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19 Most Iconic Asian Dog Breeds – The Guide to Dogs From Asia

The most populous continent in the world is Asia. The massive eastern region expands across 48 various countries. And with 4.5 billion people, Asia accounts for over half of the world’s global population! That said, Asia is home to hundreds of millions of dogs.

Various and unique terrain, along with thousands of years of culture, makes Asia the prime breeding ground for some of the most interesting Asian dog breeds. Today, Asian dogs have made their way to all parts of the world and for good reason.

Many of which, have become some of the most popular dog breeds in the world. We’ve found the most iconic dog breeds to have originated from Asia. Let us know in the comments if we missed a dog breed that deserves to be on this list!

RECOMMENDED: 100 Smartest Dog Breeds

Chinese Dog Breeds

China makes up almost a third of Asia’s population. As a result, some of the best and most iconic dog breeds come from this Asian country. EverythingSee all Chinese dog breeds here.

1. Tibetan Mastiff

Highlights: Confident, Brave, Firm

The Tibetan Mastiff is by far the most expensive dog breed from China.

There are few dog breeds as grand and majestic as the Tibetan Mastiff. Originating from China, they’re pretty much the gold standard for guard dogs in China. Not only are they fierce protectors of the home, but they also come with a hefty price.

In fact, the most expensive dog ever sold was a Tibetan Mastiff. For the “small” price of $2 million dollars USD, this golden-haired Tibetan Mastiff was purchased in 2014. The breeder claimed this dog had “lion’s blood.” We’re not buying it – but it sounds like good marketing.

With such a high price, the Tibetan Mastiff has all the qualities you would want in a protector or guard dog. They’re extremely confident, brave and tenacious. But as long as you treat them well, they’re loyal and loving dogs perfect for guarding your home.

  • For a hefty price of $2 million USD, a Tibetan Mastiff with “lion’s blood” was sold in 2014.
  • These dogs were so highly regarded in Tibet because the Tibetans believed their souls were the reincarnation of Tibet monks.
  • In Tibet, they’re called Do Khyi, which translates to “tied dog.” This is because they’re usually chained most of the day and let loose at night. 

RECOMMENDED: Tibetan Mastiff – Nomadic Guardians of Tibet

2. Pekingese

Highlights: Regal, Loving, Devoted

The Pekingese are viewed as dumb dog breeds after been spoiled by royalty for hundreds of years.

The Pekingese dogs are small Chinese toy dogs known for their adorable “lion’s mane.” Not only are they fantastic lap dogs, but also regarded as royalty in the Middle Kingdom. Even today, owners claim there’s an aura of grace and elegance in their Pekingese.

Prior to 1980, Beijing was actually called Peking. And no, it’s not a coincidence. The Pekingese dogs were such highly regarded dogs in China that they were named after the country’s capital. Now, that’s the ultimate recognition.

These dogs are confident yet charming, and they know it too. Many owners will tell you that they act like noble dogs with an aristocratic demeanor. Now while that’s all in the past, they clearly have not forgotten their roots in royalty.

Due to their small size, they do not enjoy playing with rowdy children. Rough-housing is a big no when it comes to the Pekingese. However, they do enjoy the company of calm and older kids. After all, they are petite dogs and tend to be very fragile.

  • The Pekingese is referred to as the “lion dog” in China. Folklore says they’re a cross between lions and monkeys.
  • In Imperial China, stealing a Pekingese is a serious crime. In fact, it is punishable by death.
  • The Pekingese can be traced back to over 2000 years ago – to the Han Dynasty. 

RECOMMENDED: Pekingese – The Royal Lion Dogs of China

3. Shih Tzu

Highlights: Loyal, Friendly, Calm

Like the Pekingese, the Shih Tzu is a Chinese toy dog, bred to be an excellent companion and lap dog for families. During the era of the Ming Dynasty, the Shih Tzus were the favorites among the aristocrats and noblemen of China.

And like many lap dogs from ancient China, Shih Tzus still act like true elitist dogs with a superior and snobby attitude. A Shih Tzu can be difficult to train, but it should be no problem with a patient and loving owner. They’ll be eager to please the right owner.

The Shih Tzu is one of the most popular toy dogs in the world, especially in the United Kingdom. In fact, this dog breed has been owned by all types of celebrities – including Queen Elizabeth II and Miley Cirus. It’s difficult to resist the charm of a Shih Tzu.

In terms of physical traits, the Shih Tzu has unique features. For instance, they have an underbite mouth where the upper jaw is smaller than the lower jaw. This cannot and should not be “fixed.” Accept these cute and adorable dogs for who they are.

  • Only 14 Shih Tzu dogs existed at one point (7 male and 7 female dogs). Fortunately, the breed was able to recover.
  • Military personnel stationed in Europe brought the Shih Tzu back to the United States in the 1940’s.
  • Shih Tzu means “little lion” in Mandarin. They were given this name because the Buddhist God of Learning often traveled with a little lion that looked like a Shih Tzu. 

RECOMMENDED: Shih Tzu – Guide to the Little Lion Dog

4. Chow Chow

Highlights: Stubborn, Serious, Dignified

The Chow Chow is an ancient spitz-type Chinese dog originating from as far back as the Han Dynasty. In their long history, Chows have been used as skilled hunting dogs throughout Asia. Though most believe the Chow is from China, there’s been debate on the origins.

Some historians claim they’re actually from Mongolia, whereas others believe they originated from the northern Arctic. But regardless of their origins, the Chow Chow has become one of the most iconic dog breeds in Asia. They’re in nearly every Asian country today.

They’re most known for their teddy bear-like coat and black, blue or purple-ish tongues, which is rare among all dog breeds. In fact, mutts and hybrids with such colored tongues are often mixed with Chow Chow somewhere along their bloodline.

And while researchers have claimed the Chow Chow to the one of the least intelligent dog breeds, they are smarter than you think. These misunderstood dogs are just stubborn with an independent mind. They won’t do your bidding just because you ask.

  • The Chow Chow, along with the Shar-Pei, are the only two official purebred dogs to have the black colored tongues.
  • The name Chow Chow was created by the English in the 18th century, and was a word to describe anything that came from Asia at the time.
  • The Chinese emperor from the Tang Dynasty owned 2,500 Chow Chows. They were used as hunting companions for the emperor’s hunters. 

RECOMMENDED: Chow Chow – Guide to the Black Tongue Dog

5. Pug

Highlights: Mischievous, Playful, Charming

The Pug is the most surprising Chinese dog breed that no one knew was from China.

Did you know the Pug is an Asian dog breed? Specifically, one from China. One of the most popular Asian dogs in the world, the fun-loving Pug is a little mischievous dog with a playful attitude. There’s just so much to love about them.

Pugs have become widely recognized and featured by some of the most prestigious organizations. For example, Pugs were favorites among Chinese emperors and made great companions for them. Pugs were also the official dog of Holland’s royal House of Orange.

Pugs are known for their big round eyes on their large round heads. The face wrinkles and brow give them an almost human-like expression at times. Whether they’re happy, sad or curious, owners will somehow be able to tell through their many expressions.

These Asian dogs adjust well to almost every environment. They’re great in an apartment or a big house, in the city or the suburbs. Just make sure to keep them away from extreme climates. And as for lap dog duties, they’re one of the best at the job.

  • In Holland, a pug is called a mopshond, which means “to grumble.” So, a group of pugs is called a “grumble.”
  • Pugs were named after marmosets (small monkeys) due to their resemblance. In the early 18th century, marmosets were called pugs.
  • The official dog breed of the Royal Dutch’s House of Orange is the Pug. 

RECOMMENDED: The Complete Guide to the Pug

Japanese Dog Breeds

Japanese dogs are some of the most popular in Asia (and the world), especially the Shiba Inu. Here are other popular Japanese dogs you need to know about. See more Japanese dog breeds here.

6. Shiba Inu

Highlights: Active, Vigilant, Perceptive

The Shiba Inu is the most popular dog of Japan, and one of the best dog breeds to come out of Asia.

No Asian dog breeds list is complete without the highly popular Shiba Inu. They’re not only some of the most popular dogs in Asia, but the most popular in Japan. And on the internet, they’ve become a popular meme (and even the face of a cryptocurrency).

The Shiba Inu is a “cat-like” or feline dog. They’re small independent dogs that love to sneak up on you with their agility and quickness. It’s probably why they get along great with cats. On the other hand, not so much with other small dogs or kids. The Shiba may see them as prey.

They’re unique for their “shiba scream,” where the Shiba releases a very peculiar high-pitched scream. This can happen both out of excitement or distress, so it may be difficult to tell at times. Shiba Inus look very similar to the big cousin, the Akita Inu.

They have the same curly tail, triangular ears and sharp snout. However, they are different dogs with a distinct bloodlines. Still, they’re very different to tell apart as puppies. Shiba Inus are certainly one of the most popular dog breeds to come out from Asia.

  • Because of the Distemper virus and frequent bomb raids, the Shiba Inu almost went extinct during World War II.
  • Despite the small size, the Shiba Inu was originally bred to be versatile hunters. They would aid in hunting down boars, birds and even bears.
  • There is a cryptocurrency named after a Shiba Inu – Dogecoin

RECOMMENDED: Shiba Inu – Bold, Spirited & Good Natured

7. Japanese Spitz

Highlights: Loving, Playful, Obedient

The Japanese Spitz is a companion dog originating from Japan.

The Japanese Spitz is essentially the “Japanese Pomeranian.” Not only do they look eerily similar, but they are both from the same spitz-dog family. Other similar dog breeds also from the spitz group include the Samoyed, American Eskimo and Husky.

Though one of the more recent Japanese breeds, the Japanese Spitz has quickly gained momentum and popularity on the international stage. They’re easily the third most popular dog from this Asian country, behind only the Akita and Shiba Inu.

This spitz has a great temperament. They’re playful with people and extremely obedient with owners. Simply put, they are “family-oriented dogs.” The Japanese Spitz also gets along with children and other calm dogs. I would even recommend them as companions for seniors.

Their unwavering loyalty and devotion is top-notch, which explains why they’re such obedient dogs. If you want to practice obedience training, they’ll be very responsive. Just make sure to shower them with love, and you can bet they’ll reciprocate it back.

  • It wasn’t until World War II that the Japanese Spitz breed was finalized.
  • Due to this breed’s similarity to the American Eskimo Dog, the Japanese Spitz is not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.
  • The Japanese Spitz was created by crossbreeding the German Spitz back in the early 1920’s. 

RECOMMENDED: The Complete Guide to the Japanese Spitz

8. Akita Inu

Highlights: Loyal, Dignified, Fearless

The Akita Inu is one of the most coveted Asian dog breeds to come out of Japan.

As the official dog breed of Japan, the Akita Inu is a national symbol of the country. So much so, that the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would gift Akitas to national leaders and people of importance. Most notably, he gifted a dog to Vladimir Putin in 2012.

Although Akita Inus make great gifts, they make better companions. When it comes to loyalty, the Akita Inu is second to none. For this reason, they can be very territorial and protective dogs. It’s why they’re such coveted guard dogs.

On the flip side, they can be difficult dogs to train for the inexperienced. Plus, they don’t usually get along with other dogs (especially male dogs) and other smaller pets. Early and frequent socialization training is necessary to prevent any potential fights and scuffles.

What may surprise you is that they’re great with kids. According to many owners, they have an affinity towards kids. With this massive 100-lb pound dog, it’s still a good idea to monitor any play time with kids. Still, the Akita Inu is one of the most balanced guard dogs from Asia.

  • Helen Keller was the first person to bring the Akita Inu into the USA after visiting Japan’s Akita Prefecture in 1937.
  • These dogs are so influential in Japan that there is a museum called the Akita Dog Museum in Odate.
  • The Japanese Prime Minister gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a male puppy Akita in 2016. Unfortunately, Putin rejected his offer.

RECOMMENDED: Akita Inu – The Hachiko Dog Breed

Thai Dog Breeds

Though Thai dog breeds aren’t very popular outside their country, the native dogs the country does have are incredibly famous in Thailand. Slowly but surely, the world is finally seeing how great these Thai dog breeds really are.

9. Thai Ridgeback

Highlights: Intelligent, Loyal, Affectionate

The Thai Ridgeback is by far the most popular dog to originate from Thailand.

The Thai Ridgeback is by far the most popular dog breed to originate from Thailand. They’re tough and rugged landrace dogs of the Asian country and are beloved by the people. Having to survive for many years on their own, the Ridgebacks have strong survival instincts.

The Ridgeback is what you’d call a “natural athlete.” They’re extremely agile and quick, with an ability to jump surprisingly high. They’re also very independent dogs with a strong prey-drive, making them formidable hunters.

Thai Ridgebacks can come with many coat colors, such as blue, black, red, fawn and two-tone. However, black is by far the most popular color. What makes them unique is their spotted colored tongues that can be solid black and blue sometimes (like a Chow!).

Fortunately, the Thai Ridgeback has become a fantastic companion dog for families all over Asia. As of late, these ridgebacks have gained quite a bit of recognition in the west and has even been recognized by the American Kennel Club (FSS).

  • The reason the Thai Ridgeback had kept relatively pure is because poor transportation in Thailand kept them from crossbreeding with other breeds.
  • Thai Ridgebacks from Northern Thailand are sometimes born with dew claws on their rear feet.
  • These dogs were used for snake control and are very capable of killing a cobra.

10. Thai Bangkaew

Highlights: Intelligent, Athletic, Loyal

The Thai Bangkaew is the second most popular breed from Thailand and has been gaining popularity throughout Asia.

Though not nearly as popular as the ridgeback, the Thai Bangkaew is still an Asian breed worth talking about. For many years, the Bangkaew’s origin was unclear. However, a recent DNA study showed that the breed has genetic ties to a native Thai dog and the Asiatic jackal dog.

Relatively new, the Thai Bangkaew was developed in Thailand sometime in the 1900s. It’s believed that these dogs came from the southern village of Bangkaew in the Phitsanulok Province of central Thailand. Hence, the name.

They can be a bit stubborn at times, but don’t mistake their stubbornness for low intelligence. These dogs are very smart and generally excellent protectors of the home. According to owners, they’re great at recognizing threats, which requires high IQ.

However, the Thai Bangkaews are not recommended for novice dog owners, which may explain why they’re not as popular as the Ridgeback. A strong and dominant personality is needed to raise one. But, if properly trained, they make solid companion dogs.

  • DNA studies can confirm that the Thai Bangkaew originated from the Thai street dogs and the Asiatic Jackal dog.
  • Researchers believe that the Thai Bangkaew was created over 100 years ago.
  • These dogs come from the village of Bangkaew and was believed to have been bred at a famous monastery called the Wat Bangkaew.

Indian Dog Breeds

Indian dog breeds are all nearly extinct thanks to the introduction of western dogs. Regardless, India is home to some of the best dogs in Asia. See more Indian dog breeds here.

11. Chippiparai

Highlights: Active, Loyal, Independent

Living with a Chippiparai can be easy if you know what you're doing.

When it comes to Indian dog breeds, the Chippiparai is, without question, the most iconic. A Chippiparai is to India, as what the Akita Inu is to Japan, or the Korean Jindo to Korea. Consequently, they’re the most famous Indian dog breed.

Chippiparais are very active dogs, able to run surprisingly quick with long strides using their long legs. It’s why they’re some of the best hunters that Asia has to offer. However, expect to provide these dogs plenty of daily exercise if you plan to keep one.

Today, the Chippiparai is regarded as a symbol of dignity and royalty in the country of India. Though the western dog breeds have put nearly all Indian dog breeds on the brink of extinction, Chippiparais are still relatively prevalent in rural areas of India.

Not only are they easy to care for but they’re fairly robust dogs. In other words, they require very little veterinary care. Still, it doesn’t mean they don’t need any care at all. It’s important to provide them with all the necessities for healthy living.

  • These dogs are often called the “maiden’s beastmaster” due to their popularity as gifts to newlywed brides.
  • Though they’re called the Chippiparai, they are also referred to as “Kanni” depending on their coat colors.
  • Chippiparai were dogs kept by only the elitist of India at one point in time.

RECOMMENDED: Chippiparai – The Royal Indian Hunter

12. Indian Spitz

Highlights: Loving, Playful, Charming

The Indian Spitz is a breed recognized by the Indian Kennel Club.

Although other Indian dogs may be more “iconic” to foreigners, the Indian Spitz is likely the most popular dog from India. With such a great temperament and personality, it’s easy to see why. They just seem to have a charm that attracts all types of people.

Also part of the Spitz family, the Indian Spitz is nicknamed the “Indian Pomeranian.” They both have a nice fluffy coat with a curly tail. But upon closer inspection, they’re quite different. For example, the Indian Spitz has a much shorter coat and are generally smaller.

Aside from these small physical differences, they’re essentially the same – including the bright and playful personality. These dogs have a ton of energy and love to play with all humans. They’ll do whatever it takes to get your attention.

The Indian Spitz is an excellent choice as a companion to a child or senior. Within loving families, they’re the best versions of themselves. If you’re an owner that would like to do nothing but play with your dog all day, the Indian Spitz is perfect for you.

  • Because of its eagerness to please, the Indian Spitz is said to be the easiest Indian dog to train.
  • In the 1980s, the Indian Spitz exploded in popularity after the Indian government imposed strict import regulations on dog breeds.
  • These dogs come in two different size variations – a smaller and larger spitz. 

RECOMMENDED: Indian Spitz – The Complete Dog Breed Profile

Korean Dog Breeds

There’s more to Korea than just the renowned Jindo dog. Korea is home to some of the friendliest and most beautiful dog breeds. For more, check out our list of all Korean dog breeds.

13. Korean Jindo

Highlights: Devoted, Active, Brave

The Jindo is the most iconic and popular dog to come from Korea.

The Jindo dog is the national dog breed of South Korea. As expected, they’re by far the most popular dog breed to come out of Korea. Jindos are immensely loyal but have a ton of energy – easily making them some of Asia’s most versatile family dogs.

As their name would tell you, these dogs are indigenous to the southern Korean island: Jindo Island. For several years, they were bred and trained to be highly skilled hunting and tracking dogs. Fortunately, they’ve nearly all transitioned to family companions.

What’s interesting is that the Korean government has spent a lot of time training these dogs to serve in their national army. However, it didn’t turn out as expected. The Jindo has such strong prey-drive that they didn’t become popular military or police dogs.

The key to raising a happy and healthy Jindo is socialization, especially at an early age. To overcome their strong hunting instincts, they must frequently meet and play with other dogs and kids to learn how to curb their instincts.

  • At one point, the Los Angeles Police Department considered using the Jindo in their k-9 Unit. Two dogs were imported from South Korea to train.
  • After the Seoul Olympics in 1988, hundreds of Jindo dogs marched in the opening ceremony.
  • Jindo dogs are known for their ability to escape yards and crates. Always keep a close eye on your Jindo.

14. Dosa Mastiff

Highlights: Affectionate, Sweet, Calm

The Korean Mastiff is Korea's friendly giant dog breed.

The Dosa Mastiff, otherwise known as the Korean Mastiff, is the largest dog breed to come out of South Korea. Weighing up to nearly 200 pounds, the Dosa Mastiff may seem really intimidating to many, but in reality, they’re really not.

In fact, they’ve been called the “gentle giants of Korea.” They break the traditional image and mold of what the aggressive mastiff dogs are supposed to be. On the contrary, the Korean Dosa Mastiff is good-tempered, sweet and loving dog.

The reason why they’re such calm dogs is because they’re primarily bred as show dogs. Breeders did not need them to be great protectors like with other mastiffs. An obedient and docile temperament was more favorable for show competitions.

Dosas have extremely smooth coats with a shiny gloss. The colors of the coat are extremely beautiful, ranging from a deep brown to a red mahogany. However, these dogs can still be dominant dogs due to the sheer size. You’ll want to establish dominance to keep them in check.

  • These dogs were bred solely for the purpose of show competitions. For this reason, they’re called Korean beauty dogs.
  • The distant cousin of the Dosa is the Japanese Tosa Inu.
  • Purchased for 10 million Indian Rupees ($140,000 USD), the Dosa Inu became the most expensive dog to be imported into India.

Malaysian Dog Breeds

Malaysia is not an Asian country you would think of for having unique and exotic dog breeds. Though the country doesn’t have many internationally famous or recognized dogs, they have a few native breeds that are popular within the country.

15. Telomian

Highlights: Intelligent, Alert, Active

The Telomain is the most popular dog breed from Malaysia and has been gaining popularity in South East Asia.

Although still considered relatively rare, the Telomian is probably the most famous and popular breed to come out of Malaysia. In fact, this is the only homegrown Malaysian dog to have been exported outside of the Southeast Asian country.

The Telomian was originally bred by the aboriginal people of Malaysia. But what’s unique about them is their special ability to climb and jump. The Orang Asli tribe built elevated huts to avoid encounters with dangerous animals. For this reason, these dogs needed to learn to climb.

In the 1960’s, anthropologist Orville Elliot discovered this Malaysian breed and brought them back to the United States. Needless to say, people were intrigued. By 1970, the Telomian Dog Club of America was established and breeders started producing more dogs.

Physically, the Telomian is unique for its elongated back and short, smooth coat. They can come in a variety of shades of white and sable with a black mask. Standing just 18 inches tall, the Telomian is a small dog breed with a blue, purple or blackish tongue.

  • Despite being kept by Malaysian locals and aboriginals, the Telomian were considered to be “bad luck” dogs.
  • Some scientists believe that the Telomian could be the missing link between the Australian Dingo and Baseji dog breed.
  • Malaysians call the Telomian, Anjing Kampung, which means “village dog” in their native tongue of Malay. 

Indonesian Dog Breeds

Indonesia is another South East Asian country with few that many people know. Still, it doesn’t mean this beautiful country doesn’t have equally beautiful dog breeds.

16. Kintamani Dog

Highlights: Loving, Vigilant, Active

The Kintamani Dog is one of the only dog breeds to originate from Indonesia.

The Kintamani dog is the only dog breed to originate from Bali Island of Indonesia, otherwise known as the “Hawaii of Asia.” They come from the Kintamani region of Bali Island and are believed to have evolved from landrace dogs (Bali street dogs).

Though they may look very similar to the Samoyed, they the two are very different dogs. The Kintamani has long fluffy hair and a broad face. In addition, their forehead and cheeks are usually flat, resembling that of a Chow Chow.

Kintamani dogs are independent by nature, as they’ve spent a lot of time on the streets. However, as a domesticated dog, they can be a little too territorial. But with a kind family and proper socialization, you can expect an affectionate and loyal dog.

In addition, these dogs are active and energetic. They will be a handful if you plan to keep one. These dogs love to climb, as they’ve done in the past, and can usually be found scaling rooftops and spending the day people-watching from above.

  • Genetic studies have shown that the Kintamani were derived from Bali street dogs and other Asian dog breeds, such as the Chow Chow.
  • Bali Island will hold a Kintamani Dog Exhibition every year in hopes of promoting these amazing native dogs.
  • In March of 2019, the FCI decided to give the Kintamani dog provisional recognition

Russian Dog Breeds

Because spitz dogs originated from the arctic circle, such as Siberia, it’s not surprising that we have such iconic and popular dogs from Russia. The cold country isn’t just known for the Husky, but so much more. See all Russian dog breeds here.

17. Siberian Husky

Highlights: Mischievous, Loyal, Active

Siberian Huskies are, without question, the most iconic dog breed from Russia. Today, they’re found in all parts of the world, including areas with warmer climate. In America, Siberian Huskies are always part of the top 20 most popular breeds list.

Originally bred with high endurance and agility in mind, these dogs have become the premier sled dogs in Alaska. And while they still do pull sleds in snowy regions, Huskies can still make wonderful pets for homes in almost every region.

Keep in mind, these dogs can be a little stubborn at times. But that doesn’t mean they’re not loyal dogs. Rather, they’re independent-minded dogs with a ton of energy that needs to be put to work on the field. They also love to have fun.

Because they were bred to be with other sled dogs, they’re really good pack dogs. In other words, they get along great with other dogs and people. However, Huskies may view cats as prey. And if you want a guard dog, Huskies are way too friendly!

  • A pack of Huskies saved an Alaskan town’s kids by delivering the anti-toxin for Diphtheria from over 700 miles away.
  • Huskies are one of the few dog breeds to have natural blue eyes without having the “merle” gene, as seen in Aussies.
  • According to DNA studies, Huskies share a large amount of DNA similarities with the prehistoric grey wolf. 

18. Alaskan Malamute

Highlights: Loyal, Calm, Playful

While the Alaskan Malamute may have been popularized in Alaska, they actually migrated from Siberia (like with the Siberian Husky). The biggest difference is that the Alaskan Malamute came to Alaska a few thousand years ago.

Alaskan Malamutes are often confused for Siberian Huskies. In fact, the two spitz dogs have so many similarities that it’s not surprising. From the appearance, to work history, to origins and temperament, these iconic Asian dogs have a lot in common.

The main difference is the size. Malamutes are considerably larger than Huskies. But Malamutes are just as playful, friendly, affectionate and loyal as the Husky. As much as they love to work, they love human companionship more.

Malamutes are world-class sleigh dogs. Thanks to their hefty size, they specialize in pulling heavier loads, whereas Huskies specialized in lighter loads but quicker delivery. All it means is that Malamutes require a lot of run daily to meet those exercise needs.

  • Because of an elementary school student, the Alaskan Malamute became the official dog of Alaska in 2009.
  • The Alaskan Malamute has appeared on stamps in at least 14 countries, including in the United States.
  • It’s rare to see an Alaskan Malamute barking. Instead, they’ll “talk” with a vocalized sound and howl. 

RECOMMENDED: Alaskan Malamute vs. Siberian Husky

19. Samoyed

Highlights: Docile, Adaptable, Loyal

Samoyeds are smart dogs, as they're the 44th smartest dog breed.

The Samoyed may just be the “happiest” Asian dog breed we have – or so it seems. Largely thanks to the unique upturned corners of their mouths, Sammies look like they’re smiling all the time. We call this the perpetual “Sammie Smile.”

Known for their fluffy white double coats and bright demeanor, Sammies are hard working dogs that were bred for multi-purpose jobs in the snow. Originating from Siberia, they’re powerful but also agile workers, making them super versatile dogs.

When they’re at home, Samoyeds can be amazing companions that show a lot of affection and loyalty to the owners. As such, they demand a lot of love and attention. In a loving household, they’re superior family dogs.

However, Samoyeds aren’t ideal for everyone. Because they were bred for negative degree climates, they don’t do well with warm weather. Plus, they need a ton of physical exercise on the daily. Oh, and don’t get me started with their shedding!

  • Samoyeds are one of the 14 modern dog breeds that have a genetic footprint closely resembling the grey wolf.
  • Sammies are known for their “singing,” in which they howl and yodel in a melodic tune. Multiple dogs may also harmonize with one another.
  • These dogs were previously known as the best reindeer guarding and herding dogs in the arctic circle. 

Did we miss an Asian dog breed that deserves to be on this list? If so, leave the dog breed in the comments section below! We’ll do our best to continuously update this list.

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Kathie Brown

Saturday 12th of August 2023

The name "Tibetan" should be a giveaway - the Tibetan Mastiff is not Chinese but Tibetan. Then there's the Tibetan Spaniel, the Tibetan Terrier and the Lhasa Apso, also from Tibet. And Tibet is still a place, no matter how overrun!


Monday 8th of February 2021

Please include the 4 mid-sized Japanese Breeds in the Spitz Family: 1) Hokkaido Ken/Inu 2) Kai Ken/Inu 3) Kishu Ken/Inu 4) Shikoku Ken/Inu They need the notoriety because they are so rare! Thank you!


Saturday 25th of January 2020

Your picture of a Malamute is actually a husky - Mals never have blue eyes!

Antonio Velazquez

Friday 27th of September 2019

What about the Central Asian Ala-bai, Ovcharka, the Kingal, and some of the other large shepherd breeds from Asia?


Friday 27th of September 2019

Thanks for the suggestion, Antonio. You're absolutely right, and I already have plans to include them in the next update of the article. It's coming.. :)

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