Planning To Breed? Consider This!

Author: Mary Siegel
Chow Life Magazine, Fall 2001

Many years ago, I fell in love with our wonderful breed, the Chow Chow.  I started: first as a companion owner, evolving into an exhibitor, then five years ago became a breeder.  Although I haven’t bred many litters, I enjoy spending many hours researching pedigrees.  We are so fortunate in this day and age to have the many resources available to us at our fingers via the Internet compared to years ago when I first started out.

Prior to the Internet, we relied on our own best judgment and the answers to our questions asked to verify pedigree information prior to the breeding.  Now we have the ability to go online and use AKC’s database to verify every dog’s correct registered name and color.  (  The Orthopedic Foundation of America’s (OFA) website allows us to find out if a dog has been tested against hip & elbow dysplasia, as well as thyroid and & knee disorders (  The Canine Eye Research Foundation (CERF) has a website to verify if dogs have been tested against eye defects (

Although many Chow breeders are utilizing the services of OFA, we are still only brushing the surface in testing.  Many are only testing against hip dysplasia when in fact, you can take two dogs whose hips are rated OFA-Excellent and produce elbow dysplasia simply because this important test was not performed.  We are still seeing numerous eye problems in our breed because very few are utilizing the CERF testing system.  Sadly, fewer than 300 Chows have been CERF’d.

When considering a dog or bitch, we need to ask these questions: Dog this dog meet the standard?  Is this dog balanced?  Does this dog have proper depth of chest, layback of shoulder and spring of rib?  How are it’s feet?  Does it have straight stifles?  Does it have hocks that do not knuckle over?  Is the front movement straight and rear movement stilted?  How is the ear set?  Does it have proper top skull?  How is the mouth and nose pigment?  Most importantly:  How is it’s temperament?  All of these questions are very important.  We should not only ask these about the prospective sire and dam, but about all of the ancestors throughout the five-generation pedigree, as well as littermates of the dog or bitch being considered.  Also, one should consider which colors could be produced in a litter and study color genetics as well.  Remember, there are five acceptable coat colors: Red, Black, Blue, Cinnamon and Cream.

Many breeders now have websites to showcase their dogs.  There are also many different email discussion groups where we can all come together and ask questions and offer advice for our breeding programs.  (

We now have, through the diligent work of Douglas Johnston (, and Phil Degruy (, two websites that enable us to go back and look at many of the dogs in our pedigrees.  They have both developed wonderful websites with a wealth of information for studying pedigrees.  Some of the top stud dogs of all time can be viewed on their websites: BISS Am/Can/Ber Ch Wah-Hu Redcloud Sugar Daddy ROM; Am Ch Jonel's Track Mactavish ROM; BIS Am Ch Starcrest Mr Christopher ROM; BIS Am/Mex Ch Ghat de la Moulaine ROM; Eng Ch Taibel Texas Tiger Of Ukwong and You-Two's Commander Black, to name a few.  You can also view some of the top brood bitches: Plain Acre's Belle Chien ROM; Am/Can Ch Plainacre's Wen Su Of Kobys ROM; Ukwong Velvet Touch; Am Ch Sitze-Gou's Glazz Kat CGC ROM; Am Ch Rebelrun's Daddy's Girl ROM and many more.

As you can see, most of these dogs have the initials, “ROM” behind their name.  This is an award given by our parent club, The Chow Chow Club, Inc to recognize a Chows’ ability to produce quality offspring.  Our breed magazine, Chow Life, publishes the requirements for earning a Register of Merit (ROM) award, as well as the names of those sires and dams attaining this award.

We even have the ability to bring back some of these great dogs of the pas through frozen semen breeding.  As research continues, it is being discovered that the most successful method for breeding with frozen semen is by surgical implantation.  We also have the ability to ship fresh chilled or frozen semen clear around the world, instead of shipping our bitches, thus avoiding the stress put on many brood bitches from the past.  The International Canine Semen Bank in Sandy, Oregon is one of the top semen banks in the world (

In conclusion, the main key to successful breeding is researching your pedigrees.  Ask as many questions as you can to assure you are doing the best possible breeding.  Utilize the resources available and breed only after completing your research.  Best of luck, I can smell the puppy breath now.

Note some of the website links in this article have been updated since the original publication.