Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted October 28, 2015
Truth be told, I loved this dog, but he wasn't a good fit for our family.
Poodles and chows can both be difficult breeds, and our mix, Charcoal, was one of the meanest, most stubborn dogs I have ever encountered. We adopted him as a 1 year old from the shelter, but in retrospect, we're not sure how he passed the temperament test. He was extremely food-aggressive.
Although we attempted to train him ourselves, the training never quite stuck. Eventually, we gave up, and he never even mastered "sit." He was a fun-loving dog, though, and did enjoy to play, especially tug-of-war. He also had a strong prey-drive, which resulted in many rabbits and squirrels meeting an untimely demise in our yard.
The best trait that Charcoal had was that he was a fantastic guard/watch dog, which is true to the chow chow breed. He would alert us to any movement within a block of our house. He was, however, extremely fierce and would have to be put in the bedroom if any company came over, as he had a dog bite history.
As far as health and grooming, he was high-maintenance. He had a long, high-shedding coat, and required professional grooming every few months. He also suffered from frequent ear-infections, and eventually went completely deaf (around age 10) as a result. At 12, he went blind, and had to be put down at 13.
Charcoal was not friendly with other dogs and once broke his tie-out in the yard to attack the neighbor's german shepherd puppy, which required a vet visit. Although he enjoyed frequent walks, they were a hassle because of his strength and over-protective nature.
Overall, I would only recommend a poodle/chow mix for someone who is familiar with both breeds and is willing to devote a significant amount of time towards training and socialization.