German Shepherd Chow Mix Info: Traits, Health Concerns & Feeding Guide

German Shepherd Chow Chow Mix

This hybrid, combining the noble German Shepherd with the majestic Chow Chow, creates a breed that is as intriguing as it is charming. Having grown up with a German Shepherd, I understand the dedication and intelligence these dogs offer. This mix, however, takes it a step further, blending in the Chow’s dignified aura and independence.

I recall a memorable day when one of my Labradors playfully interacted with a German Shepherd Chow at the local park. The mix’s striking appearance – a splendid mane reminiscent of a lion and those perceptive, deep-set eyes – was unforgettable. In addition to the looks, this breed has a deep-seated loyalty to family, balanced with a touch of the Chow’s natural reserve around strangers.

Let us discuss more about this breed below, and why it might just be the perfect addition to your family.

German Shepherd Chow Mix Quick Summary

Breed TypeDesigner Dog Breed
Height22.5–25 inches (male) or 21.5–23.5 inches (female)
Common Breed NamesGerman Shepherd Chow Mix, German Chow, Chow German Shepherd, Shepherd Chow, Shephrachow
Suitable ForFamilies with older children, active households, experienced pet owners
SizeApprox. 18-26 inches (medium to large)
TemperamentFriendly and affectionate, with proper training and socialization
Coat TypeDense, thick coat (length may vary)
SheddingModerate to heavy, with seasonal shedding
LifespanApprox 10-12 years
Color VariationsTan, brown, black, chocolate, silvery-grey, red, white (color and pattern may favor one parent breed)
Notable FeaturesTufted, large ears, ruffled fur around the neck (may vary depending on each individual dog), thick coat, face shape resembling a German Shepherd
Daily ExerciseHigh exercise needs, several hours of high-intensity exercise per day
Daily FoodOne to two kibble meals per day, measured out for a medium or large dog (your dog food packet will likely set out recommended measurements)
Known Health ProblemsObesity, bloat, eye problems, elbow/hip/joint dysplasia, allergies


Chow Shepherd Mix Parent Breeds

The German Shepherd Chow Mix is a cross between the German Shepherd and Chow Chow. Often referred to as a Chow Shepherd, a Chow German Shepherd, a Shepherd Chow, or a Shephrachow, this energetic hybrid dog breed is rapidly growing in popularity.

While it’s possible that Chow Shepherds existed before the early 2000s, the breed first emerged publicly around 10-20 years ago. Let us discuss the two parent breeds.

German Shepherd


The German Shepherd, a breed that resonates deeply with me, traces its origins back to the late 1800s in Germany. Captivated by their intelligence and versatility, I’ve always admired their historical role. German Shepherds were initially bred for herding and as reliable protectors. Their development was not just about creating a working dog, but also about embodying the best qualities of loyalty and intelligence.

Physical Characteristics

Physically, German Shepherds are a striking sight. They possess a strong, muscular build, indicative of their working-dog lineage. Their coat, which can vary from black and tan to sable, is dense and requires regular grooming – a routine I’m quite familiar with from my time with my own German Shepherd. They have an alert, noble demeanor, with ears that stand erect and eyes that reflect their keen intelligence.

Temperament and Behavior

When it comes to temperament, German Shepherds are popular dogs and a classic working breed. Originally established in the 1800s, German Shepherds were bred for herding and protective purposes. Being highly intelligent, loyal, and fiercely protective of their families, German Shepherds fit well in a variety of roles.

Chow Chow


The Chow Chow, a breed that holds a special place in my heart for its ancient mystique, is believed to have originated in China or Mongolia around 2000 years ago. The exact origins of this noble breed are shrouded in the mists of history, making it a fascinating subject of study for dog enthusiasts like myself. Known for their unique appearance and dignified stance, Chow Chows carry with them a legacy that speaks of ancient cultures and traditions.

Physical Characteristics

Chow Chows are immediately recognizable by their lion-like mane and distinctive blue-black tongue. They have a sturdy, square build with a broad skull and small, triangular ears. Their deep-set eyes give them a somewhat aloof appearance, a characteristic I’ve always found intriguing. The coat, which can be either rough or smooth, comes in various colors including red, black, blue, cinnamon, and cream. It’s a thick, luxurious fur that requires regular grooming – a task that I find both enjoyable and a great way to bond with these majestic animals.

Temperament and Behavior

Chow Chows are an extremely old breed of dog, possibly having originated in China or Mongolia around 2000 years ago. Due to the age of the breed, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when and where the Chow Chow came around.


German Shepherd Chow Mix Physical Characteristics

Chow Shepherd

The Chow Shepherd is a large dog, with a high-maintenance coat of fur. Its coloring is similar to its parent breeds, usually in shades of black, brown, and tan. Depending on the individual dog, a Chow Shepherd may resemble either a Chow Chow or a German Shepherd.

Usually, Chow Shepherds have a long muzzle, tufted ears, and the almond eyes of a German Shepherd. With proper grooming, the Chow Shepherd is a beautiful dog.

Size and Weight

Because both of the parent breeds are sizable dogs, Chow Shepherds are medium to large by the time they reach adulthood. I’ve noticed that due to the Chow Shepherd being a relatively new mix, their size and weight can indeed vary significantly. They typically grow to a height of 18-26 inches and can weigh anywhere from 40-95 lbs.

The Chow Shepherd, like many other dog breeds, can be prone to obesity. Too much food or too many snacks will lead to your German Chow putting on too much weight, which causes other health conditions.


Both German Shepherds and Chow Chows have thick, dense coats, and the Chow Shepherd has inherited this trait. The German Chow is a high-shedding dog and also sheds seasonally. As a result, I suggest regular brushing and grooming.

Since coat length in German Shepherds varies between long and short, soft and rough, a Chow Shepherd can also be varied in coat length and quality. Long-haired Chow Shepherds will need more intensive grooming, as they’re prone to tangles and matting. They’re also more prone to getting dirt and debris stuck in their fur.

German Shepherd Chow Mix Personality and Temperament

Chow Chow Shepherd mix

A Chow Shepherd can be a loving and affectionate family dog. Chow Shepherds are protective of their families and wary of strangers. Like the German Shepherd, Chow Shepherds make good guard dogs and are less aloof than a traditional Chow Chow.

However, I find that Chow Shepherds can be stubborn. They are very intelligent, and these two qualities can make training difficult. They will sense uncertainty and inconsistency in an inexperienced trainer, and act out accordingly. This means that Chow Shepherds aren’t ideal dogs for new or inexperienced dog owners.

German Chows can be socialized to get along with other pets and children, but this takes work. If you have small children or other pets in your family, a Chow Shepherd may not be the best addition to your household.

Chow Shepherds also need mental stimulation and physical exercise. They like attention and will misbehave if left on their own for too long. This misbehavior can include chewing and destroying furniture while their owners are out. Hence, I wouldn’t recommend a German Chow for a household where it’ll be left alone often, or won’t get the time and attention it needs.

German Shepherd Chow Mix Care Guide

  • German Shepherd Chow Chow Mix

A Chow Shepherd will thrive with an experienced dog owner who has plenty of time to spend on their dog. But don’t be fooled – this hybrid breed is not the easiest to care for. It’s a moderate to high maintenance breed.


A Chow Shepherd needs high-energy food formulated for dogs of their size. Depending on the size of your Chow Shepherd, you’ll need kibble aimed at either medium or large-sized dogs.

Feeding Schedule

Feeding a Chow Shepherd requires a structured approach. Reflecting on the feeding routine I followed with my German Shepherd, I recommend two meals a day for adult Chow Shepherds. This not only aids in digestion but also helps in maintaining energy levels throughout the day. Puppies, however, may need more frequent feedings, typically three to four times a day, to support their rapid growth and development.

Portion Control

Portion control is critical for the Chow Shepherd. Given their tendency towards obesity, I always ensure that the portions are measured accurately. The exact amount can vary based on the dog’s size, age, and activity level. It’s a practice my friend adopted with her German Shepherd, adjusting portions as the pet grew and its activity levels changed.

Treats and Snacks

While treats and snacks can be an effective training aid, moderation is key. It’s easy to overindulge a dog like the Chow Shepherd. Hence, go for healthy, low-calorie treats and account for these in their daily calorie intake. This approach helped my friend keep her German Shepherd’s weight in check, ensuring treats remained a small part of its overall diet.

Special Dietary Considerations

Chow Shepherds may inherit certain dietary sensitivities from their parent breeds. It’s important to watch for signs of food allergies or intolerances. Remember the importance of choosing a diet that supports joint health and maintains a healthy coat, considering the common health concerns in these breeds. Consulting with a veterinarian for a tailored diet plan is always a wise decision.


Hydration is as crucial as feeding. Ensuring that your Chow Shepherd has constant access to fresh, clean water is essential. This was a constant in my friend’s routine with her German Shepherd, especially after exercise or in hot weather. Proper hydration aids in digestion, temperature regulation, and overall health. Regularly cleaning their water bowl to encourage drinking is a simple yet effective practice.


Understanding the grooming needs of a Chow Shepherd is crucial for their health and well-being. Having worked with a variety of breeds in my career, I’ve learned that grooming is not just about maintaining a dog’s appearance; it’s about their overall health. Chow Shepherds, with their dense coats, require diligent grooming to prevent matting and to manage shedding.

Nail Care

Regular nail trims are important to prevent discomfort and mobility issues in your Chow Shepherd. I advise checking their nails monthly. If you hear their nails clicking on the floor, it’s a sign that they’re too long and need trimming. For those uncomfortable with doing it themselves, a professional groomer or a vet can assist.


Due to their thick, dense coats, Chow Shepherds need regular brushing and grooming. Daily brushing is best, or at least two to three times a week. During shedding season, your Chow Shepherd will need brushing more often. This breed isn’t recommended if you suffer from allergies. Regular brushing not only helps manage shedding but also keeps their coat healthy and free from dirt and tangles.

Dental Care

Dental care is often overlooked but it’s as important as any other aspect of grooming. I recommend brushing your Chow Shepherd’s teeth several times a week to prevent dental disease and maintain overall health.


Bathing your Chow Shepherd too frequently can strip natural oils from their coat, so it should be done only when necessary. When you do bathe them, it’s crucial to dry them thoroughly, especially given their dense fur. For a thorough and comfortable experience, consider taking your dog to a professional grooming salon.

Special Considerations for Coat and Temperature

This thick coat will cause your Chow Shepherd to heat up more quickly in warm weather. It’s important to provide shade and water during hot days to prevent overheating. Conversely, the coat offers good insulation in cold weather, and you’ll often find that Chow Shepherds enjoy playing in the snow. It’s essential to balance their grooming needs with the weather conditions to ensure they are comfortable year-round.

Training and Exercise

Chow Shepherd Mix


Chow Shepherds need plenty of exercises. Ideally, one to two hours’ worth of high-intensity exercise per day will keep your dog healthy and happy. Since Chow Shepherds often can’t be trusted off their lead, take them to an enclosed area to let them run.

Jogging, hiking, and games of fetch and throw are all ideal for keeping a Chow Shepherd energized and fit.

Training a Chow Chow German Shepherd Mix

I can attest to the fact that Chow Shepherds, with their smart and sometimes stubborn nature, learn quickly. This mix needs an owner who understands canine behaviors and can provide consistent, firm, yet gentle guidance. For novice owners, a Chow Shepherd can indeed be challenging, as they might push boundaries if given a chance.

When training your puppy, it’s important to use positive reinforcement and praise, as these dogs won’t respond to harsh methods. To prevent joint problems in later life, don’t let young puppies run and play on hard surfaces, as their joints don’t properly form until the age of around two years old.

Early socialization is key, especially since Chow Shepherds don’t naturally gravitate towards children and other pets. If you wish to socialize your German Shepherd Chow Mix with them, start as early as possible. Introducing them to a variety of situations, people, and other animals in a controlled, positive way helps in developing a well-rounded, sociable dog.

Mental Stimulation

Mental stimulation is just as crucial as physical exercise for breeds like the Chow Shepherd. In my experience working with intelligent dog breeds, I’ve observed that they thrive when their minds are engaged. Puzzles, interactive games, and consistent engagement play a pivotal role in keeping them mentally stimulated. A bored Chow Shepherd is prone to becoming destructive or depressed, much like any intelligent breed left without adequate mental challenges.

I often recommend puzzle toys that challenge their problem-solving skills, and training sessions that are not just about obedience but also about learning new tricks. This not only keeps their mind sharp but also strengthens the bond between the dog and the owner.

It’s important to remember that Chow Shepherds, with their intelligent and active nature, require a considerable amount of attention. If your lifestyle involves long hours away from home or if you cannot dedicate time daily to engage with your dog mentally, then a Chow Shepherd might not be the ideal breed for you.

They are best suited to an environment where they can receive both physical and mental stimulation regularly. Leaving them alone for extended periods can lead to frustration and behavioral issues, something I’ve seen in various intelligent breeds when their needs are not adequately met.

German Shepherd Chow Mix Health Issues

I’ve learned that awareness and early detection can make a significant difference in managing these conditions. Let’s talk about common health problems Chow Shepherds may face.

Joint Dysplasia

Joint dysplasia, particularly in the hips and elbows, is a prevalent issue in Chow Shepherds, as it is in many larger dog breeds. This condition arises when the bone doesn’t fit snugly in the joint socket, leading to pain, lameness, and eventually arthritis. It’s hereditary and may not initially cause visible discomfort. Symptoms include difficulty in rising, lameness in the legs, and reluctance to run or jump. Regular vet check-ups and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage this condition.

Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus)

Bloat, or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, is a serious condition that I’ve unfortunately encountered in large, deep-chested dogs like Chow Shepherds. It occurs when the stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid and then twists. Symptoms include a swollen abdomen, retching without vomiting, restlessness, and rapid heart rate. Preventative measures include feeding smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding vigorous exercise around meal times, and using slow-feeding bowls. Immediate veterinary attention is crucial if bloat is suspected, as it can be life-threatening.


Entropion, where the eyelid rolls inward, is another concern in Chow Shepherds. This condition can cause discomfort as the eyelashes rub against the cornea, leading to irritation or injury. Symptoms include eye redness, squinting, and discharge. Surgical correction is often required to prevent long-term damage to the eye. Regular eye exams during vet visits are important for early detection.


Obesity is a common health issue that can exacerbate other conditions like joint dysplasia. Maintaining a proper diet and exercise routine is crucial. Monitoring their food intake and ensuring they get regular exercise are key preventive measures. It’s a concern I always highlight to dog owners, as it’s easier to prevent obesity than to reverse it.

Chow and German Shepherd Mix Cost

Due to their needs and background, Chow Shepherds are more expensive dogs than most. They don’t often appear in shelters, so you’ll likely need to buy a Chow Shepherd puppy from a reputable breeder.

How Much is a German Shepherd and Chow Mix?

A German Shepherd and Chow Mix puppy costs between $250-$750. The overall price depends on the puppy’s pedigree, as well as any possible hereditary issues (such as hip or elbow dysplasia). Adopting an older dog is usually cheaper, but it’s unusual to find a Chow Shepherd in a shelter. Buying older puppies can also be a cheaper option, but once again, they’re difficult to find.

How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Chow Shepherd Mix?

For day-to-day expenses, such as food, toys, grooming, supplies, and more, you will pay around $920 to $1000 a year. For medical expenses, you should expect to pay between $485 and $600 yearly for your Chow Shepherd.

Your medical and non-medical expenses for your Chow Shepherd will add up to around $1405 to $1600 a year, not including the initial cost of buying your dog.

Should You Get a German Shepherd Chow Mix?

German Chow mix

Chow Shepherds are intelligent, beautiful, and loving dogs. However, they’re not a perfect fit for every family. These dogs won’t thrive under all circumstances, and there is plenty you should consider before bringing home a Chow Shepherd.

Chow Shepherds are Suitable For:

Chow Shepherds thrive in active households, preferably with no other pets or small children. They need regular exercise, and their ideal home is a house with a large yard. However, they can adapt to apartment life, as long as they’re taken out for exercise regularly. This isn’t ideal, and you should carefully consider your circumstances before bringing a Chow Shepherd into an apartment.

Chow Shepherds are also suitable for experienced dog owners with plenty of time. They make good watchdogs and are loving and loyal. They love having plenty of room to run and play, and respond very well to experienced dog owners.

Chow Shepherds are NOT Suitable For:

Novice or first-time dog owners should stay away from Chow Shepherds. Chow Shepherds are also not ideal for families with small children. While Chow Shepherds can be socialized to get on well with small children and other pets, they can easily bowl over a child, or even snap over their food.

Chow Shepherds are naturally suspicious of strangers. If you don’t want an overprotective dog, you’ll need to carefully train and socialize your Chow Shepherd. Inexperienced trainers aren’t well suited to owning a Chow Shepherd.

Chow Shepherds have a lot of energy and need plenty of vigorous exercise. This means that they’re not suitable for families or owners with limited mobility or energy, and they’re not ideal for people living in apartments.

Due to their thick, dense coats, Chow Shepherds aren’t recommended for people with allergies. They shed heavily, with extra seasonal shedding, and require plenty of brushing and grooming. Your home is going to be full of dog hair, even with plenty of cleaning and vacuuming.

FAQs on German Shepherd Chow Mix

What is the temperament of a German Shepherd Chow Mix?

The German Shepherd Chow Mix combines the intelligence and loyalty of the German Shepherd with the independence and aloofness of the Chow Chow. They tend to be protective and may have a reserved nature, especially around strangers. This mix usually forms a strong bond with their family. It’s important for them to have early socialization and consistent training to develop into well-rounded dogs.

How big do German Shepherd Chow mixes get?

As a mix of two sizable breeds, the German Shepherd Chow Mix generally grows to be a medium to large-sized dog. They can reach a height of 18-26 inches and weigh anywhere between 40-95 pounds. However, their size can vary, depending on which parent breed they take after more.

Are German Shepherd Chow mixes good family pets?

German Shepherd Chow mixes can be good family pets if they are properly trained and socialized from a young age. They tend to be loyal and protective of their family, which can make them excellent companions. However, their protective nature means they need to be introduced and socialized with children and other pets early on to ensure they are comfortable and safe around them.

What are the grooming needs of a German Shepherd Chow Mix?

Due to their thick, dense coats, German Shepherd Chow mixes require regular grooming. Daily brushing is ideal, but at the very least, they should be brushed two to three times a week. During shedding seasons, more frequent grooming may be necessary. They also require regular nail trims, dental care, and occasional baths, making sure to dry them thoroughly afterward.

Are there any special health concerns for German Shepherd Chow mixes?

German Shepherd Chow mixes may be prone to certain health issues such as joint dysplasia, bloat, entropion, and obesity. Regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy lifestyle are important for early detection and management of these conditions. It’s also crucial to maintain their ideal weight to prevent exacerbating joint problems.

How much exercise does a German Shepherd Chow Mix need?

A German Shepherd Chow Mix requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. They typically need at least an hour of exercise per day, which can include walks, playtime, and other activities. They also benefit from mental stimulation through training exercises, puzzles, and interactive play.

A Mix with the Best of Parent Breed Traits

I find this mix particularly interesting for its blend of intelligence, loyalty, and independence. These dogs are adaptable, sure, but they really shine in a home where they have room to move and a family that understands their need for both physical and mental stimulation.

They tend to live a good, long life for a dog of their size, often over a decade, so committing to a Chow Shepherd is really about embarking on a long and rewarding journey. For those who love the complexity and richness of mixed breeds, a German Shepherd Chow mix is a wonderful and fulfilling choice.

Other German Shepherd Mixes

If you’re interested in learning about other German Shepherd mixes, check out the hybrid dog breeds below.

German Shepherd Mixes

About John Woods 299 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.

1 Comment

  1. I believe one of the images is actually a Eurasier, rather than a chow-shepherd. The orange/cream one lying down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.