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16 Charming Chinese Dog Breeds – The Complete Guide to All Chinese Dogs

Some of the best dogs in the world are Chinese dog breeds.

China is well-known for pandas, dragons and silkworm. But did you know China is also home to some of the most eclectic dog breeds? Big, small, fluffy or hairless, there is certainly a dog breed in China that will appeal to you.

Historical evidence has pointed out that it was in the Middle Kingdom that domestication of dogs was first appeared. This can be traced as far back as 15,000 years ago, where scientists have identified maximum genetic variation. There was also a time in Chinese history when certain breeds were patronized by the rich and elite.

Unlike the yesteryears, people in China have grown to love dogs. Now it’s common for a Chinese family to have a pet dog, despite stringent government regulations.

RECOMMENDED: 31 Stunning Dog Breeds from Germany

All Chinese Dogs

So it’s just a matter of identifying one Chinese dog would be most compatible with you and your family. Learning about these dogs’ characteristics and temperament can help you choosing your next companion and friend.

Assuming you have decided to keep a dog for a pet, which Chinese dogs would you choose? Though the following is a list of breeds homegrown in China, many have reached international popularity.

16. Tibetan Terrier

Highlights: Loving, Loyal, Tender

Despite the name, the Tibetan Terrier isn’t from the terrier dog group. Rather, they’re a non-sporting dog breed. But they are from Tibet in China.

Also called the “Holy Dog of Tibet,” the Tibetan Terrier is one of four dog breeds that protect the ancient monasteries of Tibet. In fact, they look similar to the Tibetan Lhasa Apso – just slightly bigger.

These dogs feature a shaggy double coat with a wool-like undercoat. However, the top coat resembles human hair more than dog fur.

Though they’re hardy and generally live a long life, Tibetan Terriers are susceptible to certain health problems, mostly involving the eyes and joints.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • The Tibetan Terrier was given its name by European travelers who thought they resembled terrier dogs.
  • These dogs were “good luck charms” and said to have been kept purebred for over 2000 years.
  • At one point, these dogs were actually called “Lhasa Terriers.”

Tibetan Terrier Temperament

These dogs have grown in popularity because of their family-oriented temperaments. Not only are they great rural dogs, but adapt effortlessly to apartment or city life.

Tibetan Terriers strike the perfect balance between playfulness and calmness. They’ll spend hours playing with your kids, but also love to cuddle up just as much. They’re low-key dogs, but also lively playmates.

Having guard monasteries for thousands of years, you can be their vigilant nature makes them superb watchdogs. They’re not overly aggressive with strangers, but they’ll be suspicious of them.

They’re stubborn at times and won’t always respond well to obedience training. Still, they’re very smart dogs – just more independent-minded than other dogs.

15. Lhasa Apso

Highlights: Fun, Confident, Intelligent

The Lhasa Apso is a Tibetan dog breed that’s been around for over thousands of years. Like the other Tibetan breeds, they served in Buddhist monasteries in the reclusive regions of the Himalayas.

Though small in size, these aristocratic dogs are known for their lavish coats that hang to the floor, draping from all sides of the body. They are truly an interesting sight to see.

Fanatics of the Lhasa Apso say their oval-shaped dark eyes are great communication tools. They’re very expressive dogs and the eyes are truly the window to their soul.

Though they originated from China’s Tibetan region, the Lhasa Apso has grown wildly popular all around the world. In fact, many A-list celebrities own one, including Ellen DeGeneres and Gwen Stefani.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • They are sacred dogs. The Buddhist monks believed the souls of lamas and priests are reborn as Lhasa Apsos prior to being reborn as humans.
  • Lhasa Apsos were regarded as “good fortune” dogs. In fact, they were gifted by the Dalai Lama to the USA in the 1930s.
  • They live long lives with an average of 15 years. The oldest Lhasa Apso was 29 years old.

Lhasa Apso Temperament

The Lhasa Apso is a very friendly dog with a temperament that appeals to families of all types. Once you get to know them, they’re quite comical and can be a little mischievous.

With the familiar, they’re warm and affectionate dogs. However, they quite stand-offish with strangers, which is why they’re great watchdogs.

Though the Lhasa Apso is a small dog, they’re confident and a little courageous. They’ll do what they can to protect the family, as most watchdogs do too.

14. Japanese Chin

Highlights: Alert, Independent, Smart

The Japanese Chin is….Chinese? The history of these dogs is as confusing as its name. In the past, there’s been a lot of debate over the actual origins of the Japanese Chin.

Many claim they’re from Japan, while others believe China is their true birthplace. The reason experts believe they’re from China is because of their uncanny resemblance to the Pekingese.

Furthermore, some even believe that the Japanese Chin and Pekingese were both the same dog at one point! Their theory is that these dogs were gifted to Japan by the ancient Chinese Emperors.

We can’t say for sure where the Japanese Chin originate from, but we do know that they’re amazing lap dogs and companions.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Their specialty trick is the “Chin Spin,” where they’ll quickly spin around in circles while on their hind legs. Impressive and entertaining!
  • Some experts believe that Japanese Chins were actually gifted by the Koreans in AD 732. And you thought it couldn’t get more complicated?
  • It can take up to two years for a Japanese Chin’s coat to fully develop.

Japanese Chin Temperament

Japanese Chins are famously known for their feline-like attitude. They can be stubborn, but they’re always alert and very intelligent.

If given the choice, the Chin will always seek higher grounds to rest, much like a cat would do. Furthermore, they’ll paw and wipe their face.

For the most part, Chins are very affectionate dogs. Though independent, they are surprisingly loyal dogs. Just make sure you provide early socialization for a more balanced Japanese Chin.

These dogs are very adaptable, able to find comfort in just about any situation or environment. Also, they’re decent watchdogs with their vigilant demeanor.

RECOMMENDED: All About the Japanese Chin

13. Xiasi Quan

Highlights: Obedient, Intelligent, Devoted

The Xiasi Dog or “Bai Long Quan,” as the Miao ethnic group calls them, is a Chinese dog that originates from the southern Guizhou Province of China.

These unique dogs stand apart from other dogs of China, as they have a lean muscular build and a signature white wiry coat. In the province, they had served as hunting dogs for decades.

The Xiasi dog has all the qualities of an excellent hunting dog. They have an incredible nose, along with sneaky agility and impressive endurance.

When they’re off the field, they’re affectionate and loving companion dogs for families. Despite a strong hunting instinct, they get along well with other dogs in the pack.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • According to the Chinese, the Xiasi dog is regarded as a “lucky omen” that’ll bring prosperity to the household.
  • In Guizhou, Xiasi dogs participated in boar-fighting competitions. The dogs were judged by their willingness to fight and attacks attempts.
  • These dogs are currently fighting extinction. It’s estimated that there are less than a few hundred purebreds left in Guizhou province.

Xiasi Dog Temperament

Xiasi Quans are highly intelligent dogs that want nothing more than to work for and please their owners. They’re relatively easy to train and do well in a family setting.

However, if you don’t plan to use them on the field, they need to meet their mental and physical stimulation elsewhere. Dog puzzles, games and a lot of exercise are recommended for these high-energy dogs.

The hunting instincts in the Xiasi is strong. Make sure you keep them on a leash at all times. If a small animal runs by, they’ll chase it down and it’ll be difficult to catch them.

As a hunting dog, they’re very comfortable operating in “dog packs.” The Xiasi will most likely get along with other dogs as long as they’re raised together. But they may be a problem for other small pets you own.

12. Formosan Mountain Dog

Highlights: Intelligent, Active, Loyal

The Formosan Mountain Dog, called Tuguo in Chinese, is not from mainland China, but rather from the small island of Taiwan. In fact, they’re the landrace breed of the island, which is also called Formosa Island.

Despite their names, these dogs are not solely found in the mountainous regions of Taiwan. They wander the streets in even large metropolitan cities such as the country’s capital, Taipei.

Formosan Mountain Dogs have adapted well to the modernization of the country. In rural areas, they’ve been trained to be hunting dogs, guard dogs, search & rescue and even family companions.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • These dogs are nearing extinction thanks to the lack of conservation efforts by the Taiwan government.
  • During WW1, Formosan Mountain Dogs were bred with military German Shepherds to produce guard dogs for highway construction workers.
  • The Taiwan Dog nearly went extinct because of the dog-eating culture brought to the island by the Chinese Nationalist Party in 1945.

Formosan Mountain Dog Temperament

This Taiwan dog is always brimming with energy. In the right environment, they will be loyal and affectionate dogs.

They’re famously known by locals for being highly intelligent dogs with the capability to learn commands and jobs very quickly. It’s why they can make such great hunting and guard dogs.

Because they’re indigenous dogs that’s spent most of their history in the wild, they need plenty of socialization. Without it, they’re likely to develop into fear-aggressive dog breeds.

The Formosan dog is much better off as a one-owner dog. Though they can be affectionate towards humans, they can also act aloof towards other family members.

11. Bone Mouth Dog

Highlights: Active, Agile, Calm

The Bone Mouth dog is not a completely unique dog breed. Rather, they’re a variation of the Chinese Shar-Pei.

In Chinese, their name is pronounced gǔ zuǐ, which literally translates to “bony snout.” That’s because this variation has less “meat” and flaps of skin around the snout.

In addition, the Bone Mouth differs from the Shar-Pei because the former has fewer wrinkles, a pointed tail, shorter hair and a roof-tile muzzle.

According to the Chinese locals, the Bone Mouth dog is the original version of the now famous Shar-Pei. The Shar-Pei that you know today was most likely developed by the Americans.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Standing as tall as 23 inches, the Bone Mouth is considerably taller than the American Shar-Pei.
  • According to Chinese breeders, the meat-mouth variation was developed by the Americans and is the Shar-Pei that you probably know.
  • Though these dogs are known for having a blue-blackish tongue, some light-colored dogs will have pink or spotted tongues.

Bone Mouth Temperament

There’s very little information surrounding the temperament of the Bone Mouth Shar-Pei. However, from what we’ve found, we know they’re docile and loyal dogs.

Like with most Chinese dogs, Bone Mouth dogs are affectionate and tend to like being with people. Despite the wrinkles, they’re more active and agile than you think.

10. Kunming Wolfdog

Highlights: Obedient, Devoted, Intelligent.

The Kunming Wolfdog is like the Chinese cousin of the German Shepherd.

In terms of appearance, this Chinese breed would remind you strongly of a German Shepherd because of its head-shape and athletic physique.

Yet when you look at their tiny feet, you cannot help but compare them to cats. Like with feline, the Kunming also fluffs up and straighten their bushy tail as a sign of alertness.

Given their natural instincts and agility, this Chinese dog breed is perfect for police and military work. They may not be popular family pets, but this trend is gradually changing.

The only reason why they’re such underrated family dogs is because of their constant need for physical and mental stimulation. It’s something that not every household can provide to these high-energy Chinese dogs.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Kunming Wolfdogs were used as security dogs during the 2010 XVI Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. One of their main jobs was to sniff out any potential bombs in the sports arena. 
  • Often known as Chinese German Shepherds, Kunming Wolfdogs were some of the first breeds to work with China’s K-9 force back in 1953.
  • These dogs are a result of crossbreeding German Shepherds with Wolves.

Kunming Temperament

For a large breed, this canine is surprisingly well-behaved towards family members. They love to perform tasks for their owners and will gladly accept obedience training from a respected owner.

They tend to try to assume a leadership role from day one. So, be careful and establish your dominance as the alpha when it comes to the Kunming.

With that said, this dog can be somewhat unpredictable and should be monitored at all times. Kunmings shouldn’t be playing with children unless they’re properly trained and the kids are old enough.

RECOMMENDED: Kunming Wolfdog – Guide to the Chinese German Shepherd

9. Chongqing Dog

Highlights: Loyal, Vigilant, Courageous.

The Chinese Chongqing dog is one of the rarest dog breeds in China.

What makes the Chongqing breed stand apart from the others is its affinity towards its family. This is true despite serving as a hunter and a guardian for the home.

It was when the Han Dynasty ruled China that the Chongqing reached popularity in the south-western part of the country. Ever since, they’ve been revered as one of the natural breeds of China.

Having this deep-brown muscular canine around is indeed reassuring as it could help you protect your property. Their sharp instincts and inherent ability to remain alert make them ideal guard dogs.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • There are roughly as many Chinese Giant Pandas as there are Chongqing dogs – making them one of the rarest Chinese dog breeds in the world. 
  • When ancient statues from the Han Dynasty were dug up in the 1980’s, the artifacts provided evidence that the Chongqing dog existed 2000 years ago. 
  • Chongqing dogs have been on the brink of extinction twice in the last 100 years. First, when the communist part slaughtered these dogs. The second time was when the SARS epidemic hit China.

Chongqing Temperament

Expect a Chongqing to be fond of children and family members. But when it comes to strangers this dog breed is bound to take on an aloof stance. They may not be aggressive but are wary of strangers, revealing their presence at the slightest hint.

However, with enough socialization at an early age, these dogs can become great family dogs. They’re brave, but known most for their immense loyalty. As long as you’re a firm and consistent owner, the Chongqing will be obedient and protect you at all costs.

It should be noted that Chongqing dogs can have completely different personalities. They take their roles in the family very seriously. So, if you make them the guard dog, they may have a completely different temperament than if they were just a companion dog.

RECOMMENDED: Chongqing Dog – Guide to the East Sichuan Hunting Dog

8. Chinese Crested

Highlights: Playful, Alert, Sweet-tempered.

The Chinese Crested dog is a bald Chinese breed with hair in only three areas.

The Chinese Crested dog comes in two distinct varieties, often in the same litter. One version comes with fur and the other does not. They’re called the Powderpuff and Hairless Chinese Crested, respectively.

However, the hairless coat is a dominant trait, making them more popular than their furry counterparts. It’s not too difficult finding a powderpuff Crested, though.

For dog lovers who regard bald as beautiful or allergic to pet-hair, the hairless Chinese Crested may be the best option. What makes the Chinese Crested truly unusual is that it is not completely hairless.

Rather, there is a tuft of hair on its head resembling a crest and some on its feet to mimic wearing “socks.” There is also hair on the tip of its tail, giving it a bushy appearance.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • One of the most famous Chinese Crested is Sam. He’s the winner of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest from 2003 to 2005.  
  • Chinese Crested dogs love heights and are often described as “feline dogs” for this reason. 
  • These dogs served a big role on voyages for Chinese sailors in the 14th century. Their primarily job was to catch and kill rats, thus preventing the spread of the Black Plague on ships.

Chinese Crested Temperament

The most unusual behavior of the Chinese Crested is its love of heights (no, seriously). This has even caused some owners to describe them as being “feline.”

As a companion, a Chinese Crested is quite entertaining because it will keep vying for your attention through its tricks – they’re very eager to please.

Owners describe their Chinese Crested as sweet, loving, affectionate and playful. As a result, they’re some of the best companion dogs due to their favorable temperaments.

But if you’re not fond of bark-y dogs, then the Chinese Crested may not be right for you. Like many other small dog breeds, these dogs will yap away at the slightest of sounds.

RECOMMENDED: Chinese Crested – Guide to the Loving Lap Dogs

7. Tibetan Mastiff

Highlights: Tenacious, Brave, Strong-willed.

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

This Tibetan Mastiff has stood the test of time. In earlier generations, they served Alexander the Great and in the most recent generation guards the Dalai Lama.

Being as large and muscular as a leopard, a Tibetan Mastiff is of course intimidating. But by investing in one, you will have acquired a loyal companion that will guard and protect your home against all adversities.

Observe a Tibetan Mastiff and the first thing that would strike you is its confident gait. Shift your attention a bit and its coat will strike you as unique.

Furthermore, their combination of soft wool covered by a rough outer texture is captivating. Another distinctive feature is its deep chest, not to mention its deadly bite which can prove to be lethal at times.

It’s worth noting that the Tibetan Mastiffs are currently listed as one of the most expensive dog breeds in the world. In fact, the most expensive dog ever sold was a Tibetan Mastiff.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • The most expensive dog ever sold was a Tibetan Mastiff. He sold for nearly $2 million dollars USD back in 2014.  
  • The Tibetan Mastiff was popular among British royalty. Queen Victoria, King George IV and Edward VII (prince of Wales) all owned Tibetan Mastiffs at one point. 
  • People of Tibet believed these dogs carried the souls of monks that weren’t reincarnated into human.

Tibetan Mastiff Temperament 

A Tibetan Mastiff is alert at all times. For all its ferocity and seemingly unlimited stamina, it takes its time to size up the situation and plan a strategy before jumping into a fight.

Independent that it is, this dog breed is most compatible with owners that believe in giving their dogs a certain degree of freedom in decision making.   

Due to their immensely large stature, the Tibetan should be socialized very early on. With enough socialization training, they should be friendly with people and comfortably co-exist with other dogs in a large space.

RECOMMENDED: Tibetan Mastiff – Nomadic Guardians of Tibet (Breed Profile)

6. Shih Tzu

Highlights: Affectionate, Loyal, Gentle.

The Shih Tzu is one of the best lap dogs of all the Chinese breeds.

Popularity of Shih Tzu arises from the fact that it is a wonderful companion who just loves tottering at its master’s heels and sleeping on his/her lap. In other words, they’re the perfect Chinese lap dog.

There was a time in history when this breed was the favorite of the rich and elite during the rule of the Ming Dynasty. It explains why some people feel the Shih Tzu appears snooty at times – it’s in their DNA.

All you need to do is spend a few hours with this dog to realize that the snobbishness is just superficial and in reality it is one of the most endearing dogs that you can hope for.

At first glance, the Shih Tzu might remind you of a flower because of the mass of hair flowing out of its head in all possible directions.

Another distinctive characteristic is its mouth wherein the upper jaw is relatively narrow as compared to the lower jaw. It looks a bit like an over-bite. This signature physical trait can be seen in many Shih Tzu mixes too!

INTERESTING FACTS
  • The Shih Tzu breed is believed to be over 1,000 years old, dating back to roughly 1000 B.C. in ancient China. 
  • “Shih Tzu” is translated to “little lion” in Chinese mandarin. They were given this name because of their association with the Tibetan Buddhist God of Learning, who traveled with a little lion. 
  • At one point, the Shih Tzu was nearly extinct. Only 14 dogs (7 males and 7 females) saved this Chinese breed from extinction.

Shih Tzu Temperament 

A Shih Tzu is happiest when its owners are around and does not mind living in enclosed space, like an apartment. However, it needs to be groomed daily and can display signs of discomfort when the temperature rises.

This means they are suitable for pet owners who have plenty of time, like an elderly couple or a housewife with minimal domestic responsibilities.

Though these dogs may rank low for canine intelligence (top 20 “dumbest dogs”), they’re actually smart in other ways.

They make some of the best watchdogs, as they are always alert, vigilant and cautious of their surroundings. A Shih Tzu will alert you if someone gets too close to your territory. However, some owners can’t stand their constant barking.

RECOMMENDED: Shih Tzu – Guide to the Little Lion Dog

5. Chow Chow

Highlights: Loyal, Aloof, Independent.

The Chow Chow is probably the least intelligent dog breed from China.

Anyone who prefers a big, hairy, strong and dignified canine would find the Chow Chow to be perfect. Although the exact origin of this breed is somewhat unknown, it does boast of an ancient legacy that can be traced as far back as the 11th century BC.

While its bluish black tongue renders it a novelty among the canine breeds, the thick mane around its head gives the impression of a lion. Additionally, the thick fur often causes people to relate them to bears.

Given its size and inherent strength, a Chow Chow traditionally fulfills the role of a hunter and a sledge-puller. However, they are generally viewed as a intimidating guard dog today.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Research studies of DNA have shown that the Chow Chow is one of the oldest surviving dog breeds in the world. The appearance of Chows on ancient artifacts confirms this theory.
  • The Chinese emperor of the Tang Dynasty (7th century A.D.) kept 2,500 Chow Chows to accompany his 10,000 hunters.
  • The Chow Chow and Chinese Shar-Pei are the only two purebreds to have a black-blue tongue.

Chow Chow Temperament

Don’t expect a Chow to play cute and do your bidding, like fetching your paper and trotting on your heels. This dog breed is by far the most aristocratic and also the most independent of the Chinese dog breeds.

They’re often viewed as a dumb dog breed, but really they’re just stubborn and aloof. Because of this, you must start its socialization early on. Frequent grooming is also a must, particularly during summers, when the thick fur could pose a problem.

The most unique quality of the Chow is their tolerance of being alone. Most dogs are social creatures and strongly prefer to be around people, but that’s not the case with the Chow Chow.

However, this doesn’t mean you should leave them alone all the time. Chow Chows still appreciate family time and can be as loyal and devoted as any other breed.

RECOMMENDED: Chow Chow – The Black Tongue Dog

4. Tibetan Spaniel

Highlights: Playful, Assertive, Intelligent.

The Tibetan Spaniel has been known to work in tandem with the Tibetan Mastiff.

This Chinese dog breed, the Tibetan Spaniel, is one of the oldest in the dogdom. They originated from the Himalayan regions of Tibet nearly 2,500 years ago!

Although they’re named the Tibetan Spaniel, these dogs aren’t actually from the spaniel group. They were given this name mainly because of their close physical resemblance with certain spaniels.

Associated with monks and monasteries, the Tibetan Spaniel is loved because of people’s appreciation for lions in the Middle Kingdom. Plus, they’re alert enough to work in tandem with its bigger and stronger counterpart, the Tibetan Mastiff.

Together, they’ll safeguard territory and warn against intruders very effectively. On the other hand, they’re obedient enough to learn various tricks taught by their owners and serve as an entertaining companion.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • The Tibetan Spaniels were never sold, but only gifted by Buddhist monasteries to leaders of other Buddhist countries. 
  • They are believed to share ancestry with the Pekingese, Japanese Chin, Pug, Shih Tzu and the Tibetan Terrier. 
  • Tibetan Spaniels are the premier watchdogs of Buddhist monasteries. They sit high on monastery walls and bark when strangers come close.

Tibetan Spaniel Temperament 

Tibetan Spaniels are extremely intelligent and affectionate – two of the best qualities for a companion dog. Owners will describe them as very cat-like, often climbing furniture as if they were actually cats.

In terms of personality, they are the opposite of the Chinese Chow. A Tibetan Spaniel needs reciprocated attention and affection. Furthermore, they can’t stand being left alone, especially for long periods of time.

As affectionate as they are, the Tibetan Spaniels are also sensitive to its owner’s mood, thus qualifying as a most understanding pet. If you’re having a bad day, expect a Tibetan Spaniel to come comfort you. 

They do have a tendency to use the couch for most part of the day, but since the Chinese regard them as bearers of good fortune, no-one actually minds having them lounging around the house.

3. Pug

Highlights: Charming, Mischievous, Sociable.

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

Who can ever forget the adorable, four-legged creature featured in the Vodafone ad as a steady and dependable companion? This is exactly how this Chinese dog is best described – extrovert, playful, affectionate and quirky at times.

In 400 BC, the Pug was patronized by Buddhist monks and was a regular companion in monasteries. As a matter of fact, these dogs have quite a bit of history in ancient China

A Pug could be black or fawn, but its most distinctive feature is the pushed-in nose with plenty of blackness all over the face. It gives them the impression of wearing a black mask

Personally, my favorite thing about this dog breed is all the amazing pug jokes that has populated the internet. Their quirky looks and personalities make for some of the best memes.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • In 2009, a Pug named Chester Ludlow received an MBA degree from Rochville University. However, it turned out to be a public stunt by Get Educated
  • The term for a group of pugs is “grumble.” The phrase originated from Holland, where pugs are called “mopshond,” which means “to grumble.”
  • In 1740, the Pope forbad Catholics from joining the Freemasons. In response, they formed a secret organization called “Order of the Pug.”

Pug Temperament 

Emotionally, a pug is regarded as being one of the most stable dog breeds not just in China but in the world. Though small, they’re dependable.

Pugs are highly adaptable and comfortable in any setting as long as their family members are around. Whether in an apartment, an individual house or a farm in a rural area, a Pug will be comfortable.

This breed is particularly fond of children, thus making them the perfect choice if you have kids in the family. A Pug will usually glue itself to the owners (velcro dog alert!) and frequent guests, as they love being with people.

They’re docile and social by nature, but can be stubborn at times. When they want to be, they can be quite intelligent too. Despite the few flaws, it’s hard to resist the charm of a pug. 

RECOMMENDED: The Complete Guide to the Chinese Pug

2. Shar-Pei

Highlights: Affectionate, Stubborn, Intelligent.

The Shar Pei is one of the oldest Chinese dog breed, estimated to have been bred in 200 BC.

The Shar-pei was believed to have originated around 200 BC (Han Dynasty) in a village in Southern China (Tai Li). For this reason, they’re one of the most ancient Chinese dog breeds to survive until present day.

With their wrinkled forehead, blue-black tongue, petite ears and hippo-like head, Shar-peis easily stand out from other dog breeds. You won’t have a hard time spotting one at a dog park. 

The name ‘Shar-Pei’ is a Cantonese word which translates to “sandy skin.” This indicates that the breed was named because of its rough coat bearing a sand-like texture.

For centuries, the Shar-Pei had been valued for being courageous and tenacious. Time and again, they’ve proved valuable as guard dogs that are extremely protective of their family members and home.

Despite these traits, these dogs are not hostile or aggressive by nature. They’ll avoid getting into a fight if given a choice.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Hong Kong kennel owner, Matgo Law, saved the Shar-Pei dogs by writing a plea to help breed these dogs. LIFE magazine responded and soon enough, everyone wanted one in the United States.
  • Bred as fighting dogs, Shar-Pei had a strategic advantage – their wrinkly loose skin. When opponents bit them, they would get a mouth full of skin instead of hitting vital organs.
  • In 1978, the Shar-Pei was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the rarest dog breed in the world (60 known). Today, they are the 57th most popular breed in the USA. 

Shar Pei Temperament

Shar-Pei dogs are generally quiet, but they are also known to have one of the highest adaptive intelligence amongst dogs.

At times, this high intelligence could lead to stubbornness. So, to minimize this, putting your Shar-Pei through obedience training is necessary. Start early for better results!

The Shar-Pei is fiercely loyal, but could assume an aggressive stance towards strangers, which is why socializing through regular walks should be a part of its daily routine.

1. Pekingese

Highlights: Affectionate, Loyal, Proud.

The Pekingese is associated with Chinese royalty and is easily the most popular dog in China.

Royal in every way, the Pekingese is indeed the most popular dog breed in China. They’re rich in legacy but also have an amiable demeanor.

Back in the 8th century, members of the Tang Dynasty in China revered this breed to the point that you had to be a royal to own one.

They were named after the Chinese capital, which is currently Beijing. However, at that time, the capital was known as Peking. Can you imagine if the United States had a “District of Columbia” dog? 

From its once sacred status, this canine breed has come a long way. In fact, they’re now bred in several parts of the world and owned by many people regardless of social stature.

A signature characteristic of this breed is the golden coat of fur which has earned it the nickname of sun-dog or lion-dog. The Pekingese lives up to both nicknames because it is brave as a lion and bright as a sunny day.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Folklore legend says the Pekingese, nicknamed “lion dog,” is a cross between a lion and a marmoset (small monkey). Science says otherwise.
  • Pekingese were so highly regarded in Imperial China that stealing a Pekingese is punishable by death.
  • One of the only two surviving dogs on the Titanic was a Pekingese named Sun Yat-Sen. 

Pekingese Temperament

Dignity comes foremost with this dog breed and to a great extent it also dictates the dog’s behavior. Even though it is relatively small, cheerful and affectionate, a Pekingese would rarely settle down on your lap. Not all small dogs are lap dogs!

As friendly as they are to family, the Pekingese can just as well assume an air of arrogance towards strangers. This behavior is symbolic of their imperial history.

Most of the time, the Pekingese is a picture of calmness. However, when it isn’t, the owner should be prepared to handle the most stubborn pet in the world.

RECOMMENDED: Pekingese Dog – The Royal Lion Dog of China (Profile)

The Most Famous Chinese Dog

Wang keke, the Siberian Husky, is the most famous dog from China.

Unlike some dogs of Japan with multiple international-famous dogs, Celebrity Chinese dogs aren’t as prevalent in western societies. This is not to say that China doesn’t have many famous dogs domestically.

With the boom and massive success of social media in China, there is almost no doubt there will be famous dogs from the country. News spread fast in China, especially if it includes outrageous dog owners.

Wang Sincong, son of Chinese businessman Wang Jianlin, is heir to a $40 billion dollar fortune. He’s often regarded as the richest trust fund kid from the country.

Boasting an impressive 2.3 million-plus followers on Weibo , Wang’s Siberian Husky (Keke) is considered to be one of the most famous dogs from China.

Through controversial posts, such as pictures of the dog being gifted two gold Apple Watch Editions (worth a ridiculous $28,000 USD), the dog has made headlines worldwide.

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