FCI Standard

27.01.2011/EN   FCI-Standard N° 205


PATRONAGE: Great Britain.


UTILIZATION: Guard dog, companion

FCI-CLASSIFICATION: Group 5 Spitz and primitive type. Section 5 Asian Spitz and related breeds. Without working trial.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: The ancestry of the Chow is attributed to China where he was kept as a guard dog, and also used for hunting. The Chow has been known in China for upwards of 2,000 years and is related to Spitz dogs of the Nordic type, also containing something of the mastiff. Because of China’s ‘closed door’ policy to the rest of the world Chows did not begin to appear in other countries until around 1800. He made his way to England sometime during the late eighteenth century and was not really noticed in Britain until the 1920s, with a number being shown at Crufts in 1925.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Active, compact, short-coupled and essentially well balanced, leonine in appearance, proud, dignified bearing; well knit frame; tail carried well over back. Should always be able to move freely and must not have so much coat as to impede activity or cause distress in hot weather. A bluish-black tongue is characteristic.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS:The distance from withers to elbow is equal to the distance from elbow to ground.

BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT: Quiet dog, good guard.Independent, loyal, yet aloof.

HEAD CRANIAL REGION:Skull: Flat, broad. Stop: Not pronounced.


Nose: Large and wide in all cases, black (with exception of cream and near white, in which case a lighter coloured nose is permissible, and in blues and fawns a self-coloured nose (but black preferable in all cases).

Muzzle: Moderate in length, broad from eyes to end (not pointed at end like a fox). Well filled out under the eyes.

Lips: A solid black mouth including the roof and flews, with a bluish black tongue is ideal. However, some dilution may be evident in the gums of blues and fawns and this dilution may be more pronounced in creams and whites.

Jaws / Teeth: Teeth strong and level, jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Eyes: Dark, oval shaped, medium sized and clean. A matching coloured eye permissible in blues and fawns. Clean eye, free from entropion, never being penalised for sake of mere size.

Ears: Small, thick, slightly rounded at tip, carried stiffly and wide apart but tilting well forward over eyes and slightly towards each other, giving peculiar characteristic scowling expression of the breed. Scowl never to be achieved by loose wrinkled skin of head.

NECK: Strong, full, not short, set well on shoulders and slightly arched. Of sufficient length to carry the head proudly above the topline.

BODY: Back: Short, level and strong. Loin: Powerful. Chest: Broad and deep. Ribs well sprung, but not barrelled.


Shoulder: Muscular and sloping. Elbow:Equidistant between withers and ground.

Forearm: Perfectly straight, with good bone. Forefeet: Small, round, cat-like, standing well up on toes.

HINDQUARTERS: General appearance:In profile the foot is directly under the hip joint. Thigh:Well developed. Stifle (Knee):Only slight bend.Lower thigh:Well developed. Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Hocks well let down. From hocks downwards to appear straight, never flexing forward. Hind feet: Small, round, cat-like, standing well up on toes.

GAIT / MOVEMENT: Relatively short striding, hind feet not lifted high, appearing to skim the ground, resulting in pendulum like action when seen in profile.Its distinctive short-striding gait allows it to move freely, never lumbering and with excellent endurance. Forelegs and hindlegs moving parallel to each other and straight forward.Dogs should always be able to move freely and soundly without any sign of distress.


Hair: Either rough or smooth. Rough: Profuse, abundant, dense, straight and stand-off but not excessive in length. Outer coat coarse, with soft woolly undercoat. Especially thick round neck forming mane or ruff and with good culottes or breechings on back of thighs.

Smooth: Coat short, dense, straight, upstanding, not flat, plush-like in texture.

Any artificial shortening of the coat which alters the natural outline or expression should be penalised, with the exception of feet which may be tidied. Colour: Whole coloured black, red, blue, fawn, cream or white, frequently shaded but not in patches or parti-coloured (underpart of tail and back of thighs frequently of a lighter colour). SIZE: Height at the withers: Males: 48 – 56 cms. Females: 46 – 51 cms. FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS •Aggressive or overly shy. •Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.


•Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

•Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

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