Chow Chow

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The Chow Chow, or Chow, is a breed of dog originating from China, where it is referred to as Songshi Quan (??? Pinyin: songshi quan), which literally means "puffy-lion dog". The breed has also been called the Tang Quan, "Dog of the Tang Empire".It is an unusual and unique type of dog, thought to be one of the oldest recognisable breeds. A bas-relief from 150 BC (during the Han Dynasty) includes a hunting dog similar in appearance to the Chow Chow. Recent DNA analysis confirms that this is one of the oldest breeds of dog. Chow Chows were originally bred as a general-purpose working dog for herding, hunting, and guarding. The breed has also been used to pull sleds and for meat and fur. While now commonly kept as a companion dog, the Chow Chow has a reputation for being a wilful and independent breed that is sometimes difficult to train.The Chow Chow is a stocky, well-built dog with broad skull and small, rounded ears. The breed has a very dense coat that is either smooth or rough. The fur is particularly thick around the neck, giving the distinctive ruff or mane. The coat may be one of several colours including reddish-brown (described as "red"), black, blue, cinnamon, cream, or white. Not all these colour varieties are recognised as valid in all countries. Individuals with patchy or particoloured coats are considered to be outside the breed standard. Chow Chows are unusual in having a blue-black tongue and very straight hind legs that result in a rather stilted gait.Like many heavy-set dogs, Chow Chows may be prone to hip dysplasia. They may also be succeptable to entropion, an eye irritation caused by an eyelid abnormality.

Trivia: 
<em>There is a nice story about how the Chow got his blue tongue</em>:One day the God was painting the sky blue. While doing so one drop of the blue paint fell down. The Chow Chow saw it happening and licked the blue drop away. Ever since Chow Chows have a blue tongue.(supplied by: <em>Xin-Feng Chow Chows</em>)The Chow Chow was sometimes a guard dog in temples. There he was not only to guard people with bad intentions, but also to keep away bad spirits. For this the scowl and the blue tongue were very important. (supplied by: <em>Xin-Feng Chow Chows</em>)<em>According to recent research the Chow Chow is one of the oldest dog breeds.</em>In old books, from the 11th century BC, writings about the the foreign Tartar Dog described a dog very similar to the Chow Chow. A sculpture from the Han-period (150 BC) shows also a Chow-like dog. This dog has also the compact and square body, the short muzzle, small upright ears, the tail over his back and the straight hindlegs.(supplied by: <em>Xin-Feng Chow Chows</em>)
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