Back to the Chow Chow Africa homepage



History of the Smooth Chow Chow in Southern Africa

With kind permission from fellow chowists to publish these rare, historic records.

Two rough and a smooth chow chow

Not much information is available on the smooth Chow Chow in earlier years in Africa. They were imported, along with rough Chow Chows, into Southern Africa from the turn of the century, throughout the decades ensuing, by breeders who established the Chow Chow in South Africa. As it was considered just another Chow Chow, no differentiation was documented by the breeders and owners of these smooths as a seperate variety. Smooth and rough chow chows




Above: Two rough (left & middle) and one smooth Chow Chow (right) with Mrs Grant in 1936 (taken at Rivonia Farm) well illustrating the obvious difference between even the shorter coated rough and the smooth chow chow.

Left: (smooth left & 2 roughs right) It is interesting to note from photographs of the above early roughs & smooths and more 'modern' roughs & smooths on the left, that differentiation remains distinct.


Longacre Reno


This rare, complete record of an early South African Chow Chow includes a photograph, which enables us to verify this particular Chow Chow as a smooth. Reno was imported into Southern Africa by Mrs AE Tidd:
Long Acre Reno (Imp UK), whelped April 1, 1937, bred by Mrs E A Squire (UK)
Full pedigree details here...

Pictured left: Long Acre Reno (Imp UK)



Champion Grant's KiKi

Smooth Chow Chows were also seen in the show ring in the first half of the 20th Century. These photographs of red smooth Champion Grant's KiKi (Ch Grant's Glenhaven Kuan Chung x Grant's Longacre Reno. KUSA Reg No: 49219; DOB 25/01/1940; O: Mrs Philipson; B: Mrs D Grant) show one of the early smooths which gained championship.

Champion Grant's KiKi


There is a well known pottery figure in the British Natural History Museum dating from 150 BC which is obviously a representation of a smooth-coated Chow wearing a strong harness. The smooth may be the original type of this breed but is, in any case, as old as the rough.

In the latter half of the last century, when many foreign breeds were being introduced into England in increasing numbers, there were probably nearly as many smooths as roughs imported from China, and these competed on equal terms at the shows. The critiques did not always distinguish the coats.

Chow Chow by Beverley Pisano, published by TFH


Grant's Rookney Julie

Grant's Rookney Julie, blue smooth bitch circa 1975 alongside an unidentified puppy.

From photographs and reports, the smooth seemed to be consistently present over the years but in small numbers.



The smooth coated variety of the Chow has a history at least as old as the rough coated variety. It is possible that it may even have been the original Chow. Certainly, when Chows were first brought into England there were as many smooths as roughs imported.

The Chow Chow by Diana Phillips published by Petlove 










BISS Ch Roseneath Liontamer KimeraIn a bid to regenerate the numbers of the smooth chow chow in Southern Africa, in the mid 1980's, two smooths were imported to South Africa from the USA by George & Julia van Rooyen (Roseneath Kennels) in co-ownership with Dr Samuel Draper (Liontamer Kennels - USA).

Red smooth female
BISS Ch Roseneath Liontamer Kimera (Imp USA)

Kimi made history for smooths in Southern Africa during this time in that she was awarded Best in Speciality Show! At the time of finishing her championship in 1987, as far as Dr Draper could establish, she was the only smooth bitch in the world holding a championship title!Ch Roseneath Liontamer Knockout




Pictured right: red smooth male
Ch Roseneath Liontamer Knockout (Imp USA)

George & Julia report that due to a lack of interest and support from main stream breeders - who were all then focused on the rough variety - the three smooth bitch puppies from the van Rooyen's only litter, were exported to the Netherlands and they stopped breeding chow chows.

Chow Wang - blue smooth born in 1988 - see KUSA pedigree Chow Wang

It would only be from 2000 onwards, when some breeders again made a concerted effort - this time with good success - that regenerating numbers of the smooth Chow Chow in South Africa took place.

At that time several smooths were imported from Sweden by Mrs Kaajan (Okzanna) in co-operation with Mrs Leroy (Ciao). Mrs Kaajan also imported sperm from a top winning Scandinavian red smooth, Nugget (RBISS Ch (Int, Nor, Fin) C'hengtus Golden Nugget) from which no puppies resulted. Of the imports, black smooth Nickelodeons Alea Iacta Est produced offspring, but they did not continue in breeding programs.


Ch Gurkans Underbart Ar Kort of Okzanna (Imp Sweden)

Thus it would appear that all known smooth Chow Chows, born in South Africa, registered with KUSA after 2000, are from the foundations of Ch Gurkans Underbart Ar Kort of Okzanna and Fun-Hai's Whoopie of Okzanna. However, we know that there are possibly smooth Chow Chows in pet homes from other lines which are long established in SA.

In the ensuing 10 years, the smooth chow chow has gained excellent popularity with prospective pet owners, and a number of breeders included it in breeding programs at various times during this period.


Gaining KUSA championship after more than a decade of absence from shows for this variety, was Ch Gurkans Underbart Ar Kort of Okzanna (Imp Sweden) in 2001.

All 5 colours, all smooth puppies!Only 2 breedings in the last 30 years are known to be smooth on smooth thanks to photographs submitted by breeders. Excluding photographs accompanying anecdotal reports and KUSA records, it is impossible to gather smooth statistics with any certainty because KUSA has never separately identified rough and smooth Chow Chows.

A rare "rainbow litter" - all 5 colours in one litter, and all smooth at that -
were born in 2002 at Okzanna Chow Chows
Ch Ciao Le Paladin









Pictured right: KUSA National Chow Chow 2008 RBPIS Ch Ciao Le Paladin

In 2006 a smooth puppy made modern show ring history in South Africa by going Reserve Best Puppy in Show and two years later in 2008 he was also the first and as of early 2012, the only smooth Chow Chow to be awarded the title KUSA National Chow Chow in this competition's history.



Animal Talk featured smooth chow chows

The August 2010 edition of Animal Talk Magazine included an article on the Chow Chow and in particular featured a number of photographs of the smooth variety. This positive education assisted in getting the smooth Chow Chow to become better known as a variety in it's own right.

Obtain your copy from Panorama Publications.


Animal Talk featured smooth chow chows









In 2012, we still find the numbers relatively low (from the perspective of publicised breeding programs and show homes), however, the support for the smooth Chow Chow is both solid and growing fast. As the smooth Chow Chow has become more recognizable as a variety in recent history, success has grown in the showring and we look forward to seeing more smooth Chow Chows competing in the showring as well as being utilized in more publicised breeding programs.