Siberian Husky vs Chow Chow: A Full Breed Comparison

When it comes to the husky vs chow chow, there are a lot of similarities and differences between these two breeds.

Both shed a lot thanks to their thick double coats, and both are Spitz-type dogs, which leads to personality traits like stubbornness and independence. Chow chows are usually a bit heavier and have a more solid build, while huskies are more slender and require much more exercise.

However, this comparison only touches the surface, so stay tuned for a complete comparison of these two breeds to see which suits you better.

An infographic detailing the similarities and differences between the husky vs chow chow

Difference In Appearance

Before we get into the complete comparison, let’s start with the most obvious difference between these two breeds – their appearance.

A Siberian husky looking at the camera

Huskies have a wolf-like appearance, with pointed ears, curly tails, and striking eyes.

Huskies typically have black facial markings, but this can vary depending on their coat color, and they have a slender but athletic build.

A large chow chow on a leash

Chow chows, on the other hand, are like giant teddy bears.

They have more of a solid build, with a more prominent muzzle and a very friendly and thoughtful expression. They have a distinctive furrowed brow created by the extra skin around the eyes, with their famous blue-black tongues.

More Differences Between The Husky Vs Chow Chow

Now that the most apparent difference is out of the way, let’s take a look at some other factors that set these two apart.

Size & Proportions

Chow chows are shorter than huskies but heavier on average, with a more stocky build.

Let’s take a look at the average weight and height of both for a better idea:

  • Huskies reach 35 to 60 lbs in weight and 20 to 23.5 inches in height at the shoulder on average.
  • Chows reach 45 to 70 lbs in weight and 17 to 20 inches in height, both heavier and shorter than huskies on average.

There are, of course, exceptions to these values, but in general, chows are shorted and heavier than huskies with a more solid build, while huskies tend to be relatively slender.

Exercise Requirements

Huskies have a significantly higher exercise requirement than chows, needing at least 2 hours of exercise daily, while chows only need 45 to 60 minutes daily.

If this exercise requirement isn’t met, huskies can start to develop destructive behaviors like excessive howling or chewing, so it’s essential to consider this if you want to get a husky.

Chows are a lot more laid back, both in terms of the total amount of exercise needed and how they expend their energy around the house.

Guarding Instinct

Chows were originally bred as guard dogs and have fulfilled several other jobs throughout the years in roles like hunting and working in fields, but they have retained their guarding instinct to this day.

They aren’t like German Shepherds or other breeds that excel in personal protection, but they will become protective of the family and their territory, so early socialization is necessary for this type of dog.

On the other hand, Huskies are not good guard dogs.

They lack the instinct almost entirely and are more likely to make friends with a stranger than be wary of them.


Now that the differences are out of the way let’s jump into what makes these breeds similar.

You might be surprised at just how many similarities these two dogs have.

Spitz-Type Dogs

Huskies and chows are Spitz-type dogs, which means that they share quite a few personality traits that are common among Spitz-type dogs:

  • StubbornnessHuskies and chows are very stubborn, which can make things like obedience training very difficult.
  • Not eager to please – As well as stubbornness, these dogs are not very interested in pleasing their owners, which also plays a role in obedience training or getting them to listen to commands.
  • Independent – Spitz-type dogs can be very independent at times, preferring their own space every now and then.

If you don’t have experience with Spitz-type dogs, it can be hard to understand how they work at first, but once you spend some time with one, you’ll get the hang of them quickly.

They are fiercely loyal members of the family, but they are also very strong-willed.

Hard To Train

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Spitz-type dogs are pretty challenging to train due to their stubbornness and lack of drive to please their owners.

You should still attempt obedience training as it can offer a lot of mental stimulation, but you’ll need a lot of patience to make any progress.


Spitz-type dogs are often mistaken for being not as intelligent as other breeds because of how stubborn they can be but don’t be fooled.

Just because these breeds don’t choose to listen to you a lot of the time, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t intelligent.

Coat Type

Huskies and chows have double coats, keeping them warm in cold climates. A double coat means that they have two distinct layers in their fur:

  • A short, dense, woolly undercoat that traps warm air in cold weather as well as cold air in hot weather (pretty clever, right?).
  • A longer layer made up of guard hairs that keeps dirt and debris out, as well as moisture.

Shedding & Grooming

Both breeds shed heavily year-round due to their long, thick double coats. This means that daily grooming and more intense grooming sessions are necessary several times per week to keep their coats in good condition.

Another consequence of double-coated breeds is that they blow their coat twice per year on average, which is a process where they transition from their winter coats to their summer coats, blowing lots of fur from their undercoat in the process.

During the coat-blowing season, they will shed even more than usual and cover everything in sight in fur, so ensure you’ll need a good vacuum.

Coat Color Variation

Both huskies and chows come in a lot of different colors.

Huskies, for example, have the classic black and white coat but also come in shades of red, agouti, all-white, red and white, and many more color combinations.

Chows are usually red, but they can also be red, black, blue, cinnamon, or cream, and those are only the colors accepted in the breed standard.


Huskies and chows are often described as cat-like in their behavior, especially regarding their cleanliness.

These dogs will actively try to keep themselves clean, which isn’t seen in many other types of dogs.

Prone To Separation Anxiety

Both huskies and chows can be prone to separation anxiety, so it’s essential to keep this in mind if you have a busy lifestyle and aren’t in the house much during the day.

There are steps you can (and should) take to help these breeds deal with separation anxiety, but it’s crucial to be aware of this problem from the start.

Great Family Dogs

Huskies and chows are great family dogs.

Chows will become very protective of the whole family, while huskies thrive being in the pack of the family due to their background as sled dogs.

The only potential issue can be with smaller children who don’t know their boundaries yet, as huskies and chows can have little patience in these types of scenarios, which is why early socialization is very important with both breeds.

Which Breed Is Best For You?

As Spitz-type dogs, huskies, and chow chows are actually very similar in their behavior. Chow chows tend to be more territorial and suspicious of strangers by nature, while huskies are more friendly and lack a protective instinct.

Huskies are much more work, though, as they require much more exercise. On the other hand, chow chows are a lot easier to keep and can even adapt to apartment living quite well.

Early socialization is critical for success with both breeds, and it depends on what factors are most important to you when deciding between these breeds.

Want to read more husky breed comparisons? Check out some of our other recent husky comparisons below:

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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