CHAPTER X. THE CHOW CHOW
The Chow Chow is a dog of great versatility. He is a born sportsman and loves an open-air life—a warrior, always ready to accept battle, but seldom provoking it. He has a way of his own with tramps, and seldom fails to induce them to continue their travels. Yet withal he is tender-hearted, a friend of children, an ideal companion, and often has a clever gift for parlour tricks. In China, his fatherland, he is esteemed for another quality—his excellence as a substitute for roast mutton.
Though in his own country he is regarded as plebeian, just a common cur, he is by no means a mongrel. That he is of ancient lineage is proved by the fact that he always breeds true to type. He yields to the Pekinese Spaniel the claim to be the Royal dog of China, yet his blood must be of the bluest. If you doubt it, look at his tongue.
Outwardly, the Chow worthily embodies the kind, faithful heart and the brave spirit within. His compact body (weighing 40 lbs. or more), with the beautiful fur coat and ruff, the plume tail turned over on his back and almost meeting his neck-ruff, the strong, straight legs and neat, catlike feet, gives an impression of symmetry, power, and alertness. His handsome face wears a “scowl.” This is the technical term for the “no nonsense” look which deters strangers from undue familiarity, though to friends his expression is kindness itself.
Though the Chow has many perfections, the perfect Chow has not yet arrived. He nearly came with Ch. Chow VIII.—long since dead, alas!—and with Ch. Fu Chow, the best Chow now living, his light coloured eyes being his only defect. With many judges, however, this dog's black coat handicaps him sadly in competition with his red brethren. Chow VIII. is considered the best and most typical dog ever benched, notwithstanding his somewhat round eyes. Almond eyes are of course correct in Chinamen. Ch. Red Craze owns the head which is perfect with the correct ear-carriage and broad muzzle, and the scowl and characteristic expression of a good Chow.
Dark red is the accepted colour of the Chow. Modern judges will not look twice at a light or parti-coloured dog, and it is to be feared that if even Ch. Chow VIII. could revisit the scenes of his bygone triumphs, his beautiful light markings would prove a fatal bar to his success. The judges would be quite wrong, but if you want a dog for show you must be sure to get a good whole-coloured dark red. If, on the other hand, you have a Chow as a companion and friend, do not be at all troubled if his ruff, yoke, culottes and tail are white or cream-coloured. These are natural, correct and typical marks, though present-day fanciers are trying to “improve” them away.
A list of points as drawn up by the Chow Chow Club some years ago is added. The points are fairly right, but the tongue of a live Chow is never black. It should be blue, such a colour as might result from a diet of bilberries.
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POINTS OF THE CHOW CHOW: HEAD—Skull flat and broad, with little stop, well filled out under the eyes. MUZZLE—Moderate in length, and broad from the eyes to the point (not pointed at the end like a fox). NOSE—Black, large and wide. (In cream or light-coloured specimens, a pink nose is allowable.) TONGUE—Black. EYES—Dark and small. (In a blue dog light colour is permissible.) EARS—Small, pointed, and carried stiffly erect. They should be placed well forward over the eyes, which gives the dog the peculiar characteristic expression of the breed—viz., a sort of scowl. TEETH—Strong and level. NECK—Strong, full, set well on the shoulders, and slightly arched. SHOULDERS—Muscular and sloping. CHEST—Broad and deep. BACK—Short, straight, and strong. LOINS—Powerful. TAIL—Curled tightly over the back. FORE-LEGS—Perfectly straight, of moderate length, and with great bone. HIND-LEGS—Same as fore-legs, muscular and with hocks well let down. FEET—Small, round and catlike, standing well on the toes. COAT—Abundant, dense, straight, and rather coarse in texture, with a soft woolly undercoat. COLOUR—Whole-coloured black, red, yellow, blue, white, etc., not in patches (the under part of tail and back of thighs frequently of a lighter colour). GENERAL APPEARANCE—A lively, compact, short coupled dog, well-knit in frame, with tail curled well over the back. DISQUALIFYING POINTS—Drop ears, red tongue, tail not curled over back, white spots on coat, and red nose, except in yellow or white specimens.
N.B.—Smooth Chows are governed by the same scale of points, except that the coat is smooth.
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As to the weight, bitches scale about 30 lbs., but dogs are heavier. Ch. Shylock weighed 47-3/4 lbs., and Red Craze 38 lbs.