Dog Breeds Dog Health

Do Chow Chows Shed? – Reasons Why & How to Minimize Chow Shedding

Chow Chows do shed a lot, but there are ways to minimize the shedding.
Written by Tiffany Jeng

The Chow Chow is a Chinese dog breed that has become increasingly popular in the West. These Chinese breeds are of ancient lineage just like the Chinese civilization itself. But if you’re considering a Chow Chow you may be wondering, do Chow Chows shed? How much do they shed?

Chow Chows shed heavily thanks to their thick double coat. And according to Pet Helpful, they’re one of the 5 heaviest shedders among all breeds. These dogs shed a lot year round, but experience more shedding depending on the season, health and grooming maintenance.

In this article we’ll examine how much Chow Chows shed, the reasons they do and how you (the owner) can minimize shedding as much as possible. 

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How Much do Chow Chows Shed?

The Chow Chow is probably the least intelligent dog breed from China.

Their thick coats shed regularly and they also experience heavier shedding seasonally, usually twice, in preparation for the coming of colder winter and warmer summer temperatures. We’ll explain later on.

So, do Chow Chows actually shed that much? We decided to survey the popular Chow Chow Subreddit to answer this question.

Here’s what Chow Chow owners had to say about shedding:

1. Princess_of_b says: “Roughly two weeks ago, my Chow started shedding his undercoat. While I was petting him, I started to pull out clumps of fur.”

2. Decalavera says: “My Chow Chow sheds heavily during the summer months when it begins to get hot, but if they lose a ton of fur at once I’d check with the vet just in case.”

3. Saberhagens says: “It’s normal for Chow Chows to shed heavily. The extra dander/dandruff production is normal too. You’ll just need to brush your dog regularly and it’ll thin out into the lighter summer coat.”

4. Isssajnotjay says: “My Chow’s shedding isn’t too bad at all. Their fur will clump together in small balls of fur. I just let my Roomba take care of it.”

5. Optimisma says: “My chow sheds quite a bit and will change color in the process. He’s black, but will grow red/brown fur. When he sheds it, he’s back to a inky black.”

6. Septrichens says: “I can’t tell if my dog has dead fur or he’s just going through his shedding process anymore. Brush often with a Chow!

Why Do Chow Chows Shed?

Why do some dogs shed so much less, while the Chow Chow sheds a lot? The answer lies in the reason these dogs were bred and how they adapt to their natural surrounding.

Furthermore, Chows can also shed due to poor health and nutrition. Let’s examine all the causes of Chow Chow shedding.

Chow History & Why It Matters

As you may already know, the Chow Chow originated in China. But according to researchers, there is a growing belief that these dogs actually came from the Arctic Circle, traveling to Northern China through Mongolia, Siberia and Tibet.

Like other dog breeds from colder climate, Chows needed a coat thick enough to withstand harsh winter temperatures. At the same time, they needed a coat that can adapt to the drastic seasonal changes of the environment.

For these reasons, the Chow was bred with one of the fluffiest coats in the dogdom. Can you imagine a hairless Chinese Crested trying to work through the rough temperatures of Northern China? 

In addition, Chows were bred to do all types of jobs in the snow. Not only did they hunt, guard and herd, but they also pulled sled for miles at a time. Sleigh-pulling dogs, such as the Husky, Malamute and Samoyed, all share a similar thick coat. 

Chow Chow’s Double Coat

So what’s a double coat? The double coat is a coat that’s made up of two layers of fur. It’s not unique to the Chow and there’s at least 40 recognized dog breeds that have this physical feature.

There’s a dense “undercoat” that’s made up of shorter, wool-like hairs. The main purpose of this undercoat is to keep the Chow Chow warm, especially during brutal winters.

On the outside, there’s a “top coat” that’s made up of longer hairs, also known as guard hairs. As the name says, this outer layer protects (and guards) the dog from hazardous elements of the environment.

Chow Chows have an exceptionally dense undercoat. How do we know this? Because dogs with a denser undercoat will look fluffier. And, the Chow is perhaps one of the fluffiest dog breed ever.

Keep in mind that not all Chow coats are the same, though they all do have double coats. Some have a smooth coat while others have a more rough coat. However, rough-coated Chows are much more common

Seasonal Changes & Shedding

Nature has prepared Chow Chows to be highly adaptable to changing seasons through the shedding its fur coat. So, naturally, these dogs will shed heavier during different periods of the season. 

When fall comes around, a Chow Chow will shed their lighter coat so as to make way for a thicker winter coat to battle the winter cold. It’s why fall is one of the periods that Chow Chows shed even heavier than usual.

Likewise, when spring has arrived, the Chow will go through heavy seasonal shedding once again. This time, they’ll shed their thick winter coats in preparation for growing out a much lighter summer coat.

Most dog breeds go through this process with or without a double coat. However, it’s obvious that the double-coated breeds shed much worse because they typically also have more fur. 

It’s something to keep in mind, especially if you’re allergic to dogs. Most of the allergens released into the air happens during shedding. So what you thought was “seasonal allergies” may actually just be extreme dog allergies. 

Instead, check out these awesome hypoallergenic dog breeds perfect for sensitive owners.

Malnutrition & Excessive Shedding

Bad food choices can also lead to your Chow Chow becoming unhealthy and ultimately, lead to excessive shedding of its coat.

Like humans, your Chow needs the proper vitamins and minerals to live a healthy life. Without the proper nutrition, the dog can experience a load of health issues

They can lose energy (lethargy), experience a change in behavior and of course, start shedding excessively out of nowhere. Some may even lose patches of fur at a time.

If your Chow Chow is suddenly shedding excessively and it’s not shedding season, make sure to take him to the local veterinarian. It could be a lack of nutrition or some other underlying health issue.

Dealing With Chow Chow Shedding

Yes, Chow Chows are heavy shedding dogs and that’s something you can’t change. It’s in their DNA to shed. However, there are a few things you can do to minimize the shedding and keep all that fur in check.

As long as you’re on top of your grooming game, you’ll likely see a lot less hair all over the house. 

Daily Brushing

With so much fur, Chow Chows definitely need regular grooming, especially brushing. To keep their coats from matting, you’ll need to brush their coats at the very least once a day

However, it’s recommended you brush them a few times a day. Not every owner has the time for this, so once a day is the bare minimum. 

You’ll also want to consider brushing them more frequently during spring and fall, when the Chow starts shedding coats.

For double coats, not all dog brushes work the same. The brush needs to be capable of reaching the Chow’s undercoat to really get those loose hairs out. 

Almost every Chow owner I know swears by the Furminator De-shedding Tool. In fact, this brush was made for double-coated dogs.

I highly recommend this if you have a Chow, plan to get one, or have any double-coated dog breed. However, I do NOT recommend this for single-coated dogs with a thinner coat, as it could potentially injure their skin.

If you’re interested, go check it out here at Amazon. You’ll want to get a size Large for your Chow Chow. 

Make sure you collect all the excess fur with your brush so that there is no matting. For a dog the size of a Chow, it might be a good idea to brush outside.

Regular Bathing for Chow Chows

Regular bathing is necessary but the frequency depends on how much of outdoor activity your Chow Chow goes through. At the bare minimum, you’ll want to bathe your Chow once every three months.

For the more active dogs that play outdoors often, consider bathing them once a month. And because Chows have large fluffy coats, debris is more likely to get stuck in the fur, which can lead to matting. 

It’s a balancing act because you don’t want to bathe your dog too often. Every time your wash your Chow, you’re removing essential minerals and oils that protect the coat. Plus, their skin can easily dry up from over-bathing. 

These are my top dog shampoo picks for your Chow Chow:

  1. Pro Pet Works All Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo – It’s made in the USA and of course, all natural (oatmeal based dog shampoo). Pro Pet Works is recommended by veterinarians and I personally use this for my dogs. 
  2. Earthbath All Natural Dog Shampoo – Having been on the market for such a long time, this time-tested shampoo is loved by thousands of dog owners. I haven’t tried it but just read the awesome reviews and you’ll see why.
  3. Paws and Pals Dog Shampoo – My sister uses Paws and Pals, and it’s definitely a very reputable brand in this space. Her Corgi is always soft and fluffy, so it should be a decent option.

As for shampoo, I always recommend something all-nature (like the suggestions I gave). Never use human shampoo because dog hair and skin works differently!

If your Chow Chow starts losing patches of fur shortly after bathing, switch shampoos immediately! However, with an oatmeal-based shampoo, it’s unlikely. 

Indoor or Outdoor Chow

Double-coated dogs, such as Chows, tend to shed seasonally as noted above. However, the exact months for shedding could vary.

It may depend upon the weather, exposure to sunlight, exposure to indoor lighting, breed of dog, dog nutrition, dog health and other factors.

Shedding cycles of dogs can be dependent on whether your Chow is primarily an outdoor or indoor dog.

Outside Dog

If dogs are mostly spending their lives outdoors, they will remain attuned to the patterns of nature, such as the changing of the seasons. 

They’ll shed their winter coat in spring starting around March and ending around June. And the dogs will start to lose their summer coats around September and complete the process by November.

Indoor Dogs

For indoor dwelling dogs, this process may go a little haywire with artificial interior lighting, winter heating and summer air conditioning. 

In this case, the dog’s natural shedding cycle may morph into something more akin to year-round shedding.

Chow Chow Shedding

There are no magical “pills” that will help you control a dog’s shedding. However, you can let the natural process of shedding to run its course and help by brushing your dog’s coat regularly.

Collect your dog’s dead hairs with the bristles of the brush and you won’t have dog hair lying everywhere in your home.

So, yes, Chows Chows shed and they shed a lot.

What can you do about the shedding? Not much, except making sure to take good care of your Chow Chow and its luxuriant fur coat in particular.

It’s hardly like playing chess at the highest levels; so, you won’t be losing many pounds by caring for your Chow Chow. 

In fact, it might be a fun activity and you may even bond with your Chow Chow doing this.

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About the author

Tiffany Jeng

Tiffany is a licensed vet tech and a product of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine (class of 2022). Combined with over 5 years of veterinary technician experience, she's dedicated her life and career to dogs. When she's not studying or working, she's taking care of her Mini Australian Shepherd - Olympus! Read More.

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