The Chow Chow is a Chinese dog breed that has become increasingly popular in the west thanks to their bear-like cuteness and loyal ways. But if you’re living in a home with members allergic to dogs, the Chow Chow’s shedding will be a concern.
Chow Chows tend to shed heavily year-round due to their thick double coats. In fact, they’re one of the 5 heaviest shedding dog breeds. Not only will they shed year-round, but the Chow Chow is also likely to experience even heavier shedding depending on seasonal changes, health, nutrition, and grooming maintenance.
In this article we’ll dive into how much Chow Chows shed and the reasons why they shed so much. Plus, we look at real owner testimonials on their shedding. And finally, we’ll discuss ways you can minimize the shedding as much as possible.
RECOMMENDED: A Quick Guide to Chow Chows
4 Reasons Why Chow Chows Shed A Lot
Why do some dog breeds shed only a little, while the Chow Chow sheds a lot? The answer lies in the reason why these dogs were bred and how they adapt to their natural surrounding. Not all dogs were developed for the same reasons, after all.
Furthermore, Chows can also shed due to poor health and nutrition. According to veterinarians, diet is crucial in your Chow Chow developing a healthy and glossy coat. Let’s examine the different causes of heavy Chow Chow shedding.
1. The Chow Chow’s thick coat will shed more
As you may already know, the Chow Chow originated in China. But according to historians, there is a growing belief that these dogs actually came from the Arctic Circle. In other words, they traveled to Northern China through Mongolia, Siberia and Tibet.
Like other dog breeds from freezing climate, Chow Chows needed a coat thick enough to withstand the 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 canine kingdom. Can you imagine a hairless Chinese Crested (or other hairless dogs) trying to do efficient 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. There’s a reason why sleigh-pulling dogs, such as the Husky, Malamute or Samoyed, all share a similar thick coat.
2. They also have a “double coat”
So what’s a double coat and why does it matter? The double coat is the dogs’ coat that’s made up of two layers of fur. However, it’s not unique to the Chow and there’s at least 40 recognized breeds that have this physical feature.
First – there’s a dense “undercoat” that’s made up of shorter, wool-like hairs. Not only does it feel like wool, but also does the same job. The main purpose of this undercoat is to act as an insulator and keep the Chow Chow warm 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 all the hazardous elements of the environment. It also makes the coat water-resistant too!
Chow Chows have an exceptionally dense undercoat. How do we know this? Because dogs with a denser undercoat will look fluffier. And, the Chow Chow is perhaps one of the fluffiest dog breed ever. I think it’s safe to assume the denseness of the undercoat.
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 Chow Chows are a lot more common, but will shed just as much.
3. Seasonal changes lead to heavy shedding in Chow Chows
Nature has prepared Chows to be highly adaptable to changes in temperature and seasons through the shedding its fur coat. So naturally, these dogs will shed heavier during different periods of the season – mostly in spring and fall.
For instance, 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 Chows will shed even heavier than usual.
Likewise, when spring has arrived, the Chow Chow will go through heavy seasonal shedding once again. This time, they’ll shed their thick winter coats in preparation for growing out a lighter summer coat. The thick coats during summer just doesn’t make sense.
Chows lose copious amounts of fur twice yearly. You will need to buy some grooming tools and spend a minimum of 1 hour a week keeping Pepper brushed out.– Auddymay (chowchow.org)
Most dog breeds go through this process with or without a double coat. However, it’s more obvious that the double-coated breeds shed much worse because they typically also have more fur. The dogs with single coats don’t need to shed a full coat.
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 57 hypoallergenic dog breeds perfect for sensitive owners.
4. Malnutrition will lead to excessive shedding
Bad food choices can also lead to your Chow Chow becoming unhealthy and ultimately, lead to an excessive amount of shedding. Most owners believe that just because a product is sold by retailers, means it’s good enough for your Chow.
However, Roy Cruzen DVM says this is false. He continues by saying that some owners will go to their local discount store to pick up cheap dog food, only to find out that their dog is losing patches of fur right after. This scenario is far too common.
The number one reason for excessive shedding is a poor diet.– Roy Cruzen (PetMD)
Like humans, a 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, experience a change in behavior and 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 isn’t shedding season, make sure to take him to the local veterinarian. It could be a lack of nutrition or some other underlying health issue.
How to Deal With a Chow’s Shedding
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 (today) to minimize the shedding and keep all that excess 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. Plus, your Chow Chow will be more comfortable with a smooth coat that’s not all tangled up.
Daily Brushing is Essential
With so much fur, Chow Chows will need regular grooming, especially brushing. To keep their coats from matting, you’ll need to brush their coats at least once a day. However, it’s recommended that 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. They will have more loose fur during this time.
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.
Give Them Regular Baths
Regular bathing is necessary but the frequency depends on how much of outdoor activity your Chow Chow goes through. At the bare minimum, you may want to bathe your Chow Chow about once every three months.
For the more active dogs that play outdoors often, consider bathing them once a month. And since Chow Chows have large fluffy coats, debris is more likely to get stuck in the fur, which can lead to matting. Of course, bathing will loosen all the debris on the coat.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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! Some people may recommend going with baby shampoo, but I would stick with products made for dogs.
If your Chow Chow starts losing patches of fur shortly after bathing, switch shampoos immediately! You may want to consult with your local vet about suitable shampoos for your Chow. However, with an oatmeal-based shampoo, it’s unlikely.
How Much do Chow Chows Shed?
Their thick coats shed regularly and they also experience heavier shedding seasonally. In fact, most owners say they’ll experience excessive shedding usually twice during the year. This happens when the temperature of the seasons change. We’ll explain later on.
So, do Chow Chows actually shed that much? To truly gauge the Chow’s shedding ability, we asked the people who know best – Chow owners! So, we decided to survey the popular dog forums, such as the Chow Chow Subreddit, to answer this question.
Real Owner Answers:
1. Princess_of_b says Heavy: “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 Heavy: “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 Heavy: “It’s normal for Chow Chows to shed heavily. The extra dander or 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 Normal: “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 Heavy: “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 an inky black.”
6. Septrichens says Heavy: “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!“
Living Indoor or Outdoor Affects Shedding
Did you know that having your Chow Chow live indoor or outdoor can affect their shedding cycle? Well it’s true! 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.
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.
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. This is not guaranteed, and will vary depending on individual dogs.
So, is the Chow Chow For Me?
There are no magical “pills” that will help you control a dog’s shedding. You can let the natural process of shedding to run its course and help by brushing your dog’s coat regularly. The only thing you can do if to speed up the process.
Collect your dog’s dead hairs with the bristles of the brush and you won’t have dog fur lying all around in your home. Again, we recommend going with the Furminator, though there are many great brushes you can find on Amazon.
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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