About China > Fauna & Flora > Pets & Livestock
Advanced Search
E-Mail This Article Print Friendly Format
Chinese Famous Dogs

At present, there are more than 100 internationally recognized well-bred dog species all over the world, among which the most rare are native to China, such as "the Four Famous Dogs in China" including Pekingese", "Tibetan Mastiff ", "Tibetan Spaniel " and "Lhasa Apso". "Tibetan Mastiff", "Lhasa Apso" and "Pekingese", small in quantity, have been listed in embargo items by the Chinese government.

 Pekingese       

Also known as "Beijing Lion Dog or "Beijing Royal Court Lion Dog", Pekingese originated in northeastern China, with the pet name of "Pug". In ancient times, Pugs were bred mainly for appreciation and enjoyment by the aristocrats, and the common people were forbidden to raise Pugs.
In 1860, when the Anglo-French force invaded Beijing, they seized 4 "Pekingese" and dedicated to Empress Victoria. Since then, many westerners who like pet dogs have been infatuated with "Pug", which has an air of irresistibly charming naivety.

Pekingese has a body length of 20 cm to 25 cm, and a weight of 3 kg to 6 kg. Long hair as soft as silk spreads from head to foot with no curls. Its body hair has different colors, in which aureate is the most precious but rare; while neck and shoulder hair is dotted with decorative colors. Pekingese has short and wide snout, flat and slightly upward nose, wrinkled nose bridge, and big and round eyes with a rather wide space in between. Scrubby in shape, Pekingese has short and stout limbs, the forelimbs of which slightly bend outward. Its tail is curled, the end of which is covered with thick and long hair loosely dangling on both sides. Docile, smart and sensible, they get along with human very easily. Pekingese is really the best of all ornamental dogs.

 Lhasa Apso        

Also known as "Tibetan Lion Dog" and "Lhasa Lion Dog", Lhasa Apsos is native to Tibet. They were originally raised in Lamaism temples and used as watchdogs. In 1928, Lhasa Apso was introduced to England, and in 1935, they were accepted as well-bred dogs by the United States.

Lhasa Apso has a body length of 20 cm to 25 cm, and its weight ranges from 3 kg to 6 kg. It is heavily covered with long hair from head to foot. Straight and hard with loose curls, its hair usually has several colors, including black, white, brown, and golden yellow and bluish gray. The decorative hair on the head is so long and thick that it usually covers the eyes. Its ears are saggy, sparsely covered with decorative hair, and its tail is upward curled to its back, with hair loosely dangling to one side. The adult dog is difficult to be domesticated, but once tamed, it will be very loyal to its master.

 Shih Tzu        

Also known as "Chinese Lion Dog", Shih Tzu is a kind of longhaired dog, propagated from cross breeding between Lhasa Apso and Pekingese.

The body length of Shih Tzu is no more than 27 cm; and it weighs 4.5 kg to 8 kg. Although small in physique, it is full of vigor, with aristocratic manner. Shih Tzu has wave-like long and
thick hair all over, with diversified colors such as white, black, golden, brown, coffee, beige and gray, etc. Right on the center of head and the end of tail is respectively a lock of white hair, which is an important authentication characteristic. The straight and pendulous long hair on the head usually covers its eyes. In order not to block its vision at the same time keep its adorable appearance, people always comb its long hair into several thin pigtails. The dark brown eyes of Shih Tzu are big and round, bright and full of vitality, and the saggy ears are densely covered with long hair.

 Tibetan Spaniel

Tibetan spaniel, native to Tibet, is a kind of pocket-sized ornamental dog that used to be raised by Tibetan aristocrats for recreation. With body length under 15 cm and weighing only hundreds of grammas (lower than 500 g ), Tibetan Spaniel is the smallest dog in the world, even much smaller than "Chihuahua dog" -- a mini-type breed cultivated in western countries. It is named Tibetan Spaniel because its master always put it on cuff for appreciation and entertainment. With bright and beautiful hair color, it looks lively and lovely. Docile and obedient, Tibetan spaniel is easy to breed. At present, there are very few Tibetan spaniels in the world, which makes them even more precious.

 Chinese Shar-Pei      

Also known as "Dali Dog",
"Da Dog (fighting dog)" or "Dou dog (fighting dog)", they are native to Dali town, Nanhai County in Guangdong Province. The portrait brick of the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) indicates that the domestication of Shar-Pei has begun since the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) about two thousand years ago. In ancient times, Shar-Peis were bred as fighting dogs by aristocrats, because their skin is especially slack, which helps protect the body from bites.

The body length of Shar-Pei is 46 cm to 51 cm, and it weighs 16 kg to 20 kg. Its head is obese and clumsy, similar to that of hippopotamus in shape. The mouth is long and big while the body is relatively short. It has wide and plump lips, wrinkled face, and triangle-shaped small eyes dented in the eye socket. Thick, slack and resilient, the skin on the head, neck and shoulder can be lifted up to 10 cm above by hand. Its hair, short and hard, looks like sandpaper, from which the name "Shar-Pei originated. Shar-Pei has various hair colors: yellow, yellowish brown, black and coffee.

 Tibetan Mastiff       

Also known as "Tibetan Dog", "Fan Dog", "Qiang Dog", subordinated to shepherd dog, widely dispersed over pastoral areas in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. An adult male dog has a body length of 1.3 meters more or less and a weight of over 100 kg. In terms of physique, Tibetan Mastiff is the largest dog in the world.

Tibetan Mastiff has a big quadrate head with wide forehead. The corners of its mouth are slightly saggy, and the neck is thick and mighty, with long hair hanging beneath, similar to male lion in appearance. It is covered with hair of 10 to 15 cm long all over, while the tail hair is 20 cm to 30 cm long. The main hair color is black, followed by yellow, white, cyan and gray. The four limbs are stout and mighty. Tibetan Mastiff dwells in the cold climate zone at an altitude of 3,000-4,000 kilometers. They are feral, agile and brave, even wolves are fear of them. There are many well-bred varieties of shepherd dogs in the world, which have blood relationship with Tibetan Mastiff, such as Saint Bernard, England shepherd dog, Hungarian shepherd dog and New Foundland dog, etc.

 Chow Chow       

Native to the northern area of China, Chow Chow has a cultivation history of more than 2,000 years. Braver, docile and fond of frolic, it is faithful to its master and usually serves as companion and escort dog.

Its body length is 46 cm to 60 cm, and its weight ranges from 22 kg to 27 kg. Chow Chow is covered with hair of single color all over, such as black, henna, blue, yellowish brown and white, with on freckles or patterns. The shape of its head is similar to that of lions. Chow Chow has small deep-set eyes, upright or forward-tilted small ears, wide and deep chest, short back, four stout limbs, and cat claw-shaped feet. It has thick tail hair, with the tail end rolled up to its back.