Pug standing in grass
© Shutterstock

5 most surprising Chinese dog breeds

By Justine Seraphin Country Manager

Updated on the

You may not know it, but some of your favourite breeds of dog are actually from China! Bred for various tasks, from guarding to companionship, there’s a Chinese dog breed for everyone!

Many of the Chinese dog breeds we know today have existed for thousands of years. Some, such as the Pug, even date as far back as the Han Dynasty! Because they’re so ancient, it’s very important to remember that many of these breeds are “primitive” in their behaviour - just because they’re adorable, doesn’t mean they’re easy to handle! You’d do best to do a lot of research before you opt for a Chinese dog breed. But for the right person, these dogs can make wonderful companions. If you’re thinking of getting a Chinese dog, check out these amazing breeds!

The Chow Chow

The Chow Chow ©Shutterstock

Chow Chows have become immensely popular in the Western World over the past few decades - arguably because of their stunning appearance. Nicknamed the “lion dog” in its native China, this dog is, as the name suggests, big and fluffy! What else makes Chows unique? Well, they’re born with 44 teeth instead of 42, and their tongues are blue! Yep, blue!

But despite their cute and cuddly looks, these pooches are definitely not for everyone. Bred mainly as guard dogs, unsocialised Chows can be very territorial, and therefore standoffish - sometimes even aggressive - towards strangers. The best way to avoid this is to dedicate a lot of time and effort to their socialisation when they’re young; encouraging them to meet as many people and pets as possible in their “window of opportunity”. Chows are not recommended for first-time owners or for families with young children. They are, however, fiercely loyal and loving towards the people they bond with.

Chow Chows are pretty laid back, so can do well in apartments. They’ll need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, but remember, the more you exercise them, the more relaxed they’ll be. And a relaxed Chow is a good thing! You should also keep in mind that Chows are heavy shedders whose thick coats require a lot of attention.

Learn more about the Chow Chow!

The Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested Dog ©Shutterstock

Contrary to the name, it is thought that Chinese Cresteds may have actually originated from Africa! But they were made famous in China, after Chinese merchants took them aboard their ships, using them as ratters as they travelled back to their country. These small dogs are very peculiar-looking: the hairless version only has tufts of fur on the head, tail, and bottom of the legs. The long-haired version, also known as “the powder puff” has hair all over the body!

Chinese Cresteds are a good choice for low-energy people living in apartments. They don’t need much exercise and tend to be very discreet too. They are the quintessential lap dog, wanting to be near you 24/7! They are friendly and also do well with children.

You should keep in mind that their skin requires a lot of attention due to its susceptibility to sunburns, acne, and rashes, to name a few. In addition, you’ll want to buy these guys little coats for the cold winter months!

Learn more about the Chinese Crested Dog!

The Kunming Wolfdog

The Kunming Wolfdog ©Shutterstock

This is a very rare breed which was developed in China in the 1950’s to meet the need for military dogs. Though their origin is vague, these dogs most likely come from crossing German Shepherds with different breeds of Wolfdogs.

These dogs can make excellent pets for active people who are willing to dedicate a lot of time to their training. Without proper training, they can become boisterous and hard to handle. However, Kunmings are very intelligent and eager to learn, so training them should be a rewarding experience. Socialisation is also important to ensure your dog behaves in a friendly manner towards people and animals he/she meets.

You should not consider this breed if you’re a couch potato. Kunming Wolfdogs need at least two hours of active exercise each day - so you must be a sport fanatic or have a lot of time on your hands if you want to adopt one! Keep in mind that a bored Kunming can become destructive. And a final consideration: these dogs have a lot of fur, and they shed it profusely! If you’re not a fan of dog hair, this is not the breed for you!

The Xiasi Quan

Xiasi Quans are sadly on the brink of extinction due to their lack of popularity outside of the Guizhou Province of China. With their white wiry coat, and often pinkish nose and ears, Xiasis certainly look very unique!

Originally bred as hunting dogs, Xiasis have a strong prey drive and are not recommended for households with smaller pets. With their human families, however, Xiasi Quans are loyal and affectionate. They want to please, so training them is rather easy. Their patience even makes them suitable for families with children! Their devotion to the pack does mean that they can become very protective; ensure they are well socialised in their formative months.

Xiasi Quans are high-energy dogs that will love to join you on hikes, bike rides, or runs. They’ll need at least an hour and a half of active exercise a day to be happy, so you should be an outdoorsy person if you’re considering to take one in. While they don’t shed much, keep in mind that white coats get dirtier more easily, so keeping it clean may be time consuming.

The Pug

The Pug ©Shutterstock

Considering this breed was developed in ancient China, it’s a wonder that they’re one of the most popular breeds of dog in the world today! Pugs were bred as companion dogs, and that’s their specialty.

These small dogs love nothing more than to be by your side and making you happy. This makes them both easy to train and a wonderful companion for pretty much any family unit - first-time owners and families with children included.

They don’t require much exercise and fare well in apartments. They are heavy shedders, so neat owners - beware! The major thing to keep in mind with these dogs is that they suffer from many respiratory issues due to their brachycephalic skulls. You should not over-exercise this breed, nor should you adopt one if you live in a tropical climate. Most importantly, you should purchase this breed from a reputable and responsible breeder, and you must do your research beforehand. These dogs are often expensive when it comes to veterinary care.

Learn more about the Pug!

Clearly, there’s a wide range of breeds to choose from if you want a dog from China. Which one is your favourite?

Other dog breeds by country or continent:

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