Chow Chow is a breed of dog that was developed in China, where it is referred to as Songshi Quan (Pinyin: sōngshī quǎn 鬆獅犬), which literally means "puffy-lion dog".
The Chow Chow is a sturdily built dog, square in profile, with a broad skull and small, triangular, erect ears, which are rounded at the tips. The breed has a very dense double coat that can be either smooth or rough. The fur is particularly thick around the neck, giving the distinctive ruff or mane appearance. The coat may be one of five colors including red, black, blue, cinnamon/fawn, and cream.
The eyes should be deep set and almond in shape. Chows are distinguished by their unusual blue-black/purple tongue and very straight hind legs, resulting in a rather stilted gait. The bluish color extends to the chow's lips; the Chow is the only dog breed with this distinctive bluish color in its lips and oral cavity (other dogs have black or a piebald pattern skin in their mouths). One other distinctive feature is the curly tail. It has thick hair and lies curled on its back. The nose should be black (except the blue which can have a solid blue or slate colored nose). Any other tone is disqualification for showing in the United States under AKC breed standard. However, FCI countries do allow for a self-colored nose in the cream.
The blue-black/purple tongue gene appears to be dominant, as almost all mixed breed dogs that come from a Chow retain the tongue color. This is not to say, however, that every mixed breed dog with spots of purple on the tongue is descended from Chows, as purple spots on the tongue can be found on a multitude of pure breed dogs.