As an animal lover, you may be considering adding a dog to your family. You have a lot to think about. Should you go to the shelter or to a breeder? Do you have enough time to devote to a dog? What is your family make up? Do you have lots of kids or are you single? These considerations and many more are essential to not only decide whether you get a dog, but what kind of dog you should get.

A Chow Chow is a breed of dog that has a very long history, but is not for everybody. Originally bred in China, Chows are thought to be one of the oldest domesticated breeds, closely resembling the wolf. The wolf-like attributes of the Chow make it an excellent dog for some people, and a poor choice for others. Let's take a look at what Chows look like.

Chows are stocky, medium sized dogs. They have wrinkles on the forehead similar to, but not as pronounced as Shar-Peis. Purebred Chows have a blue tongue, curly tail, and straight, pointy ears. They can be either long-haired or medium-haired. Chows with even the shortest hair, though, will shed rather prolifically. Chows come in many colors, including reddish, black, golden, blue, and light tan. Chows are considered to be among the most beautiful dogs by dog show standards.

More important than looks, though, to the potential owner of a Chow Chow are its traits. A Chow's positive attributes also generally have a negative aspect. For example, Chow's are extremely loyal. This means that they are not welcoming to strangers. Chows are very laid-back. Correspondingly, Chows do not appreciate lots of excitement in their lives.

Chows can be aggressive toward unfamiliar people and to other animals. Chows need to be socialized at an early age to be accepting of other pets and people in your home. A Chow's loyalty is unsurpassed. If you are a single woman, for example, a Chow will always let you know if danger is nearby. Chows are territorial and do not like strangers. Even though Chows seem to be very mellow dogs, when a stranger approaches its territory, you will know it.

Another negative aspect of Chows that you need to consider are their aggressiveness. Chows will kill other animals. Especially if not socialized at an early age, a Chow's natural instincts will take over and other animals are not safe around a Chow. A Chow will also be aggressive toward visitors to your home if the Chow is not familiar with them. Early socialization is extremely important if you want your Chow to "play well with others."

Chows are absolutely the most wonderful dogs in the world for people who understand what owning a Chow means. Chows are aloof, yet loyal. They are aggressive, yet peaceful. Chows are amazing dogs. Do not get a Chow if you haven't done any research on the breed. Do not get a Chow if you are not willing or able to do the proper socialization. But do get a Chow if you want a loyal, strong, protective dog who will love you unconditionally. If you're ready to be the Alpha, your Chow will be the best Beta you can ever imagine.