How Long Do Chow Chows Live: The Average Lifespan of a Chow Chow

How Long Do Chow Chows Live?

Chow Chows are a dog breed that originated from China over 2000 years ago. They were used by royalty in China and later in Korea as a source of food due to their meaty diet.

In both countries, Chow Chows became a popular pet because of how loyal they are to family members.

Today, the Chow Chow breed is a more popular pet in the United States and Europe. Their flat faces with deep-set wrinkles look very cute, but it is essential to keep their wrinkles clean to avoid infections.

Like many other breeds of dogs, Chow Chows can suffer from a number of health issues that will shorten how long they live.

Let’s take a closer look at how long Chow Chows live and how to keep them healthy.

How Long Do Chow Chows Live

The average lifespan of a Chow Chow is between 9-14 years, but they have been known to live up to 16 years in rare cases. Male Chow Chows generally live up to 1 year less than females.

Purebred Chow Chows can have a longer lifespan than mixed Chow Chows, but the difference is not significant. Mixed breeds are much more likely to be overweight since they are more likely to overindulge in food due to their lack of exercise.

The longevity of each Chow Chow depends on a variety of factors, including its health and other environmental factors. Food and exercise can also affect how long a Chow Chow lives. We’ll talk about this in more detail.

Factors That Affect the Lifespan of Chow Chows

When determining how long a Chow Chow will live, it is crucial to know the factors that affect its lifespan. Some of the factors that could affect a Chow Chow’s lifespan include:


Studies have shown that dogs have genetic healthcare concerns that are passed on through their families. If a Chow Chow comes from a family that suffers from hip dysplasia, it is more likely to develop hip dysplasia at some point in its life. However, if it comes from a family that doesn’t suffer from hip dysplasia, it is less likely to develop the condition.

While Chow Chows are a healthy breed with few genetic conditions, it is still a good idea to know the health concerns of their parents and ancestors. This will help you determine if they are at risk of developing these conditions that could affect their lifespan.

Each dog has a different ageing process with varying rates of deterioration and change. Ageing can reduce or slow down a dog’s cognition, coordination, and digestive system functions. As such, older dogs require more attention and regular visits to the veterinarian for checkups.


Chow Chows’ food can affect their overall health and how long they live. If a Chow Chow eats meat, it is more likely to develop obesity than if it ate vegetables. Obesity can cause many health problems in dogs, such as heart disease and arthritis.

The diet of a Chow Chow also affects its dental hygiene. If you feed your Chow Chow dry food, it will be at a greater risk of developing periodontal disease than if you feed it moist food.

Be sure to provide your Chow Chow with the appropriate diet and proper dental care. Doing so can help improve its lifespan by reducing how often it gets sick and reducing its risk of developing serious health conditions.


The environment where a Chow Chow lives can affect how long it lives. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, it will stress your Chow Chow’s body and shorten its lifespan.

For example, chow chows tolerate cold weather very well but don’t do as well in hot weather. Extremely high or low temperatures can cause heat stress and stroke in chow chows.

Heatstroke can cause organ failure, brain damage, and internal bleeding. This can be fatal to chow chows, so keeping them from getting a heatstroke is essential.

If a Chow Chow lives in a place with extreme temperatures, it is important to provide it with an environment that simulates its natural habitat. This will help keep your Chow Chow comfortable.


Despite their lack of enthusiasm for exercise, Chow Chows require some physical activity to remain healthy. Your Chow Chow can become overweight and obese if it does not get enough exercise.

This weight gain can cause health concerns like arthritis and heart disease. It will also increase its risk of developing diabetes since obesity causes insulin resistance in dogs.

While Chow Chows are not particularly active, they will have a much longer lifespan if you take them for daily walks or play sessions. You’ll also want to provide them with plenty of dog toys that require interaction. This may increase your Chow Chow’s energy and give it the exercise it needs to remain healthy.

Coat Care

Chow Chows have thick double coats that shed excessively, so their coats require a decent amount of care. This is because Chow Chows rely on their coat to help them regulate their body temperature and protect them from threats.

Their double-layer coats also take a long time to dry. If your Chow Chow gets wet outside, it will need extra time and attention to ensure that its coat has time to dry before it gets cold.

The Chow Chow’s coat also requires fairly frequent grooming, especially when shedding excessively.

If you do not groom your Chow Chow regularly, its coat will become matted and tangled with fur from other animals. This is extremely uncomfortable for the dog and can cause various health problems.

Regular grooming can help improve a Chow Chow’s lifespan to ensure that its coat is healthy and comfortable. It may also reduce the amount of fur floating around your house from shedding.

Common Chow Chow Health Issues

Chow Chows can be prone to experiencing some health problems, but these issues may be avoided with good medical care. Some of the most common health problems that may shorten a Chow Chow’s life span include:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common disorder defined as the abnormal development of your dog’s hip joints. It can cause joint inflammation, pain, and lameness. This is because there’s an imbalance in the blood supply to your pet’s hips.

Since Chow Chows are bigger dogs, they’re more prone to hip dysplasia. This is especially true for dogs that are overweight or obese.

Hip dysplasia occurs most often in Chow Chows that have been spayed or neutered. This is due to hormonal changes after your pet goes through this surgical procedure.

To help avoid hip dysplasia in Chow Chows, you should keep your dog at a healthy weight. This will place less stress on their hips and reduce the risk of your chow developing hip dysplasia.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia occurs when the bones in your pet’s elbows are abnormal. This can cause varying degrees of pain to develop in your dog’s elbows.

Elbow dysplasia (arthritis of the elbow) comprises a series of four abnormalities that develop in the joint:

  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD): This abnormality occurs when small flaps of cartilage separate from their source (the joint surface) and become trapped within the joint where they’re unable to join with the cartilage of the joint. This can lead to problems with the formation of new bone and blood vessels within the joint.
  • Ununited Anconeal Process (UAP): A piece of cartilage fails to attach itself to the joint surface, leading to bone inflammation. This can also lead to arthritis in the elbow.
  • Joint incongruity: This is when the joint surface and bones don’t fit together smoothly.
  • Fragmented Coronoid Process (FCP) of the ulna: The corona is a piece of bone that forms part of your pet’s elbow joint. When this piece becomes fragmented, it can cause problems with how the joint functions.

Elbow dysplasia can cause lameness in your dog. They may also experience stiffness and pain when they try to move their elbows.


Bloat is also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), and it’s a serious medical condition that can affect chow chows. When a dog bloats, its stomach twists on its axis and gas gets trapped inside the dog’s body.

This is a dangerous condition because the trapped gas can cut off the blood supply to your pet’s vital organs. This, in turn, causes tissue damage and even death.

Stress is one of the primary causes of bloat in dogs. This can be emotional stress, such as that caused by your pet’s reaction to a scary situation. It can also stem from physical stress such as strenuous exercise or excitement at mealtime.

Eating too quickly can also lead to bloat. When your chow eats too fast, it causes its stomach to fill with the air it swallows. This causes dangerous bloating, which can lead to GDV.

How to Keep Your Chow Chow Healthy

As with all breeds, there are steps that you can take to ensure that your chow lives an extended and happy life. You can help prevent some of the more common health problems in Chow Chows by taking these steps:

Keep Your Chow at a Healthy Weight

Obesity is one of the top health concerns in Chow Chows. These dogs are very susceptible to obesity, and they’re not as active as some breeds, so it’s easy for them to gain excess weight.

This leads to a higher risk of your pet experiencing the following:

  • Arthritis due to weight-related stress on bones and joints
  • Diabetes due to insulin problems caused by obesity
  • Heart Disease due to high cholesterol levels brought on by obesity

Regularly Brush Your Chow’s Coat

A Chow Chow’s coat is so thick that it can become tangled if you don’t properly brush it. When you brush your pet’s coat, avoid the temptation to cut through any tangles with scissors because this could lead to painful cuts in their skin.

Instead, use a wide-toothed comb or a bristle brush to remove any tangles carefully. Try spraying on some detanglers before brushing them away if you’re struggling to get the knots out.

Regular Check-Ups with Your Veterinarian

Your Chow Chow is very likely to develop health problems as it gets older. This means that frequent check-ups are necessary so that your vet can detect any health concerns at the earliest possible stage. This is when treatment is most likely to be effective.

Your chow may also need some vaccinations and medications to stay healthy, such as heartworm medication. Always follow your vet’s instructions if you want to ensure that your chow lives a long and happy life.

Check Your Dog’s Diet

Like humans, an unhealthy diet can make your Chow Chow more likely to suffer from obesity and other diseases. Your pet’s nutritional needs should be met by a mix of dry and wet dog food that contains at least 25-28% animal protein.

Don’t use any foodstuffs with added preservatives or sweeteners, and be sure to avoid those with a bone meal as the main ingredient. Dog food supplements can also help you meet your pet’s specific needs.

You should also avoid ingredients such as corn, soybeans, and other grains in your chow’s diet because they can cause health problems. Avoid food with additives or sweeteners. Instead, opt for a healthy but tasty natural diet.

Work with your vet or a reputable trainer to determine the best diet for your Chow Chow, and ensure that you follow the instructions on their food packet. This ensures that you’re providing them with a nutritious and healthy diet.

The Bottom Line

Chow Chows have an average lifespan of 9-14 years, with 16 years being the maximum in rare cases. They are susceptible to bloat, obesity, elbow and hip dysplasia problems, and thyroid disease.

If you keep your pet at a healthy weight with regular exercise, brush their coat regularly, and follow a healthy diet, you’ll be able to help your pet live a long and healthy life.