Chinese Dog Breeds – 23 Dogs From China

The ancient folk legends believe that solar eclipses happen when dogs eat the sun in heaven.

According to archeological findings, China has some of the oldest living dog breeds globally, some of which have existed for over 2000 years.

Top 23 Chinese dog breeds

1. Chinese crested

These lively and loving Chinese dog breeds are short, about 11 to 13 inches tall. They are hypoallergenic when shedding, and they have an average life expectancy of about 18 years.

Chinese Crested dog breeds are of two varieties furry and hairless. The hairless coast is the most dominant variety over the furry variety. They have tuft hair on the head that resembles a crest, and on their feet, you can think they are wearing socks.

Chinese Crested dog breed has catlike behaviors for its love of heights. In the 14th century, these dog breeds were bred by Chinese sailors with their primary purpose to catch and kill rats on the ships.

2. Manchurian hairless

A lot is not known about the origin of Manchurian Hairless dog breeds though they are believed to be in China because of their close similarity with the Crestie.

Manchurians hairless are cautious and loyal, just like Crestie. Most people who keep them do so purposely for having them sit on their owners’ laps, some little protection reasons.

Manchurian Hairless are also considered good watchdogs because they like barking at anything that looks strange around them, but they are very social and too friendly to attack strangers. They are also another rare breed, unlike their cousins in China.

3. Chow Chow

Chow Chow, or just Chow as it is commonly known, is one of the oldest surviving Chinese dog breeds, and their ancient legacy is dated as early as the 11th century. They are loyal, aloof, and independent.

Chow are big, hairy strong, and gracious and can weigh between 45 to 70 pounds and heights of 17 to 20 inches. They are known to be devoted to humans, and they need serious attention on grooming, especially during summers when thick fur pose is typical.

You can identify them by their black-blue tongue and lips. Chow Chow is also considered the most independent and aristocratic breed. Their eyes are deep-set; hence they have limited peripheral vision.

4. Laizhou Hong

Laizhou Hong dog breeds are one of the giant Chinese god breeds with an average height of about 25 to 32 inches tall and a weight of up to 85 pounds. They can leave for up to a maximum age of 15 years.

They are believed to be outcomes of the crossbreed between German Shepherds and Rottweilers indigenous Chinese dog breeds. As a result, they are sometimes called Chinese Red Dogs.

This is because they are reddish hue in color. The Red dogs are known for their wicked strong bites because they are a vast and muscular breed, and they are lovely working dogs.

Laizhou Hong is a very confident, courageous, and loving dog with admirable adaptability and can be used as a striking guard. Currently, the breed is rare and can only be found in the Laizhou region in china.

5. Shar-pei

This dog breed is believed to have originated from Han Dynasty in Southern China. They have a life expectancy of 8 to 12 years, a height of about 19 inches with an average weight of 52 pounds.

They are knowledgeable, stubborn, and affectionate breeds and are preferred as guard dogs though they are not hostile or aggressive.

This dog breed has experienced a rise in demand from other parts of the world, like the United States of America, where it was introduced in 1966, and both British and American kennel clubs recognize it.

Shar-Pei breeds need a proper training command at their early stages of life to help in controlling their stubbornness. They have a blue-black tongue; the name shar-pei stands for sand skin; hence they have a slightly rough coat.

6. Lhasa apso

The Lhasa Apso dog breeds are small-sized breeds with only 10 to 11 inches and an average weight of 13 to 18 pounds. Lhasa Apso can live up to 15 years on average though the oldest lived for 29 years.

They are famous for their lavish dense coats that hang to the ground and drape from side to side whenever they walk. In some places, they are referred to as sacred dogs.

Irrespective of their small size, Lhasa Apso are very confident and intelligent dog breeds and can act as an excellent watchdog. However, they have a habit of bristling at strangers and other animals.

7. Pekingese

Pekingese are among the small-sized dog breeds. They have an average height of about 6 to 9, weigh about 14 pounds, and have a life expectancy of 14 years. Pekingese are affectionate, loyal, and proud dog breeds but stubborn pets.

They have a long coat and a lion-like appearance and are mainly used for aesthetic purposes. This is one of the reasons why they are the most popular breed of all Chinese dog breeds.

Sometimes back in China, these dog breeds were unique because only royal members were allowed to have these breeds. They are also called sun-dog or lion-dog because of their golden coats.

8. Chuandong hound

Chuandong Hound is a medium-sized dog breed of ancient China. The breed can be found in the Chongqing province. They have a deep red color nicely blended with some dark colors with thin, soft, smooth-textured coats.

Chuandong Hound has a unique tongue: solid bluish, solid dark blue, solid dark purple, or dark purple with some blue sports. Their life expectancy is about 20 years.

They are considered one of the proudest dog breeds ever to exist. They also tend to be a little stubborn but are very respectful breeds and can accept being taken through training to make their owner happy. Their loyalty and bravery have made them one of the most dignified dog breeds globally.

They are also lovely guard dogs and hunting dogs because of their watchful habit.

9. Tibetan spaniel

Tibetan spaniel dog breeds are believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds that have been in existence for over 2000 years. They possess all the character traits of the Tibetan dogs, including fluffy erect tails and a little lion’s mane.

The Spaniel name given to them doesn’t necessarily mean that they belong to the spaniel group, but it is due to their close similarity to certain spaniels. Their origin can be traced to the Himalayan region of Tibet.

Tibetan Spaniel is believed to have a common ancestry with Japanese Chin, Plug, Shih Tzu, Tibetan terrier, and Pekingese. They were never sold but instead given as gifts by Buddhist monasteries to their leaders in other nations.

Their colors range from gold, reddish, white, black, cream, sable to black & tan.

10. Shih Tzu

The cheerful kid-friendly pet is small-sized with an average height of about 10 to 11 inches tall while standing and a net weight of about 7 to 16 pounds.

Shih Tzu is a Chinese word that means little lion. Shih Tzu adopted the name due to its close association with Tibetan Buddhist God.

They have a life expectancy of up to 18 years if well looked. They are suitable adaptors to different households and were mainly bred by royal family members for companionship and social status. They are alert, vigilant, and gentle hence are nice watchdogs.

They have a mass of hair flowing around their head and a relatively narrow upper jaw differentiating them from other breeds.

One complication of this breed is that they need a lot of regular grooming and can sometimes display some signs of discomfort in warm climates.

11. Formosan mountain dog

Formosa Mountain dogs are believed to have their origin in Taiwan, Formosa Island, just as their name suggests. They are recognized as intelligent, active, and loyal dogs who can learn and master commands quickly.

They are landrace dog breeds of Formosa Island. Formosan Mountain dogs are multipurpose dogs that can be used as hunting dogs, family pet dogs, guard dogs, and search and rescue dogs.

Formosan dogs are currently nearing extinction because of the Chinese Nationalists’ dog-eating culture in 1945.

German Shepherds breed was used crossbreeding with Formosan dog breeds by the Germans to produce guard dogs for construction workers during World War One.

12. Pug

Pug is known as one of the most stable dog breeds globally. This is because they don’t run away from their owners, no matter the situation.

Pug breeds are very short, with an average height of about 10 to 13 inches and a weight of between 14 to 18 pounds.

They have big eyes and wrinkling faces that give a lot of cheerfulness, hence preferred by Chinese and European royalty as official mascots. They can leave up to 15 years if well looked after.

They are a very adaptable breed and can constantly adjust to the changes in their ecosystem. Additionally, Pug is very chamming, naughty, and friendly.

13. Xia Quan

These dog breeds originated from the southern Guizhou Province in China, serving as hunting dogs. They are about 17 to 20 inches tall with an average weight of about 44 to 66 pounds and can stay up to 14 years.

Xia breeds have a lean muscular body and a wiry white coat that slightly resembles a Terrier breed, their tails are erect, and they also have pointed ears. Currently, this breed is rare; Chinese regard Xiasi dog breeds as a lucky omen that brings success to the family.

Xia is known as very obedient, intelligent, and devoted breeds that can easily accommodate each other in the dog packs as long as they are raised together.

14. Japanese chin

These short pet dogs are believed to have their origin in China. They are 8 to 11 inches tall with an average weight of about 7 to 11 pounds and can survive up to 12 years if well looked after.

They resemble the Pekingese breeds, and some people argue that the Japanese Chin and Pekingese share the same ancestral parents at some point in life.

One of their famous characters is their catlike attitude of seeking higher resting grounds and how they like to wipe their faces like cats.

They are very adaptive to any environment but can be stubborn sometimes hence need training. However, Japanese Chin is also considered intelligent, independent, and loyal breeds.

15. Shaanxi xian hound

Shaanxi Xian Hound is believed to be the ancestors of Greyhounds and Afghan hounds. They have an average height of about 27 to 30 inches, and their average weight is about 44 to 66 pounds.

They are very loving and friendly at home and can accommodate other dogs.

They are courageous, tall, elegant, and agile. They are believed to have been in existence since 685 AD and were used for hunting. This is because they are very active and energetic.

They went extinct when the Chinese government illegalized hunting, but currently, the Chinese Kennel is trying to make some efforts to bring them back through DNA samples.

16. Kunming wolfdog

Kunming Wolfdog is an obedient, devoted, and intelligent wolf hybrid dog developed to perform some extreme tasks in search, rescue, and military tasks.

The breed was first developed in Yunnan province back in the 1950s. They are the results of a crossbreed between the German Shepherds and Wolves.

The Chinese refer to them as Chinese German Shepherds. They became famous in 1953 when China’s K-9 force was working with them as sniffers. They are loved because of their respect, obedience, and ability to perform tasks.

17. Chinese Chongqing dog

Chongqing Dogs are famous for their service as hunters and home guards. During the Han Dynasty rule in China, back in the 1980s, their remains were found, and evidence shows that they have been in existence for over 2000 years.

Their physical appearance is like a stocky, stout boxer with reddish-brown coats. They are good guards since they don’t take unfamiliar persons compassionately.

They are about 13 to 20 inches tall when standing with a net weight of 33 to 56 pounds.

If appropriately maintained, these loyal, vigilant, and courageous dogs are capable of living up to sixteen years.

However, note that washing them frequently can make their skin dry out; hence not recommended.

18. Bone mouth dog

Chinese believes that this breed is the original version of the internationally-famed Shar-Pei, and the Americans developed it for the breed with characters for western families.

The bone mouth is very active, agile, calm, and docile breeds, with a standing height of about 23 inches. They have a blue-black tongue though some have pink or spotted tongues.

Bone Mouth dog breeds are friendly. They have less flesh and flaps of skin around the snout with few wrinkles, pointed tails, short mane, and roof-tile nose.

This dog breed is prone to the following health issues; Hip Dysplasia, Patellar luxation, Elbow Dysplasia, and skin fold infections. Therefore it is good to monitor them closely.

19. Tibetan terrier

Tibetan terriers are loving, tender, and loyal dogs. The name Terrier originates from Europe because of the way they resemble the European Terrier breed. The breed has been in existence for over 2000 years.

Tibetan terriers are medium-sized dogs that are very healthy and hardy with a soft, double coat that needs proper grooming. Their color varies from gold, tricolor, silver, white or other colors, with flat feet with a snowshoe-like appearance.

Tibetan Terrier is one of the four dog breeds bred to protect the ancient monasteries in Tibet, China. That is the way some people refer to them as the Holy Dog of Tibet.

They are great rural dogs because of their easy adaptive nature. They also tend to balance playing, and calmness and are regarded as excellent watchdogs but will never be aggressive to strangers.

20. Tibetan Kyi Apso

Tibetan Kyi Apso is also known as Apso Do-Kyi. They are a bit similar to the Tibetan Mastiff, and the only distinguishing thing is that Mastiff’s have signature mane.

They are used mainly by the nomadic pastoralists as guard dogs and are known for their affectionate, calm, and protective characters. Kyi Apso has a long and dense double coat.

They have one estrus per year instead of two. They also have high adaptive intelligence for assessing situations and potential threats, especially when they are on duty.

You should wear thick collars made of yak wool around their neck to protect their throats from any injury when battling wolves or snow leopards.

21. Tibetan mastiff

Did you know that the most expensive dog ever sold was of a Tibetan Mastiff breed? Tibetan Mastiff is very stubborn, brave, and strong-willed, just like Leopard.

They have soft wool covered by rough outer texture with deep chests. Their bites are very dangerous, though controlling them is easy if you start training them properly at the early stages.

Some high-profile individuals have used them for guard and protection because of their confidence, bravery, and stamina. However, people of Tibet believe these dogs have the souls of monks that were not reincarnated into a man.

22. Chinese imperial

These tiny dog breeds are unique, with many confusing theories and tales about their origin. American Shih Tzu Club and American Kennel Club both argue that the breed is a miniature size of the Shih Tzu.

While, the Chinese Imperial camp also claims that the breed is a unique Imperial gene separately, and the breed has been in existence in China for a long time.

Chinese Imperial has a beautiful dense coat with a puffy, curly tail and a trivial muzzled face. Their eyes are bright and appealing, while their height of up to 8 inches with an average 9 pounds weight.

Chinese Imperial is just a unique blissful dog breed, kept purposely for companionship, and is kid-friendly. They have a moderate activity level and are very loving to their owner.

23. Puginese

Puginese is a mixed breed between Pug and Pekingese dog breeds. Being a mixed breed, they possess the best traits from the two parents, all Chinese breeds.

They are very adorable and little-sized with unique affectionate, sensitive, and independent characters. They are known to be a nervous breed; hence they require some silent ecosystem. Being sensitive breeds makes them outstanding watchdogs.

Puginese coat colors vary from black, brown, sable, brindle, fawn to white. They are usually between 8 to 11 inches tall and a maximum of 16 pounds.


Dogs are the oldest domesticated animals in China. They were used by the ancient Chinese as helpers during hunting. Recently, dogs have been familiar creatures in rural homes, and they are used for several duties like shepherding and labor works on the farms.

Acquiring a healthy dog requires looking for a reputable dog breeder who does test their breeding dogs rather than going to a pet store or puppy mill.

Chinese are the largest consumers of dogs in the world. Therefore, in2009, a festival called “Lychee and Dog Meat Festival” was introduced in China, and it is held every year in Yulin during the summer solstice.

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