Chow Chow Breed Council


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A Chow Chow Breed Council Health Pamphlet is available HERE
click to read the PDF file or to download and print.

At the April 2016 Breed Council meeting, the breed clubs have recommended testing for Hips/Elbows, Eyes and the Bronze Health Assessment and we are currently awaiting a decision from the Kennel Club on whether this should be for ALL breeders and not just ABS members.

Unlike many of its canine counterparts the Chow Chow is not a recent ‘invention’; its roots are believed to go back 2-4000 years originating in Mongolia. Essentially a working dog used primarily for hunting, guarding and drafting purposes, during its early history it is also claimed to have been used as a source of meat and its pelt for clothing or coverings.

The breed first found its way to the UK on merchant ships and obviously became popular as the first official breed club was formed in 1895. Today’s Chow Chow is still based on the standard written up at that time. More recently the written standard has seen some significant changes, ensuring the emphasis is firmly on those areas that most affect the overall health and soundness of the breed, giving a much clearer definition of the hindquarters with the intention of helping reduce the incidence of possible cruciate ligament problems; and the clarification of leg length to body ratio to ensure the overall balance and soundness of the Chow Chow, avoiding any restriction in mobility.

The breed is very aware of the need to maintain good health through education of best practice in the breeding and welfare of the Chow Chow for the long term benefit of the breed. Among the areas covered are :

Eye issues

There has long been a predisposition to entropion (in-turning eyelids). The breed has been working with the KC and the Animal Health Trust since the early 1980s to find ways of improving this and action has included :
- Changes to the wording of the standard : going from ‘small and almond’ to ‘medium size and oval’ eye
- Training breeders and judges in what to look for and what should be avoided for the good of the breed
- Encouraging regular eye checks
- The BVA eye assessment now includes a specific section on entropion

Result so far : The action taken has had a huge impact with far fewer dogs now affected but due to its polygenic nature it will be sometime before we can claim to be clear.

Hip Dysplasia

In the early 1980s the breed adopted a hip scoring scheme being pioneered by other breeds and worked hard to ensure the importance of scoring was understood.

Result so far : Over the period the breed has seen scoring there has been a positive impact on the overall incidence of hip dysplasia in the Chow Chow.

Link to an interesting article

Interesting articles

Alopecia X

Bloat / Torsion

Rupture of The Anterior Cruciate Ligament

Cruciate Ligament Survey Report



Whelping / Breeding problems




Growth plates

UveoDermatological (UV) Syndrome or
VKH-like syndrome

It is important to understand that all dogs (or humans for that matter) can experience health problems or disease – and that the Chow Chow is a generally healthy breed which is fit for function. There is no room for complacency in the breed and the Chow Chow Breed Council welcomes the reporting of any instances of unwanted diseases from owners, breeders and relevant clinicians. The collection of data is vital to help understand potential problems and devise ways of dealing with them. We fully support the work of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and its support to the Royal Veterinary College under its ‘Vet Compass’ programme gathering information on dog health.

We would stress here that the people who show and breed Chow Chows are the very people who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of the breed. The Breed Council deplores the actions of those who breed only for financial gain and put at risk the future wellbeing of this beautiful breed.

The Kennel Club have reviewed the list of laboratories from which they will accept DNA test results - see below for accepted laboratories :
DNA testing | Dog health | The Kennel Club

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