The Chow in South Africa.



           AND OTHER DOGS & CATS.







BY Carolyn Dewrance ã









When the world was being created, what dog was allowed to lick up all the little pieces of blue sky, which fell on the earth when the stars were being set in their place? "The Chow" said Li Fu, "and that's how he got his blue tongue"

The Chow is a wonderful watchdog, never barking unnecessarily, and his very appearance is forbidding to any unwelcome caller. The Chow, as a rule, is not friendly with strangers and seems to resent being touched by those he doesn't know, although he will very seldom resort to growling.  He will just back away and, if a house dog, will leave the room when visitors are there« The unique aloofness of our breed should not be mistaken for timidity, or tearfulness, as it is a well known characteristic and not strange when one considers that it's not very long ago that the modern Chow's ancestors had a permanent struggle to survive at all, living in a most cruel existence, one is not surprised that they have an inborn distrust of strangers. However, the rumor that Chows are vicious is definitely wrong.

In South Africa Chows Chows are gradually gaining popularity. A lot of this success is contributed to an well-organized club called "THE CHOW CHOW CLUB OF THE'TRANSVAAL" which now has a growing membership of 120 family units.

Looking at the present Chow Chow in South Africa one finds some very good specimens and the standard of the average Chow has definitely improved.







It is with many thanks to the Kennel Union of Southern Africa that a list of the first Chows Chows in Southern Africa has been supplied to me for addition in my book.  After having gone right through the registration book that covers the period from 1891 to October 1906.  In that period only 6 Chows Chows were registered and it is most probably that they-were all imported.  Certainly there is no indication that any of the dogs were bred from, added to which in none of the cases is there any note of the Sire and Dam.


1643   Darby a male chow and   1944 Joan a female chow were registered by the kennel union of South Africa by Mrs. Thompson on the 5.12.1896. Sam a chow male registration number 3024 belonged to Mr. W.T. Curry in 24.3.1899.   Petti singh a bitch belonged to Mrs. C. Bethell 27.10.1903.    Max a male chow belonged to Mrs. W. Roberts in 8.2.1904 . And registration number 5980 Meph a male chow belonged to Mrs. D Clark in 26.2.1904.   When looking back at these dogs, it is sad to think that no more information can be found on them and that according to the Kennel Union none of the dogs were ever bred.  I also enclose here a list of total registration of all the Chow Chow's from the year of 1934 -1986.  As you will see, up until 1952 there were under 50 being registered a year and that the Union has no reason to suppose that the figures where any higher before 1934.

"Where the first two Chow Chow's that belonged to Mrs Thompson the ancestors of our modern day Chow Chow, they were a dog and a bitch, and it is possible that they might have had a litter of unregistered puppies some time in their early life.  Where they were imported from is hard to say, but possibly it could have been from England


On doing a summary of the Chow Chow it appears that between the years 1934 to 1974, Chows Chows were very much an unknown dog in this county. Even today from the year 1975 to 1984 it appears that there have only been 5,736 Chows Chows registered in Southern Africa.  This in it self is not a great many dogs, and shows that though no longer rare, they are still relatively unknown in this country.  It is interesting to note that during the war years of 1938-1945, 172 Chows Chows were registered with the Kennel Union. Thereafter there once again seems to be a lack of interest in their breeding until the years of 1966-1968 when 337 Chows Chows were registered in the three years.  Today the Chow Chow seem to be finding its place in man's society, these beautiful creatures are often looked upon as "the rich Man’s pet" but this is not so, as a great many Chow Chow’s now owned, are by normal middle class people.  It is sad that there are only a very few breeders, and that today there are few really quality specimens around.  A great many of these dogs are still breed by people not in the know of the general standard and still produce very low quality animals. But thanks must go to the breeders who are now importing extremely high grade stock from other parts of the world, which in turn is leading to better Chow Chow's now being bred in this country, most of them are from the Transvaal where the breeding of these dogs has the greatest number. The total amount of Chow's registered in South Africa from the year 1934 to 1983/4 is 1, 357. This amount is very small in comparison to the number of German Shepherds and Doberman Pinchers registered every year.




He's called the "lion dog" or a Little teddy bear" "Chinese Ching" and many others, sometimes not so complimentary names are given to one of the oldest breeds of dogs, the Chow Chow.  Not only is the Chow Chow reputed to be over 4 thousand years old, but also it has a unique characteristic of a blue tongue, which is shared by no other of the canine family. SCIENTIFIC Research indicated that the Chow originated in China as long as 3000 years ago.  According to some canine historians on the other hand, some scholars believe that the Chow first came from the Arctic Circle, then migrated to Mongolia, Siberia and then to China. The Chow as it is known today is easily recognizable in pottery and bos relief sculpture on the Han Dynasty, (206 B.C. to 200 A.D.)  This is the era of the birth of the modern Chow.  Other artifacts indicate that the Chow was a distinct breed in China as early as 1000 B.C.

The word Chow or Chou is a slang word in the Chinese meaning edible; the shorthaired chow or smooth Chow is more usually eaten in China than the long coated variety.  According to authority both the Chinese and Koreans have bred Chows to be eaten in place of mutton or lamb.  The Chow is an out door dog of great stamina, A dog that was used to hunt and even pull a sledge, he was also used at one time for herding sheep and cattle.

In South Africa Chows shot into prominence with the acquisition in rather a strange manner, Mr. B. Rogoff (the first chairman of the Chow Chow Club of Johannesburg' which is now extinct).  Of a dog called "Golden Boy".  Mr. Rogoff won this dog with a shilling raffle ticket in 1942. Lady Barbara Royale the Queen Mother Cousin was the breeder of Golden Boy. Golden Boy before his untimely death of biliary fever, sired a dog-called Bogum Chang of Ningpo who was later to be come a world record holder.  On Golden Boys death the news of his passing was broadcast over the S.A.B.C. Network.  Mr. Rogoff was receiving over 70 telegrams of condolence.  It was after his death that Lady Barbara Royale paid a visit to S.A. AND she made a special trip to visit the Rogoffs.  Grants the Rogoffs purchased Bogum Chang of Ningpo for the sum of £250.00 on the 3rd September 1945. Older readers will remember this magnificent Show Dog, who was later to travel 40.000 " 50.000 miles around Rhodesia and the Union of S.A. and acquired the following amounts of awards. 600 First Prizes. 65 Championship Certificates. 101 Challenge Classes. 10 Best in Show.

At that time Mr. Rogoff ascertained from local and overseas dog breeders and authorities that this was a world record.  A display cabinet in the home of Mr. Rogoff contains over 100 cups and trophies won by this famous Dog. So impressive was the dog that at the Bloemfontein Kennel Club Show, the Minister of Railways on seeing him offered "Borgam" free transit anywhere in the Republic of South Africa by the South African Railways.  He traveled by rail to all the shows.

   The Rogoffs booked a coupe for him and themselves and needless to say he caused a sensation at all the railway stations.  The Chow Chow of S.A. owe a dept of gratitude to this magnificent dog as well as to Mrs and Mr Rogoff and also people like Mrs Schoeman, the Nobles, Miss Hammer Brown, Mr. Summerton and later the Rorkes and Prof Booysen for putting the Chow on the map.  The Chow is a highly-strung and sensitive dog and is slow to mature.  Some Chows do not reach their prime until they are five or six years old.  Chow breeders, exhibitors and devotees of the breed know that the Chow is one of the most handsome as well as one of the most challenging of all breeds. But if we want to succeed in making the breed a little more popular and more widely appreciated and understood, the truth must be faced.  The Chow Chow still has the reputation of being bad tempered, and to combat that stigma, all Chow people must work together, to present the chow to the public in the best possible light.  A chow must be groomed if he is to be the most beautifully, although your chow may be of high Quality, if he is not brushed he looks unkempt and disheveled certainly not his best. In South Africa the breed has made great strides with Consistent winners coming from the Kennels of the Rorkes, Pieterse, Naudes, Jenkins, Prinsloo, Haleys, Myburgs, Dewrance, and Skidmore, and especially from the late Mr. Toppie van Niekerk of Topponas kennels, who has so far produced the most winners in the country and is the owner of some of the best dogs in the world.  It is from Topponas Kennels that the rest of us breeders, obtained our best show dogs. Stud and puppies -The Chow Chow Club of the Transvaal's first trophy show in 1978 attracted over 50 dogs and in September 1979 they held their first open show. The first Championship show was held in June 1980.

It might be interesting to note that when Mrs. Thompson registered the first two Chows with the Kennel Union of S.A. in 1896 that history also played a part in the lives of the first Chow's, In 1896 the Jameson Raiders were defeated by the Boers, on the 1st January 1896.

It is also noted that when Mr. W.T- curry registered his Chow in March 1899 that the Boer War was soon to start, only just 7 months later on the 10th October 1899. What became of these first three Chows Chow's during the early days of the conquest of South Africa, and if their owners were involved in the two wars mentioned above.


When I visited the Vet some time ago, he said that he would be giving my dog 2 CC'S of "whatever he called it".

At the very next show I overheard a conversation where an exhibitor said that his dog won 2 c.c.’s Surely the C.C.'. S the Vet was referring to be not the same ones awarded at shows.

Many Novice Chows members must have had the same experience.  In a simple way I would like to explain what a "C.C." means and how a dog becomes a Champion.

Champion Status is awarded to a dog by the Kennel Union of South Africa (KUSA) who, after application has been made on the prescribed form, will issue a Champion Certificate to the owner and a Breeders Certificate to the Breeder.

The dog has to achieve a total of 5 points under different judges and at least one point has to be gained in a different center.  The whole country is divided into twelve centers, which have been decided upon by KUSA.

Points are awarded at Championship Shows and ace derived from the judges decision to award a Challenge Certificate (C-C.) or Reserve Challenge Certificate (R.C.) this has now dropped away as from the 1.1.86 to the dogs who in his opinion are worthy of the label implied. After the open class has been judged, all unbeaten dogs from the other classes are called into the ring wherefore the c.c.’s are awarded. Each C.C- is worth one point, unless there are 10 or more dogs of that breed and sex present (except dogs entered in the Champions, restricted and veterans classes) in which the C.C. is worth 2 point. There fore a dog can be made a Champion by gaining 2.2point C.C.'S plus 1, Point C.C. or 5- Point C.C.'S.

Should a puppy under the age of 9 months on the day of the show be awarded a C.C. such points will not count towards Champion Status. (The dog must be 9 months or over 9 months on the day of the show).

Having achieved a total of 5 points, Photostat copies of the C.C. certificates together with an application for Championship form must be forwarded to KUSA, who sill then issue the Champion Certificate.

Donated by Mr J. Naude for publication with amendments by

C.A. Mc Intyre Dewrance           Re:     the R.C. certificate.



  An ancient breed of northern Chinese origin, this all-purpose dog of China was used for hunting, herding, pulling and protection of the home. While primarily a companion today, his working origin must always be remembered when assessing the true Chow type.


A powerful, sturdy, squarely built, upstanding dog of arctic type. Medium in size with strong muscular development and heavy bone. The body is compact, short coupled, broad and deep, the tail set high and carried closely to the back, the whole supported by straight, strong, sound legs. Viewed from the side the metatarsals (bone between the hock joint and foot) are directly beneath the hip joint.  It is this structure that produces the characteristic short, stilted gait unique to the breed- the large head with broad, flat skull and short, broad and deep muzzle is proudly carried and accentuated by a ruff.  Elegance and substance must be combined into a well balanced whole, never so massive as to outweigh his ability to be active, alert.  Clothed in an off standing double coat. The Chow is a masterpiece of beauty, dignity and naturalness, unique in his blue-black tongue, scowling expression and stilted gait.



   Proudly carried, large in proportion to the size of the dog but never so exaggerated as to make the dog seem top heavy or to result in a low carriage. The top skull is broad and flat from side to side and front to back. Coat and loose skin cannot substitute for the correct bone structure. Viewed in profile the top line of the muzzle and skull are approximately parallel, joined by a moderate stop- the padding of the brows may make the stop appear steeper than it is.


  The muzzle is short in comparison to the length of the top skull.  The length is not less than one-third or more than two fifths of the head length. The muzzle is broad and well filled out under the eyes, its width and depth are equal and both dimensions should appear to be the same from its base to its tip.



 This square appearance is achieved by correct bone structure plus padding of the muzzle and full cushioned lips.  The muzzle should never be so padded or cushioned as to make it appear larger than the skull or other than square in shape.  The upper lips completely cover the lower.


Large, broad and black in color with well-opened nostrils. DISQUALIFICATION:

Nose spotted or distinctly other color than black, except in blue chows that may have a solid blue or slate nose.


Edges of the lips black, tissues of the mouth mostly black, gums preferably black. A solid black mouth is ideal.  The top surface and edges of the tongue solid blue black.


The top surfaces or edges of the tongue red or pink or with one or more spots of red or pink.


Strong and even with a scissors bite, in which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors.


Dark brown, deep set and placed wide apart and obliquely, of moderate size almond in shape.  The correct placement and shape should create an Oriental appearance.  The eye rims black with lid, which neither turns in nor droop and the pupils of the eyes clearly visible.

SERIOUS FAULTS: Entropion or ectropion, or pupils wholly or partially obscured by loose skin.




Small moderately thick, triangular in shape with a slight rounding at the tip. Carried stiffly erect but with a slight forward tilt* Placed wide apart with a slight forward tilt. Placed wide apart with the inner corner on top of the skull- an ear, which flops as the dog, moves are very undesirable.


Drop ear or ears.  A drop ear is one that breaks at any point from its base to its tip or which is not carried stiffly erect but lies parallel to the top of the skull.


Essentially scowling dignified, lordly, discerning, sober and snobbish. One of independence.  The scowl is achieved by a marked brow with a padded button of skin just above the inner upper corer of each eye, by sufficient play of skin to form frowning brows and a distinct furrow between the eyes beginning at the base of the muzzle and extending up the forehead, by the correct ear shape, carriage and placement. Excessive loose skin is not desirable. Wrinkles on the muzzle do not contribute to expression and are not required.




Neck: Strong, full well muscled, nicely arched and of sufficient length to carry the head proudly above the top line when standing at attention.


Short, compact, close coupled, strongly muscled, broad, deep and well let down in the flank-

Top line: Straight, strong, and level from the withers to the root of the tail. CHEST.

Broads, deep and muscular, never narrow or slab-sided.  The ribs close together and well sprung not barrel. The spring of the front ribs is somewhat narrowed at their lower ends to permit the shoulder and upper to fit smoothly against the chest wall The floor of the chest is broad and deep extending down to the tips of the elbows. The point of sternum slightly in front of the shoulder Points.



Labored or abdominal breathing (not to include normal panting). Narrow or slab sided chest.

Loin: Well muscled. Strong, short, broad, and deep. Croup: Short and broad with powerful rump and thigh muscles giving a level croup.  The Body back, coupling, and croup must all be short to give the required square build.



Well-feathered set high and carried closely to the back at all times, following the line of the spine at the start.



Shoulders, strong well muscled, the tips of the shoulder blades moderately close together, the spine of the shoulder blade lays back at an angle of approximately 55 degrees with the ground and forms an angle with the upper arm of approximately 110 degrees resulting in less reach of the forelegs, length of the upper arm never less than length of shoulder blade.  Elbow joints set well back alongside the chest wall, elbows turning neither in nor out.


Perfectly straight from elbow to foot with heavy bone that must be in proportion to the rest of the dog, Viewed from the front, the forelegs are parallel and widely spaced commensurate with the broad chest.

PASTERN: Short and upright. Wrists shall not knuckle over.

FEET: Round, compact, cat like, standing well up on the thick toe pads.


The rear assembly broad powerful and well muscled in the hips and thighs, heavy in bone with rear and front bone approximately equal. View from the rear, the legs is straight, parallel and widely spaced commensurate with the broad pelvis.

STIFLE JOINT: Shows little angulation, are well-knit and stable, points straightforward

And the bones of the joint should be clean and sharp-.



Puppy Coat, soft, thick, and woolly overall. The coat forms a profuse ruff around the head and neck, framing the head.

The coat and ruff generally longer in dogs than in bitches. The coat length varies markedly on different chows and the thickness; texture and condition should be given greater emphasis than length. Obvious trimming of the whiskers, feet, and metatarsals optional.  The smooth coated Chow is judged by the same standard as the rough coated Chow, except that references to the quantity and distribution of the outer coat are not applicable to the smooth coated Chow, which has a hard dense, smooth outer coat with a definite under coat. There should be no obvious ruff or feathering on the legs or tail.

COLOUR: solid or solid with lighter shadings in the ruff, tail and feathering.

There are five colors in the Chow. Ted, (light golden to deep moghany) black, blue, cinnamon (light to deep cinnamon) and cream. Acceptable colors to be judged on an equal basis.


Size.  The average height of adult specimens is 17-20, at the withers but in every case consideration of overall proportions and type should take precedence over size,


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