Chinese Dog Breeds – Top List, Origins, Specificities & Prices

chinese dog breeds

Do you want to know it all about Chinese dog breeds? We are going to bring you exclusive insights about these peculiar and popular Chinese breeds. Furthermore, we are going to talk about the culture of China towards dogs and the controversial Yulin Festival.

We are going to erase the common stereotypes associated with China and dog meat, as well as an insightful review of the most iconic Chinese breeds that you can find across the World.

Make sure you also check out our all-American dog breed list!

History of Chinese Dogs

According to evidence, the dog was one of the earliest animals domesticated in China, because archeologists have found canine remains in Neolithic settlements Yangshao, which are the oldest in the country.

Furthermore, after analyzing these remains, scientists found out that they shared similarities with Japanese dog breeds like the Shiba Inu, which makes us think that they were Spitz-type.

Chinese breeds vary widely in their characteristics. You can find huge dogs with majestic coats like the Tibetan Mastiff, and fiery, medium-sized, short-coated and powerful dogs like the Shar-Pei, as well as petite dogs like the Pekingese or hairless pups like the Manchurian or the Chinese Crested Dog.

Do Chinese people eat dogs?

China is the largest consumer of dog meat in the world, registering approximately 20 million dogs per year for consumption. Nonetheless, although the numbers seem outrageously big, only a minority of Chinese people include dog meat in their diet (0.14% on a population of 1.4 billion people).

Therefore, although it is acceptable and legal, most people in China do not eat dog meat. The people who do often live in Guangxi (the region where the Yulin Festival is held) and Guangdong.

Furthermore, it is worth to note that millions of Chinese citizens voted in favor of a legislative proposal to ban dog meat trade.

Nonetheless, although it is legal in mainland China, it is illegal in Hong Kong thanks to the 1950 Dogs and Cats Regulations.

Lychee and Dog Meat Festival in Yulin

The Lychee and Dog Meat Festival is held in Yulin every year during the summer solstice. As the name clearly implies, the attenders go to eat lychees and dog meat.

Nonetheless, the festival is not that old, because it started in 2009. It lasts ten days, where according to BBC statistics; attendants consume approximately 10,000 to 15,000 dogs. The dogs are held in crates waiting to be skinned and cooked, something that has sparked major disapproval by Chinese citizens and internationally.

However, due to massive social pressure, the festival has been losing terrain, and according to stats, the consumption of dogs during the 10 days dropped to 1,000. This fact helps to show that eating dog meat is not a widespread practice as stereotypes seem to portray it.

Therefore, according to experts, the days of the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival are numbered, because attendance is dropping year by year.

Do Chinese people own pet dogs?

In comparison to previous decades, when Mao Zedong’s Red Guards slaughtered pets because he regarded them as a bourgeois luxury, Chinese people have started to own more dogs as the country gets richer.

According to statistics, there are approximately 180 million dogs in China and their owners spend approximately $7 billion on looking after them (prediction for 2020). Furthermore, the pet industry is growing at an impressive 20% rate per year.

Therefore, it has become more normal for Chinese people to own dogs, especially in the richer sectors of society. The stats and lifestyle clearly reflect it.

Top 19 Chinese Dog Breeds

Now that you possess a solid background about the history and culture that surrounds Chinese dog breeds, it is time to talk about them in concrete terms.

1. Tibetan Spaniel

Even though they have the word spaniel in their name, Tibetan Spaniels are different from normal spaniels since they are not gundogs. They are small and have a silky double coat that contours their whole body, with a typical mane of hair that surrounds the neck. The Tibetan Spaniel coat can be:

  • White
  • Black
  • Black & Tan
  • Cream
  • Red
  • Sable
  • Gold

They are affectionate, loving, alert and active. Due to these traits, they are ideal family dogs and they are excellent watchdogs. Nonetheless, they tend to be aloof with strangers.

They have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years and they are susceptible to these health issues:

  • Patellar Luxation
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Entropion
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy

The average price for a Tibetan spaniel puppy ranges from $800 to $1,200 USD. Pups from top bloodlines and superior pedigree will sell for a lot more.

2. Bone Mouth (Guzui)

This breed is the original type of the Shar-Pei, therefore, it is fairly similar. Its coat can come in different colors: blue, blue-to-black, black and rust-brown, red, fawn, or cream.

Bone Mouth dogs are agile, active, tenacious and courageous. Therefore, they have been used for activities like hunting, guarding and fighting. They are very loyal to their owners, but they need proper training to mold their character correctly.

Their lifespan ranges from 7 to 15 years and you should watch out for the following health issues:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • Entropion
  • Skin Fold Infections

An authentic Guzui puppy will cost you between $250 and $2,500 USD. It is very similar to the pricing of Shar Peis.

3. Chinese Chongqing Dog

The Chinese Chongqing Dog is a medium-sized ancient breed that exists since the Han Dynasty. It is characteristic due to its mahogany short coat and strong visible muscles. They have a compact and dense build that exhibits strength and agility, and that is why Chinese farmers used them for hunting from rabbits to wild boar.

They are loyal, protective, independent, self-assured and dominant. Therefore, they need firm training to exploit their best characters. They are good family dogs when trained properly, but also exceptional hunting dogs and guard dogs.

The average price for a Chongqing puppy ranges from $1,800 to $2,500 USD. Top bloodlines and superior pedigree will drive the price up. The breed is rather rare.

They have an exceptional lifespan of 17-18 years, and thanks to being bred in harsh conditions with little human intervention, they are one of the healthiest breeds in the world. They are only predisposed to certain problems such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia.

4. Chinese Crested Dog

It belongs to the group of hairless dogs and comes in two varieties:

  1. the Powderpuff, and
  2. the Hairless.

They are characteristic of their naked body, soft skin, long muzzles, erect ears, and wedge-shaped heads.

They are playful, active, happy and love attention. They are lovely, but they can also be clingy, and therefore, you must be able to give them lots of attention and affection to keep them happy.

An authentic Chinese Crested puppy will cost you between $1,000-$4,000 USD. The superior the pedigree and the more prestigious the bloodline, the more expensive it will be.

They have a life expectancy of 13-15 years and they are healthy dogs, but they are prone to developing these health issues:

  • Patellar Luxation
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Lens Luxation
  • Glaucoma
  • Seizures
  • Deafness

5. Chinese Imperial Dog

Chinese Imperial Dogs are small and light, popular for their short-muzzled face, round eyes and petite nose. Furthermore, their majestic and fluffy coat makes them outstanding, and it can come in practically any color, being white, cream and black the most popular. The breed is often called the Miniature Shih-Tzu.

They are energetic, lively, smart, social, outgoing and cooperative. They love to play, but they also know how to sit down and remain quiet. The process training very well, and therefore, they make excellent family dogs, especially for beginners.

Their price can range from $600 to $4,000 USD. It depends on the reputation of the breeder, the pedigree and the bloodline. On top of that, health certificates also play a fundamental role.

They can live between 12 to 15 years and they are a healthy breed. Nonetheless, they have a tendency to develop these health problems:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Pinched Nostrils
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypoglycemia

6. Chow Chow

Chow Chows are ancient, big, compact and powerful dogs, whose lion mane ruff around the shoulders and the head makes them outstand from other breeds. Their snobbish expression and their gait with stiff legs make them unique.

Chow Chows are devoted and protective, and therefore, they make exceptional guard dogs. They love their family and will always protect them. Nonetheless, they tend to be aloof with strangers and they can be aggressive, but you can remedy it with proper and early training.

The price can range from $900 to $8,000 USD, which depends on the bloodline, pedigree, and reputation of the breeder.

A Chow Chow can live between 9 and 15 years. You need to keep an eye on these health issues:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Glaucoma
  • Distichiasis
  • Cataracts
chow chows corking dogs quote
Chow Chows are very loving and caring dogs, but they also are an ancient dog breed developed to work hard, guard, retrieve, and herd.

7. Japanese Chin

Contrary to its own name, the Japanese Chin is thought to have originated in China. It’s therefore welcomed on this Chinese dog breed list!

The Japanese Chin is petite, has a large broad head, wide-set eyes and short broad muzzle that bring it a characteristic oriental look. Their coat is soft and feathery, and it can have the following colors:

  • Lemon and White
  • Sable and White
  • Red and White
  • Black and White

It can also be tri-color.

They are sensitive, intelligent, affectionate and responsive. They are independent as well, but their desire to please is much bigger. They make excellent companions, and as they are wary of strangers, they can serve as watchdogs.

The price ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 USD. Puppies from top bloodlines and with a superior pedigree will always cost more.

They have a lifespan of 12-14 years and they are healthy dogs. Nonetheless, they are predisposed to these health issues:

  • Patellar Luxation
  • Cataracts
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Heart Murmurs
  • Hypoglycemia

8. Kunming Wolfdog

Kunming Wolfdog are similar to other Spitz dogs and they are similar to German Shepherds, but they stand taller in the back. They have pointy ears, a powerful body and their coat have shorter fur and thick color, which can be deep rust shade, white and light tan to name a few.

They are outstandingly smart, self-assured, confident, playful, energetic and curious. They love to learn, and therefore, they can be trained for virtually any task.

The price for a Kunming Wolfdog puppy ranges from $800 to $1,200 USD. The higher prices are for dogs that come from top bloodlines and have a superior pedigree.

They can live between 12 to 14 years and they are prone to these health issues:

  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Bloating
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Cataracts
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease

9. Miniature Shar-Pei

Miniature Shar-Peis are practically the same as a normal Shar Pei, but they are smaller at only 14-17 inches in height and 25-40 pounds in weight.

Mini Shar-Peis are affectionate, playful, adaptable, alert and confident. They are also independent, which can cause certain problems, but you can remedy them with proper training. They have the same temperament traits as the original Shar-Pei.

The price for a miniature Shar-Pei will costs you anywhere between $1,500 and $2,500 USD.

They can live 9-11 years and they have a tendency to the following health problems:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Entropion
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • Skin Allergies

10. Pekingese

Pekingese are petite, stocky and surprisingly muscular and heavy for their size. It has a glorious double coat, where the inner coat is thick and soft and the outer coat is long, coarse and straight. It brings it a lion-like appearance.

They are lovely, affectionate, playful and eager to please. Nonetheless, they are aloof and wary with strangers. Therefore, they make excellent family dogs and watchdogs. They respond best to patient training.

The price for an authentic Pekingese puppy ranges from $600 to $1,100 USD. Although, it can be more expensive if it comes from a champion bloodline.

They can live 13-15 years, and they are prone to these health issues:

  • Patellar Luxation
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
  • Distichiasis
  • Corneal Abrasions
  • Trichiasis

11. Pug

The Pug is popular due to its characteristic appearance. Their barrel-shaped body, short legs, miniature size, wide chest, and flattened chest – along with its short coat – make them unique on their kind.

Jenny and Gipper, the first American Grand Champion Pug to come to Australia.
GRAND TITLED before the age of two, Gipper is the first American Grand Champion Pug to come to Australia.

They are eager to please, they love attention, they are playful and lovely. Nonetheless, they can be stubborn, and therefore, they require firm and consistent training.

The price of a pug puppy can cost anywhere from $600 to $6,000 USD. The most expensive specimens come from top bloodlines and include breeding rights, and of course, they are show quality.

They can live 12-15 years and they are prone to the following health issues:

  • Patellar Luxation
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Pug Dog Encephalitis
  • Legg-Perthes Disease
  • Dystocia (birthing problems)

12. Shar Pei

The Shar-Pei is famous for its wrinkled coat, blue tongue, and deep-set eyes. Its body is medium-sized yet exhibits power and strength. Its short and rough coat can come in the following colors:

  • Sable
  • Black
  • Fawn
  • Sand
  • Red
  • Lilac
  • Apricot
  • Chocolate

They have contrasting temperament traits. They are lovely and affectionate with their family, but they are also territorial, independent and have a tendency to aggressiveness. Therefore, early, proper and consistent training is essential.

A Shar-Pei puppy can cost anywhere from $600 to $1,500 USD. The final price will depend on the pedigree certificate, bloodline, reputation of the breeders and health certificates/inspections.

These dogs can live 9-11 years and they are healthy, yet they are susceptible to these health issues:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • Entropion
  • Skin Allergies

13. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are taller than longer, their body is sturdy and their round head is properly proportioned to its size. Their eyes are also prominent, which brings them a characteristic look. Its coat is long, straight and elegant, and it can virtually be of any color.

Shih Tzus are affectionate, loyal, alert and outgoing. They are excellent companions but also reliable watchdogs.

The marketplace price for a Shih Tzu is around $500-$1,000 USD. The pedigree and bloodline will influence the price the most.

They have an average lifespan of 10-16 years and they have a tendency to develop these health problems:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Collapsing Trachea
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Proptosis
  • Allergies
  • Ear Infections

14. Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiffs are huge, measuring over 26 inches and weighing over 100 pounds. They are muscular, strong and substantial and deserve this place in any list of Chinese dog breeds. They have a gentle and noble expression. Tibetan Mastiffs have a double coat, where the undercoat is soft, heavy and wooly, whereas the outer coat is thick, coarse and long, and it can come in the following colors:

  • Black
  • Black and Tan
  • Brown
  • Red Gold
  • Brown and Tan
  • Blue Gray

They are very protective with their family, especially children. Nonetheless, they are independent and territorial, which makes them watchful, quiet and aloof.

The price for Tibetan Mastiff averages $1,500-$5,000 USD. It depends on the bloodline it descents from and the pedigree. However, some rare specimens can cost over one million dollars, like the red Tibetan Mastiff, “Big Splash”, sold to a Chinese businessman.

They can live 12-15 years and they are healthy in general, but they can develop these health issues:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Demyelinating Neuropathy
how to breed Tibetan Mastiffs
The guide on how to breed Tibetan Mastiffs!

15. Tugou

Tugou does not refer to a specific breed, because it is a term used for several Chinese breeds like the Chongqing Dog, Xiasi Dog and the Formosan Mountain Dog. They all stand at approximately 20 inches tall.

16. Xiasi Dog

Xiasi Dogs were bred for hunting, and therefore, their complexion is strong and agile. Their body is muscular, their legs are light and powerful and they have resistant padded paws. Their coat is wiry and white. They are also famous for their rat-like tail.

They are loyal, protective, affectionate, smart and eager to please. They are exceptional guard dogs as well as excellent family dogs.

Unfortunately, as it is a rare breed, there are many only a handful of breeders and they do not release their prices publicly.

They can live 12-14 years, and they are a healthy breed. Nonetheless, they can develop the following health problems:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Ear Infections

17. Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is small and its most characteristic trait is its coat, which is flowing, long, dense and heavy. It can come in the following colors:

  • Black
  • Golden
  • Brown
  • Sandy
  • Dark Grizzle
  • Honey

They are affectionate, cute and easygoing. Nonetheless, they can also be aloof and stubborn, which requires you to train them properly from the beginning. In consequence, they are excellent companions and guard dogs.

Lhasa Apso puppies can between $1,500 and $5,300 USD. The price will increase depending on the bloodline and the pedigree, as well as the health certificates and the reputation of the breeder.

They have a lifespan of 12-14 years, and they have a tendency to develop these health issues:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Juvenile Renal Disease
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
  • Sebaceous Adenitis

18. Tibetan Terrier

The Tibetan Terrier is a medium-sized dog with a square and powerful build. Their coat is shaggy and can come in the following colors:

  • Black
  • White
  • Piebald
  • Golden
  • Grey
  • Brindle
  • Tri-Color

They are affectionate, pleasant, smart, gentle and active. Nonetheless, they are reserved and wary of strangers.

The average price for a Tibetan terrier puppy is around $1,000-$1,500 USD. It depends on the reputation of the breeder, quality of the pedigree and bloodline.

They can live from 12 to 15 years. Keep an eye on the following health issues:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Lens Luxation
  • Cataracts
  • Hypothyroidism

19. Manchurian Hairless

Its domed head, short nose and naked skin make the Manchurian Hairless unique. Nonetheless, they can have bits of hair on the tail, feet and head. It is the cousin of the Chinese Crested Dog.

They are protective, lovely, affectionate, alert and social. They are wary of strangers, but they get along with other dogs very well.

The price ranges between $600 and $1,000 USD. The price depends on the pedigree, bloodline, health certificates and reputation of the breeder.

They can live 12-15 years and they are healthy dogs. However, you should keep an eye on the following health issues:

  • Dental Problems
  • Skin Issues

Now you have a list of the top Chinese dog breeds, their history, and the culture that surrounds them. As you can see, China is rich in breeds, and contrary to what stereotypes say, Chinese people love dogs and the number of pet owners is growing every year! Carry on reading about the best Chinese dog names!

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