French Chow

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
French Chow Basics

It’s quite true that French Bulldogs, commonly known as Frenchies, are infinitely cute and charming. But what if we told you that there is an even cuter, fluffier, and goofier breed? The French Chow is an attractive mix of a French Bulldog and a Chow Chow that is an endless source of fun and affection. Mixing the cuteness of the Frenchies with the size and the protective traits of a Chow Chow, the breeders came up with this great designer dog breed. With the mix of chubby, fluffy looks, great character traits, and affectionate nature, the French Chow is a true conqueror of owner’s hearts – no doubt about it!

The French Chow is smart, affectionate, and protective of its family.


The origin of individual designer breeds is often hard to track down. When it comes to the French Chow, a lot remains to be guessed: we simply don’t know for certain when the crossbreed first appeared. What we do know is that the craze for designer breeds was at its highest in the 1980s, and during this period a lot of established breeds were crossed to create new breeds. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the French Chow originated during this time as well.

Still, when it comes to the parent breeds, the history is hefty. As the name suggests, the French Chow is a unique combination between the goofy French Bulldog and the fluffy Chow Chow. The former actually originates in England (contrary to its name), where it was first bred and known as the “Toy Bulldog”. The emergence of a smaller, “lap dog” version of the English Bulldog came about with the banning of “bull baiting” in 1835. This was a dangerous “sport”, in which bulldogs were pitted against enraged bulls. From England, the Toy Bulldogs crossed over to France, where the small breed was refined and grew immensely popular as a cuddly and affectionate family pet.

The Chow Chow, on the other hand, is an even older breed. It has a quite enigmatic history! It was first bred in China, where there is mention of this powerful breed being used for warfare and sled-pulling. Its true origins might be even older – some 2,000 years before the present!


Not unlike most designer breeds, a unified look is hard to pinpoint when it comes to French Chow. Breeders often have no clue how a litter is going to turn out: the mix between the parent breeds is often unpredictable. However, the French Chows do have some traits that are shared across the breed. And in recent years, increased attempts were made at creating a unified French Chow appearance.

One of the iconic appearance traits that is unpredictable is the bluish dark tongue that can be inherited from the Chow Chow. Your French Chow could or could not have one. The same goes for the ears! But usually, the French Chow will have the iconic “bat” ear shape.

Another unpredictable part of their appearance is the tail. The French Chow might have a bobtail or a tail with a curl. Either way, the size of it won’t be too great. When color is considered, French Chow pups can come into the world in black, brindle, fawn, red, or cream colors. In some rare cases, a hybrid may appear, being white, with black or red patches.

Food / Diet

When it comes to caring for your four-legged friend, their diet should be one of your primary concerns – it has a big impact on their health and wellbeing. Both Frenchies and the Chow Chows can be somewhat voracious, with a great tendency for overeating. The French Chow could also share that tendency, so make sure that their portions are measured according to their weight and exercise levels. If overfed, the French Chow could very well become obese, and that is a situation that can lead to numerous health problems down the road.

Of course, if you are ever in doubt about which type of food to go for, don’t hesitate to take the advice of your local veterinarian. They can give you the best insight into the diverse types of food and the nutrients that your pet can need the most. In general, French Chows do well with high-quality dry food formulated to meet their nutritional needs. As long as the portions are measured with care and supplemented with other vital nutrients!

The French Chow is an attractive mix of a French Bulldog and a Chow Chow that is an endless source of fun and affection.


It’s no secret that Frenchies can be a bit willful. These are the true goofs of the dog world and are often stubborn, mischievous, and inquisitive. The Chow Chow, on the other hand, can be somewhat aloof and more serious. The result of their combination is quite unique when the ability for training is considered.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to meet some initial stubbornness when you attempt to train your French Chow. The breed is certainly intelligent, and a bit strong-willed. They will learn commands without many flaws, but a bit of persuasion will be needed first. Arm yourself with patience and some treats, and you should see progress in due time. Of course, the best way to make this progress quickly is with positive reinforcement. Reward your dog for good behavior, and avoid punishment for errors!


Where the French Bulldog is a generally small-sized breed, the Chow Chow is without a doubt robust and bulky. So what about their outcome? Who do the weight and size lean to? And the answer is no one! The French Chows are somewhere in the middle between the two parent breeds and can be fitted in the medium-size category. In general, you should expect your pet to be between 30 and 50 pounds in weight, and around 14 inches tall.

Temperament / Behavior

The French Chow is a unique breed, with many qualities that make them great pets for families of all sizes. They are noted for their goofy expressions and antics, but also for their great intelligence and affectionate nature. And it’s no secret that they can even be a bit protective of their family! And to make things even better, the French Chow can be superb around children. All of this makes them ideal as companion pets and family pets.

Of course, a lot of these traits need to be spurred forward while your dog is still in the puppy stages. If you fail to socialize the puppy and neglect it in any way, these positive traits might never develop properly. The main thing to curb with socialization is possible aggression. The Chow Chow can be protective of its family and territory, so make sure to give them a puppyhood surrounded with love and positivity.

Common Health Problems

The French Chow is generally a hardy and healthy breed, especially when given ample care and regular vet checkups. However, no dog is exempt from possible health problems. For the French Chows, one of the common threats is a brachycephalic syndrome. This is inherited from both parent breeds. The Frenchie is of course a brachycephalic breed, meaning it has a short muzzle. Interestingly, the Chow Chow is brachycephalic as well, although it might not be as obvious as with the Frenchie. Due to this, the French Chow could have a short muzzle and the problems that come with it. Mostly these are obstructions of the upper airways. You will have to avoid over-exerting your dog and avoid great heat.

Another possible threat is hip dysplasia, an inherent condition with the hip joints that affect many dog breeds across the world. Also, both Chow Chows and Frenchies have the possibility of forming kidney stones. This possibility is passed on to the French Chow. Urinary stones are quite a painful condition, but they can be treated.

Life Expectancy

Considering the healthy lifespans of both the Chow Chow and the French Bulldog, it can be safely said that the French Chow can have a general life expectancy between 10 and 15 years. Taking into account the fact that 15 years is the maximum for most established breeds, the French Chow really has it good! But this shouldn’t be a surprise, considering the breed’s good genes, robustness, and a good health foundation

Of course, this is still just an estimate. To make sure you have a healthy puppy that grows to its golden years without many issues, get your French Chow from a reputable breeder and provide optimal care throughout their life, from a balanced diet to regular vet checkups.

Exercise Requirements

The Frenchie can be quite a spunky breed, while the Chow Chow can be a bit sluggish and composed. Because of this difference, the French Chow can have unique energy levels. It might become your duty to motivate your pet to do some important exercise. But in the end, the French Chow won’t prove to be an overly athletic breed, and its exercise requirements will be moderate. You should establish a healthy daily routine of classic leashed walks, and some energetic play in the park. An occasional outdoor adventure in nature might be great fun as well!

French Chow won’t prove to be an overly athletic breed – their energy levels are moderate.

Recognized Clubs

A relatively new and hybrid dog breed, the French Chow is not listed on the American Kennel Club list of accepted breeds. Likewise, it is not listed on the worldwide Designer Breed Registry (DBR), the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), or the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC). Still, this doesn’t mean that the French Chow is not on a stellar path towards inclusion in either one of these lists!


French Chow dogs can safely be considered moderate shedders. Inheriting the fluffy coat of the Chow Chow, these hybrid dogs might leave some hairy trails on your furniture, especially when it’s shedding season. To that end, you should establish a regular grooming routine, brushing lightly a few times per week. This will help you maintain good hygiene and to keep your pet’s coat as free from loose hair as possible. Baths, on the other hand, should be kept down to a moderate level, as you wouldn’t want to dry out your pet’s skin.


French Chow puppies can be such adorable balls of fluff! It will be hard to resist that cuteness! But still, this is not an open invitation for eager hands to come and give endless snuggles to the pups. This can be harmful and stressful, especially in those early stages of life. But as soon as your French Chow puppies become stable and aware, they will begin expressing their inquisitive and goofy side. And you should not deprive them of some important early socialization!

Socialization is crucial for developing important character traits. Introduce your puppy to new dogs, kids, and adults. This will help prevent some nasty behavioral issues from developing. Neglected as puppies, the French Chow dogs can exhibit traces of aggression, aloofness, and over-protection. And that is never good!

Photo credit: Hitomi Hi/Shutterstock

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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