The Chow-Chow


Finely-Cast Iron Chow-Chow Bookends with Rich, Dark Patina (LEO Design)


The Chinese Chow-Chow is amongst the oldest dog breeds in the world, one of the so-called "basal breeds" (that is, dog breeds which were developed for specific tasks centuries ago, before the modern era of canine husbandry).   Some historians estimate the breed may be 2000 to 3000 years old, beginning in the Arctic, migrating through Mongolia, and eventually settling in China.  Their sturdy bodies, ultra-thick fur, and fierce loyalty made them highly desirable as guard dogs or to work in difficult winter climates.  The fact that their fur forms a ruff-like "collar" around their necks—which gives them the appearance of a lion—made them even more desirable as palace guard dogs.  In the 13th Century, Marco Polo wrote his observations of seeing Chow-Chows used in China to pull sleds through the snow.

The Chow-Chow is naturally suspicious of strangers and tends to bond with one or two family members—whom he will fiercely protect.  Family pets need to be well-socialized as puppies if this characteristic is to be overcome.  They are also aggressive hunters, meaning they cannot always be trusted around other animals which could be perceived as prey.

These cast iron bookends, made in the 1920's, capture the Chow-Chow in all its regal glory. The pair boasts a rich, dark patina.  Click on the photo to learn more about this handsome pair of bookends.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248