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6 Strange Things That Are Done to Dogs in China

Six interesting things that Chinese people sometimes do to their pet dogs.

No, I’m not talking about eating them; consuming dog is really not that strange of a thing to do in China. What I’m talking about are all the interesting anthropomorphic alterations and accessories that Chinese people are prone to add to their pet pooches. It’s almost as if the pet dog has found itself in a social grey area  in China’s middle class, and they are sometimes done up and showered with attention as though they were . . . children?

Clothes

dog-with-clothes-china

A dog wearing clothes in Taizhou.

Why should dogs be allowed to go around in public naked? How indecent! In the longest running civilization in the world even pet dogs often wear clothes.

Dyed hair

Dyed hair dog in China

Though I’ve seen dogs with dye jobs more often in trendy cities, such as Shanghai and Nanjing, it is not totally uncommon to see a puff of dyed pink fur sticking up out of a lady’s purse in the fancy shopping districts throughout the country.

Fear not, pet dogs in China can look as fashionable and trendy as their owners. Dogs with their fur dyed strange colors now seems to be trendy here, and hot pink, florescent green, and purple colored canines can be seen frolicking through the country’s fashionable districts. Or, as some dog owners have discovered, a dog can be given a dye job to make it look like a whole other animal — such as a tiger or even a panda!

china-tiger-dog

Yes, a golden retriever.

panda-dogs

Panda dogs.

Shaved for the summer

shaved-dog-china

A golden retriever with its fur shaved off.

When I asked this Golden Retriever’s owners about why they shaved the fur off its body I was told it was so he’d be cooler in the summer heat. I guess it makes sense, but I thought that was what shedding was for?

Nail polish

nail-polish-on-dog-china

Nail polish on a dog in Suzhou.

What kind of ignorant specist are you!?! Why shouldn’t dogs be allowed to get their nails done too?!?

Wearing shoes

dog-with-shoes-china

Dog wearing shoes in Nanjing.

Hey, why should dogs be allowed to walk through the house with their street feet on? Leave your shoes at the door like everybody else, dog.

Teaching them to walk

Dog walking on hind legs

This dog is actually able to walk on its hind legs. It’s name is LuLu, and lives in Henan province.

Many pet dogs are treated like people in China anyway, so why not teach them to walk and shop too?

No, this is not typical. Bipedal dogs are oddities in China too (though I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of this in the future).

Chinese dogs can protest the Japanese too

anti-japanese-dog

Anti-Japanese slogan written across this dog’s midsection.

Even dogs know the Diaoyu Islands are Chinese! This husky was brought out as a prop during an anti-Japanese protest.

A good meal time companion?

dog-on-mcdonalds-table

Dog on McDonalds table in China

This canine is enjoying a “doggie meal” at McDonalds with its owner.

Conclusion

The pet dog craze in China is a relatively new phenomenon, and the culture seems to have given this animal a unique social niche. Some blame it on the country’s family planning policies that many Chinese seem to treat their pet dogs as they would children. Or, perhaps, all of this dressing up and anthropomorphizing of pet dogs is a reaction to the fact that they are still food in this country, and covering them with the vestiges of human culture may move them a few psychological ticks further from the dinner table . . . (I don’t think many pet owners want their countrymen whetting their chops while looking at their dogs). Whatever is the case, it is not uncommon for the domestic dog in China to be decked out in clothes, fashionable hairdos, shoes, and a place right up at the table with Homo-Sapiens.

But, then again, there are still plenty of pet dogs in China that look like this guy:

chinese-dog

“Don’t even think about it.”

Filed under: Animals, China

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3547 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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  • Krystal October 19, 2012, 4:18 am

    Come on, the tiger dog is super cool! And the one of the table is just too cute. I’m a dog lover though…what can I say. Luckily my husband is vehemently against me dressing up or painting the toe nails of my pug 🙂

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    • Wade Shepard October 19, 2012, 6:07 am

      I think a tiger-pug is worth a divorce 🙂

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