Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Chabrador
Have an image we can use? Message us here!

While the Chabrador may be relatively unknown at this moment in time, this new breed has already earned itself a small but devoted following of fans. By mixing the Labrador Retriever and Chow Chow, breeders have created a lovable companion animal that dedicates itself to its family and makes a superb watch dog. A large dog that is stockily built and well-muscled, the Chabrador has a thick coat of fur which is often brown or black.

Most dog lovers are aware that the Chow Chow has a reputation for being independent and standoffish, while the Labrador tends to adore just about anyone that shows them attention. While it is possible for puppies to take after either parent, most Chabradors inherit a good mix of each parents’ characteristics.

About & History

As with many of today’s ‘designer dogs’, we do not know for sure when and where the Chabrador was developed. Over the last three to four decades there has been a huge demand for the creation of pure-bred hybrids and the Chabrador is the result of a Labrador Retriever and Chow Chow crossing. This interesting combination may also be called the Chowbrador or Lab Chow. While both breeds are large and sturdily built, the similarities end there as they have quite different personalities and character traits.

The Chow Chow is an ancient dog that has been in existence for several thousand years and hails from the Far East. Chow Chows are best known for their unusual blue tongue and fiercely protective nature and courage. As well as being traditionally used as guard dogs, they have been employed as herding animals, hunters and were once even used as a food source in times of need. Their hostile demeanour and stubborn streak makes them a challenging pet, which is probably a large part of the reason that they were bred to the loving and docile Labrador. Labrador Retrievers have been around for several hundred years and were initially developed in Canada as retrieving dogs; hunting on both land and water alongside gunmen. Their gentle disposition has earned them the reputation of being the quintessential family pet and they tend to be incredibly good-natured and happy-go-lucky.


While there is a huge variation within this new and developing breed, most Chabradors share certain physical characteristics. A robustly-built and large dog, the Chabrador certainly makes a striking first impression. Their head and muzzle are broad and their almond eyes are brown and give the dog an intense expression. Though some breed members will have the pendulous Labrador ears, others have the erect ‘teddy bear’ ears of the Chow Chow parent. While some pups will retain the famous blue tongue of their Chow Chow parent, others will not.

The thick double-coat of the Chabrador offers protection from the elements and tends to be either black or brown. The length of the coat varies and some breed members will have a neck ruff, while others will not. Their tail may or may not curl over their back and is often densely furred.

When fully grown, the Chabrador will reach a weight of between 22kg to 36kg, with the males often weighing in heavier than the females. The average adult dog will measure between 46cm and 61cm at the withers.

Character & Temperament

While predicting the personality of any breed can be a bit of a minefield, this is particularly true when it comes to first generation crosses, as it can be hard to know which parents’ genes will be more dominant. The Labrador and the Chow Chow have quite opposing personalities.

On the whole, the Chabrador is a well-balanced dog that is loyal and loving towards its owners. However, some dogs can be dominant and standoffish, so thorough socialisation is required from a young age to ensure they interact positively with other people and animals, not just those in their immediate circle. They often make good friends with children but should be closely monitored in their company due to their sheer strength. Most interact well with other family pets, though may chase small animals.

It is generally accepted that the Chabrador is a more challenging pet than the Labrador but better-tempered than the Chow Chow. They are relatively intelligent and benefit from a structured routine. Hyperactivity can be an issue in some individuals, although this can be controlled with the right training.


As soon as possible, these dogs should begin their training programme, ensuring they understand that they are not in charge and that they learn to follow commands without questioning. As some Chabradors can be willful, trainers must be consistent and should always end the training session on a positive note, where a required task has been completed and rewarded.

If the Chabrador in question has taken after their Chow Chow parent, training might be somewhat more difficult as they can be less eager to please and are more independent than Labradors. Food-orientated, most dogs will respond positively to treat training and in the right hands, that stubborn streak should soon become a thing of the past.

Any sort of negative reinforcement or punishment should be avoided as this could result in a fearful and anxious dog and trainers will see far better results with reward-based methods. Remember, training should be a fun team effort rather than a chore.


The ‘hybrid vigour’ that mixed breed dogs experience tends to give them an advantage over their pure-bred counterparts. This, however, does not make them exempt from genetic diseases and there are a still a number of conditions that we need to be aware of when it comes to the Chabrador:

Hip Dysplasia

Sadly, most larger-sized dogs are prone to developing hip dysplasia, with purebreds and designer dogs being overrepresented. Those dogs that are affected can start to show signs from a young age and become more and more affected as they get older. Eventually, dogs struggle to be mobile and develop painful arthritis.

The best thing that breeders can do to reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia within the Chabrador, is to perform hip screening in all of their breeding dogs and to only breed from those with good hips.


Both the Labrador and the Chow Chow are genetically predisposed to developing an underactive thyroid, so it would only be sensible to assume that the Chabrador will follow in their footsteps. Most dogs start to show signs of the disease when middle-aged, and many will suffer for months before a diagnosis is reached as the signs start off subtly and can be mistaken for ‘slowing down in old age’ by owners.

Dogs may struggle to lose weight, develop baldness and struggle with chronic skin infections. A simple blood test can diagnose the condition and most dogs respond excellently to medication.


‘Bloat’ is a colloquial term for a condition known as ‘Gastric Dilatation Volvulus’ or GDV. Most experts agree that the deeper a dog’s chest the more at risk they are for developing bloat. During an episode of bloat, a dog will act distressed and may pace around, attempt to retch and salivate profusely.

Owners may notice that the abdomen is ‘bloated’ like a balloon and is stiff when touched. Time is of the essence and the quicker a dog is treated by a veterinarian, the better their prognosis.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Do not underestimate the exercise needs of this breed, as to do so will result in a frustrated and bored dog. Most will be happy with 45 minutes to an hour of exercise each day, which may be provided in the form of a brisk walk, jog or swim. They also love the opportunity to roam around off lead, so are best suited to a rural home or a house with a large, fenced-in garden. As obesity can become an issue, particularly after neutering, owners must ensure that this breed is consistently exercised.

Meeting the physical requirements of the Chabrador is only half the battle, and these guys need plenty of mental stimulation to keep them on track. They enjoy scenting and hunting games and can learn a large number of commands.


As the fur of the Chabrador is so dense, it should be brushed every day or so to remove the dead fur that becomes trapped within the coat. They can shed quite a lot, particularly during the summer months, so owners should be prepared for the deluge of fur around the home.

Most breed members will need a bath about every eight weeks, so it is good to get them used to this routine from a young age. Be cautious to keep the ear canals dry during bath time, and use cotton wool to soak up any water that may have gotten in. An ear cleaner can be used to remove wax once a week.

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.