From Stray Streets to Stately Homes: The Surprising Origins of Chow Chows in Manila

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Chow Chows

Chow Chows, with their distinct charm, blue tongues, and esteemed bloodlines, are now considered a luxurious breed worldwide. While they may be associated with opulence today, it’s intriguing to discover that not too long ago, these regal dogs were once stray wanderers on the streets of Manila.

Intriguing revelations from the book “Dogs in Philippine History” shed light on the fascinating history of Chow Chows in the Philippines. These dogs owe their presence in the country to Chinese immigrants who brought them along several centuries ago, during their pursuit of greener pastures.

The documented accounts of British residents, John Foreman in 1890 and Joseph Earle Stevens in 1898, offer a glimpse into Manila’s past. Foreman described the presence of Chinese dogs with long hair, pointed noses, small eyes, and black tongues, emphasizing their origin from Hong Kong. Stevens corroborated this account, noting the distinctive features of the Chinese “chow” dogs, including their black tongues, long hair, and peculiar bushy tails that curled over their backs.

Stevens, intrigued by these canines, contemplated adopting a stray Chow dog but found them to be somewhat “unaffectionate.” Nevertheless, his fascination extended to documenting the sizable population of Chows roaming the streets of Manila, creating a nightly chorus in their quest for sustenance. The probable reason for their wandering was the economic struggle faced by their Chinese owners at the time.

From their humble beginnings as street dogs in search of food, Chow Chows have undergone a remarkable transformation. Today, they are synonymous with affluence and are cherished as prized companions. The evolution of these once-stray dogs reflects the changing times and the enduring connection between humans and their loyal canine friends.

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