Pan-dog-monium Hits China

It’s a panda, it’s a bear, it’s a dog dyed black and white and trimmed into a panda-like shape.

By | Posted: May 13, 2014, 9 a.m. PST

"Panda dogs” are all the rage in pet stores across China, the New York Post reports. They are so popular that pet store owners like Hsin Ch’en, are unable to fulfill the demand for these tiny, powder-puff pandas.

Most Expensive Dog in the World Sold at China Pet Fair>>

Panda Dog

Photo from Austral International Press Agency

But before you get excited that your dreams of miniature, house-friendly pandas have come to life, let us break the news that a new breed of dog-panda has not actually been created… yet.  So what are these black and white imposters?

Panda Puppies

Photo from Austral International Press Agency

The dogs that are flying off of China shelves disguised as "small" pandas are actually Chow Chows, dyed and trimmed to resemble the panda.

An ancient breed of Chinese origin, the Chow Chow was used to guard, hunt and work. The breed is proud, independent, strong-willed, loyal to its family and suspicious of strangers. They shed heavily and require a good amount of exercise.

More about Chow Chows>>

"I perfected the [grooming] technique here and now it is spreading across the country,” Ch’en tells the NYP.

With careful grooming and chemical-free coloring, Ch’en turns Chows into pandas in a matter of two hours. After 6-weeks, owners bring them back for touching ups.

While the consumer craze for panda-puppies seems to be new, dying dogs to look like pandas and other wild animals has been an ongoing trend in China who has in recent years, embraced a dog-loving culture. Where only 10 years ago, dogs were on menus in public restaurants dogs are now brought into restaurants, dressed up, fussed over and dyed to have an impressive appearance.

Tiger Dog

The imposter trend has gone so far, that even a Chinese zoo got in on the action this year, telling guests that a Tibetan Mastiff was a lion. That gig ended however, when the lion barked.


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