Fluffy, aloof and “one-person dog” are terms applied to the lion-like chow chow. This ancient Chinese breed fiercely protects home and family. Understanding the breed's personality and physical traits can lead to safety around these fur-balls.
Chows rank high in statistics on dog bites and show up on breed-specific legislation and lists of dogs that home insurance companies won’t cover. Between 1979 and 1998, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports chows were responsible for eight dog-bite fatalities, although the Best Friends Animal Society notes that few dog-bite studies “include causes or contributing circumstances to the attacks."
Chow chows have been described as almost cat-like. They're independent and intelligent but also tend to be particularly devoted to the family. These guys aren't lap dogs; most are perfectly content at minding their own business and keeping their nose out of trouble. Guarding was one of their original tasks and one that even today's chows take seriously. Perceived threats don't go unnoticed by chows; they are not the type to watch potential danger and not act upon it.
In general, chow chows are particularly reserved with strangers, watching carefully as they pass or interact with his family. While he may be discerning with those he doesn't know, he shouldn't show any signs of aggression unless in extreme cases of protection or guarding duties. As with many other breeds, the chow defends his family. Timidity also is unacceptable, and isn't a typical trait of these noble-looking dogs. Take care when your chow is around strangers; he may bite based on a perceived threat to you or your family. Being introduced to and socialized around different people who approach and treat him properly will do wonders for his temperament and well being.
As his companion, you may get lost in your chow chow's deep-set eyes surrounded by his thick, flowing mane. Those limited peripheral vision associated with those deep-set eyes pose a bit of a problem for chow chows and may lead to some of the negative reports surrounding them. As with other dogs, a surprise attack could scare him into a defend and attack mode. Because of this, chows need to see what's coming, so approach him from the front.
With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.