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Chinese Dog Breeds: 15 Different Canines From China


Last Updated: May 1, 2023 | 7 min read | Leave a Comment

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Looking for a list of Chinese Dog Breeds to help you decide which one would be your next companion? This breed list looks at 15 different dogs with historical roots in China and what makes them extraordinary pups.

You may already be familiar with some of the most popular Chinese Dog Breeds like the Pug or the Chow-Chow, yet there are other doggies with Chinese origins that may catch your attention.

This guide will provide information on 15 Chinese dog breeds. Read on to find out more about these incredible dogs from China.


Pug With Plush Toy
Pugs have become a popular dog breed in the United States as they make an excellent canine addition to families. 

The Pug is an ancient dog breed that originated in China around 400 B.C. The Chinese royalty and other wealthy nobles fell in love with this breed. So much so that no one except the royal family was allowed to have a Pug. Pugs are great apartment and house dogs and are very affectionate. They are very friendly and get along with practically everyone.

Although Puggies make wonderful pets, they are prone to health issues due to their pushed-in faces. The structure of their noses can cause breathing issues, and owners need to be mindful of extreme temperatures that can also affect their breathing.

Tibetan Spaniel

Purebred Tibetan Spaniel dog outdoors in the nature on grass meadow on a summer day
Tibetan Spaniels have a nice silky coat and a beautiful fluffy appearance.

The Tibetan Spaniel was used as an alert dog for Tibetan monasteries. They enjoy being part of a family and form strong bonds with their owners. They are excellent house dogs but can bark when they hear distinct sounds. It is, after all– part of their nature. Tibetan Spaniels may be prone to eye conditions such as “cherry eye,” a genetic eye disease.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is the Chinese Lion dog. He’s a small, lovable, and friendly breed.

The Shih Tzu is also one of the more popular dogs that come from China. Shih Tzus are known for their beautiful long coats and adorable faces. They come in various colors and need to be groomed and brushed regularly to maintain their lustrous coat. They weigh between 9 to 16 pounds, which makes them the ideal size for apartment living or smaller homes.

These little beauties are happy to be lap dogs and stay inside all day. However, they should be exercised to keep them healthy. Just make sure it is not too hot outside. They don’t tolerate the heat well. Shih Tzus are incredibly affectionate with their family, including children, making them a great companion for families with kids.

Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso on Walkway
The Lhasa Apso is an ancient Chinese breed that is elegant and sleek. 

This dog has been around for a thousand years and was originally used as an alert dog for the royal palaces and monasteries. The Lhasa Apso is similar to the Shih Tzu, with their long and silky coats. Lhasas look great in either a short cut or with their long flowing manes. Whichever style you choose, they will need to be brushed and bathed regularly to maintain their coats.

These doggies are very intelligent and can be a little stubborn. They are very affectionate with their family and a little standoffish with strangers.

Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin
Technically, the Japanese Chin is both Chinese and Japanese.

The origins of the Japanese Chin are not fully known. They may have been bred in Chinese Monasteries, but then they were taken to Japan.  This breed is often referred to as a lap dog. They are affectionate, friendly, and generally get along with everyone. They can spend most of their time lounging on the couch. However, ensure to incorporate walks and some exercise in their routine. They would make great companions for first-time owners.

Tibetan Terrier

Beautiful Tibetan terrier Dog Resting On Wooden Bench In Nature
This Tibetan beauty was bred to be a watchdog for the monasteries. They are considered the “Holy Dog of Tibet.”

This dog is similar to the Lhasa Apso but is taller and heavier. They are in the small to medium-sized range, weighing between 20 to 24 lbs. Tibetan Terriers are also known for their exquisite coats. They will require regular brushing and grooming. Yet, since they have double coats, the undercoat being wool, they can have shorter, more versatile styles.

Tibetan Terriers are affectionate and loving. They love being with their families. They take a little more time to warm up to strangers, but they are charmers once they do. Unlike their cousin, the Shih Zhu, Tibetan Terriers are more energetic. They like being outdoors, going for walks and exploring. They are playful and enjoy partaking in activities.


The Pekingese is an ancient Chinese breed.

It is believed that he has been around for 2,000 years. This regal breed was originally only privy to royals. His breed purpose has always been for companionship, and he was the top canine choice for royalty. However, they also made good alarms and watchdogs.

Pekingese are toy dogs that can weigh up to 14 pounds. They have long, beautiful coats that will need to be maintained. Brushing and bathing will be essential in keeping their silky coats. They can become matted if not brushed regularly. This lovely toy breed is affectionate, playful, and eager to please. They do well with children but should be played with gently. Nonetheless, they are aloof and cautious with strangers. They make excellent family dogs.

Chinese Shar-Pei

Chinese Shar pei puppy portrait at garden
The Chinese Shar-Pei, or Shar-Pei, is an intelligent and loyal breed.

Weighing in at about sixty pounds, they are classified as a large breed. They have guardian instincts and are known for their independent nature, which often leads them to be stubborn. This breed must be trained and socialized at an early age.

Their gorgeous physique makes them appear soft and cuddly, but looks can be deceiving. These guys can be tough. They will enjoy spending time with their family but not as much with strangers. They are definitely not suited to inexperienced dog owners nor for every family.


Chow Chow dog
The Chow Chow looks giant because of the enormous amount of fur they have.

The Chow-Chow is one of the most well-known Chinese breeds. This dog is popular both in China and The United States. Chow-Chows are majestic doggies with a mane of fur encircling their necks. They are teddy bear-like in appearance and can reach up to seventy pounds. Chows enjoy grooming themselves and being clean–as they must keep up their regal look.

Chows will love members of their family but can be aloof with strangers. They are not aggressive per se but are protective. Early socialization and training will be key to ensuring they get used to being around other people and animals. Chow Chows are easy to house train and have very little doggy odor.

Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff History
The Tibetan Mastiff has become far more popular in recent years.

Tibetan Mastiffs are thought to be one of the world’s oldest dog breeds, but their exact origin is unknown. There is some evidence that dates them back to 1100 B.C. They were originally used as guard dogs in the Himalayan mountains. Tibetan Mastiffs are big doggies! Males can weigh up to 150 pounds and stand at 26 inches at the shoulder.

This Chinese dog breed is not made for apartment living. They have a double coat which makes them look like miniature lions. They require brushing and grooming but surprisingly not as often as other Chinese breeds. Despite their massive appearance, these doggies are pretty mellow and calm. They are very friendly and loyal to their family.

However, they can be territorial and aloof with strangers. Early socialization will help these regal giants assimilate to people and other dogs. Tibetan Mastiffs do not respond well to traditional obedience training. Tibetan Mastiffs are highly intelligent and learn quickly, yet they may not feel the need to obey on-demand or repeat.

Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested
The breed can be traced back to Africa and then brought to China.

The origins of the Chinese Crested are not fully known. The Chinese believed the Crested had healing abilities. This doggie was often used as an alarm and for catching vermin. Chinese Crested doggies are highly affectionate. They are playful and enjoy going on walks.

There are two types of Chinese Crested dogs: hairless and coated. The hairless is not entirely hairless and has a bit of hair on its head. They require grooming to take care of their exposed skin. The coat of the coated Crested is thin but requires brushing to prevent matting.

Manchurian Hairless

The origins of the Manchurians Hairless are not fully known. They are cousins to the Chinese Crested dog and were bred to be lap dogs. True to its name, the Manchurian Hairless has virtually no fur. They can have minimal fur on their feet, head, and tail. Like the Chinese Crested and other hairless animals, the skin must be cleaned and maintained regularly to prevent infections.

The Manchurian Hairless is affectionate. They are social butterflies and love being the center of attention. They get along with most people but can be wary of strangers. These pups tend to get along with other dogs. They also do well with children, but children need to treat them with care because they are small dogs.

Chongqing Dog

Chinese Chongqing dog on the grass
Their prey drive is very strong, so they will chase other animals and occasionally runoff because of this.

The Chongqing dog has been around for 2000 years since the Han dynasty. They were bred to be watchdogs and hunting dogs. They were quite popular amongst the people and became known as the common man’s dog. These dogs are pretty outgoing and confident. They love to play and have fun in general. They make great family dogs and are known for being gentle with children.

The Chongqing Dog is intelligent and loyal. This doggie loves to play. He is respectful with children and his family but can be aloof with other dogs. Early socialization with both people and dogs will help. Although this dog is dependable and will make a good family companion, they are rare, so finding one may be difficult.

Kunming Wolfdog

Portrait of a Kunming wolfdog posing on a tulip field
This breed is loyal and loving and will make a great family dog. T

The Kunming Wolfdog has ancestral roots in the German Shepherd. However, this doggie originated from China in the 1950s. The Wolfdog was initially bred for military work. But they are difficult to find in the United States.

This Wolfy dog is very similar to a German Shepherd in appearance. They have a short-hair coat that will require brushing. Kunming Wolfdogs are very intelligent and love to be mentally stimulated. They also love strenuous activities and need to be walked daily preferably long walks with a variation of jogging, running, and mentally engaging tasks.

Xiasi Quan

Xiasi Quan in grass
The Xiasi Quan originates from the Guizhou Province in China.

Originally they were bred and trained as guards and hunting dogs. They were considered lucky dogs that could bring wealth and prosperity. Quans are cute and unique. This snowy beauty has a wiry white coat. They will require brushing to keep them from getting matted and bathing to maintain their white color.

Quans are affectionate dogs and are incredibly loyal to their owners. They get along well with other dogs but be careful with smaller animals as they may want to chase them due to their innate hunting instinct. Intelligent and willing to please, they are easy to train.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of pure-bred Chinese dogs that would be wonderful additions to a loving home. Whether you are looking for a lapdog or a giant breed, a Chinese background adds a unique twist to these dogs’ heritage. If you’re interested in welcoming a Chinese breed dog into your home, do as much research as possible to find the right pup for you. The more you know about your companion, the stronger path you will build towards a loving bond.

Basenji in Field

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