They can be poofy. They can be pug-faced. They can be distinct. And more often than not, Chinese dogs are incredibly cute. Chinese dogs also generally have long, storied histories. Not all the breeds considered to be Chinese actually originate in China.
If you’re looking for a truly Chinese dog breed, here are nine distinct dogs to consider. The best way to go about adopting a Chinese dog is to find a registered breeder at the American Kennel Club website.
The Pekingese has long been associated with the history of China and its emperors. Records of the Pekingese (named after Peking, the former name for Beijing, the capital of China) date back to at least 700 C.E. Its long, regal coat requires about an hour per week of brushing. But the Pekingese is low-maintenance in personality and generally known as a chill, indoor-type dog. According to the American Kennel Club, the introduction of the Pekingese to the Western world stemmed from the looting of the Imperial Palace in Beijing in 1860.
- Chow Chow
This furry-faced, medium-sized dog is thought to have originated more than 3,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest breeds of dogs. It has a reputation as a strong hunting dog and is thought to have its origins in cold regions of China, according to the Chow Chow Club of the United Kingdom.
- Chinese Crested
This unique dog, which appears nearly hairless on its torso but has flowing hair on its legs, face and tail, is known to be elegant, graceful and affectionate.
- Chinese Shar-Pei
The Chinese shar-pei has a loose-skinned face with a bit of a perturbed, sad, expression, but don’t let that turn you off. It’s a loyal dog who’s devoted to the people it loves, and it might be the best friend you’ll ever have.
With their cute, wrinkly faces, pugs are one of the most recognizable and well-known dog breeds. Pugs in ancient China lived in luxury, as they were prized by emperors and the ruling class, according to the Pug Dog Club of America. They’re known, according to the American Kennel Club, for being charming and mischievous.
- Kunming Wolfdog
Kunming wolfdogs originally served a military purpose in China’s Yunnan Province (of which Kunming is the capital). They also have a history as guard dogs and watch dogs.
Also known as the Xiasi Quan or Bai Long Quan, the Xiasi has long been a hunting dog with a muscular build. It usually has white fur and pointed ears. In the Guizhou province of China, where they were thought to bring wealth, they were bred in some cases to fight boars in competitions.
- Manchurian Hairless
You would think in the colder climates of northern China, it wouldn’t make sense for a dog to lack hair — but that’s exactly the case for the Manchurian hairless. It’s a short-nosed dog with a domed head, and it’s been known to keep its parents warm at night when held against their sleeping bodies.
- Chinese Chongqing
The rare, powerfully built Chinese Chongqing dog dates back nearly 2,000 years, with love for the dog evident in Han Dynasty pottery. According to Tie Lang Tou Kennels, the Chongqing, named for its region of origin, is equipped with hunting abilities and has a reputation for bravery, loyalty and protective instincts.
And check out these 10 Rare Dog Breeds From Around the World.
Erin Chan Ding is a freelance journalist in the Chicago area who writes about travel, pets, news, business, parenting and features.