An ancient Chinese dog breed, the Chow Chow is said to be the pattern for “foo dogs” or imperial guardian lions found on the front of temples.
Traditionally bred as a war dog, the Chow was a capable hunter and guard dog but was also used for herding, sled-pulling, and even as a source of fur and meat.
Considering the average selling price, the Chow is listed as one of the most expensive breeds being sold today. Aside from the high initial cost, your expenditure will be driven up by the high maintenance of this breed in terms of hygiene, grooming, and medical costs.
Additional costs in terms of shelter, accessories, and paperwork as well as food and toys will also be considered.
Chow Chow Average Cost
The American Kennel Club Marketplace sells puppies that are up to 15 weeks old.
Red and rough-coated male/female puppies that are 2 weeks old will cost $1,800. The puppies are vet-checked, up to date on vaccines, and will be dewormed before being sold to the buyer. The parents are also health screened and tested.
Cream male/female puppies that are 3 weeks old will cost $1,000. The puppies are vet checked, up to date on deworming, and are on their first vaccination shots. The puppies will also come with an official AKC Registration Application bearing their assigned AKC Registration Number. The parents are also health screened and tested.
Other One-Time Expenses
- Shelter Costs
Chows are not highly active dogs so they really do not need a large living space. They can even be kept in small houses like apartments and condominiums.
With the use of a crate, you will be able to address your dog’s issues with destructive biting and potty training. This can also serve as your Chow Chow’s den when it wants to relax and can also be used during travels or when it is being transported.
An adult Chow can grow up to 20 inches in height so you will need to buy an appropriately-sized crate. Dividers that come with it can be used to adjust the available space so do not worry if your puppy is initially too small for the crate.
A 30″ long x 21” wide x 24” high crate will cost $40 and stainless steel bowls with an 11-cup capacity will cost $5 each.
You will also need a non-slip mat that you can place on the floor or anywhere your Chow lies to make it feel comfortable while at the same time preventing the surface from accumulating dander and fur.
A 47″ x 33″ x 1.2″ washable bed mat that is made from durable plush fleece will cost $38.
Food and water bowls that are made from stainless steel are recommended because the glaze in ceramic bowls may contain lead, while the surface of plastic bowls is conducive to bacteria.
A 2-piece set of 32-ounce stainless steel bowls with rubber bases to protect the floor and prevent slipping will cost $11.
- Dog Accessories
A 7-foot long heavy duty leash will cost $14, an adjustable harness will cost $26, and a simple dog tag will cost $9.
Your Chow Chow will also need a tag that can help in its identification when it gets lost. A personalized stainless steel pet ID will cost $8. You can also spend $19 to $38 for a pet microchip. This will serve as your pet’s ID but unlike a tag that is placed on the collar, a microchip is a small and inert RFID transponder that is placed under the skin of your dog.
- License and Permits
Unless you breed Chows, licenses and permits are not usually required. However, a health certificate will be necessary when you are travelling with your pet across different states or countries. The health certificate will prove that your pet is not carrying any infectious diseases and is up to date with vaccinations.
A visit to an accredited veterinarian and the necessary vaccinations to obtain a health certificate may cost up to $300.
What are Included?
When you buy a Chow Chow, the puppy should be up to date with vaccinations and deworming. Depending on the age of the puppy when you buy it, you may have to continue with subsequent shots.
A reputable breeder will also have the parents screened for any diseases that may be inherited by the litter and the health certificates of the parents as well the puppy should also be included in the sale. If the puppy is already registered in an official registry, a registration certificate will also be included.
Regular Costs in Owning and Keeping a Chow Chow
- Food Costs
A Chow is prone to elbow, knee, and hip problems which can be caused by being overweight, so you should try to control its food intake. It is also prone to bloat so it should be fed several times a day.
A 30-pound bag of regulated calorie formula with glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for joint health will cost $60.
A 7-ounce bag of all-natural chicken jerky strips will cost $22. Chewable treats will prevent dental problems while at the same time supplementing protein in your Chow’s diet.
Aside from brushing, chew toys can also be used to reduce the occurrence of dental problems. A 2.5” diameter, bouncy and durable, fetch and chew ball with ridges to clean and massage gums that can also be used to dispense treats will cost $10.
A dog bone is less interactive than chew toys but is also effective in maintaining dental health. However, supervision must be provided as the bones, especially the cooked ones can splinter into shards which can harm your dog when ingested. A 3-piece pack of 8-inch all-natural smoked and roasted pig femur will cost $12.
- Hygiene and Grooming Costs
Periodontal disease is present in 85% of Chows over the age 3. Treatment is difficult because of many complications such as gum inflammation, tooth loss, and the bacteria may work its way into the bloodstream into the lungs, heart, and liver which can cause other problems.
Prevent periodontal disease by brushing with veterinarian grade enzymatic dog toothpaste. A 3.5-ounce tube of toothpaste will cost $13.
You also have to clip the nails of your chow. A guillotine style nail clipper will cost $14.
Chows can be prone to ear infections so it is a good idea to wipe your pet’s ear with a cotton ball with dog ear cleaning solution once a week. A 16-ounce bottle of ear cleansing solution will cost $16.
A Chow Chow has an undercoat and a top coat. The coat may be “rough” or “smooth”. A Chow with a rough coat will have a ruff like a lion and feathering on its tail and legs. A Chow with a smooth coat will not have an abundance of hair. A smooth-coated Chow will only need brushing weekly while a rough coated Chow should be brushed at least every other day.
A dematting tool for large dogs will cost $19 while a slicker and grooming brush will cost $9.
A Chow will shed heavily twice a year, first as the days become longer in the spring, and second as the days begin to shorten during December. Giving them a warm bath followed by a blow dry and brushing can help remove the shedding coat. A pet dryer will cost $24.
Additional bathing should only be performed when necessary. The coat of a Chow Chow should be harsh to the touch. Excessive bathing will remove natural oils which makes the coat floppy. An organic dog shampoo will cost $16.
- Medical Costs
A typical trip to the vet for a wellness check up costs around $50 on the average. Just like any dogs, your pet will also need vaccinations and boosters. The following will be the key immunizations needed by your pet Chow Chow:
- DA2P ($18 to $35) and Rabies ($19 to $25) are required shots especially for dogs that will be travelling to other states or countries.
- Bordetell ($12 to $35), Canine Influenza Virus, ($24 to $39), Leptospirosis ($35), and Lyme ($35) shots are not required but are highly recommended because they provide immunity against common viruses.
Deworming is also important in maintaining the health of your pet. Roundworm or hookworm deworming will cost $21 while tapeworm deworming will cost $35. Heartworm medication will only cost $6 per year but testing can cost up to $29.
There are also medical conditions that are very common to the Chow Chow breed. When these diseases are diagnosed, treatment may be very expensive. Note that the prices are relative and may vary depending on the veterinarian or your location.
Chows are prone to conditions involving the joints. A severe case of hip dysplasia or the abnormal looseness in the ball and socket joint in the hips may require corrective or replacement surgery that will cost $4,000 to $6,000 per hip.
Elbow dysplasia occurs when there are incongruities and/or bone chips in the elbow. Surgery will cost $3,000 to $5,000. Surgery for a luxating patella or dislocation of the kneecap will cost $1,500 to $3,000.
Aside from these, eye problems are also common in Chows. Glaucoma is the buildup of intraocular pressure that can lead to blindness. The cost of treatment will be about $2,000 to $3,000 whether it is through medication or by surgery. The cost accumulates from emergency visits, ophthalmologist visits, eye exams, continuous medication, or multiple surgeries.
A cataract is an opacity that develops in the lens of the eye which causes blurred vision. Removal of cataracts will cost $2,000 to $3,000 per eye.
As stated earlier, there is a high incidence of periodontal disease in Chows. This can be expensive as radiographs can cost $150 to $200, and dental scaling and polishing under anesthesia will cost an additional $250 to $1,000. It is cheaper to use preventive methods such as chew treats, chew toys, and regular brushing.
Factors That Can Affect the Chow Chow Price
Coloration will affect the sales of puppies but not necessarily the price. The standard colors are red, black, blue, cinnamon, and cream. The red coloration is generally popular. Like the example above, red coloration may fetch higher prices but there are also instances that it is similarly priced to other colorations. A rough or smooth coat will also have similar prices.
Medical evaluation from specialists such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for the hips and knees and clearances from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation will be more expensive than a health certificate from a veterinarian that is not a specialist. A Chow with these papers is Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Program certified and is more expensive.
Already Decided On Buying? Here Are Some Tips
Do not be enticed by “rare” colorations such as lilac, silver, chocolate, white, and champagne. These are simply marketing terms to lure buyers. These colorations are still standard but are of a different shade.
There is no such thing as a Panda Chow. This is a popular coloration that is created by dyeing a cream chow with black markings. The procedure is performed by licensed groomers that use non-toxic and regulated dyes.
Please do not support non-licensed groomers who dye puppies as they could be using harmful chemicals. Also note that the dye is not permanent and your Panda Chow will transform into a regular Chow after 6 months.
Do not buy a dog that looks exactly like a Chow but has a pink tongue. It is probably a mix of other large Spitz breeds such as American Eskimos, Akitas, and Norwegian Elkhounds. A Chow will be born with a pink tongue but it will turn blue-black when the puppy is 8 to 10 weeks old.
Finally, always consider that a Chow is an Arctic breed of dog and will be uncomfortable in warm or hot climate. The stress may weaken the immune system and be susceptible to common viruses. If you cannot create an environment suitable for a Chow, please consider buying another breed that thrives in your climate.