The Chow Shepherd is an interesting dog, indeed. Not quite as stubborn and aloof as the Chow Chow parent but not as needy as the German Shepherd, these hybrids make the best matches for outdoorsy, active people. Large living spaces and fenced yards are ideal. Owners that are absent for long periods of time or don't want to deal with the daily exercise and grooming maintenance should look elsewhere. If socialized and trained early they do well around other pets and families with older children (they have been known to have varying temperaments). Overall, these dogs are smart, alert, protective and intensely loyal, often remaining aloof or suspicious around people they have met before. They should enjoy around 10-12 years of good health, on average.
|Hybrid||10-15 yrs.||18-26 in.||45-90 lbs|
- Family Friendly
- Kid Friendly
- Pet Friendly
- Stranger Friendly
- Easy to Groom
- Energy Level
- Exercise Needs
- General Health
- Shedding Amount
- Barks / Howls
- Easy to Train
- Guard Dog
- Watch Dog
- Apartment Friendly
- Can Be Alone
- Good for Busy Owners
- Good for Novice Owners
Both parent breeds have common ground in their guarding skills. The Chow Chow has been the guardian of people and their possessions since ancient times. The German Shepherd was initially bred for herding work but has since moved on to military and police work. Chow Shepherds make the best matches for athletic, outdoorsy owners that have plenty of time to spend with them. Ideally, they will have large living space and a fenced yard. If socialized and trained very early they can be do well with other pets and families with older children. They may always be reserved or suspicious towards strangers and even those they have met before.
- Eye catching appearance, bear or lion-like
- Excellent exercise partners
- Not frequent barkers
- Extremely loyal and protective
- Ok with older kids and pets if socialized early
- Trainable for first timer (moderately difficult)
- Enjoys abundant family time/time with owner
- Heavy shedders
- Need daily outdoor exercise
- Fenced yard is preferable
- Should be supervised around young kids
- Aloof, reserved around strangers and acquaintances
- May develop separation anxiety
Intelligence- Chow Shepherds are smart dogs and have the ability to catch on very quickly to training. The catch is that they also have a reputation for being aloof and indifferent, bordering upon stubborn, if they are not engaged by the training. While they will be easier to train for an experienced owner, if you are a novice that can be firm, consistent and place yourself as the leader, you can also succeed. Early training and socialization is absolutely necessary for this breed as they can be very stand offish and even aggressive towards strangers.
Family, Strangers and Other Pets- Households with small children should look to another breed. Not only is a large dog's exuberance sometimes an accidental hazard, but these will certainly not tolerate a nuisance for too long. While dogs trained and socialized early have a great chance of getting along with respectful kids and other pets, they may remain suspicious (or at best, aloof) around strangers. German Shepherd genes make them very energetic and playful with their families/owners while the Chow Chow allows them to be very loyal and protective; they often stick close to their pack leader (you) in the face of meeting new people and animals. Notably this breed is not as independent as the Chow Chow and will need to spend quality time around their humans daily.
Exercise- What a great match the Chow Shepherd makes for an athletic, outdoorsy family (just be cautious in hot weather). They are energetic and lively and will gladly accompany you on daily walks, jogs and hikes. A few toys, games and obedience training will go a long way to keep their minds exercised as well. Fenced yards are best for this breed and, when walking outside of enclosed areas, they should be kept on leash. If the puppy was trained and socialized early, trips to the dog park are OK, otherwise it may not be the best environment for this breed.
The coat of the Chow Shepherd is usually pretty dense and thick and may feel rough to the touch. They may be solid or multicolored and sometimes have German Shepherd style markings including the muzzle, mask, spots on the body and eyebrow markings. These colors are often seen in combination within the coat:
- various shades of brown
Black and tan, like the German Shepherd, seems to be the most desirable color amongst owners, however, the long length in combination with reddish tan coloring can give them the look of a regal lion.
German Shepherd Chow mixes will be large sized dogs. They usually stand between 18-26 inches at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 45-90 pounds. Although this seems like a large range it is hard to predict the size of a hybrid canine as it may fall short of, or surpass, either parent breed. Big dogs have larger energy requirements and this breed may be better suited for larger living areas such as standard sized homes with fenced yards.
Intelligent, loyal, active, protective, and often aloof, the German Shepherd-Chow mix temperament combines the dignity and earnestness of the Chow Chow with the energy, playfulness, and focus of the German Shepherd. This crossbreed is normally extremely devoted to its human family--but will often give others the cold shoulder. A Chow Shepherd will provide plenty of love and affection to its human "pack," and will expect that affection to be returned; if it feels neglected, this breed has no problem letting you know! Chow Shepherds will need plenty of mental stimulation to keep that sharp focus engaged; otherwise, these dogs will become bored, to the detriment of family and property.
Chow Shepherds will learn very quickly, but any training provided will need to be thorough and engaging. These dogs can be stubborn, and will disengage from any training if it's not stimulating enough. This crossbreed is not recommended for novice owners, or those not willing to spend a lot of time working with their dogs. In any case, whether in obedience or agility, any training will need to be firm, thorough, and reward-based.
One the other hand, its genetics make this crossbreed a natural protector, with very good watch- and guard dog instincts. While not "yappy" overall, a Chow Shepherd will usually give a vocal alarm when it senses danger; its natural aloofness towards strangers will cause it to be highly suspicious of intruders.
The Chow Chow has an average life expectancy of 10 years and the German Shepherd 11 years. You can expect your Chow Chow and German Shepherd mix to have an average life expectancy of around the same if not longer, due to the genetic diversity of hybrids. Some of the most reported health concerns of this breed are below:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Joint dysfunction
- Skin allergies (especially flea)
- Eye disease
Choosing a responsible breeder that offers exams and genetic testing is key. For a list of all health disorders within the parent breeds that may be passed down to your Chow Shepherd, visit the pages of the Chow Chow and German Shepherd.
- Hip Dysplasia
- Joint Dysplasia
- Skin Allergies
- View all 4...
The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Chow Shepherd as a dog breed:
- Dog Registry of America Inc.
- International Designer Canine Registry