Having grown up with working dogs, I was intrigued with the large bundle of orange coloured fur curled up on the floorbehind the counter of a petshop in Mildura, Victoria in the late 1960's . The pet shop owner was more than a little miffed when I queried what sort of rug it was and I was informed the 'rug' was actually his expensive imported Chow Chow, a breed I had never of. At this point 'the rug' lifted its head and gave me inscrutable look only Chows can, and I was totally hooked.
For the next twelve years I read everything I could about this unique breed and finally, in 1981, family circumstances were right for me to at last add a Chow to our family. Our last posting with the ADF was Brisbane, Queensland. An eight week old chow puppy, Paitou Szu Leong, purchased from Mrs Veronica (Ronnie) Ward accompanied us from Sydney to Brisbane in 1981.
Even after all the reading and research I had done on this unique and fascinating breed, actually living with a chow was a huge learning curve and completely different to all the different breeds I had known all my life.
Having grown up with mainly working sheep dogs, German Shepherds and Collie Roughs with a few Kangaroo and pig dogs thrown in I found I had to relearn everything I thought I knew about living with dogs because the chow was so completely different.
Ch Paitou Szu Leong, Lonnie as the puppy was called was very chow, so aloof, independent, aristocratic and stubborn to the extreme but so loyal and affectionate in a dignified way that I was completely won over and there has been no other breed for me since.
My late husband retired from the Armed Services and with a number of foster children, our own two teenagers and two chows and the first litter of puppies we moved to acreage outside Brisbane.
Some years later after remarrying I moved to the South Burnett region in Queensland to acreage licensed for 20 dogs which had been used as a small boarding kennel, and purpose built kennels specifically to suit the chows in what can be a hot and sometimes humid summer were built close to the house. Each kennel is light and airy with a good natural air flow.
The chow kennels have been used mainly at night, or when chows need to be seperated due to bitches in season and/or to help accomodate the many rescue chows which have come in for relocation. All chows have constant access to different parts of the house and all are regarded as part of the family and household pets first and foremost.
The show season for the chows in Queensland is relatively short and with owning and managing a small boarding kennel my chows are now only shown lightly at some local shows. As part of the executive of a local kennel club involvement in running shows is an ongoing and all year round occupation.
The Chows are primarily fed a basic raw BARF type diet with a variety of good quality bone in mince chicken, beef, duck, rabbit occasionally, fish providing it comes from Australiam waters,and some offal from butchers.
There are breed specific diets available online which claim that chows are unable to do justice to large or hard bones due to the square shape of their teeth and mouth. In my experience I have found the chows not to be a great lovers of bones except those smaller bones such as raw chicken wings, brisket bones and lamb flaps and always only under supervision. Very little use is made of commercial foods and like our own diet I am always aiming to feed the chows a natural and preservative free diet with finely processed raw vegetables and fruit and cooked brown rice with the addition of selected oils, vitamins and minerals.
Veterinary expenses are rare apart from routine procedures and the heath testing done, and for the older chows who like humans sometimes need medical assistance and dietary additives to help keep them maintain a comfortable quality of life
I only occasionally have good quality puppies available to suitable Chow homes. Many of those who have given my puppies homes over the years have kept in touch and become good friends. All puppies go home with a comprehensive Puppy Pack containg registration with ANKC/dual MDBA registration the latter of which details results of all health testing undertaken.
Veterinary health checks are also completed before the puppy goes home, Microchipping and Vaccination papers are mandatory requirments, comprehensive diet sheet and free six weeks insurance is included.