Ever wonder why that fluffy black-tongued friend of yours was called a "chow"? Here's a few answers:
* * *The name of the chow breed of dog appears to have originated from “ pidgin ” English, which, now rapidly disappearing, was a trade language composed of a mixture of the most easily intelligible English and Chinese words used in early trade intercourse in South China. In this mixture there was originally a large element of Portuguese. Some suggest that the word originated as pidgin Portuguese, derived from “ Che,” the Chinese for “ to eat,” used as the ﬁrst word in the customary Chinese greeting, which means “Have you eaten rice?” At one period the Chinese, whose trade in ginger, or “ chow-chow,” with Europeans was important, became known by the name of chow. It is, therefore, probable that the name chow, as applied to the dog commonly found in Canton, simply means a Chinese dog, and does not refer to its having been used for food.
--from Collier, V. W. F. Dogs of China & Japan, In Nature And Art. London: W. Heinemann, 1921. p. 58.