Pet ownership is growing at a rapid clip in China, and the country has shown an affinity for specific breeds of dogs. If you’re thinking of getting a furry new friend, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 most popular breeds available in the Middle Kingdom. The list is based on compiled statistics from polls taken at several Chinese pet websites, but the most common breed varies city to city and province to province. We’ve included prices for your reference, but remember that adoption is always the most ethical option.
Huskies are working dogs bred to pull sleds in Siberia, but these days you often see them on the opposite end of a leash from their upper class Chinese owners. Their thick hides make them well-suited for cold climates and even reflects the sun in the summer, but they are often too active and energetic to be cooped up in small apartments. They are skilled escape artists and can jump fences higher than two meters. For young huskies, daily obedience classes may be required to keep them in check. They typically live 12 to 14 years and cost 2,800 Yuan on Taobao.
Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, but it’s no stranger to China. Bred as bird hunting dogs, they are athletic and playful. They are often trained as guide dogs for the blind and therapy dogs to aid with a number of ailments. Usually labs are white or yellow, but they can also be black or brown, known as Chocolate Labradors. Labs shed twice a year, so keep a brush handy. They also tend to chew on things, but are not known to bite hard. They require some leash training, but obedience school is probably not necessary. Because they are so friendly - even towards strangers - they do not make good guard dogs. They are relatively healthy, although they tend to overeat. Average lifespan is 10 to 12 years. Lab puppies are cheap, costing as little as 80 Yuan on Taobao.
3) Golden Retriever
The Labrador’s long golden-haired cousin was bred for much the same purpose as the Labrador - to retrieve water fowl shot by hunters. They are easily trainable and love to swim. They are high-energy dogs, so they need a yard to roam in - not something always accessible in China. If you insist on getting one without a yard, be sure to take it to nearby parks frequently. Also like Labs, they can fulfill a number of professional roles, such as seeing-eye and hearing dogs and search-and-rescue animals, but they are too friendly to be guard dogs. If you have other pets in the house, Golden Retrievers are usually compatible with other animals. Their average lifespan is 11 to 12 years, and they typically cost around 2,000 Yuan on Taobao.
The bright white and fluffy Samoyed hails from Siberia. It was bred for herding reindeer and occasionally pulling sleds. It belongs to the same family as the Husky and Alaskan Malamute, and it bears many of the same characteristics. They tend to bark a lot, but are not aggressive. They are also known as Sammies, Bjelkiers, and Smileys for their grinning faces. Because of their long history of inbreeding, Samoyeds suffer from a variety of genetic disorders, and their average lifespan is 12 to 14 years. They are cheap compared to their arctic cousins, starting at just 400 Yuan on Taobao.
5) Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan Mastiffs originate from - you guessed it- Tibet, as well as Nepal and India. They are huge, big enough to protect their masters’ sheep from leopards, a role they still fulfill today. They are primitive, meaning they have a temperament closer to a wild animal than most domestic breeds. They shed heavily twice a year and lightly the rest of the year, but as a result they don’t smell as bad as most dogs their size. Due to its size and nature, Tibetan Mastiffs are not good apartment dwellers. And because they were bred to be on guard while their owners sleep and predators are about, they often sleep during the day and are more active at night. The price of a Tibetan Mastiff pup starts at around 5,000 Yuan on Taobao, and their average lifespan is 10 to 14 years.
The Poodle is actually a group of dog breeds rather than a single breed. They are born show dogs, excelling at sports, obedience, and even herding. They typically come in one of three varieties: standard, miniature, and toy. Brown toy poodles are the most common in China. They don’t shed much and are good dogs for those who suffer from minor allergies. Poodles are energetic, sociable, and one of the most intelligent dog breeds, making them easy to train. They can be shy around strangers but are usually friendly. They live 12 to 15 years on average, but are vulnerable to a number of minor and major diseases. Depending on which type of Poodle you want, prices range from a few hundred to several thousand Yuan.
Akitas are mountain dogs originally from northern Japan used to hunt boar, bears, and deer. They have heads that look like a bear’s, thick coats, and knuckled cat-like feet. They are territorial and reserved around strangers, but are generally friendly with family members. They don’t get along well with other dogs of the same sex. Be sure to keep them on leashes when at parks or around other dogs. They are dominant and can be aggressive, but are usually calm. Some countries have banned them for being dangerous. This is not a dog for a first-time pet owner. They are vulnerable to a long list of health issues, most of all autoimmune diseases. Akitas live to be 11 to 15 years old. They cost around 400 Yuan on Taobao.
8) Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan Malamute is often confused for the Husky, and is in the same genetic family. They were bred as sled dogs and are slightly bigger than their better-known cousins. They are independent and have a high prey drive, meaning they tend to chase cats, birds, rabbits, and even smaller dogs. If you have smaller pets or small children in the house, this is probably one to avoid for now. They are friendly, however, and nimble enough to navigate furniture despite their large size. Like Huskies, Malamutes are better suited to colder climates and are best suited as outdoor dogs. They don’t bark much, so they shouldn’t bother the neighbors. They have similar health patterns to Huskies but are known to live longer than most other breeds, often up to 15 years. They are also much cheaper than Huskies, starting at 400 Yuan on Taobao.
9) Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is closely related to the toy poodle. They were bred specifically as companion dogs in the Mediterranean, and thus maintain a cheerful and friendly disposition. They love attention and do well with children and other animals. They may require some obedience training when young. They also don’t shed, making them ideal for owners with allergies. They usually live 12 to 13 years and are generally healthy bar a couple autoimmune diseases that can be prevented if caught early on. Bichon Frises cost around 1,000 Yuan on average on Taobao.
10) German Shepherd
German Shepherds are working dogs bred for herding sheep. They are one of the most intelligent breeds and often yearn for a purpose. They are easily trainable, but can be aggressive towards strangers if not socialized correctly. Obedience school is recommended, as German Shepherds are known to bite. The original strain of German Shepherds are very healthy, but improper breeding practices by much of the rest of the world means they are susceptible to many diseases and defects. Their lifespan ranges from nine to 13 years. A German Shepherd puppy typically costs between 300 and 400 Yuan on Taobao.
Other popular dog breeds in China that did not make the top 10 list include Pugs, Shi-Tzus Keeshonden, and Pomeranians. And don’t forget about the mutts and mongrels. They tend to live longer and don’t suffer the negative affects of inbreeding, not to mention they’re almost always free.
Finally, if you make the leap and get a new dog, be sure to check out our guidelines for registering dogs and transporting them in and out of China to ensure you’re on the right side of the law. Several dog breeds have been banned inside the fifth ring road of Beijing, for instance, including several on this list like Mastiffs, German Shepherds, and sled dogs.
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I have a golden retreiver i brought with me. But i wanted to have a dane also. I dont know why they wouldnt allow a great dane. It is the most gentle dog ever. Its actually these small breeds which are the bitchy one's biting and barking .. The big ones are always gentle.
Oct 12, 2015 10:38 Report Abuse
I have a poodle/schnauzer mix, he's a perfect apartment dog as his coat doesn't shed and he doesn't need much exercise, he spends most of the time lying on the sofa. It really annoys me when I see people in Shenzhen with dogs like German Shepherds, Huskies and Alsatians which all need a lot of exercise and large space for running and jumping but they're couped up in apartments.BA5q
Sep 14, 2015 16:05 Report Abuse