Chow Chow Breed Council


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The Kennel Club has announced the reclassification of the Chow Chow, from the category three (high profile breeds) to category two of its Breed Watch system, with immediate effect.

Breed Watch serves as an 'early warning system' to identify points of concern for individual breeds of pedigree dog. Its primary purpose is to enable anyone involved in the world of dogs, but in particular dog show judges, to find out about any breed specific conformational issues which may lead to health problems.

The reclassification, which follows a recommendation from the Kennel Club Dog Health Group, means that Chow Chow best of breed winners or those winning their third challenge certificate will no longer require a veterinary health check at championship shows.

The health of the breed will continue to be monitored by the Kennel Club, and the breed health co-ordinator for the breed will still be required to submit a comprehensive annual breed health report. In addition they will work with the Kennel Club as a key contributor to the Breed Health and Conservation Plan for Chow Chows. Judges will also continue to submit mandatory health monitoring forms after each championship appointment.

The reclassification will be reviewed in twelve months’ time and progress of the breed will be continually monitored via the Kennel Club’s Breed Watch system.

With the development of the Breed Health and Conservation Plans, the Kennel Club will work collaboratively on health with Chow Chow breed representatives. This will take a holistic view of breed health with consideration given to known hereditary conditions (both simple and complex), conformational concerns and population genetics.

The decision to reclassify the Chow Chow from category three was made by the Kennel Club Board following a recommendation from the Kennel Club Dog Health Group, which has been following the health of the breed and discussing the health initiatives with a Chow Chow representative.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Chow Chow community has demonstrated to the Kennel Club their dedication to ensuring involvement in all health initiatives undertaken for the breed and we’ve seen a clear improvement in the health of the Chow Chow.

“We would like to commend the dedication, passion and commitment of those Chow Chow breeders and owners who have participated in the Chow Chow Health Scheme and other health testing. The Kennel Club will continue to work closely with breed representatives and offer support and advice with ongoing health and welfare initiatives.

“Whenever a breed is moved from category three to category two, those involved in the breed remain dedicated to improving their health even further, as they share the Kennel Club’s goal of improving the health and welfare of pedigree dogs. This is something that never stops.”

The Chow Chow is the fifth breed to be reclassified from category three to category two on Breed Watch. There are now 10 breeds which remain on the Kennel Club’s list of category three breeds: the Bloodhound, Bulldog, Dogue de Bordeaux, German Shepherd Dog, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese, Pug, St Bernard and Shar Pei.

For more information on Breed Watch and the guidance given to category three breeds, please visit

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