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This breed has been portrait as an aloof and unfriendly to strangers. In the USA it is classified as  fierce breed and this is true only if it is being kept  in a cage and  insolation.
I have come to a conclusion that this breed in an urbanised  area with high human traffic  are a friendly dog and does not display any apprehension to human, dogs or vehicles .Very lay back when the ambient temperature  is relatively high. 

Socializing :  Interaction with strangers and mixing around from puppy hood stage is Vital.

My job brings  me to many  countries which gave me the opportunity to observe this Chow Chow  breed in the various places that I had visited.  The chow chows that I encountered in Thailand around the service hotel that I stayed whenever I am in Bangkok are all allowed to roam  freely, Thais seem to like this breed. I have yet to see a chow chow on leash.  The few chow chows that lived around the service hotel, is very approachable, they do not bark at any of the passer by. As I love fishing very of often, my Thai friends will bring me to the various fishing ponds located on  the out skirt of Bangkok proper. At two fishing ponds the owners have chow chow as pet.I was surprised that  the dogs in these recreational are also allowed to roam freely, the chow chow leaves pass-by alone, the dogs does not even approach the visiting anglers.  

In Hong Kong, there  is a street  around the Mongkok area with rows and rows of  pet shops, groomers and Vets. Some of the chows chows ( on leash) that accompanied their master to these shops exhibits the same independent altitude oblivion to the crowds along the  pavement.

Surprisingly, these breed is not  so popular in  my home country(Singapore). When I moved our operations to china, I have all the opportunity to observe the chow chow. This is a very popular breed and is highly valued, and command a very high prize.  I am greatly surprised by the chow chow  friendliness in the city that I lived in. In  the city that I lived in, there is a law that forbids walking the dogs after 7am in the morning.
Chow chow is consider a large breed, and is supposedly not allowed with the inner city can only be kept in the suburb.  When walking the dogs, most dog owners do not leash their dog.  Being  a popular breed, I have all the opportunity to observed the chow chow with their owners every evening. Leash free and tagging along with the owner,  or sniffing around  the various bushes while the owners either chats or perform their evening exercise.Chinese  Nationals are very health conscious and very proud of their dogs, so when I ask questions, reply was very forth coming. To summarised, listed are their reply

  • The dogs have been given free rein since puppy days.
  • We do not keep them in a cage.
  • Since the day they acquired the puppy,they had been bringing the dogs to the park every morning and evening. ( the park is crowded every morning with nearby residents doing their tai-se exercise. 
  • Does your chow chow chase after cats—yes, it ok, there are trees around, so the cats will be up on the tree in no time, no harm done.
  • Do you beat your dog: NO,—it is not necessary a very loud  command will bring them around.
  • Train the chow chow yourself or at the training school: about 15% do send their dogs to the school, for the rest—self trained through reading dog training books.
  • House breaking: ALL  chow chow owners are proud that their dogs are have yet to “pot” in the house other then urinating during the puppy stage. Chow Chow are very particular in their potty habit.
  • Is chow chow friendly to other dogs:  Our chows does not like to play with other dogs, prefer to be alone,  if a friendly dog comes along, just a sniff ( to acknowledge)  and that is all. But will put up fight if the new comer is aggressive.

Bottom line:  Socializing your chow chow from day one is Vital.

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