are a relatively low-maintenance breed, there are still steps that you will want to take to ensure your dog’s health and happiness.
Typical Maintenance Requirements
Physical Health – Chow chows are typically okay with a daily walk or an hour-long play session outside. After that, if they don’t want to go outside, then they are generally okay lying around the house.
Mental Stimulation – Chow chows are also a very smart breed, so they will do well with puzzles and interactive training to keep them sharp.
Grooming – This breed has a thick and dense coat that requires regular grooming to avoid matting and ensure a healthy appearance. Brush your chow chow’s hair at least once per week. You might also consider a professional grooming appointment every six to eight weeks.
Diet – Although it won’t happen with every dog, chow chows are prone to obesity more than other breeds. So, feeding them a balanced and nutritious diet is essential. Feed them high-quality dog food and make portions appropriate to their size, age, and activity level.
Dental Care – All dogs require good dental care. For chow chows, brush their teeth at least two to three times per week. Also, give them dental toys and chews to keep their teeth clean.
Nail Care – Chow chows tend to have long nails, and if they are not cut and maintained, then they can cause injury or discomfort. To prevent painful, overgrown nails, trim them every two to three weeks or as needed.
Ear Care – One of the defining characteristics of the chow chow breed is that they have floppy ears that can be prone to infections. It is important that you regularly clean and check their ears. You can do so by using a damp cloth or cotton ball to gently clean the inside of their ears. If you see signs of an infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge, then contact the vet.
Healthcare and common issues
In addition to issues with their ears and nails, chow chows can also experience other health problems. Talk to your veterinarian and keep an eye out for the following conditions:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Joint pain
- Eye issues, including glaucoma
Chow chows can also suffer from allergies. It is not always clear what your dog may be allergic to, but you can tell if they have an allergy if they experience atopy. That is when their skin becomes itchy. They may also have redness in their feet, belly, ears, and the folds of their skin. Bring your chow chow to the vet, and they will prescribe a solution.
How Much Does it Cost to Own a Chow Chow?
If you are looking to adopt or buy a chow chow, you can buy it from a breeder or a shelter/rescue organization.
It will be more expensive to buy from a breeder and you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000. The cost will depend on the seller, the health of the dog, and other considerations. Buying from a shelter will typically only cost between $300 to $800. However, the dogs may be older or have existing behavior issues.
Once you have the chow chow in your possession, you can expect to pay around $1,400 per year. Those funds will cover the cost of food, grooming, supplies, toys, and veterinary care. You may need to pay more or less depending on the health of the dog and the quality of the food and supplies that you purchase.
How Old Should Your Child Be When You Get a Chow Chow?
Since the chow chow breed is relatively laid back, you don’t have to worry about them getting overly rambunctious or causing your child harm. If you don’t plan for your kid to regularly care for the dog other than doing simple tasks like feeding and walking the dog, then you can typically bring in the chow chow when your kid is 8 years old or above.
If you want your kid to join in on the grooming, obedience training, and other more demanding responsibilities, then you should typically wait until your child is 12 years old and above. In the case that you really want to wait until your kids are ready for the maximum responsibilities or your child wants to have sole ownership of the dog, then wait until they are 16 years old or older.
If your child is under the age of 12 years, then you should still supervise them when they are walking or caring for the dog.
Can Kids Be Allergic to Chow Chows?
There is always a chance that your child could be allergic to your chow chow. However, if they have allergies, it probably isn’t the chow chow specifically. Instead, they could be allergic to all dogs. People are often allergic to the dog’s skin cells, saliva, or urine. If your child is allergic, then they will likely experience common symptoms like sneezing, skin rashes, runny nose, and asthma.
Most allergies will be mild, and you can reduce their reaction by keeping the house clean, regularly bathing and grooming your pet, using air purifiers, or buying over-the counter remedies.
If you feel like your child may be allergic, then before you bring a chow chow home, talk to an allergist to find out for sure. You can also bring your child around a friend’s chow chow and see if they have a reaction.
General Tips and Precautionary Measures
Before you buy your chow chow, consider a few more helpful tips:
Feedings – Due to the relatively small size of most chow chows, you can be conservative with their meals. Typically, they only require 2-2.75 cups of food on a daily basis.
Overheating – Due to their thick coat, chow chows can get warm, and easily get overheated. It is important to be aware of their heat stress signs, like rapid panting, glazed eyes, and excessive thirst.
Remember They Are Quiet – Unlike many other breeds, chow chows do not bark very often, so do not be alarmed if they are quiet a lot of the time.
When you bring your chow chow home for the first time, ensure that you have the following items ready:
- Hard chew toys
- Dental toys for healthy teeth
- Grooming supplies
Verdict: Are Chow Chows Good with Kids?
As you can see, the chow chow breed is easier to manage than many other larger, high-maintenance dogs. With that said, they are a great breed to have around kids. Just ensure that your children are mature enough to handle the responsibilities of having a dog before you move forward. If you go with a chow chow, then look forward to a mild and fun breed that you will love for years to come.
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