Signalling a significant move from the status quo, Sir Stephen House suggested perpetrators go on courses to change their behaviour rather than all being sent to court.
He also called for an increase in funding to deal with domestic abuse and for the issue to be handled by the Justice Department in the Scottish Government rather than Equalities.
"I don't believe every domestic abuse incident needs to go to court," he said, speaking exclusively to The Herald. "There are a great many that could be diverted into counselling, relationship guidance or in some instances behavioural change just to help people cope.
"But my officers have got to act on every case. What we cannot do is continue to do what we had done for decades, to just hope it will go away.
"I think it is uncharted territory - if people are diverted before or at court, or sheriffs divert people to mandatory courses, I would be happy to take part in an initiative on this."
He praised the relationship between police and both the community justice organisation Sacro and the domestic abuse advocacy service Assist, describing them as excellent partners.
He said: "If we had an opportunity before court or even at court it could work or maybe if it was made mandatory that would work … You could go down a mandatory route. We need to try it and see but there will always be a proportion of perpetrators that need to go down the custodial route.
"A lot of victims are not keen on going down the court route. Many of the victims are not keen on their partner being locked up because they are the breadwinner ... The police should also be able to use specialist bail conditions on perpetrators because we are the ones who police them."
Last week when new domestic abuse figures were published the accompanying statement came from Equalities Minister Shona Robison. The Chief Constable questioned why homicide is overseen by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and domestic abuse is not.
"Is it time for a fresh look at it with domestic abuse in the Justice remit?" he asked.
There were 60,080 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by Scottish police in 2012-13, compared to 59,847 incidents in 2011-12. Half of all the incidents led to the recording of an actual crime or offence. Of these, 78% were reported to the procurator-fiscal.
"While incident numbers are fairly stable, what we are seeing in different parts of the country is a huge increase in the number of criminal offences being recorded - in some cases double or even treble what it was last year," said Sir Stephen. "We are dealing with it in a much more appropriate way across the country.
"I have the confidence that - not in every case because we do get things wrong because we're human beings - but that we're dealing with it appropriately.
"We are expecting officers to attend and immediately stabilise the situation. Where they look they find."
Sir Stephen also called for money taken off criminals through the Proceeds of Crime Act to be used to fund domestic abuse prevention and organisations that support victims.
"Domestic abuse is a mega, national problem and needs national solutions. Our partners need financial support to grow their capability."
A Scottish Government spokesman said it takes domestic abuse extremely seriously, with ministers working with those trying to tackle the issue.
He added: "We must have a cross-government approach to effect lasting change.
"Since 2007, funding to tackle all forms of violence against women has gone up by more than 60% and we are working hard to address the underlying causes of domestic abuse with partners including police and charities … We are bringing in measures to encourage victims to come forward and report abuse, which we know goes much wider than violence, bringing in measures to encourage victims to come forward and report these dreadful crimes, and ensuring the law is fit to bring offenders to justice."