The chow chow, a breed that originally developed in northern China, is known for being an affectionate, devoted family pet, but the Petfinder website warns that they aren't necessarily the best dogs for families with young children. The Chow Chow Club Inc.'s Welfare Committee, however, points out that a well-trained, well-cared for, socialized chow can get along very well even with toddlers and infants.
Choosing Your Chow
The American Kennel Club strongly suggests that you purchase a puppy through a responsible breeder referred through the breed parent club, in this case, the Chow Chow Club. This breeder should be able to answer any questions you may have about the temperament of the breed in general and her puppies in particular. You should also be able to meet at least one of the puppy's parents, which should give you a good idea of what you can expect when your puppy grows up. If you prefer to adopt an older dog, a chow chow rescue organization can refer you to a dog whose temperament has been tested to get along well with children.
Let's Get Social!
Chow chows tend to be somewhat reserved and aloof, overall, not one of the friendliest and most outgoing breeds. This is why it is vital to socialize them. As soon as you get your chow chow, whether he is a puppy or an adult, you should start taking him places with you and getting him used to meeting new people and pets. If he is to be around children -- whether your kids or an anyone else's kids -- it is particularly important that he be socialized with kids. Begin by exposing him to one calm, well-behaved older child, and then gradually increase the number and age range of the kids.
Training for Obedience
Training your chow chow will teach him to get along with other dogs, as well as with humans. It will also get him accustomed to obeying your commands, which is an important part of making sure that he is safe to be around kids. You will need to be patient with him, as chows have a stubborn, independent streak that makes them not always easy to train. Make obedience lessons a part of your daily routine, so your chow chow won't start thinking that he's the boss in your household.
Perhaps the most important element in making sure your child and chow chow get along is your level of involvement. Never leave a small child or baby unsupervised with your chow, or with any pet, as this could result in either the child or the pet being hurt. You'll also need to make sure your chow is taken care of and that he is well fed, groomed, teeth cleaned and in good health. A dog who isn't feeling his best may be irritable and more inclined to bite. You may enlist your older children's help in performing basic chores such as feeding and walking, but ultimately you'll need to be the one who makes sure that your chow chow's needs are met, and that your kids learn to treat him gently and with care.
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Chow Chow
- Petfinder Spotlight: The Chow Chow
- Chow Chow Welfare: Chows and Children
- American Kennel Club: Research the Right Breed for Your Lifestyle
- The Chow Chow Club, Inc: Breeder Directory
- Chow Chow Welfare: Chow Chow Temperament Evaluation, Handling and Placement Tips for Animal Shelters
- Photo Credit Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images