Questions to ask, what to look for when getting a chow pup

General discussions about Chow Chows.

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Questions to ask, what to look for when getting a chow pup

Postby rallo » Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:15 am

Hi guys!

I'm getting a new chow puppy sometime next week. We already have a 1-year-old female chow at home and we love her to bits, but when she was still young, we encountered a lot of problems regarding her health. She grew up to be very skinny and picky when it comes to food. We were even told that she probably isn't purebred because she doesn't look like the standard chow (she's not big boned and her ears are a bit too big). I must admit that when we got her we didn't do much research about the things we need to know prior to getting a chow chow. But we love her so much nevertheless. <3

As for our second chow, we're going to view him this week along with his mother and siblings. I was wondering if there are any key points we should take note of to ensure that we're getting a quality puppy, like his structure or temperament. Also, what are the essential questions we need to ask the breeder? Any pointers would really help my family and I. The new pup will be a new addition to our family so we're really excited! Thanks guys!

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Re: Questions to ask, what to look for when getting a chow p

Postby Laura » Fri Nov 28, 2014 6:04 pm

I am no expert here but since no one else has replied I will give it a shot. I think it is important to meet both parents not only to see their looks/health, but also to gauge their temperament. Friendly parents can only be a good thing. Aggressive parents not so much. As far as health, responsible breeders do health testing and don't breed animals with health issues. Hip dysplasia and entropian are common in Chows. OFA is a form of testing for hips I believe. Ask about health testing and history. Ask for documentation of testing performed on the parents. Responsible breeders also offer a warranty on certain health issues. For instance my breeder offered a 2 yr warranty on hip dysplasia. References are another thing you can ask about.
Chloe (left) Shuggy (right)

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Re: Questions to ask, what to look for when getting a chow p

Postby Rory's Dad » Sun Nov 30, 2014 4:56 pm

Laura's response is point on. The keys she mentions are absolutely accurate.

There are probably a million questions you should ask or observations that are critical. 1st off, any breeder that will release the pups before 8 weeks of age should be questioned. Unless the mother has serious health issues, that should never be done.

Ask to see the heritage of both parents. A responsible breeder should have lineage on both parents going back at least 3 generations if they are presenting as a full breed Chow. Be wary of any parents that are under 2 years of age. It's an indication that proper OFA testing has not been done (OFA includes hips, knees, eyes and should be performed on ANY breeding adult), and is a sign that the kennel is NOT properly overseen. Likely an accidental litter or someone that just doesn't care.

As Laura said, you should have certain health guarantees as part of the WRITTEN contract. Any breeder unwilling to provide a written agreement or one that is unwilling to include the basic warranties is suspect.

Insist on meeting both parents (sometimes the dam is still feeding and will be protective with younger pups, so testiness would be normal) to make sure they are social. Try to see ALL pups that remain from the litter. You may go in thinking you know which one you want, and could completely bond with another unexpectedly (THAT happened to me with Rory, who was not the breeders pick for us and is now an AKC Champ).

Inspect the area where he Chow parents and pups are gathered. Is it a nice "home" environment or is it overcrowded. Are dogs part of the family or is the entire area basically a kennel? Look for other dogs on the grounds. Are the well groomed and appear cared for? If only the parent dogs and the pups appear clean, they could have been prepped for your visit.

Also give thought to how you became aware of the pup. Responsible breeders tend to network and go by word of mouth. Although not universal, Chows are very desirable in most areas. There is no issue getting good quality dogs to good homes for reasonable prices. Some websites are favored by questionable breeders who are irresponsible or are looking to make a quick profit on less than solid stock.

If you still have questions, please feel free to ask. If you want input on a specific breeder, you should also ask. Lots of experience here.

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Re: Questions to ask, what to look for when getting a chow p

Postby sixchows » Sat Feb 07, 2015 6:22 pm

don't overlook the obvious like runny eyes which is probably a sign of entropian. most times it can be corrected with surgery assuming the surgeon has proper experience.

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Re: Questions to ask, what to look for when getting a chow p

Postby rmb » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:10 am

2 years ago, when I spotted Buddy2 on,and adopted him, I thought he was a chow mix, except for the pure purple tongue, he does not look like the AKC chow chows. When we had DNA test done to see what else was in there, he proved to be 100% chow chow. He is the old fashioned, pre-designer, red chow chow with open face, longer leaner face, body and legs and VERY handsome! Given the open face, entropian should not be a problem with this style of chow chow. He is stubborn and in most other traits I've read about, typical chow chow. If eye issues are a result of the selective breeding that resulted in the squished up face, I don't understand why, given what we know, that current breeders would not work to alleviate that squishy face in the breed. So, my two cents would be, find an old stye (like Freud's) chow chow.
You have probably found your pup by now, I hope he/she is fitting in nicely.

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