Are Chow Chows Affectionate?


Chow Chows can seem very standoffish at times, it’s no wonder then that many people may ask the question of whether they are affectionate. After all, they simply aren’t expressive in the same way that many other dogs are. For example, are these beautiful fluffy Chow Chows cuddly as well? Some people may think the answer to this question would be no. But if you dig down deeper into the Chows personality then the true answer may surprise you.

These dogs are very dignified, noble, and somewhat distant. Despite this though Chow Chows can feel a very deep affection and love for their family. They may not show it in the same way as other dogs, however. But in those quiet moments when they approach you and lean against you. Or show their affection through licking you and being excited whenever you return home.

There are many factors that can go into the level of affection and cuddliness one can expect from a certain breed. Part of it is of course genetics. Because many breeds of dogs are quite inbred compared to humans they will often have similar personalities in a way that one wouldn’t expect from a human. In the case of Chows, the personality traits that they are renowned for are a strong stubborn independence streak.

You definitely can not handle a Chow Chow in the same way you would many other breeds. Some specific examples of the breed may actually become quite offended simply by being told no. Because of this you often have to work with them in a roundabout way. You can’t deal with them head-on or you might just meet their unmovable stubbornness.

Despite this, I would actually say that Chow Chows can show a much deeper level of affection than most other breeds of dog. This is because their friendship can not easily be won. While they don’t just like anyone when they do like you. You will know. It might be subtle at times but your Chow Chows affection for you will be shown through many different ways.

Being that Chow Chows can be such touchy dogs how can we recognize and facilitate their affection for us? A great deal of a dog’s personality will be determined by that which happens when they are very young. Of course, it is true that an old dog can learn new tricks but it’s much harder than when they were puppies.

The first four months will be the most important time for the formation of a Chow Chows personality and affection level. It’s here where a Chow Chow will learn whether they like to cuddle or not. The same being true for their expressions of affection.

Now during this time, you don’t want to shove cuddles and affection down your Chow Chows throat. But there are things, some tips and tricks that you can apply that will help you.

How Do Chow Chows Show You Their Affection?

With Chow Chows being such subtle dogs how will you know if they have affection for you or not? Now while each individual Chow Chow will have their own unique ways of expressing affection but there are still certain common similarities.

  • A Chow Chow may lick you when they like you: Now this won’t be true for all Chow Chows. Some are more fond of licking than others. But you can be pretty certain of your Chow Chows love and affection if you find them licking you from time to time. Be prepared though if they are lickers then they may give you a veritable bath with their tongues. Also, some Chows like my Chow Chow Bear can have a very strong level of drool. So you may have to just grin and bear it for the love of your dog.
  • Heavy sniffing can be a sign of a Chow Chows affection: While all dogs sniff, with Chows sometimes this can be a sign of love. Why would that be you ask? Because it shows that they’re very interested in you and where you’ve been. For a Chow, interest can be a sign of affection.
  • Leaning into you can be a sign of affection: While Chows may not be the most expressive dogs, this stoic outer demeanor can hide an ocean of emotion underneath. The highest honor that my Chow Chow Bear could impart upon you was to lean into you. This shows their trust in you as their depending upon you to hold them up. This may be the strongest sign of your Chows affection for you.

Why Are Chow Chows Not as Cuddly and Affectionate as Other Dogs?

Now while some Chows can be very affectionate and cuddly in general they aren’t as expressive of these facts as other dogs. The reason for this lies in their key personality traits.

  • Chows are very stubborn and strong-willed: If there is anything you will probably notice about Chows it is their exceptional willpower. It’s almost impossible to force a Chow to do anything. This is one reason that punishment-based training methods do not work on them. Any training must be done based on rewards and shared trust. Obviously, these traits do not usually allow Chows to be as cuddly and affectionate as a weaker willed dog might.
  • A strong sense of independence: Chows are members of the spitz family of dogs. These dogs are extremely independent. The reason for this lies in their origins in colder environments which may require them to have to think and act on their own separate from their masters. For example, if a chows master is walking over thin ice then it would be this dog’s responsibility to stop them. Even if that might mean that their master gets mad at them. Such are the burdens that these noble dogs often bear for the people that they love.

What Are the Reasons That a Chow Chow Can Be Cuddly and Affectionate?

While we’ve gone over some of the reasons that a Chow might not be as affectionate and cuddly as their owners might want them to be. But to just go over that would be one-sided. There are many good traits that chow chows have to can sometimes make them more affectionate than other dogs. This won’t be on a shallow level but instead will be a deep affection that is subtle but powerful in its expression. So let’s go ahead and dive in.

  • Chows are extremely loyal to their family: There are few breeds of dogs that are as loyal as a Chow can be. Now, this loyalty is not just given but must be earned by their owners. It’s not too hard to do, however. Mainly involving building trust and learning to respect the Chow’s boundaries. Chow Chows are not dogs that you can just run-up to and aggressively cuddle them. But in quiet moments once trust has been built then they may allow you to hug and cuddle with them.
  • Chow Chows can have very deep emotions: Ever heard the expression that the quietest waters are often the deepest? This is most definitely true for Chow Chows. While they may not be generally as bouncy and expressive as other dogs, this is due to them feeling emotion in an often deeper and more intelligent way. We could say that Chows have a very strong emotional intelligence. So I dare say that a Chow can feel a greater amount of love and affection for their families than most other breeds.

How Can You Make Your Chow Chow More Cuddly and Affectionate?

Now while some people may think that this is impossible, that a dog’s personality is set in stone at a certain age. But I would disagree with this. Now it is true that drastic changes in personality are unlikely especially with an older dog. Small significant improvements can be made however over time. This is particularly true if theirs something important lacking in your relationship with your Chow Chow.

Here are a few simple important things that will help bring out your Chows affection and increase their willingness to let you cuddle them.

  • Trust is key with Chow Chows: It’s very important that you’re Chow trust you. Without that having a good affectionate relationship will be near impossible. Part of building trust with your Chow is to respect their boundaries. People familiar with other breeds of dogs may feel a right to touch and invade a Chow’s space even when it’s obvious they don’t want you to. You should not do this. Pay attention to when they want to be left alone and you should respect that. I promise that your Chow will have more affection for you if you do this.
  • Chow Chows need exercise: Sometimes a Chow may not be very open to cuddling because they have too much pent up energy. Many dog and Chow problems can actually be solved with daily walks. I remember my Chow Chow Katy who would often nip and just be all-around unpleasant. But when my family started giving her daily walks this Chow immediately became far calmer, affectionate, and cuddly. In fact, she pretty much turned from being a devil dog to being a perfect angel.
  • Play with your Chow Chow: The importance of play for dogs is often not emphasized enough. But it serves as an important element of love and trust. It doesn’t need to be a complicated game but just ensure its loads of fun for both you and your dog. It could be a game of chase, tag or just playing with an old water hose.

Some Easy Games That You Can Play With Your Chow Chow to Bring Out Their Playfulness

Your Chow Chow’s playfulness, affection, and cuddliness are all closely interconnected. Increasing one will often increase the others. Of these play is what we Chow Chow owners have the greatest control of. Since it’s often you that determines whether your Chow has a playmate or not. Play is also a very strong form of affection, especially where Chows are concerned.

Here are few small ideas to help you get started with playing with your Chow Chow.

  • Play with a water hose: Almost all dogs love playing with water hoses and Chows are no exception. Just make sure it’s not too cold outside and turn that water hose on. You’ll want a fairly gentle stream and don’t shoot it directly at your dog. Just fire it off to the side and your Chow chow should bring the playfulness to the endeavor.
  • Try playing fetch: Now chows are not natural fetch players like some retriever breeds. In fact is very difficult but not impossible to teach them how to fetch. They however will still enjoy you throwing a ball or frisbee and them chasing after it. It’s just don’t expect them to bring it back you’ll have to go get it. Just think of it as giving you some good excercise.
  • Chase is the best game to play with your Chow Chow: Chow Chows love you to play chase. Though depending upon their different personalities it can manifest in different ways. For example with my Chow Chow Bear, we would actually try to catch his tail. He would run around and anytime he passed us he would tuck his tail underneath his body. It was truly a humorous sight to see. But with my other Chow Katy, she however liked to grab towels off the kitchen counter. My family would then chase after her always keeping just a little bit behind. We would call it the merry game of chase.

Final Words

While Chows may not be the most naturally cuddly or affectionate dogs in the world. Don’t let this fool you because beneath their stoic surface lies an ocean of love for you. The best way to get them to express it is to be patient, playful, give them exercise, and just be an all-around loving dog owner.

Do this and I promise you that your Chow Chow will surprise you with just how affectionate, playful and cuddly that they can be.

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