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American Chow Bulldog (American Bulldog & Chow Chow Mix): Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

american chow bulldog mix

Height: 12-20 inches
Weight: 45-70 pounds
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Colors: Black, blue, fawn, cream, red, and a combination of these
Suitable for: Families, singles, as companion dogs
Temperament: Aloof, intelligent, affectionate, playful, stubborn, reserved, protective

The American Chow Bulldog is a hybrid breed, a cross between the stocky American Bulldog and the charismatic Chow Chow. These regal and dignified dogs can be notoriously aloof one second and incredibly friendly the next. This is likely due to the unique mix of parent breeds, with Bulldogs being playful and affectionate and Chows being more reserved and guarded. Indeed, a great way to get to know this hybrid breed a little better is to take a brief look at their parents.

The American Bulldog is an icon of American culture and history, a large and stocky breed that is instantly recognizable to any dog lover. The breed is descended from the now-extinct Old English Bulldog, inheriting their name from the common 1800s’ dog sport of bullbaiting. Thankfully, the dogs were eventually put to better use, and the Bulldog owes their flourishing existence to their proficiency at hunting feral pigs in the South, where the pigs were a massive problem for farmers.

Originating from Northern China, the Chow Chow is an ancient breed thought to be at least 2,000 years old. They are impressive looking dogs, commonly referred to as “lion dogs” due to their large mane of hair. This mane is not the only reason for this nickname, as Chows also have the nobility and dignified nature of a lion. That being said, they are rarely, if ever, aggressive and are as loyal toward their human owners.

If the qualities of both these parent breeds sound appealing, the American Chow Bulldog may be just the dog for you. This hybrid breed combines the best traits of their parents for a truly unique dog. Read on below to find out more about this distinguished pooch.

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American Chow Bulldog Puppies — Before You Get One


The American Chow Bulldog usually inherits most of their physical characteristics from their American Bulldog heritage. They typically have a short, smooth coat, large square head, and short legs like a Bulldog. Their Chow heritage comes through in their personality, though, and they can be aloof and stubborn at times.

Before bringing home an American Chow Bulldog, you need to be aware of the responsibility you are taking on. These dogs are small and mostly gentle, but they are powerful and hard-headed too. This makes good training essential, and their stubborn nature can make this difficult. Although they don’t have massive exercise requirements, they still need daily physical activity to keep them from unwanted behavior. With a dog with this much power, unwanted behavior can quickly become overwhelming.

That being said, if you are up for the challenge, they are sweet, loyal, and affectionate dogs. Once you break through their stubborn and aloof exterior, you’ll find a dignified pooch that has a great deal of love to give.

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3 Little-Known Facts About American Chow Bulldogs

1. Chow Chows have extra teeth!

While most dogs have 42 teeth, the Chow is born with an extra 2, making them the only dog breed with 44 teeth. Once they lose their puppy teeth, they ultimately end up with the standard 42. Chows are also famous for their black tongue, but what most people don’t know is that they are not born with this unique trait. Chows are born with pink tongues like all other dogs, and the tongue only goes black at around 8-10 weeks of age. The only other breed known to sport a black tongue is the Chinese Shar-Pei.

2. They are a powerful working breed.

Chows have long been used in China as hard-working dogs. They were used for hunting, guarding, sled pulling, and even herding. It is said that one powerful Chinese emperor from the Tang dynasty adored the breed so much, he had a couple of thousand Chow-like dogs used for hunting and sled pulling.

American Bulldogs and their ancestors, Old English Bulldogs, have long been used as working dogs too. They were primarily used for hunting, and they were on the brink of extinction before the feral pig population in the Southern U.S.A. got out of hand. These powerful dogs were the only means that the settlers had of reducing the pig population, as there were no natural predators in the area.

3. American Chow Bulldogs are a recent breed.

While not much is known about the origin of American Chow Bulldogs, most breeders agree that they originated in the early 1990s, making them a fairly new designer breed. This was a time when developing new designer breeds was becoming a popular practice, and this unique hybrid was born.

The parents of the American Chow Bulldog
Parent breeds of the American Chow Bulldog. | Left: American Bulldog (jimbomack66, Flickr), Right: Chow Chow (P. León, Flickr)

Temperament & Intelligence of the American Chow Bulldog 🧠

American Chow Bulldogs are well known for being aloof, stubborn, and hard-headed animals, yet they have an affectionate streak that rivals most fluffy lapdogs. These dogs are extremely loyal and have an unwavering dedication to their owners and families (even if they don’t always show it!).

Many mistake their bullish looks and powerful muscular build for a dog with more brawn than brains, but this simply not true — these dogs are highly intelligent and sensitive. This intellect is what you can lean on when training, as their inherent stubbornness can make training a real challenge, even for experienced dog owners. They make great guard dogs, not least because of their intimidating appearance, but they are highly alert too. They are not prone to barking for no reason, so when they do bark, you’ll know something’s up.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

American Chow Bulldogs generally are great family pets, provided that they are trained correctly and socialized early. They are a highly protective breed and will defend their family with their life. Unfortunately, this can also result in standoffish and dominant behavior with other dogs. While these dogs are rarely aggressive, they can be a handful and should not be left alone with small children.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Again, their unwavering loyalty can be an issue when other animals come into their home, and they may wish to assert their dominance and protective nature. However, they do not have a strong prey drive and with proper socialization, are usually great with other family pets.

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Things to Know When Owning an American Chow Bulldog

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

American Chow Bulldogs are large, powerful dogs that will thrive on a protein-rich diet to help build and maintain their large muscle mass. This should ideally come in the form of lean meats and other animal-sourced proteins, but good quality, protein-rich commercial kibble is great too.

They’ll need around 2-3 cups of food a day, ideally split into two separate meals. Like any other dog, the quality of food is far more important than quantity, and nutrient-rich kibble will nourish your pooch rather than fill them with empty calories. Some commercial foods are filled with filler ingredients, like wheat and corn, which only serve to bulk the food up and bulk up your pooch too! These dogs are prone to being overweight, and the better quality of food they are given, the less chance they have of becoming obese.

Of course, their propensity for gaining excess weight means they should never be freely fed or given too many treats and table scraps, no matter how convincing those brown eyes may be.

Exercise 🐕

American Chow Bulldogs are not hugely energetic animals and will do fine on 30 minutes to an hour a day.  That being said, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog, and giving them regular exercise will go a long way in mitigating any negative behavior. Regular exercise will also help prevent them from putting on extra pounds.

While they can be playful dogs, a gentle walk around the neighborhood will do them fine, followed by a fun activity in the backyard. Bear in mind that these dogs have short fur and will not do well in extremely cold temperatures, and their short snout can cause difficulty breathing in hot areas.

Training 🦮

American Chow Bulldogs are well-known for their stubbornness and deservedly so. They can be aloof and hard-headed and prefer to do things on their own schedule, making training a real challenge. Good training is essential with these dogs, as they are large and tough powerhouses.

If you begin training as early as possible, you’ll have a much better chance of mitigating bad habits and behavior and pushing through the American Chow’s stubbornness before it really cements itself into their character. You can effectively begin training the day your puppy comes home by teaching basic commands that are incorporated into their daily life. Commands like “sit” and “stay” while feeding or walking are a great way to begin the road toward an obedient pooch.

We highly recommend reward-based training methods, as these dogs can be highly sensitive, despite their outward appearance. This training method relies on rewarding your dog for good behavior with a treat or praise and ignoring bad behavior as opposed to stern reprimands. That being said, a firm hand and confidant, pack-leader mentality is still required. The power and stubbornness of these dogs make them not an ideal choice for first-time dog owners, as they can be a challenge to maintain.

Grooming ✂️

The American Chow Bulldog typically has the short and coarse coat of their Bulldog parent and requires minimal grooming. They are heavy shedders, though, and regular brushing is essential to get rid of any dead hair before it reaches every corner of your home! These dogs also tend to drool, which can result in bad odors and bad breath when they lean in for a kiss! They need to be cleaned regularly around their mouth and jowls with a damp cloth, and regular teeth brushing will help prevent bad breath and dental decay.

Health Conditions ❤️

American Chow Bulldogs are a healthy and robust breed that benefits from hybrid vigor, the health benefits resulting from crossbreeding. American Bulldogs can have a host of inherited genetic issues, however, and some of these may trickle down to your American Chow Bulldog.

Hip dysplasia is commonly found in Bulldogs, and you’ll need to pay careful attention to your dog’s diet to help avoid this condition. A diet rich in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids is essential.

They are also prone to cardiac and respiratory disease and cherry eye, and if they inherit the short snout of Bulldogs, they may have various breathing issues too. This makes them particularly prone to brachycephalic airway syndrome, which will worsen with obesity. This syndrome gives them difficulty breathing and eating and affects their ability for temperature regulation, as they often cannot pant effectively. The short snout and large head have made more than 80% of Bulldog puppies need to be born through Cesarean sections. There’s also the fact that Bulldogs often have large litters of puppies, often up to 15 or 16!

Skin problems like eczema, hot spots, and bacterial infections are also common, and if your American Chow Bulldog has wrinkled skin, be sure to keep the skin folds clean and dry. Bulldogs have the most allergies of almost any breed due to their genetic abnormalities, and this can manifest as both skin and food allergies.

Minor Conditions
  • Skin and food allergies
  • Eczema
  • Hot spots
  • Heat stress
  • Obesity
Serious Conditions
  • Cancer
  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • hip dysplasia
  • cardiac disease

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Male vs Female

Once you’ve decided to jump in and bring an American Chow Bulldog puppy home, you’ll need to decide whether a male or female is the right choice for you. It’s important to note that all dogs are unique individuals, and there are few differences between male and female American Chows.

Males are generally bigger and heavier than females, and the males tend to have comparatively larger heads. Females tend to have mood swings at times, whereas males are more consistent in their temperament. Other than that, there are no real distinguishable differences between the two.

The way that your dog is raised and trained and the environment they grow up in will be far more accurate predictors of personality than gender. One thing you can be sure of with these dogs is that they will be a gentle, docile animal, no matter the sex!

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Final Thoughts

American Chow Bulldogs are powerful, regal, and dignified dogs that are as aloof as they are friendly. With one parent breed being notoriously stubborn and the other notoriously affectionate, you never quite know what you’ll get in an American Chow puppy. One thing you can be sure of, though, is a loyal and protective companion that makes an excellent guard dog, working dog, and family pet. They are generally great with kids and do not require a great deal of exercise or attention.

If you can put up with a small amount of stubbornness and a large amount of drool, this dignified hybrid may be the ideal choice for you!

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Featured Image Credit: K.K.T Madhusanka, Shutterstock

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