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Fascinating Stories of 12 Uncommon Chinese Dog Breeds

The dog is the eleventh sign in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac and has been kept as the domestication of dogs for a long time. For example, 2006 and 2018 are the dog years. These dogs with Chinese ancestry boast uniqueness found nowhere else, and many know less about their history. So we sum up 12 beloved Chinese dogs and enlighten you with their stories.

Uncommon Chinese Dog Breeds

1. Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin

Although the name implies Japanese origin, it is widely believed that they originated in China. But it's a bit of a debated topic on how the Japanese Chin came to Japan. Because of their distinct appearance and gentle personality, they became the accompanying dogs for ladies in the Imperial Palace and warming the laps of Chinese Aristocracy, as well as other countries.

2. Tibetan Spaniel

Tibetan Spaniel

Small monastery dogs, they are regarded as "little lions" due to their resemblance to the Chinese Guardian Lions. Initially, the breed varied greatly in looks depending on where it had been bred.
According to the AKC, "it is prized as a pet and companion, and was considered a beneficial animal by all classes of Tibetans."

3. Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

This recognizable large dog is another breed originating from Tibet in China as far back as 1100 B.C. As a great guardian of livestock or the home, they are known as great animals and are said to be able to kill a tiger. The Tibetan mastiff is the most loyal dog. It's rumored that he'll only follow one owner for the duration of his entire life. In fact, it's just too difficult for them to accept a new master.
Queen Victoria received a pup in the mid-1800s, making them popular in the Europe. Today, they are highly prized and the best dogs that can be sold at around $2,000.

4. Chinese Shar-Pei

Chinese Shar-Pei

Chinese Shar-pei have existed in China since ancient times, and their likeness was used to decorate various objects, especially during the Han Dynasty.
The Shar-pei is believed to have originated from Guangdong province of China around 200 B.C. They are used as guard dogs, and the Chinese believe that his wrinkles and purple tongue would scare off evil spirits.

5. Chongqing dog

Chongqing dog

You may have never heard of Chongqing dog before, because it is a rare breed of dog native to Chongqing city in Sichuan province of China. Since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, only people in rural communities still keep it.
But according to the Chinese Chongqing Dog promotional committee, they are a "natural" one that means they have existed for 2,000 years since the time of the Han Dynasty in Ancient China. They are used as good protectors, workers, and hunters for their excellent working capabilities.

6. Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested

This dog has a very unusual look due to its legend origins. It is believed to have been developed by Chinese Mariners from the African hairless dog and used for hunting vermin on board ships. The most famous of the Chinese Crested hairless pooches would be purebred Sam - winner of the World's Ugliest Dog contest from 2003 to 2005.

7. Chow Chow

Chow Chow

This "puffy-lion dog" is another easily recognized breed and also called Songshi Quan in China, and is one of the few ancient dog breeds still in existence in the world today, just as old as the Shar-pei.
At the same time, they are one of the few breeds of dogs that have a blue-black tongue. They have many fans, for example, President Calvin Coolidge owned two in the White House as well as wealthy lady Martha Stewart.

8. Kunming Wolfdog

It's hard to know the pedigree of Kunming Wolfdog because a majority of them were crossbreeds. They resemble the German Shepherd dog, so it's possible they have some GSD in their lineage. In 1988, It was officially recognized in China, where they began using it for police and military.

9. Pekingese


Named after Peking (now Beijing) the little Pekingese was confirmed as the oldest dog breed on record according to DNA analysis, dating back more than 2,000 years. Only royal members kept them and they were considered sacred Foo Dogs that could drive away spirits.

10. Pug


Pug is a common dog breed that everyone knows, as they are fun, intelligent and often kept as a house pet. But few know it is one of the oldest breeds, dating back to 400 B.C and was bred to be companions for ruling families in China. When it comes to Tibet, Buddhist monks began keeping pugs as monastery pets and later it became popular in Europe in the 18th century.
It's rumored that before marrying Napoleon Bonaparte, the imprisoned Joséphine had her Pug dog Fortune carry concealed messages to her family, as only Fortune had been given visiting rights.

11. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

The origins of this adorable lap dog are not clear but only known that it is an old breed, probably dating somewhere around 624 A.D. It was one of the Tibetan holy dogs due to its resemblance to a lion.
It's rumored that they have descended from the crossing of a Lhasa Apso with a Pekingese. Chinese royals like them very much and refuse to sell, trade, or give any away, making them so prized. They became famous worldwide until the 1930's when they were brought to England.

12. Xiasi Quan Dog

Xiasi Quan Dog

Another dog you may have never heard of is the Xiasi Quan dog. Since the breed is mainly raised in the town of Xiasi, Kaili city in Guizhou province of China, the official name for this breed is Xiasi Quan.
The Miao ethnic group also calls it as Bai Long Quan. People there have respected them due to the belief that the dog brings wealth to families. They are used as hunting dogs as they are fast, agile, and easy to train.

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