Chow Chow Temperament – Are Chows Good With Kids?

cinnamon chow in yard

With their fluffy coats and distinguishing characteristics, Chow Chow’s are among the most intriguing dog breeds around, but they are notoriously stubborn. Territorial. Since Chow Chow’s are muscular, medium-sized, and always wanting their way, they are not generally known for being suitable for families with small children. Chow Chow temperament can vary widely, from shy and reserved to mean and aggressive. You can work with a Chow, though, and develop a healthy, happy home life with them. And yes, you can still keep your kids! But, good dog training for your Chow won’t be easy, and you’ll need to work through a few challenges.

Are you ready?

If this breed is brought up as a puppy with small children and other pets in the home, they are much more likely to adapt and do well. Chow Chow’s are not necessarily aggressive, but they can be, though, so attention and training are necessary, especially when they are exposed to children.

Chow Chow Temperament

Chows are loyal to their owners and are territorial. Chow Chow’s were bred for specific purposes. Their history includes hunting, guarding over their owners’ homes, and herding livestock, in their early days. As a result of their breeding, if you want a guard dog, the Chow Chow temperament is a natural fit. Still, suppose you want your dog to blend into a more mellow household or with kids. In that case, you will need to seriously consider regular and professional training. You’ll need to show a lot of patience, too. 

To curb their natural (and powerful) territorial tendencies, you should introduce them to people and other dogs at a young age. They are not good with other dogs unless they are socialized early on.

Chow Chow’s are an independent breed, not energetic, and can be smart but generally have average dog intelligence. A Chow Chow looks like a giant furball, almost impossible to resist, especially when they’re young. Still, they are not eager to cuddle and don’t like a lot of this type of attention. When they are puppies, they look a lot like stuffed teddy bears!

My niece had a teddy bear she named Albert. My Chow looked so much like Albert, I decided to register him with the American Kennel Club as Albert Blue Manchu! (He was, after all, a blue Chow.) We called him Manchu, not Albert.

Chow Chows are devoted to their family and are very protective of their territories. It is worth noting that they are not fond of strangers and are not eager to run up to strangers to get pats. The Chow Chow temperament is similar to that of a teenager; they do what they want when they want. They will deliver you an attitude, especially if you try to direct them away from what they want to do.

To own a Chow, you will do well to have a firm but patient personality. Untrained Chow Chows can also become barkers, which could lead to a lot of unhappy noise.

Are Chow Chows Good With Kids?

If you still wonder if Chow Chows are good with kids, the short answer is quite broadly, well, no. Still, as I mentioned earlier, Chow Chows were not intended to be the best family dog, especially with young children. They do not naturally tolerate loud noise and constant activity, so the noise and accompanying chaos with children isn’t recommended around a Chow.

There is Hope!

Suppose you raise a Chow Chow from a puppy. In that case, they will grow to appreciate your child as part of their “pack” and be better adapted to a family than an older dog adopted into the home. If you already have a Chow Chow and plan to have kids, aggression from this breed may or may not be a factor. Usually, they would just rather not partake in family activities. It’s always wise to remember; Chows make good outdoor dogs.

Training a Chow for Kids and Other Pets

Chows are probably more stubborn than they are brilliant. Yeah… If you teach your Chow good manners, and you should, it is best to start when they are young. Like all dogs, they can learn bad habits, and the older they get, the harder it will be to stop the bad behavior.

Because of their stubbornness, it will take more time to train them at any age, so you need to take some deep breaths and be prepared for it. It will take longer than, say, a golden retriever or a german shepherd might take.

Get your Chow acquainted with other animals early. And, once you have established that you are in charge, you will need to enforce good behavior without wavering. Here’s where your patience will pay off.

When any puppy is socialized with other dogs early on, they learn acceptable and unacceptable behavior, such as biting or nipping. They will learn from both you and other animals when they have crossed a line. Remember, Chow Chows can be challenging.

When you first get your dog, try to find a trainer that will help teach you how to be a proper dog owner. Sounds weird, I know, but many people unfortunately just don’t know how to treat their animals properly, and a Chow will almost certainly test your handling ability. Bad habits that dogs develop are not simply because he’s no good. All too often, it’s because the owner didn’t know what they were doing or how to manage a temperamental animal.

Early training for your Chow will help them to have a stronger and more patient relationship with any kids that are around.

Chow Chow Characteristics

black chow with tongue out

The Chow Chow is a sturdy breed with a lion-like mane and a thick double coat that varies in texture from dog to dog. That mane typically gets heavier, and thicker as they get older.

A muscular head with heavy fur around its features gives the Chow one of the most intimidating and most prominent looks of all dogs. The Chow Chow often appears unhappy or scary due to its small ears that pound inward, giving it a scowling effect. 

Chows have short, sturdy, muscular limbs making them appear almost like canine bodybuilders. They have a short stride, with the paws lining up directly in line with the hip joints. Their hind area is broad and muscular and often covered partially by their fluffy tail that curls upward over their lower back.

The Chow has thick folds of skin that can trap heat and dirt, so proper grooming is an essential part of caring for this breed.

Chow Chow Colors

The color of the Chow Chow is determined by the color at the tips of the dog’s fur. This breed has rich coloring that may lighten or darken due to weather at various times of the year. There are several colors that this breed is recognized by:

  • Black
  • Cream
  • Blue
  • Red
  • White
  • Cinnamon (Fawn)

The coat of this breed is a solid color. There is usually a slight difference in the shade under the tail and behind the legs.

What about their skin and tongue?

The teeth are close-set behind dark bluish-black lips that are a similar color to the tongue. A Chow Chow’s tongue is blue. It’s an excellent way to tell if it’s a pure breed or not. You will know if your Chow is purebred by its blue tongue. Their skin is pinkish to pinkish-brown like with other dogs. Many blue Chows have greyish blue skin.

Chow Chow Weight

The Chow Chow is one of the only breeds where the males and females grow to be just about the same size. A full-grown Chow Chow can be between 17 – 22 inches at the shoulder, and a Chow Chow’s weight can be between 50 – 70lbs. They are a solid, stalky animal that looks even larger than it is due to its thick fur.

Chow Chow Dog Price

Chow Chows vary a lot in price, but you should expect between $500 and around $2,000, depending on if the animal is pure and everything is “intact.” You pay more for a dog that can breed versus a dog that is spayed or neutered. AKC registration papers will come from the breeder you get them from.

Chow Chow Puppies

A Chow Chow puppy price from a reputable breeder will cost between $800 – $1,200. If the puppy is from a breeding stock that has won competitions, then the price can go up to a few thousand or more. A well-bred Chow Chow is often a dog show favorite, if not a winner. It takes a keen eye and a LOT of work to develop a winning show dog.

The breeder cost is just the beginning of the money you will put into your furry friend. Getting your house set up for your puppy can easily cost around $1,000 for the essentials, such as: 

  • Food
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Bed
  • Crate
  • Brush
  • Leash and collar
  • Pet bowls

Food and treats will average between about $20 and $40 a month. Other expenses include insurance, microchipping, grooming, licensing, medicine (if it becomes necessary), and general supplies like toys, bowls, a bed, and so on. Total costs of Chow Chow (or any dog) ownership is a topic for another post, but I wanted to include just a few things you should be thinking about.

As with any pet, there are unexpected expenses, such as vet bills, medications, etc. Be sure to carefully look into the total cost of caring for any breed before you commit to bringing a new pet into your home.

Final Word

small boy with chow chow and chihuahua

While the short answer to the question if Chow Chows are good with kids is no, the long answer is that they can learn to cohabitate quite nicely if the work is put in regularly. While Chows are loyal to their owners, they won’t cuddle up to a small child the way many other breeds do.

That’s not to say it doesn’t happen. I have met exceptionally docile, even shy Chows. BUT, that really is the exception and not the rule.

In short, Chow Chows are naturally (at least) somewhat aggressive, and they are strong. They can be incredibly loyal, and their territorial nature makes them excellent guard dogs. It obviously follows that they will require consistent attention to be good with kids.

Because of the energy bursts and often loud noise of small children, Chows can become unexpectedly aggressive pretty quickly. A Chow Chow can act aloof around children and strangers. So if you entertain a lot or have small kids, either rethink getting a Chow or be sure and have a perfect place to keep your Chow separate from everyone else.

While no Chow is out to hurt your child intentionally, they could harm them by knocking them over simply with their size and strength. It isn’t recommended that you leave a child alone with a Chow for this single reason until both are much older.

Understand, your Chow will become the dog that you train them to become. Helping a Chow stay acclimated to being around people may become a lifelong pursuit. If you plan on getting a Chow Chow puppy and have children, be prepared to put in the work.

When it comes to Chow Chows and children, start with a puppy and never stop their training.

It’s doable, but only if you’re ready and willing.

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