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Pitchow (American Pitbull Terrier & Chow Chow Mix) Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

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By Emma Braby

Pitchow (American Pitbull Terrier & Chow Chow Mix)

The Pitchow is an interesting mix of the American Pitbull Terrier and the Chow Chow. The Pitbull, a medium-sized bully breed, and the large, sturdy Chow Chow shared a lot of traits, including loyalty to family and a playful nature, but they can also be suspicious of new people and animals.

Learn more about the traits of the Pitchow and what you can expect if you bring one of these unique pups home.

Breed Overview

Height: 17–21 inches
Weight: 30–70 pounds
Lifespan: 10–15 years
Colors: Black, white, gray, blue, red, brown, brindle, fawn, cream
Suitable for: Active families, families with older children, experienced dog owners
Temperament: Loyal, playful, suspicious of new people

The Pitchow comes from two very different breeds. The Pitbull is not recognized in the US but is often grouped in with other pit-type dogs like the American Staffordshire Terrier. This breed was developed by crossing Old English Terriers and Old English Bulldogs to combine the gameness and athleticism of the two breeds for bloodsports. Chows, on the other hand, are a primitive Chinese breed that was used for everything from war to pulling sleds. With a mix, it’s difficult to determine which parent breed the dog will take after.

Pitchow Characteristics


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Pitchow Puppies

Pitchow puppies may be difficult to come across, as they are not a recognized breed. In addition to breeders, you can check local rescues and shelters to see if Pitchow puppies are available. The traits the puppies take on depend on the genetics and which parent breed they take after. It’s likely that Pitchow puppies will have a good energy level and a lot of playfulness, but it’s important for them to have consistent, positive training.

Parent Breeds of the Pitchow
Image Credit: Jumpstory

Temperament & Intelligence of the Pitchow

The temperament of the Pitbull and Chow depends on the parents. Chows are independent and more serious than Pitbulls, while the Pitbull is more snuggly and sociable. Both breeds can have strong protective instincts and territoriality, as well as stubbornness.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Pitchows are a good choice for families, but they may be best for a home with older children. While these dogs are generally friendly and sociable, their size can be dangerous for young children unsupervised. In addition, Chows can be independent, so a child seeking attention can irritate them. Chows are also territorial, so resource guarding the children may occur.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

Both Chows and Pitbulls can have a high prey drive and a lot of territoriality that can make living with other pets challenging. It’s important to socialize a Pitchow as a puppy to avoid issues with other dogs, though it can still happen. These dogs should never be allowed to interact with small animals, including some cats, without supervision.

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Things to Know When Owning a Pitchow

Owning any dog is a commitment, but there are additional points to be aware of with a Pitchow. Though it’s a mixed breed, it’s; important to check your local regulations to ensure that neither the individual breeds nor a mix of them are banned. These dogs also require dedicated, experienced owners who can meet their needs. Here’s everything you need to know.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Pitchows should have high-quality food that meets the standards of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. A puppy formula is appropriate for the first year, then you can switch to a high-quality adult maintenance formula. Speak with your vet about your dog’s individual nutrition needs. As a larger breed, it’s crucial that you don’t allow your Pitchow to become overweight, as it can cause joint problems and a slew of other health issues.

Exercise 🐕

Chows and Pits are energetic dogs that will require regular exercise. Make sure you can provide at least an hour a day broken up into shorter sessions to keep your dog physically fit and relieve excess energy. Pitchows without an outlet for their energy may turn to destructive behaviors like chewing. Mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys and trick training, can help your dog work their mind and avoid boredom.

Training 🎾

The Pitchow needs a strong leader to provide consistent training. These dogs are smart, but they can be independent and stubborn. Pitchows can be territorial and protective as well, so make sure to provide a lot of early socialization with new people, places, and things to help your puppy grow into a well-adjusted adult. It’s important to use only positive-reinforcement methods, not aversive methods, to get the best out of your dog.

Grooming ✂️

A Pitchow’s grooming needs depend on which parent they take after. Chows have thick double coats that need a lot of brushing to prevent matting. If your dog gets the Pitbull coat, they will only need occasional brushing to remove dirt and dead hair. Pits are prone to skin conditions as well, so it’s important to groom your dog to pay attention to signs of rashes, dry skin, or irritation that can cause your dog to scratch. You will also need to trim your dog’s nails every week or two and brush their teeth at least once a week.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Pitbulls and Chows are relatively healthy dogs, and a mix of the two may be even healthier because of diverse genetics. However, they are still prone to the health conditions of both parent breeds, which may include joint problems like hip dysplasia and patella luxation, heart problems, hypothyroidism, and skin allergies.

Minor Conditions
  • Skin allergies
  • Entropion
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Cataracts
  • Hypothyroidism
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patella luxation
  • Congenital heart defect
  • Gastric dilatation volvulus

Male vs Female

If you’re unsure if a male or female Pitchow is the right choice for you, keep in mind that this will largely depend on which parent the dog takes after. Generally, there aren’t big differences between the sexes, though some say that females are easier to train and that males can be more aggressive. Their personalities are individual, however.

Another consideration is the size difference between males and females—males are typically larger. This may not be the case if you have a female Pitchow that takes after the Chow parent, but it’s something to keep in mind. A larger dog can be more difficult to manage and more expensive to feed and provide veterinary care. Either way, your dog should be spayed or neutered when they’re of age. Spaying and neutering help with behavioral issues like some types of aggression and roaming, as well as preventing many reproductive health issues.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Pitchow

1. Chows Are Remarkably Clean.

Despite that wild coat, Chows are incredibly clean dogs that have low odor, housebreak easily, and generally groom themselves well. If your Pitchow takes after the Chow genes, you may have a lower-maintenance dog to groom.

2. Your Pitchow May Get the Chow Purple Tongue.

One of the unique traits of a Chow is the signature purple tongue that’s part of the breed standard. Other breeds can have purple tongues—or tongues with purple or black spots—but the Chow is the only one with a fully purple tongue. It’s possible that your Pitchow will inherit this trait.

3. The American Pitbull Terrier Is the Only “True” Pitbull.

The term “pit bull” is used to describe several different breeds, both in regular use and legal use, but many breed enthusiasts and experts claim the American Pitbull Terrier as the only “true” Pitbull. Some of the other pit-type breeds or bully breeds include the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Boxer.

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Final Thoughts

The Pitchow is a curious but desirable combination of the American Pitbull Terrier and the Chow Chow with a lot of energy, loyalty, and sociability. These dogs can be stubborn and territorial, however, so they need an experienced owner committed to consistent training and socialization to ensure they’re well adjusted.

Featured Image Credit: roboticalatina, Shutterstock

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