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The Chow is a unique breed of dog thought to be one of the oldest recognizable breeds. Research indicates it is one of the first primitive breeds to evolve from the wolf. Recent DNA analysis confirms that this is one of the oldest breeds of dog that probably originated in the high steppe regions of Siberia orMongolia, and much later used as temple guards in China, Mongolia and Tibet.[4] From what records survive, some historians believe that the Chow was the dog described as accompanying the Mongolianarmies as they invaded south into China as well as west into Europe and southwest into the Middle East. A bas-relief from 150 BC (during the Han Dynasty) includes a hunting dog similar in appearance to the Chow. Later Chow Chows were bred as a general-purpose working dog for herding, hunting, pulling and guarding. Chows are reputed to be one of the many dog breeds in China fattened up and eaten during times of famine by peasants living in sparse, rural lands. Recent DNA analysis confirm that this breed is one of the oldest dog breeds.[4]

Research indicates it is one of the first primitive breeds to evolve from the gray wolf, and is thought by many to have originated in the arid steppes ofnorthern China and Mongolia,[1] although other theorists conjecture that its origin is in Siberian regions of Asia.[5]

The black tongued Chow Chow was also bred for human consumption.[6] Some scholars claim the Chow Chow was the original ancestor of theSamoyed, Norwegian Elkhound, Pomeranian, and Keeshond.[7]

Chinese legends mention large war dogs from central Asia that resembled black-tongued lions. One Chinese ruler was said to own 5,000 Chows. The Chinese also used Chows to pull dog sleds, and this was remarked upon by Marco Polo.[5]

A legend says that the original teddy bears were modeled after Queen Victoria's Chow Chow puppy. It's said that she carried the dog everywhere she went. Her friends disapproved, claiming that it did not befit a Queen to be seen everywhere with a dog, so they paid a dressmaker to make a stuffed version of the animal for her.[2]

Today, the AKC registers approximately 10,000 Chow Chows a year. The Canadian Kennel Club registers approximately 350

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