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Top 9 Little Known Chinese Dog Breeds You Will Love

Chow Chow
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When you think about China, and native animals, you think of pandas and dragons.

Let’s be honest, those are the animals that come to mind. But little do you know that China is actually home to some of the most popular and unique dog breeds?

Did you know that the Pekingese is actually a Chinese native dog breed? Yes? No?

Well, no matter if you did or not, here are some Chinese dog breeds that are just amazing to have.

We all heat the myth that people in China eat dogs. Yes, there was a time when dogs were parts of the daily diet in China. But that has changed.

Nobody in China and eastern Asia countries no longer consumes dogs. People in China have grown to love their dogs.

With that in mind, here are the Chinese dog breeds that Chinese families own as a pet.



Some 10 years ago, Pekingese dogs were the most popular toy breed. They were at the peak of popularity. That was before the Pomeranian rose to the occasion.

With that in mind, the Pekingese is an ancient breed of toy dog. Back in the days, they were called Lion Dogs, and it was all due to their resemblance to Chinese guardian lions.

This small dog breed has a long and rich history with China and Chinese emperors. They are named after Peking, the former name for Beijing, the capital city of China. Their history dates back to 700 CE.

They made their entrance to the Western World after looting of the Imperial Palace in Beijing in 1860. The Pekingese does require a lot of maintenance, as their long and regal coat requires regular brushing.

On the flip side, their character and personality do not require a lot of maintenance. The Pekingese is perfectly comfortable sitting in your lap the whole day. They are chill and indoor-type dog, that requires just quick walkies for a toilet.

Chow Chow

chow chow

The Chow Chow is probably one of the most recognizable Chinese dog breeds. Everyone has seen this on first look grumpy, yet very comical and aloof dog.

Do you want a big, hairy, and strong canine? The Chow Chow is all of that, and even more.

As with other Chinese dogs, the thick mane around its head gives the Chow Chow an impression of a lion. And when you add the thick fur, some would say the Chow Chow is a beast like a bear.

But he is far from that. They are generally viewed as dangerous guard dogs, despite their gentle character.

Now, that doesn’t mean that the Chow Chow is playful. Do not expect to play any fetch or similar games with him. After all, he is an aristocratic dog that has a royal legacy. The Chinese breed was quite popular with Chinese royalty.

He played a huge role during the Tang Dynasty of China. He is by far one of the most independent dog breeds. Being they are arrogant and aloof, the Chow Chow requires a lot of socialization nearly on.

Shar Pei


Speaking of traditional Chinese dog breeds, we have to mention the Shar-Pei. Easily recognizable by his deep wrinkles, the name is actually a translation of his original Chinese name, which means “sand skin”.

The Chinese Shar Pei and the Chow Chow are the only two breeds in the world with a blue-black tongue.

The Shar-Pei is another stubborn, arrogant, and highly independent dog breed. He originated during the Han dynasty and is one of the oldest ancient Chinese dog breeds to survive until the present day.

For many centuries, the dog was praised as being courageous and tenacious.

They are proven guard dogs and very protective of their family members. But despite being dubbed as a guard dog, the Shar-Pei will avoid getting into a fight if given a choice.

Generally quiet, they have one of the highest IQs among dogs. Many times, their high intelligence leads to stubbornness. The only way to counter it is by putting your Chinese Shar Pei through obedience training.



Who knew that the Pug is actually a breed originating from Ancient China. Certainly not many pet owners.

For most people nowadays, the Pug is associated with the Disney movie Pocahontas. And as such, many think it is a breed originating from Britain, or some other Western World country.

Despite being one of the most recognizable and well-known dog breeds, few people know the history and origin of the Pug. In Ancient China, Pugs lived in luxury, as they were praised by the emperor and the ruling class.

Charming, mischievous, and playful, pugs have a comical character that will bring a smile to your house. And the best part is, they do not require a lot of exercise. Two or three short walks are more than enough.

Kunming Wolfdog

The Kunming Wolfdog is a breed of dog that was developed in China during the 1950s and 1960s. It is a cross between the German Shepherd and the native Chinese Yellow Dog, with the intention of creating a breed that could be used for military and police work, as well as hunting and search-and-rescue operations.

The canine is known for its wolf-like appearance, with a lean and muscular build and a thick coat of fur that comes in a variety of colors, including black, gray, and brown. They have a strong and loyal personality, and are known for their intelligence, courage, and adaptability.

The Kunming Wolfdog requires regular exercise and mental stimulation. Think of it as a Chinese version of the German Shepherd. We have to note it is a relatively rare breed outside of China.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

Here is another breed that has something to do with lions. Jokes aside, the name Shih Tzu actually means little lion. But the dog has nothing to do with lions, nor does it have any lion-like appearance.

The Shih Tzu is a wonderful companion, almost perfect toy dog breed. He just loves playing and spending time with his master. As a lap dog, he is near perfect.

During the times of the Ming Dynasty, the Shih Tzu was a fan-favorite among the rich, elite people and Chinese royalty. He is happy when his people are around, and does not mind living in enclosed space. The downside is he requires a lot of maintenance, especially grooming.

Despite being small, the Shih Tzu will alert you of any strangers and can be vigorous in their barking. Because of its history with emperors, he is also known as Chinese imperial dog.

Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

In the past few years, the Tibetan Mastiff has been known as the most expensive dog breed in the world. And that is true.

With the right heritage, family, a Tibetan Mastiff puppy can go as high as several hundred thousands of dollars. The most expensive dog sold ever was a Tibetan Mastiff for $2 million in 2014.

And it is all about his heritage and history. He is a royal dog, and there is some evidence that he served Alexander the Great. Most recently, he is a guard dog for the Dalai Lama.

On first glance, the Tibetan Mastiff is highly intimidating. But he is a loyal companion, a gentle giant if you like.

Yes, he will protect your home against all adversities. His bite is lethal, but he will never direct it at his owners.

Chinese Chongqing Dog

The Chongqing Dog, also known as the Chinese Chongqing Dog or East Sichuan Hound, is a breed of dog that originated in China, specifically in the Chongqing province.

These dogs are known for their muscular and athletic build, with a broad head and short, dense coat that comes in a variety of colors, including black, brown, and red. They have strong hunting instincts and were originally used for hunting wild boar and other game. Their appearance reminds a lot to the American Staffordshire terrier.

Chongqing Dogs are known for their loyalty and affectionate nature towards their owners, but can be reserved or wary around strangers. They are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. They are also known for their high energy levels and require regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.

The Chinese Chongqing Dog is recognized by the China Kennel Union as a national breed, but is relatively rare outside of its home country. As with any breed, potential owners should do their research and ensure they can provide the proper care and attention this breed requires before bringing one into their home.

Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested

When you talk about unique dog breeds, one must mention the Chinese Crested. This breed is gaining popularity in recent years because it is dubbed as hypoallergenic.

That means that people with allergies have no troubles living with the Chinese Crested.

Fun fact: There are two distinct varieties of the breed, one with fur, and the other without. Both can come in the same litter. The hairless coat is a dominant trait, but do not be surprised if you see a Chinese crested dog with fur and coat.

Not many people will love the dog breed because of its appearance. And that is evident, as Sam, a Chinese Crested dog, won the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in 2003, 2004, and 2005. But you will have a unique factor with a hairless dog.

The Chinese Crested is often described as a feline dog. And that is because of their love of heights, as they love to climb vertical spaces. Get one at home, and you will be entertained forever. They love performing tricks and are eager to please.

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