The Chow Chow is an ancient Chinese dog breed that may have originated from war dogs of Asian descent. Their unique appearance has earned them the moniker of ‘Teddy Bear Dog’. While their original purpose was hunting and guarding, today, most people buy or adopt Chow Chows as family pets or companion dogs.
The American Kennel Club registers almost 10,000 Chow Chows per year and that goes to show their popularity. Apart from looking like a lion or a bear, a Chow Chow also has another unique feature: a black or blackish-purple tongue. Such tongue is also seen in Chines and Miniature Shar Peis, Eurasier, the Thai Ridgeback, and the Phu Quoc Ridgeback breeds.
It is easy to spot a Chow Chow: they have a lot of fur around their necks known as the ruff. They are also medium-sized dogs with a thick coat and leonine or bear-like looks. A male Chow weighs between 55 and 70 lb. and measures about 17-20 inches at withers. Females are only slightly shorter and lighter.
The enigmatic breed is very popular in the United States. This popularity has a downside, in that; it has significantly increased their price in the country. Dog owners must take into consideration the fact that the purchase price of a Chow puppy is only the beginning of the expenses. You’d also have to consider the ongoing and emergency costs incurred over the pet’s lifetime.
If you’re in the market for a Chow Chow puppy, then it is a great decision! A Chow will certainly make a loving, loyal companion that you’ve always dreamed of. If you want to know how much a Chow Chow costs, then here is a quick summary:
In addition to your Teddy Bear dog’s purchase price, you’d also spend on its food, medical costs, training, and grooming. The Chow Chow is not a low-maintenance dog breed; be prepared to spend almost $2000 – $2500 per year on it. Since Chows tend to live up to 9-15 years, over your dog’s lifetime, you could spend anywhere between $18,000 and $35,000 on your fur baby.
Let us study these costs in detail.
How Much Does a Chow Chow Puppy Cost?
The price of a Chow puppy can vary from breeder to breeder. Some breeders charge between $800 and $1200 for their pups. Others who keep winning dogs can charge almost $3000 to $5000 for their champion bloodlines.
We mustn’t forget the fact that there are very few breeders of the Chow in the United States. This can significantly increase the puppy’s price. Many breeders often import their Chows from China or Europe and that can significantly raise the puppy’s price as well.
Here is a table showing you the approximate price range of Chow Chow:
|The minimum price of a Chow Chow puppy||$800|
|The maximum price of a Chow Chow puppy||$3000|
|Price bracket||$600 to $5000|
|The median price of Chow Chow puppy||$1200|
Factors Affecting the Chow Chow Puppy Price
Demand and supply
If a particular breeder has a great deal of demand for puppies, then she/he could charge higher for their pups. Often, there are long wait times for this rare breed. The litter sizes are quite small too. So, like any commodity with high demand and low supply, the price of the Chow puppy tends to be higher.
Breeders like DM Farms have been raising Chows in the Ohio area since the late 1990s. They keep socialized Chow Chows with sound temperaments. They value their dogs as their family members. All the puppies are dewormed, vaccinated, and also come with health certificates. DM Farms also microchip their Chow pups if potential parents want. They also register their pets with AKC. All these factors make them highly reputed Chow Chow breeders in the USA.
Naturally, all these factors also have led them to price their puppies higher. DM Farm’s Chow pups are priced at $3000 (as of October 2020) and they even charge a non-refundable fee of $200. You’d also need to pay separately for airfare and shipping if you live in another state.
Chows come in two coat varieties – smooth and rough with coat colors like fawn, red, black, cream, white, and blue. Some breeders also dye their Chows to resemble Pandas and call them Panda Chows. Panda Chows is not a separate breed; so please be wary of such breeders. Some fraudsters also charge almost $8000 for these so-called Panda Chows.
Basic Supplies for Chow Chows and their Costs
Here are some basic supplies your Chow puppy will need when you first bring it home:
A crate is not punishment; rather, it offers a safe and secure place for your Chow to rest. It will also be a valuable tool in house-training your puppy. A small wire crate costs around $35 while a larger one costs around $63. Add in a chew-proof crate pad, some blankets, and/or a sturdy bed for another $50.
If you live in a large house and wish to restrict entry to your Chow in certain areas, then a baby gate is what you need. The average price of a sturdy baby gate is about $40. You might need 2-3 of these.
Leash and harness
You have a very hairy dog breed and finding the right leash and harness can be tough. A harness will be a better choice than a collar as collars tend to cause mats and tangles in the Chow’s ruff. An affordable leash costs around $15 and a leather harness-leash set can cost $50.
Doggy bags/poop-pickers/other accessories
Doggy bags and poop pickers are super convenient on walks. They should not cost more than $15. Other accessories like toys can keep your Chow busy – cost about $50.
You need to bathe your Chow once a month. Use a good shampoo and conditioner. You must also brush your pet after its bath. If needed, invest in a blow-dryer to dry the fur quickly. The cost of grooming tools could come to $75.
Here is a table showing the approximate costs for the above basic Chow supplies:
|Baby gates to limit your pet’s entry in parts of your house||$40|
|Treat dispenser toys||$20|
|Chew-proof bed||From $30|
|Collapsible crate, crate pads||$50-$100|
|Mats for containing food messes||$10|
|Grooming tools – brush, comb, dental supplies, shampoo, nail clippers, etc.||$75|
|Potty pads for indoor training||$10|
Training Costs for Chow Chow Dogs
Dog training prices across the United States vary greatly since there is no standardization. You have several options before you when it comes to training your Chow. Naturally, the choice will depend on your dog’s needs and also your budget.
If you are on a tight budget, then you can choose to train your puppy at home on your own. Take some tips from online resources such as YouTube. Many dog trainers have free videos on dog training basics and they are a great way to get started.
You could also select basic obedience training. This includes basic commands such as Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and also helps your pet tell you when it wants to go potty. This type of training can cost anywhere between $30 and $120 per session – depending on your city and the trainer.
Advanced obedience training costs higher – almost $1000 for the entire package. It includes basic commands as well as some special commands like ‘Off’, Leave That, or other unwanted behaviors.
You can also enroll your doggy in group classes or puppy kindergarten. Your Chow will learn to socialize with other dogs. These classes cost around $30 to $80 per week.
Another option when it comes to dog training is board-and-train. Your Chow will spend one week at the trainer’s house/facility. Here your pet will learn basic and advanced obedience commands and the trainer might also conduct a one-on-one session with you, the owner. This type of training can cost between $500 and $1250 per week.
|Group training (cost per class)||$30.00 to $80 per class|
|Private obedience school (cost per session)||$30.00 to $120|
|Dog boarding and training||Weekly about $1250|
Chow Chow Food Costs
Your Chow needs healthy food to maintain its health and overall wellbeing. The best thing to do is bring home some of the food the breeder was feeding your puppy. This way, you can avoid digestive upsets. Your breeder will also give you a list of foods and treats to buy for your pup.
The quantity and type of food you feed your Chow will vary from life-stage to life-stage.
In general, the following feeding guidelines apply to your Chow:
- You can choose between dry kibble, wet or canned food, and freeze-dried or fresh dog food.
- A young pup needs 3-4 meals per day. An adult Chow will need 2 meals per day.
- A senior Chow may show a reluctance to eat so you might have to switch the type of food you feed. It is best to seek a veterinarian’s expert guidance in the matter.
- Pregnant, nursing or lactating bitches will need different food and more feedings.
- Depending on your adult Chow’s weight and activity levels, it will need between 900 and 1300 calories per day.
The following table shows the amount of food and the price per month spent on Chow’s meals:
|Item||Monthly quantity for an adult Chow Chow weighing between 50 lb. to 75 lb.||Cost per month|
|Premium dry food||25 to 30 lb.||$40 to $75|
|Premium wet food||75 to 100 lb.||$120 to $175|
|Freeze-dried food||75 to 100 lb.||$130 to $200|
|Frozen food||40 to 50 lb.||$200 to $250|
|Raw food||30-40 lb||$100|
|Dog treats||$30 to $50|
Chow Chow Food Comparison
It is very important to read food labels so you know your dog is not getting any ingredients it cannot tolerate. Signs of food intolerance include dry skin, diarrhea, digestive upsets, poor coat, etc.
Unfortunately, there is no cut-and-dried system when it comes to feeding your fur baby. Every Chow is different; some thrive on commercial foods whereas others may need special homemade diets or even prescription diets.
The list of foods mentioned below is not an alternative to a vet’s advice, however, they do include healthy ingredients.
They are also protein-rich and made with natural or human-grade ingredients. Most of the foods below also contain superfoods, antioxidants, and vitamins, and minerals. We hope the following list of commercial dog foods helps you select the right food for your beloved Chow.
|Name of Food||Features||Price|
|Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Dog Food||Meets the energy needs of your large dog, contains joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin, made with natural ingredients. Vet-recommended, made in the USA||$2.27/lb.|
|CRAVE Grain-Free Adult Dog Food||Contains real chicken, high in protein, grain-free||$1.93/lb.|
|CANIDAE PURE Limited Ingredient Pure Protein Dog Food||Contain real meat and vegetables, formulated with probiotics and antioxidants. Support healthy coat, skin, and joints||$3.12/lb.|
|Purina ONE Smart Blend||Made with real chicken, contains glucosamine, antioxidants to support immunity||$1.68/lb.|
Chow Chow Medical Costs
In your pet’s early days, the breeder will worm and vaccinate it. You need to take your pet for the booster shots once it comes home. The breeder/vet can give you the exact schedule of vaccination to follow. Vaccines are very important to protect your Teddy Bear from deadly canine diseases. Most veterinary practices charge between $30 and $100 for basic vaccines.
|Recommended age of puppy||Type||Cost|
|6-8 weeks||Canine parvovirus – core vaccine
Distemper – core vaccine
Canine hepatitis – core vaccine
|16 to 18 weeks and a booster at 12-16 months and repeat as per state law||Rabies – core vaccine||$15.00|
|6-8 weeks||Bordetella bronchiseptica – non-core vaccine||$25.00|
|9-12 weeks to be repeated 2 to 4 weeks later||Borrelia burgdorferi – non-core vaccine||$25.00|
|10-12 weeks to be repeated every 4 weeks until the puppy is 1 year old||Leptospira bacteria – non-core vaccine||$50.00|
Spaying and neutering
In the first year, another major medical expense for you will be spaying/neutering surgery. If you do not plan to breed your pet, then it is best to have it de-sexed. Spaying costs up to $300 whereas neutering surgery costs about $100. The price will depend on the location and veterinary practice you choose.
Flea and tick prevention
Fleas and ticks can wreak havoc as they grow rapidly once you have an infestation. That is why you need to use monthly prevention methods such as tick collars, sprays, spot treatment, oral medicines, flea powders, etc. If your Chow ends up with ticks or fleas, it may need a special medicated dip/bath to eliminate them. You might also need to clean your home to remove their larvae and eggs.
|Name||Cost per year|
|Shampoo + flea comb||$20-$40|
|Weekly flea dip + flea and tick collar||$40-$150|
|Additional costs like flea extermination of the house||$500|
Other emergency costs
Chow Chows are generally hardy dogs but every dog owner should be prepared for a medical emergency. This can come in the form of swallowed objects, a fracture, diarrhea or stomach upset, ear infection, etc. A single visit to the doctor for these issues can set you back for a few hundred dollars. Fractures can take up to $400 to treat. Blood tests, X-rays, and diagnostic tests can also be quite expensive. An ear infection could require about $300 for complete resolution. All these are approximate costs and can vary from practice to practice.
|Name of test||Cost**|
|Routine checkup||$50 and $250|
|Spaying or neutering||$160-$200|
|Physical exam||$45 – $55|
|X-ray||Up to $200|
|USG||Up to $500|
|Emergency surgery||Up to $2000|
Common Diseases in Chow Chow Dog Breed
Chows are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia and patellar luxation. Both these joint issues are inherited, so good breeders need to rule them out in the parent dogs. There are tests available for these so both issues are preventable. The cost of treating hip/elbow dysplasia is very high- up to $2000 per joint.
Eye problems like cataracts, distichiasis, and glaucoma are common in the breed. Glaucoma is very painful and, if left untreated, can cause blindness. The initial consultation with a veterinary ophthalmologist is around $195 followed by $90 for each subsequent visit. The cost of ocular ultrasound is around $200. Surgical procedures like cataract removal can cost nearly $2500 per eye.
Pet Insurance – Does Your Chow Chow Need It?
According to experts, nearly half of all pet dogs, no matter how healthy and hardy, will need veterinary services at some point. This is why it is best to buy pet insurance as it can cover most emergency costs and also give your Chow access to the best medical care.
The good news for American dog owners is that there are nearly 15 to 20 great insurance companies in the USA. They give you a variety of options to choose from and many have transparent policies without hidden costs. Some plans also allow you to select the vet of your choice. Many plans cover routine, wellness, and preventative checkups too. Others offer accident/illness coverage as well.
The cost of pet insurance for dogs starts from as low as $7 a month while most plans average $39 a month. It is very important to read all the plan-related documents carefully. When in doubt, confirm with the company representative.
Make sure you understand terms like deductibles, coverage, premium, cover, and annual limit. Don’t forget to also note what isn’t covered. Your vet can also guide you in choosing the right pet insurance plan and company.
|Name||Features (according to Investopedia)|
|Figo Pet Insurance||Best for holistic care|
|Pet Assure||Best pet insurance companies in 2021|
|Embrace||Best for emergency care|
Additional Costs for Chow Chow
We must not forget that until your Chow is trained, it is bound to destroy things. This includes slippers, torn-up dog beds, TV remotes, bed linen, etc. Expect to spend at least $100 to $500 extra in the first couple of years for replacing these items.
Extra vet bills
With pet insurance, you can help cover most emergency bills. But factor in at least $1000 to $5000 over your dog’s lifetime in additional or unexpected medical costs. This is above and beyond the routine checks, vaccines, flea and tick prevention, worming, and spaying/neutering. You could also spend on debarking, declawing, and tail docking – these aren’t necessary but many Chow owners opt for these procedures.
Pet care when you travel
Most people do not travel with their Chow – especially by air. In such a case, you’d need to consider boarding it at the pet hostel or hiring a pet sitter. The former option can cost almost $50 to $75 per night. Pet sitters, on the other hand, could charge between $40 to $100 per day- depending on your location and the tasks they cover.
How Much Does a Chow Chow Cost? Key Takeaways
The initial cost of owning a Chow includes the cost of your puppy followed by basic supplies like bowls, crate, bed, etc. as well as veterinary costs. You could spend anywhere between $800 and $3000 on the puppy and around $200 to $500 on its basic supplies.
The monthly cost of pet ownership includes food and treats, medical costs, grooming costs, etc. With a medium-sized dog like the Chow, expect this amount to be in the range of $200 to $500.
After the first year, the cost of owning a Chow is estimated to be nearly $2000 per annum. This includes pet insurance, grooming, medical, food, emergency costs, and preventive care costs.
Chow Chow’s life expectancy is between 9 and 15 years. So, over its lifetime, you could spend anywhere between $18,000 and $35,000 on your fur baby.
These prices are not meant to deter you from owning a Chow; they are rough estimates and will vary based on your style of dog parenting as well as your area. We hope this guide helps you plan financially for this majestic dog breed.