Thursday, 7 June 2007

Things About Chows

  • No one knows their history. The records were all burned when the mandarins were overthrown a couple of centuries ago.
  • Chows are born with 44 teeth, like bears. They lose 2 in adulthood to arrive at the normal 42 for dogs.
  • They have blue tongues -- blue mouths -- like a small black bear from Northern China. When God was making the stars, pieces of the night sky fell out and dropped on the tongue of the Chow.
  • They have straight hind legs, which makes it difficult for them to jump, but makes their cute Disney-behinds go switch, switch, switch when they walk.
  • One widespread theory of their origin is that there was a darwinian split in a superanimal, whose name I forget, and bears went one way and dogs the other. Chows fell down in the middle. They are considered the oldest breed in the world.
  • Easier to swallow, they orginated in, or migrated to, Siberia where they were isolated in an area between the mountains and the Sea of Japan. There, they evolved separately. (Think of Australia.)
  • Some people think that Chows are the forebear of the Spitz; some think they are descended from the Spitz, which seems illogical. Why would a Spitz, with the anatomy of a normal dog, throw off a descendant with a blue tongue, 44 teeth and a different intestine, but all the other descendants be normal?
  • They belonged, first, to the Mongolians. Not much argument on this one. They were war dogs and hunting dogs.
  • The Mongolians, being traders, brought them to China, where they were pets of the Mandarins, who also used them for hunting dogs.
  • After the fall of the Mandarins, they were farmed for food. I really didn't want to accept this one, but I've come 'round.
  • The farmers' only concerns were to cull the troublemakers and to keep the blue tongue, the blue tongue being a sign of "prime" meat. What brought me to acceptance of the farming theory is noticing that Chows do not interact with each other.
  • Item: They love other dogs, want to meet them and play with them, but totally ignore their own kind. Occasionally Van-Ly wants to play with Nala, which annoys Nala no end. More often, Nala will want to play with Van-Ly, who just ignores her. Sometimes we meet other Chows. They all ignore each other.
  • Item: We took Io Jima, our first Chow, to be bred. Mme. Gondrin said, "We'll all go in the living room and chat and let the dogs get to know each other. We went into the living room with the dogs and sat down. The dogs sauntered up to each other, totally without interest, did simultaneous U-turns, and went to opposite windows to see if anything interesting was happening outside. From this, I learned why you use artificial insemination with Chows.
  • Maybe they're really related to pandas.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your history (and mythology) of the Chow. They do seem to inspire flights of imagination.

    Jan from