The Chabrador is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Chow Chow. Also known as the Chow Chow Lab mix, this dignified designer breed has a reputation for intelligence, high energy, and faithful loyalty.
Combining the ancient heritage of the Chow Chow, with the working roots of the gentle, popular Labrador, produces a fascinating cross. Chabrador dogs are loyal to family, aloof with strangers and can make for confident guardians and watchdogs too.
- A combination of histories.
- What do they look like?
- Typical personality traits.
- Finding a healthy Chabrador puppy.
The Chow Chow Lab mix has high grooming needs and you’ll need a great vacuum cleaner to keep on top of all that loose shed. They also benefit from living in homes where someone is around for most of the day, and where plenty of training, socialization and exercise are provided.
Origin of the Chow Chow Lab Mix
Since the Labrador Chow mix is considered a first-generation crossbreed, there is very little known about his origin. It’s likely that these breeds were initially crossed incidentally, rather than purposefully. But the results of this cross has made this mix more popular over time.
By digging into the histories of the Chow Chow and the Labrador Retriever, we can learn a little more about their offspring, the Chabrador Mix.
The Chow Chow has been around for quite some time. In fact, it is believed that this is actually one of the oldest dog breeds in the world! Artifacts dating back to 206 BC depict this ancient breed in the Han Dynasty, but historians suppose it’s possible the Chow Chow’s existence began much earlier than that. The Chow Chow is believed to have held a variety of trades during his long history, from being a loyal companion dog to the nobility in China, to hunting, guarding, and hauling.
But mostly, this is a dog with a royal record. In fact, an emperor during the Tang Dynasty owned over 5,000 Chow Chows in his lifetime! It’s even said that the original teddy bear was modeled after one of Queen Victoria’s Chow Chow puppies.
Possibly one of the most interesting bits of the Chow Chow’s history is when they starred in an exhibit in the London Zoo’s “Wild Dogs Of China” during the 1820s.
In the 1890s, the Chow Chow found its way to the United States of America, where they were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1903.
The Labrador Retriever hails from Northwest Newfoundland, Canada. A famously intelligent breed, the Lab was once known as “St. John’s Dog.” They were working dogs, mostly bred for hunting.
The Labrador became an official breed in 1917, and it wasn’t long after this that their popularity skyrocketed amongst families and breeders. Today the Lab is the most popular, number one dog in the US! This approval rating can likely be attributed to his gentle, intelligent nature, giving him that family-friendly reputation he’s famous for.
These days, the Labrador Retriever is primarily known as a loving pet. They are renowned for their sweet disposition while at the same time being recognized as a phenomenal service dog and emotional support dog.
Chow Chow Lab Mix Appearance
The Chabrador may inherit his appearance from either parent, or some aspects from each. This means features like coat color, weight, and height are left up to chance depending on which parent the Chabrador takes after most.
An adult Chow Chow is a compact dog, around 17–20 inches tall. A male Chow Chow weighs around 55–70 pounds while a female will weigh around 45–60 pounds. Labrador Retrievers are muscular and range from 21 to 24 inches in height. They can weigh between 55 and 80 pounds. So a Chow Chow and Lab mix will likely fall somewhere within those numbers.
Labrador Chow Mix Colors And Coats
The Chow is well known for his coarse coat and the mane-like tuft that grows around his upper body. He can come in both rough and smooth coats of different color markings, including:
- Red (Ranging from gold to reddish brown)
- Cinnamon (Ranging from light tan to brown)
The Labrador Retriever comes in three main colors – black, yellow or chocolate.
As mentioned above, both the Chow Chow and the Labrador will have very thick coats, so a potential Chow Chow and Lab mix owner can prepare for a crossbreed that is similar. Other than that, the Chabrador’s appearance will be contingent on which parent he favors genetically, and what traits his parents have. For instance, a black Lab Chow mix, especially if the Chow parent has black fur, will likely be black. And of course a yellow Lab Chow mix with a cream colored Chow parent will likely be lighter in color.
Grooming and Shedding
Labradors are known for their thick coats and seasonal shedding. And Chow Chows have a similar reputation! Since both the Chow Chow and the Labrador are shedders, a prospective Chabrador owner can certainly prepare for a bit of maintenance when it comes to grooming. And this is true whether you have a yellow Lab Chow mix, a black Lab Chow mix, or any other coat color!
Consistent brushing will also be required at least twice a week to decrease matting and keep your dog’s skin and fur healthy.
Chow Chow mixes will likely need a monthly bath as well, and it is recommended that after bathing he is brushed carefully and then blown dry with a blow dryer on cool heat.
The Lab is less maintenance, with a shorter coat that sheds only seasonally. Still, a Lab mix should be brushed regularly to maintain a healthy coat and to help keep all that loose hair off your furniture and clothes!
Chow Chow Lab Mix Temperament
As always, when it comes to crossbreeding it’s important to keep in mind that the outcome in regard to things like temperament can be unpredictable, and the Chabrador is no exception. Nevertheless, both the Chow Chow and the Labrador share a few similarities, including energy level, loyalty, and friendliness.
But what unique temperamental traits could the Chabrador inherit from each of his purebred parents?
Chow Chow Temperament
The Chow Chow is a serious dog with a dignified nature who can be standoffish with strangers, but very loving and affectionate with his family members. In fact, a properly trained Chow Chow makes a fantastic family dog and does very well with children.
The Chow Chow is easily trained, considering his intelligent nature. He can be very adaptable to apartment living as long as he is exercised properly and given an adequate amount of attention.
The nature of the Chow makes them protective over their family, with some guarding or watchdog instincts. So socialization is extremely important for this mix.
We all know the Labrador Retriever for his intelligence. He is also one of the top choices when it comes to families with kids, due to his affable nature. The breed tends to be very friendly. In fact, they are sometimes almost too keen to spend time with their family and even random strangers they meet at the dog park.
Labs are typically thought of as happy-go-lucky, but they are easily trained and make excellent service dogs.
Chow Chow Lab Mix Personality
Considering the above information, a prospective owner of a Chabrador can expect a crossbreed who is faithful and affectionate, but which may be aloof with strangers if he inherits his Chow parent’s more serious nature. As always, we recommend early socialization and proper training to ensure the health and happiness of your Chow Chow and Lab mix.
Chow Chow Lab Mix Socialization
Speaking of socialization, it’s best to start from the very first day that you bring your new pup home. Introduce him, little by little, to new sights, smells, sounds, people, children, animals, and environments.
This is important for any breed, even a notoriously overly-friendly breed like Labs. Proper socialization promotes a well-balanced, well-behaved, happy dog who acts appropriately in different situations without becoming overly nervous. And especially considering that Chows may be rather reserved and suspicious of strangers, your Chabrador mix definitely needs good socialization.
Training and Exercising Your Chow Chow Lab Mix
Since both the Chow Chow and the Labrador Retriever are active, intelligent breeds, they can be known to exhibit some stubborn behaviors. This can be true of the Chabrador as well. Still, with patience and positive training methods, training your Chabrador should be simple. Remember, training can also serve as a wonderful bonding experience between you and your Chabrador.
If the Chabrador takes after his Labrador parent, you can expect him to pick up commands easily and efficiently. However, and as we previously mentioned, the Lab is a very high energy dog, especially as a puppy. Keep in mind the Chabrador could inherit this trait. For more tips on how to train a puppy, check out some of the guides towards the end of this article.
Exercising Your Lab Chow Mix
Both the Chow Chow and the Labrador require a fair amount of exercise, as they are active dogs. This means their Chabrador offspring will need to be walked daily, and he will need attention and mental stimulation. The Lab especially enjoys running outdoors, so a prospective Chabrador owner should expect lots of play and daily outings.
Chow Chow and Lab Health
The purebred Lab is known to suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, where the joints are not properly formed. They can also have eye problems including PRA blindness or cataracts. They should be health tested for these three issues, at a minimum. You will also need to be aware of the potential for conditions such as cranial cruciate ligament disease.
Labs are also more prone than average to suffer from the gastrointestinal syndrome, bloat. They can also suffer from acquired issues as they grow older, such as obesity, skin allergies, and ear issues.
Chows are relatively healthy dogs. However, they do have some inheritable health issues to be aware of, including hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, eye problems, and even cancer.
Chow Chow Lab Mix Life Expectancy
Labrador Retrievers have an expected lifespan of 10-12 years. Chow Chows have a slightly longer lifespan, averaging 11-13 years. Keeping the above in mind, your Lab Chow mix life expectancy could be anywhere from 10–13 years.
Finding a Chow Chow Lab Mix Puppy
Ensuring that you get your Chabrador mix from a reputable source is of the utmost importance. As crossbreeds like the Chow Lab mix grow in popularity, there are more breeders looking to capitalize on that popularity. As always, we recommend doing plenty of research before you decide where you get your Chabrador.
If you are still unsure about where to go to find your Chabrador puppy, you can always attend local dog shows. Networking at events like dog shows can help point you in the right direction.
Your pup will set you back anywhere up to around $1,000.
Labrador Chow Mix Breeders
One of the benefits of going to a breeder is the ability to ask questions and dig into the history of your potential Lab Chow puppies. So make sure to take advantage of this and use your voice.
Always look into any health or temperamental issues with the Chabrador’s parents. You should ask about previous litters and any concerns that have arisen in the past. Also, be sure to ask about health screening. A reputable breeder will answer questions, provide health test results, and be open to visits to meet the parent dogs.
What About Shelter Dogs?
Patience and care is required when bringing an adult dog home. Take care not to leave small children alone with an unknown animal, especially since you don’t know how the dog was treated or trained.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website