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Thank you for visiting our website where you will
find information on many aspects of the breed.
Any breed of dog including designer dogs can and
do suffer from a variety of health conditions, our aim is to continue to breed
healthy, fit for function Chow Chows.
We are in the process of introducing articles relating to general
health issues with the aim of educating owners of Chow Chows of any health
issues and researching and providing more detailed information on specific
conditions found in the general dog population as they are brought to our
THE CHOW CHOW – THE HEALTH OF THE BREED
Unlike many of its canine counterparts the Chow Chow is not a recent ‘invention’; its roots are believed to go back 2-4000 years originating in Mongolia. Essentially a working dog used primarily for hunting, guarding and drafting purposes, during its early history it is also claimed to have been used as a source of meat and its pelt for clothing or coverings.
The breed first found its way to the UK on merchant ships and obviously became popular as the first official breed club was formed in 1895. Today’s Chow Chow is still based on the standard written up at that time. More recently the written standard has seen some significant changes, ensuring the emphasis is firmly on those areas that most affect the overall health and soundness of the breed, giving a much clearer definition of the hindquarters with the intention of helping reduce the incidence of possible cruciate ligament problems; and the clarification of leg length to body ratio to ensure the overall balance and soundness of the Chow Chow, avoiding any restriction in mobility.
The breed is very aware of the need to maintain good health through education of best practice in the breeding and welfare of the Chow Chow for the long term benefit of the breed. Among the areas covered are:
Eye issues: There has long been a predisposition to entropion (in-turning eyelids). The breed has been working with the KC and the Animal Health Trust since the early 1980s to find ways of improving this and action has included:
o Changes to the wording of the standard – going from ‘small and almond’ to ‘medium size and oval’ eye
o Training breeders and judges in what to look for and what should be avoided for the good of the breed
o Encouraging regular eye checks
o The BVA eye assessment now includes a specific section on entropion
Result so far: The action taken has had a huge impact with far fewer dogs now affected but due to its polygenic nature it will be sometime before we can claim to be clear.
Hip Dysplasia: In the early 1980s the breed adopted a hip scoring scheme being pioneered by other breeds and worked hard to ensure the importance of scoring was understood.
Result so far: Over the period the breed has seen scoring there has been a positive impact on the overall incidence of hip dysplasia in the Chow Chow.
It is important to understand that all dogs (or humans for that matter) can experience health problems or disease – and that the Chow Chow is a generally healthy breed which is fit for function. There is no room for complacency in the breed and the Chow Chow Breed Council welcomes the reporting of any instances of unwanted diseases from owners, breeders and relevant clinicians. The collection of data is vital to help understand potential problems and devise ways of dealing with them. We fully support the work of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and its support to the Royal Veterinary College under its ‘Vet Compass’ programme gathering information on dog health.
We would stress here that the people who show and breed Chow Chows are the very people who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of the breed. The Breed Council deplores the actions of those who breed only for financial gain and put at risk the future wellbeing of this beautiful breed.
Rodney Oldham: email@example.com for media enquiries only
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