German Shepherd Chow Mix Guide: 27 Things to Know Before Getting One

The Chow Shepherd is a powerful and attractive mix. It combines the intelligence and protectiveness of a German Shepherd with the strength and vigilant personality of a Chow Chow. While not for the faint of heart, this mix can be a rewarding addition to an experienced owner’s home.


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This mix is stocky and muscular. Its body usually resembles its Chow parent, but with the characteristic long tail of the German Shepherd. The Chow Shepherd has brown eyes, a black nose, and a medium-length snout. There is a lot of variation in the appearance of this mix.


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Weight & Height
The Chow Shepherd measures between 22 and 26 inches (56 and 66cm) in height. Its weight can range from 45 to 90 pounds (20 to 41kg). The height and weight are not dependent on gender, but on its parents. This means the mix can be a medium or large dog.

Coat Color
This mix, also called the Sheprachow, often has a multicolored coat of two or more colors. These colors can include brown, black, red, gray, cream, and fawn. The combination of colors will be from the parents, so ask to see the parents if you have a color preference.


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Coat Length & Thickness
The Chow Shepherd is a fluffy mix with a double coat, which allows it to thrive in colder temperatures. Allergy sufferers beware: the fur can range from medium to long in length, but is always dense and straight. It sometimes features the characteristic lion’s mane of its Chow parent.

If you’re expecting the famous Chow blue tongue, then you may be disappointed. The Chow Shepherd generally does not inherit this feature and instead has either a fully pink tongue or a pink/blue combination. The tongue is long and often hanging out of its mouth, especially after exercise.


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The Chow Shepherd is a loyal and protective companion that needs an experienced and confident handler. It can be temperamental and does not like interacting with people or animals outside of its immediate family. However, with consistent training, it can be a loving and dedicated guardian.


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Can Handle Being Alone for Short Periods
The Sheprachow can be alone for a couple of hours at a time. However, it will not thrive if left alone for several hours every day. If you need to leave it alone for long periods, you should use a crate or enclosed space to minimize destructive chewing.

Is Mouthy
The Chow Shepherd is prone to mouthiness. You will need to teach bite redirection early with this mix. You should never use physical punishment to prevent biting. Instead, you can discourage unwanted behaviors and reward appropriate chewing of toys and bones. You will need to be vigilant with supervision.

Can Have Issues with Dominance
The Sheprachow can display dominant behaviors, especially towards dogs of the same sex. Early socialization is essential to make this mix comfortable with other dogs. However, it’s always safer to keep the Chow Shepherd on a leash in public areas and consider muzzle training if dominance issues start to emerge.

Can Be Dog Aggressive
While the Chow Shepherd is aloof or neutral with strange humans, it can react badly to strange dogs. This mix is territorial and will want to protect you, even if the other dog is not an actual threat. A certified trainer is essential for working on correcting dog aggression behaviors.

Prefers Cooler Climates
This mix can live in warm climates but is best suited to cooler weather. Its thick, fluffy coat insulates it against cold wind, snow, and rain. Therefore, it can thrive in more extreme winter conditions. The Chow Shepherd struggles in hot and humid climates.


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Companion or Suitability Factor

The Chow Shepherd is not a social mix. It can be an excellent companion to its owner and immediate family but is not fond of strangers. This mix is better suited as a hiking companion or guard dog than a playful family dog. However, it’s not inherently a dangerous dog.


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Should Be Supervised with Children
This mix is not suitable for young children. It is large and often intolerant of offensive behavior like tail pulling or someone invading its personal space. If raised with children, the Chow Shepherd can be a protective family dog. However, children must be taught how to respect its personal boundaries.

Is Not Good for Apartment Living
Because of its size and exercise needs, this mix is not recommended for apartment living. It could live in a larger apartment if you can take it out 2-3 times a day to exercise and go potty. However, it is best suited to a house with a large, fenced-in backyard.

Is an Excellent Guard Dog
The Chow Shepherd has a deep, loud, and intimidating bark. It is protective of its home and family, so makes for an excellent watchdog. It can also physically guard your home against intruders with its size, powerful stance, and strength. You must correctly introduce wanted visitors to avoid aggression.

Is Not Good for Senior Citizens
This Sheprachow is not suitable for most senior citizens due to its stubbornness, activity needs, and its need for training. This mix could easily knock down an elderly person or overwhelm them with destructive behavior if it is not adequately exercised and appropriately trained.

Is Not Compatible with Other Pets
This mix is incompatible with pets like cats, small dogs, or rodents. It has a moderate prey drive and may view smaller animals as a potential meal. It can live peacefully with other dogs, but must be raised with them from puppyhood, or introduced with the assistance of a trainer.

Is Usually Not a Water Lover
If you’re looking for a boat dog, you should look elsewhere. The Chow Shepherd can swim but does not instinctively want to be in water. If you want this mix to swim, you can encourage the behavior with slow introductions to water and a lot of treats.


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Intelligence & Training

Complete novice dog owners are not suitable for the Chow Shepherd. It can be stubborn and unpredictable if you don’t establish boundaries early and maintain consistent rules in your home. This mix can range from extremely intelligent to average, which is challenging when combined with its size and strength.


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Is Usually Moderately Intelligent
The intelligence of this mix depends on which parental genes dominate. If it takes after its German Shepherd parent, it will be highly intelligent and trainable, with strong agility and tracking capabilities. However, the Chow is not intelligent. Stanley Coren, dog intelligence guru, ranks it #135 out of 138 breeds.

Needs a Confident Trainer
The Chow Shepherd responds best to a confident and assertive trainer. You should use positive reinforcement with this mix. Depending on the dog, this could be treats, affection, or toys as rewards for desired behaviors. Learn what motivates your dog and use it to create good manners and control impulses.

Physical Needs

This is a demanding mix that needs physical and mental stimulation. Owners who do not have the time or energy to exercise their dog adequately will struggle to handle the Chow Shepherd. However, outdoor enthusiasts and athletes will have a willing companion. The mix has a lifespan of 10-14 years.


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Eats Up to 3 Cups of Food Per Day
Depending on the size of your Chow Shepherd, it needs 2.5-3 cups of food per day. Feed this mix twice a day with a food that is specially formulated for large breeds. This is especially important for Chow Shepherd puppies to avoid hip problems during their rapid growth periods.

Needs 75 Minutes of High-Intensity Exercise
The Sheprachow has high exercise needs. You should aim for two daily sessions that total no less than 75 minutes. Suitable exercise for this mix includes running, jogging, brisk walks, playing fetch, and hiking. However, avoid exercising this mix during the hottest part of the day or you risk overheating.

The Sheprachow sheds a lot. Due to its thick double coat, you will need to groom it daily with a wire brush. You can also use a deshedding brush during particularly heavy shedding periods. You should never shave this breed because it needs its double coat to regulate its temperature.

Bathing & Grooming
You should only bathe the Sheprachow if it gets dirty or starts to smell bad. However, you should trim its nails frequently. If you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, they’re too long. You should also brush its teeth 2-3 times a week to avoid dental issues.

Background & Pricing for a Puppy

The German Shepherd is in the top 5 most popular dog breeds. It dates to Germany in the 1800s and was originally used to herd livestock. The breed then became a popular military and police dog. It is also a popular working dog in search and rescue and drug detection.

The Chow Chow is an ancient breed that dates to 150 B.C. It originally came from Northern China and Mongolia and was used by nomadic Mongolians to protect valuable goods. They became famous in the 1920s, but are now only the 64th most popular breed.

The Sheprachow is a popular German Shepherd mix. It was likely bred, in part, to reduce the genetic health problems of its parent breeds. This mix is recognized by the Dog Registry of America and the International Designer Canine Registry, but not by the American Kennel Club.

Price for a Puppy
A Chow Shepherd puppy can cost from US$400 to US$750. If you choose to use a breeder, make sure that they test the parents’ health, keep the dogs in safe conditions, and are reputable. It’s also possible to find this mix in shelters, where you can see their developed personality.


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Health Issues

Chow Shepherds are generally healthy dogs. However, they are genetically susceptible to major health issues like bloat, hip and elbow dysplasia, and cataracts. They may also struggle with allergies and general eye problems. You should take your adult mix to the vet for regular checkups 1-2 times a year.


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Bloat is a dangerous condition. It happens when the dog’s stomach reverses and twists, trapping gas and liquid inside. Symptoms are a swollen stomach, panting, vomiting, and distress. It can happen at any age. It is still unknown exactly why bloat happens, but rapid eating can be a risk factor.

You can reduce the likelihood of bloat by making your Chow Shepherd eat slower. You can purchase a slow feeder, put a tennis ball in their food bowl, or scatter food on the ground. You should also wait 30-60 minutes before and after exercise to feed the dog.

Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a common genetic problem that affects large breed dogs. It happens when the hip joint does not form properly. It can happen as early as 5 months old, but may not happen until your dog’s later years. Symptoms are impaired movement and noticeable discomfort.

It’s an inherited disorder, so you should ask the breeder for genetic records and hip scores of the parents. You should also take care not to exercise a Chow Shepherd puppy on hard surfaces like concrete. A large-breed specific kibble that maintains an even growth rate is also important.

Elbow Dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia is a painful genetic disease that happens when the elbow joint does not join correctly. Dogs with elbow dysplasia will limp on their front legs and be in obvious pain. Symptoms can strike as early as 4 months or as late as several years.

Because this disorder is genetic, you need to look to the parents for prevention. Ask for genetic testing records of the parent dogs and elbow scores. Dogs with a history of elbow dysplasia should not be used for breeding. You can use glucosamine supplements to ease some of the pain.

Cataracts are visible cloudy patches or a film that forms on the eye. They often cause loss of eyesight. They can be caused by genetics, diabetes, eye trauma, or inflammation. It is sometimes comorbid with glaucoma. Cataracts can happen at birth, during the puppy years, or during old age.

You should regularly monitor your dog’s eyes and make veterinary appointments to check for cataracts. The inflammation can be treated with eye drops, and vets can perform surgery to remove cataracts. You should also ask the breeder for a genetic history of eye problems so you can be more aware.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.