The Chow Chow is, without a doubt, a dog like no other. Indeed, this dog breed is rather famous for its independent, reserved, and even difficult nature. Find out all there is to know about the Chow Chow’s temperament below.

What are the Pros of the Chow Chow's Temperament?

The Chow Chow has a lot of great qualities to offer. However, keep in mind that any breed standard offers general advice regarding a breed and that every dog is unique with its own personality. It is quite possible to observe variations between individuals of the same breed. A dog’s temperament also largely depends on its upbringing and socialisation. Nonetheless, the breed standard can be used as a guideline of sorts, to allow for a better understanding of a breed. If you’re looking for a specific temperament or quality in your puppy, ask your dog breeder for advice. Breeders know their puppies best and will be able to help you choose the one that suits you and your family.


The Chow Chow is a calm dog by nature and tends to bark very little. This is a definite advantage if you live in an apartment because it won’t disturb the neighbours, as can happen with "chattier" dog breeds. Be careful, however. Although Chows are perfectly suited to city life, they do still need regular exercise. Chow Chows also have a reputation for handling solitude quite well, but they shouldn’t be left alone for hours on end, as this can lead to the development of problematic behaviours, such as compulsive barking.


Despite its independent nature, the Chow Chow is a loyal breed. Although slow to show affection, Chow Chows do appreciate the relationship with their owners as well as the occasional hug.

Good Watchdog

The Chow Chow’s imposing size and family loyalty make for an excellent watchdog. Although today mostly used as a companion and show dog, Chow Chows were originally bred as working guard dogs, and will still never hesitate to stand between danger and their masters. Courageous and powerful, these doggies will protect their territory with determination.


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What are the Cons of the Chow Chow's Temperament?

It’s important to also be aware of the more difficult aspects of the Chow Chow's character in order to know how to handle them properly.


The Chow Chow is known to be quite distant and not very affectionate. They're not the type to indulge in big displays of affection, but that doesn't mean these doggies don’t get attached to their family. Your Chow Chow is simply a little more reserved.


The Chow Chow does not get along well with its peers. Male Chows especially are known to engage in fighting behaviour with other dogs. They also struggle with strangers and don’t really like being petted. We don’t recommend adopting a Chow if you have a cat either. However, good socialisation from an early age can make all the difference. Start as soon as you welcome your puppy home, or choose a breeder where the puppies are used to being around other animals or children.

Difficult to Train

The Chow Chow has a reputation for being a difficult dog to train. And with good reason. The Chow is a primitive dog breed that belongs to the Asian Spitz group. Character traits like independent, distant, and mistrustful of strangers, make the Chow reluctant to learn. As such, you need to be firm and authoritative with this dog, while never displaying violence or anger. Chow Chows have a tendency to disobey commands and do whatever they think is best. You must therefore be able to harness this desire for independence by building a solid, trusting relationship with your dog. Chow Chows are quite capable of obedience, they just have to want to do it! As is the case with all dog breeds, training your Chow Chow is essential, and even more so because of their imposing size in adulthood.

Not Good With Kids

This dog breed also has trouble getting along with children. With good socialisation from birth, the Chow Chow can adapt to the presence of kids but has little affinity for them and will not make a good playmate. Not being very patient and preferring peace and quiet, these doggies are not built for playtime. If you’re looking for a family dog, think carefully before adopting a Chow Chow. 

Not Recommended as a First Dog

Due to its specific characteristics and impressive size, the Chow Chow is not particularly recommended as a first dog. Training a Chow Chow requires a solid understanding of the breed and positive dog training. However, proper training and socialisation are essential to ensure that any dog grows up safely and serenely in its surroundings. Don’t hesitate to use a professional dog trainer if you feel like you need help with training your pup.

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