Chinese Dog Breeds – 9 Amazing Pups You’ll Love (With Pictures)

Chinese dog breeds, pug

Some of the world’s most popular dog breeds come from China. Did you know that? How many Chinese dog breeds can you think of?

Many of the pups on this list might surprise you, others (like the Chinese Crested Dog) are a little more obvious. From small little lap dogs all the way up to ferocious guard dogs, so many amazing breeds have their origins in China.

In fact, dogs have been an important part of Chinese culture for thousands of years and often held very special positions in the families of Chinese royalty. They’ve been bred for all kinds of jobs including guarding, herding, hunting, and cuddling and many are still popular in the country and around the world.

So, which of these Chinese dogs is going to be your favorite? Let’s delve in and see!

What To Know Before You Adopt

Whether you adopt one of these Chinese dog breeds or any other pup, it’s really important to research the breed well and make sure it’s a good fit for you and your family. Some of the dogs on this list need an experienced owner to bring out the best in them and train them correctly. Others are quite fiery and might be too much personality for an owner looking for a quieter breed.

By researching the breeds well, you can ensure you find the perfect pup. And the good thing about Chinese dog breeds? There’s a pup for every type of owner!

9 Wonderful Chinese Dog Breeds

Here are only 10 of our favorite pups from this country.

#1 Pug

pug running

That’s right! One of the world’s favorite little pups originated in China. The Pug is an ancient breed, with experts at the American Kennel Club suspecting they date back more than 200 years. The emperors of Ancient China spent a lot of time breeding flat-faced dogs (spoiler – there are a couple more of them on this list).

They wanted to breed a sweet, affectionate, funny, and all-round good companion dog that gets along with almost anyone. They’re a good option for families with small kids and older owners too. Pugs can be several different colors and don’t have high grooming needs.

They can suffer from some health issues, due to the fact they’re a brachycephalic breed (they have shortened snout that gives them a ‘flat-faced’ look). It’s important not to over-exercise Pugs and always give them enough water to cool down. Of course, there are a couple of mixed-breed Pugs, such as the beautiful Retro Pug, that have longer snouts and are healthier.

#2 Pekingese


The Pekingese is one of the most popular Chinese dog breeds – just look at that adorable face and incredible coat! They’re very affectionate dogs that are loyal, kind, slightly stubborn, and charming. Almost anyone who meets a Pekingese falls in love with them instantly. Including the Emperors of China. So yes, these pups are another of the famous dogs bred in Ancient China.

Pekese can have a range of coat colors from gray through to cream, with red being particularly stunning. As you might guess, these pups need quite a lot of grooming to keep their coats looking so silky. It’s good practice to brush them twice per week and start them when they’re young so they get used to these bonding sessions.

They’re not that demanding in terms of exercise and will be happy with short walks and chasing after their favorite cute toy.

#3 Chinese Crested

Chinese crested dog

There are two types of Chinese Crested dogs – the hairless and powderpuff varieties. Hairless dogs are not actually hairless but have tufts of hair on their heads, necks, tails, and ankles. The powderpuff variety, however, has a short and very smooth coat that covers the entire body.

These beautiful skinny dogs are very affectionate and are a perfect choice for those looking for a companion pooch. Not only do they love to cuddle but they’re also playful, smart, and very alert.

The hairless variety of this Chinese dog breed requires very little grooming and they’re a great choice for allergy suffers too (because they shed very little). The powderpuff, however, will need to be brushed regularly as the coat can easily mat.

Like other toy breeds, they don’t need lots of exercise and are quite happy running around a backyard or going on a short walk. Owners should always pay attention when these pups play with kids or other dogs as boisterous play can easily leave them injured.

#4 Shih Tzu

shih tzu

Oh, the beautiful Shih Tzu with its endearing eyes, playful personality, and adorable floppy ears. We love these iconic, regal, Chinese dogs. They’re perfect tiny companions and get on really well with kids and other dogs and love to spend their time socializing and making new friends.

There are several different Shih Tzu colors and these dogs can either have their famously long coat or some owners decide to have the coats trimmed into an adorable ‘puppy trim’. Naturally, longer-coated dogs require some grooming, it’s also important for owners to tie up the hair into a top knot so it doesn’t annoy their eyes.

Training Shih Tzus can be a challenge, mainly because of how charming these pups are. It’s important that any owner takes training seriously and isn’t fooled by those eyes! If you don’t train a Shih Tzu well, they’ll become difficult house guests.

#5 Chinese Shar Pei

shar pei

The Chinese Shar Pei is really one of a kind. These impressive, loyal, and incredibly alert dogs are medium-sized, broad, muscular, and easily recognizable thanks to their ‘hippopotamus’ muzzle. They also have blue-black tongues, tiny ears, and sunken eyes. This Chinese dog breed also has adorable folds of skin on the face and a sand-textured coat.

Training a Shar Pei is really important. These dogs are smart and willing to learn but they can be stubborn. If a Shar Pei puppy isn’t trained well, they’ll grow up to think they’re the boss and can easily become domineering.

These stunning yellow-colored dogs are very versatile and can fit into most families. They can be active and go on lots of walks and yet also be happy to have a couple of short walks every day. Even though they’re well known, Shar Peis are still quite rare.

#6 Chow Chow

chow chow

Chow Chows are amazing and very impressive dogs. They’re similar in appearance to the Shar Pei (they’re muscular, wrinkled, and have a wide muzzle) but they definitely have much longer coats. Where the Shar Pei has a sand-like coat, the Chow Chow has a very fluffy one with a lion-like mane. Chow Chows can be red, black, blue, cinnamon, or cream, and have blue tongues too!

Chows are thought to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, with similar dogs being depicted on artifacts found from the Han Dynasty in China (206 b.c). Throughout time, these pups have done all kinds of jobs including guarding, hunting, and being a companion for the wealthy.

Whilst affectionate towards their family members, this dog breed can be wary of strangers and other dogs. They must be trained well and are socialized from an early age.

#7 Japanese Chin

japanese chin

The name might be a bit confusing but many experts believe the Japanese Chin actually has its origins in China, not Japan. However, it was the Japanese nobles who further bred the breed into what we know (and love) today.

These little lapdogs are bright, charming, amusing, and very endearing. They’re 100% companion dogs and were specifically bred to laze around large royal palaces and entertain everyone they met. These great family dogs get on really well with other pups but need some time to get used to kids.

Japanese Chin are always white with another color, such as lemon, sable, or black and they have long, silky coats. Even though their coats are impressive, they’re relatively easy to care for when it comes to grooming. They’ll need a weekly brush and a bath once a month or so.

#8 Chinese Chongqing

Chinese Chongqing

These dogs were originally bred in the Chongqing and Sichuan areas of China and they’re one of the rarest dog breeds in the country today. In fact, they’re thought to be as rare as the great panda.

The Chinese Chongqing has been used throughout time as an all-round working dog. They can hunt, and guard, and were initially bred to herd too. They have a distinct look which includes a shortened muzzle, pointy and hairless ears, a very short coat that often shows their black skin underneath, and beautiful expressive eyes.

Because of their guarding roots, the Chinese Chongqing can have a wary and potentially aggressive side to them. They’re very loyal and need to be socialized early on if they’re to get on well with other breeds. Like some other Chinese dog breeds, it’s best if these pups are adopted by an experienced owner who can bring out their best side.

#9 Kunming Wolfdog

Kunming Wolfdog

The Kunming wolfdog is a very impressive dog breed and is thought to be a German Shepherd mix! Like the Chinese Chongqing, this breed is also not accepted by the American Kennel Club.

It’s thought that when German Shepherds were brought to China in the 1950s, locals started breeding them with other dog breeds and one of the most popular was the Kunming Wolfdog. Like German Shepherds, these wolf-like dogs are loyal, intelligent, and great family pets.

They’re happy guarding and working as well as being a loyal companion. They get on well with kids and other dogs they’ve grown up with and socialization is a really important part of their routine.

They’re active dogs and need to be part of an active family that can provide them with everything they need. They’ll enjoy toys such as herding balls and this will appeal to their natural instincts and they’re a great way to keep them entertained.

These dogs are rare outside of the Yunnan province and it will be hard for you to find one in the US.

So, Which of These Chinese Dog Breeds Is Best for You?

All of these breeds are amazing and there’s such diversity in the dogs from China. Whichever breed you may choose, it’s important to research them well and make sure they fit into your lifestyle. Many of these Chinese dogs are small and very adaptable when it comes to living in apartments. Others, however, need more space and an experienced owner.

Although some of these pups may be rare outside of China, you can still find many of them in the US. Look in shelters first as you may be able to give a pup their forever home.