Dogs in China are often seen as symbols of prosperity and wealth. Originally bred to guard monasteries or offer companionship to monks, these sacred dogs have no outside influence from other countries’ dog breeds- which is one reason they all look so unique! China is a mystical land adorned by imperial guardian lions which are thought to provide protection. Also known as Fu dogs – these ‘dogs’ are thought to have influenced many Chinese dog breeds and as such, many resemble downsized lions. One thing they all have in common? Bragging rights as some of the oldest and rarest breeds on earth.
DOMESTICATED DOGS IN CHINA
We have a lot of guesses, but no specifics about when our ancient ancestors first began domesticating dogs. One 2015 study on canine genomes found that East Asian breeds are more closely linked to wolves and canine bones have also been discovered in Neolithic graves; some dating back 15 thousand years ago! These findings indicate domesticated pooches likely originated from China as well – probably because it’s such an interesting place with lots happening all around the clock.
Dogs have been partners to early humans for millennia. The World History Encyclopedia reports that there were dogs in the village of Banpo China 4500-3750 BC, and their role was likely one of transportation or hunting alongside people as well! Of course, this image changed once these pets became too feeble to labor any longer – but what could happen next? The villagers would kill them for fur and sustenance. Despite this difficult history with canines, dogs are revered in Chinese culture and closely linked with guardianship—in both this world and the next.
DOGS AS PETS IN CHINA
Dogs have always been a part of Chinese culture, but not all were accepted as pets. Around the 1300s, dog ownership was used to show status and in 16th Century China it could even make you wealthy if your family had money (sound familiar?). But by 1800 this practice became seen as waste because people felt like they didn’t need them anymore for protection or hunting game!
Dogs were once banned in Beijing, but that changed very recently. The restriction began as a more stringent one and then relaxed after 1994 (when it became legal for pet dogs). Many Chinese lawmakers still viewed dog ownership as indulgent and uneconomical up until the 2010s when they officially classified Canis familiaris to be companion animals rather than livestock by the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs China.
Today, there are more than 5 million pet dogs in China. Many Chinese communities have even incorporated their pets into the Qingming Festival during which they sweep the tombs of their ancestors (also known as Tomb Sweeping Day). People grieving the loss of a pet can visit their pet’s grave and leave trinkets or toys in honor of their loved one.
Here are the 12 oldest and rarest Chinese dog breeds:
1. CHINESE CHONGQING- Though unrecognized by the American Kennel Club, there is still a thriving community of breeders who keep this ancient dog alive. Reports put the number at just over 2,000 and they’re bred as hunters in their native land where it’s mountainous Sichuan-Yunnan border region between China and Vietnam – though some may say these dogs look like stocky Boxer types! Chongqing dogs make excellent protectors, which means they don’t take kindly to strangers at first. Training early is a must. Their reddish-brown coats are very short—in fact, bathing them too often will dry out their skin.
2. CHINESE CRESTED- The Chinese Crested may be one of the most hypoallergenic breeds out there. This means they don’t cause any reactions for people who suffer from allergies, which makes them an excellent choice if you have asthma or eczema! A typical dog will often make loud noises when playing with its friends; however, this type isn’t as vocal due to its affectionate nature and sensitive ears. These attributes combined allow for close friendships between owners and pets alike.
3. CHOW CHOW- Chow Chows are so fluffy and cuddly, but oh-so-worth the extra brushing! They need their space though which might not work well with other pets in the house or even humans who live next door. Another huge aspect of Chow Chow ownership is grooming. Get ready for daily brushing and monthly baths.
4. JAPANESE CHIN- The Japanese Chin Club of America claims that these spirited dogs actually originated in China. It’s thought the Pekingese was bred from a variety called “Imperial Chins,” but either way owners rave about their gracefulness and feline-like demeanor – just don’t let them roam around town! Get ready for an indoor companion who will love you forever (unless you give in to temptation by letting him or her outdoors).
5. LAIZHOU HONG- Also known as the Chinese Red Dog, Laizhou Hong pups have gorgeous red coats (“hong” means red) and tall ears that are pointed. It’s believed these dogs were bred in the 19th century when German settlers made their way into China with indigenous breeds mixed among them- they’re brave yet kind! To make sure you get all your needs met from this great pup give him a job to do so he can stick around for good behavior like not chewing up furniture or jumping on people when it isn’t his turn!
6. LHASA APSO- Though affectionate and resilient, these tiny pups aren’t afraid to go full watchdog mode. Lhasa Apso dogs are very protective but that doesn’t mean they can’t take a joke! Since their smarty pantsless means exercising both body AND mind is important for this breed – playtime in addition long walks make up some of this dog’s favorite activities too (and agility training!) Many Lhasa Apsos also excel at therapy work due to their incredible loyalty.
7. PUG- Pugs are one of the most adaptable dogs out there. Not only do they get along well with other animals, but Pugs also make great companions for kids and dog lovers alike! These adorable little guys have big eyes that will always be full of happiness no matter what life throws at them – including being royalty in China or Europe’s official mascots alike.
8. PEKINGESE- The Pekingese is a dog that was bred to resemble the mythical lion Buddha rides through the sky. They can be found in luxury homes, and they’re no stranger to attention: five times at Westminster Dog Show Greatest of 2018! Though loyal to their favorite family member, they can be standoffish with kids and other animals.
9. SHAR-PEI- Often called the Chinese Shar-Pei, these dogs are proud, independent creatures with strong protective instincts. While affectionate with family members, they may be wary of strangers. Train commands early and firmly, otherwise you’ll have a very difficult, stubborn dog on your hands. Interesting features include their blue-black tongue (wow) and a coat that is slightly rough to the tough (shar-pei means “sand skin”).
10. SHIH TZU- Shih Tzu pups are cheerful, outgoing, and kid-friendly pets. These are dogs bred by royal families for companionship and status. If you want your pet to enjoy sitting on your lap and giving you tons of attention, the Shih Tzu is the dog for you.
11. SHAANXI XIAN HOUND- The Shaanxi Xian Hound has been around for at least 2,500 years according to the China Native Breed Conservation Club. These tall and elegant canines are likely ancestors of Greyhounds as well as Afghan Hounds, with their bodies aerodynamically designed for optimal speed on land or water; though they’re known not usually react quickly when in motion – only those who know them best will be able to make an impactful impression!
12. XIASI HOUND- The Xiasi is a true hunting dog bred in China’s Guizhou province. They were developed as border collies of sorts, meaning they enjoy herding and chasing prey but know when to relax with their families at home! These hounds love being around children because that means more playtime for everyone else too-smaller pets like cats or hamsters might trigger an increased interest from these high prey drive pups though so keep an eye out if you come across one unexpectedly. Mentioning “good fortune.” It sounds kind of goofy I guess given how rare this breed actually can be–you’ve got your lucky stars if ever came across such beautiful creatures.