Chow Chows are commonly characterized as loyal dogs whose nature fosters a strong family bond. However, because they may be aloof or reserved with strangers or even show some aggressive tendencies, historically Chow Chows served as guard dogs in China. Yet the protectiveness and wariness attributed to the breed may actually be a self-defense response which may be reduced through socialization, which can minimize the development of fear-based defensive aggression.
The Chow Chow is a venerable breed dating back at least two thousand years. Many believe that the breed originated in China, but there is some evidence that indicates the Chow Chow actually migrated to China from Mongolia and Manchuria. While no one can say for sure from which breeds the Chow Chow has descended, it is believed that the breed has Tibetan mastiff and Samoyed in its bloodline. The Chow Chow served a dual purpose in China. Some were used for hunting while others were used to guard the sacred temples from evil entities. The East Indian Company brought the Chow Chow to England in 1781 and Queen Victoria received Chow Chows as a gift in 1865. During the 1880's, the numbers of Chow Chows imported increased drastically. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1903 (one of the earliest breeds to be so recognized).