One of the most distinguishing features about the Chow Chow is their blackish/blue tongue, the other being their profuse, thick coat. There are two types of Chow with the first being a smooth-coated dog and the other being the rough-coated Chow. Often aloof and a little stand-offish, they are however, extremely loyal and devoted to their owners and in particular to one person in a household.
Over the years, the Chow Chow has become a popular choice with many people both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world all thanks to their unusual looks and their loyal natures. However, they are not the best choice for first time owners because Chows need to be well trained and handled by people who are familiar with this type of dog, or a Chow might just get the upper hand and start exhibiting a more dominant side to their nature.
Chow Chows have been around for thousands of years and are thought to be related to Nordic Spitz-type dogs. They were highly prized in China for their guarding and hunting abilities, but the breed remained a bit of a mystery to the rest of the world for a long time all due to the fact that China had closed its borders right up until the 1800s. The Chow did not appear here in the UK until the nineteen twenties and they were not exhibited until 1925 when they appeared at Crufts dog show.
However, the actual origins of the breed have been lost in time although some people believe it was the Tartars who bought dogs that looked like lions and which had black tongues back from China thousands of years before the birth of Christ. There is also a lot of evidence of Chows in pottery and sculptures of the Chinese Han Dynasty (206 BC to 22 AD).
With this said more evidence has been found of very similar dogs in the Arctic Circle where they were taken through Mongolia and Siberia to finally arrive in China. Some people believe the Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhound, Keeshond and the Pomeranian are the Chow's ancestors. There is some evidence of a Chinese Emperor owning around two thousand Chow type dogs in the 7th century AD which he used as hunting dogs.
In more recent times, Chow Chows have become popular pets with movie stars during the "roaring twenties" and today they remain high on the list of preferred companion dogs with people the world over including here in the UK.