11 Chinese Dog Breeds with their Unique Histories

chinese crested dog

Humans and dogs have been co-living for centuries now. Believe it or not, evidence of first-domesticated dogs in China goes back to 15,000 years ago. 

In China, it’s believed that dogs are the forefathers of all animals in existence today. Interestingly, many Chinese dog breeds from centuries ago still remain popular in today’s age and time. 

Today, we will explore ten Chinese dog breeds along with their unique histories, which will tell us how important they were in the lives of local citizens even back then.

11 Chinese Dog Breeds & their History:

1. Chinese Crested Dog

chinese crested dog

The Chinese Crested breed is so old that no one has been able to pinpoint its exact origin. The best historical evidence links this dog’s origin to China. This awesome breed has two types of hairless and powder puff in the same litter. Legend says that fluffy powder puff dog was walking in winter Chinese forest (seriously?) and found out there newborn kid.

To save a baby from cold the dog left him her coat and left to look for help. A few hours later the dog brought people and saved the kid. That’s how we have gotten such an awesome hairless dog. But to be serious powder puff puppies warm-up hairless if it is cold.

The Chinese Crested Dog has a very lively personality with a lifespan of 12 to 13 years. This is one of the healthiest breeds among small dogs. Owners can face problems with the skin and lack of teeth but not with joints or heart. As a bonus Chinese crested are perfect for people with allergies because they have hair similar to humans instead of fur. Isn’t it a perfect breed?

2. Chow Chow

Chow Chow 5

This beer-faced dog has a very ancient origin to it. Believe it or not, the origin of this Chinese dog has been traced back to 206 B.C. During the primitive era, this breed was primarily used for hunting and guarding purposes. 

Originally, they were not called Chow Chow. They were given different names during different eras until the 1700s. When the breed finally came to England, it got its today’s name ‘Chow Chow.’

That said, this breed got famous only after Queen Victoria got smitten by a Chow Chow. She owned one during her reign, which aroused a lot of public interest and attention towards this dog.

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In the early 1900’s, the breed entered the United States, where they got officially recognized by the Kennel Club. In modern days, they make a very fashionable and good house guarding family dog.

3. Chinese Shar-Pei

Chinese Shar Pei

Not a lot is written about this dog’s history because there are hardly any historical records for this breed. But then, plenty of studies pinpoint that Shar-Pei is a very old breed that has been around for thousands of years now.

It’s believed that this dog came from southern China. That said, most of the information about this breed was secured by a Chinese guy by the name of Huang ZhaoTao, who was born in 1900. 

He was an avid dog lover who dealt with dogs for the most part of his life. Since this guy lived in Dali (China), many believed that Dali is the origin of this dog’s breed.

At some point, breeding this dog got banned in China, leading to a diminishing population. One of the breeders sought help from an American magazine to popularize this issue, which did the trick.

The published article got widespread attention among Americans. Pretty soon, it was considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity to own this dog.

The popularity of this breed hasn’t dipped since because this dog gets along very well with owners, making the dog a good human friend for a great companionship.

The dog’s loose-skinned face does give a sad expression, but it’s nothing like what the dog appears at first glance. The dog has a very strong, gentle, and patient personality, which is adored by most pet owners.

4. Pekingese


Today, most pet owners take great pride in raising this breed. However, there was a time in history, when only the royals could own this dog. Unbelievably, the punishment for stealing this dog was the death penalty.

This dog hails from Peking, now called Beijing (China). The breed was not known in the western world until the 1860’s. It was the British invaders who brought Pekingese to England during this period.

With passing years, the royal families in China no longer had the monopoly over this dog, which led to many locals raising this pet. Yes, it became available to the masses after the 1911 revolution, when China became a republic country.

As years passed by, the breed also got registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC). And, it caught all eyes when it got known that the Pekingese dog was one of the Titanic survivors.

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Coming to today’s time, there are fewer and fewer Pekingese dogs despite the pet’s friendly, social, and pleasing personality. That said, it’s expected that their popularity will shoot up in the coming years.

5. Pug


Pug is one of the oldest dog breeds in China. Believe it or not, it’s origin goes back to 400 B.C. It’s commonly believed that the Buddhist monasteries in Tibet first raised this breed. 

If you ever wondered why Pugs don’t crave exercise like other dogs, here’s the answer. They used to serve as lapdogs for the Chinese kings, which means a life of royalty.

They got all the luxuries they needed, but at the expense of a wrinkled face. Yes, they have a wrinkled face because they were purposely fed that way to resemble the character of a Chinese prince.

Pugs make excellent pets even today because of their adaptable and adorable personality. That said, their favorite place still remains the same-a human’s lap.

6. Tibetan Terrier

Tibetan Terrier

Native to Tibet (China), Tibetan Terriers were considered as lucky dogs. They were raised in monasteries nearly two thousand years ago and selling them meant partying with one’s luck.

Back in the days, only the fortunate ones could own Tibetan Terriers. They were bought to England in 1930 by a doctor by the name of Agnes Grieg, who received the dog as a token of gratitude for an operation performed on a Tibetan woman.

The first official Tibetan Terrier landed in the USA years later in 1956 after being imported from England. In 1963, the dog was allowed to participate in licensed shows after being recognized by both AKC and Canadian Kennel Club.

Of course, this breed of dog has come a long way since its humble beginning in Tibet. It’s charisma still makes it a popular household pet.

7. Lhasa Apso

shutterstock 114315142

The origin of this Chinese dog is also tracked down to Tibet. This dog was actively domesticated in 800 B.C., which makes this pet one of the oldest breeds in the world. 

It derives its name from the capital city of Lhasa. Its primary job was to keep a watch on the Buddhist temples as this breed had an uncanny ability to distinguish friends from foe. The dog would alert the monks of any threats.

After 1600’s, the popularity of this breed soared in the western world too. Although stubborn, they make a very loyal, fun, and fascinating pet. From the Tibetan mountains, they now live in luxury homes as well.

8. Xiasi Quan

Xiasi Quan

Blessed with a lean muscular body and white wiry coat, this breed originates from the southern province of China. They served as hunting dogs for many decades because they had all the qualities of a great hunting dog.

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Hunting aside, they were also considered to be a dog that can bring good fortune. Although medium-sized, they even participated in fighting competitions during their ancestral days. 

At present, this breed is fighting extinction. They are getting rare with every passing day. That said, this breed continues to stay immensely loyal to its owners, just like its forefathers.

9. Chongqing Dogs

Chongqing Dogs

Chongqing Dogs are said to be a very ancient breed. That said, there isn’t a lot of historical data to support this thing. What’s pretty evident is that it’s named after Chongqing, which is a city in China.

At one point, this breed also came very close to extinction during the economic crises. Once the Chinese economy revived, the population of this dog increased as well because people started considering pet ownership.

Since then, this lesser-known Chinese breed has not faced the risk of extinction. Keep in mind that they are a loyal protector, which should tell you that they don’t get along well with strangers. 

10. Kunming Wolfdog

Kunming Wolfdog

The Kunming Wolfdogs come into existence as a result of crossbreeding between the Wolves and German Shepherds. This happened in the early 1950’s when there was a need for military dogs in Yunnan.

Hence, the breeding program took place. Out of the ninety dogs produced through this breeding program (all of them were trained), only twenty were selected for future breeding. 

In 1988, Kunming Wolfdog was formally recognized as a breed. Although rarely found outside China, this breed is garnering more interest from the western world with passing years.

Bearing the look of a German Shepherd, they a very aesthetic physique look to them. They are perfectly suited in police and military services in the modern era too. That said, they can also prove to be a wonderful family dog.

11. Chinese Imperial Dog

Chinese Imperial Dog

Historical records show that Chinese Imperial Dogs were the first dog companions of the Royal families in China. Their origin is said to be around 700 A.D.

Because of their dense clothes and small size, the royal family members carried them in their robes as body warmers, which, of course, protected them from cold.

Characterized by a sweet, cute, and friendly nature, this small-sized Chinese origin dog is raised throughout the western countries in today’s age and time. The Chinese Imperial dogs make great family pets!