• Home
  • Dog Breeds
  • Dogs From China – 7 Well Known Breeds With Chinese Roots
Written by Vet Tech

Dogs From China – 7 Well Known Breeds With Chinese Roots

Amber LaRock
Written by: Amber LaRock, Vet Tech
Did you know that some of the most beloved dog breeds have roots from China? They are fluffy, fearless, and can be pug-faces. Read on to meet them.

Did you know that some of the most beloved pups in the US actually have deep roots in royal Chinese history?

In this article, we’ll dive into the details of some of the most well known Chinese breeds, and discuss their unique story. Get ready to be intrigued!

Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is believed to have existed for 2,000-3,000 years, making them one of the oldest breeds of dog.

Originally bred as working dogs during the Tang Dynasty in China, the Chow Chow was a respected breed used for hunting, guarding, and herding.

With being so protective by nature, the Chow Chow was often used to guard their families’ property, and even protect their children if approached by an unwelcome stranger.

This territorial trait is still ingrained in Chow Chow’s today, making it so important to socialize your Chow Chow if you choose to have this breed in your home.

When properly trained and socialized, this breed can be gentle, poised, and a wonderful companion to have in your home.

They are often referred to as the “cats” of their canine category, as they are quite independent and aloof when raised in a positive environment.

As long as you have a home with adults or older children that understand canine respect, the Chow Chow can be an incredible family dog.


The Pekingese is a well-known breed in China due to their association with the imperial family of China. Just like any great member of Chinese history, there is an interesting legend to go along with their existence!

Chinese legend states that thousands of years ago, a lion fell in love with a marmoset. In order to profess his love, he begged Buddha to reduce him in size while still retaining his fearless lionheart. Buddha agreed, and thus created the lion dog of China; the Pekingese.

Whether this legend is true or not, the Pekingese is documented in Chinese history for the last 2,000 years.

Named after the capital city of China, Peking (now Beijing), this breed was honored by the royal families of China.

They were often seen in the homes of princes, imperial families, and other prestigious members of Chinese history. Commoners would often bow in their presence due to the belief of their lion roots.

The Pekingese breed made its way to England after becoming prizes of war during the Opium War in 1860.

Five Pekingese were found guarding their royal owner’s body (who chose to commit suicide rather than be captured) and were captured as prizes of war to bring back to the Duchess of Wellington, the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon, and to Queen Victoria.

It was then that the Pekingese breed began to make their presence known around the world.

Nowadays, the Pekingese probably still expects royal treatment when they enter a room. Pekingese owners are generally quite devoted to their long-haired pups, so it seems like they still receive royal treatment to this day!


Pugs are just one of the smooshed face breeds that originated in China. Thought to have originated back to the Han dynasty, this breed was yet another breed that led a royal life.

The Pug was often kept in luxurious accommodations and even had their own soldiers guarding them.

Though the Pug itself is known to have originated in China, “pug like” dogs have been represented in ancient history in Tibet and Japan. In the 1600s this style of dogs made its way to Europe and became an honored breed that was often owned by royal families.

Pugs were even named the official dog of the House of Orange after a Pug reportedly warned the Prince of Orange about the Spaniards that were approaching.

Since this time period, Pugs have been documented in several historical texts, paintings, and family stories. To this day, the Pug is still a beloved breed around the world.

With their goofy demeanor and hilarious personality, it’s no wonder they are treasured members of the family in so many homes.

Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested was not originally from China but was reduced in size by the Chinese. Because of this, they are often associated with Chinese history.

After being bred to a reduced size in China, this breed was known to accompany Chinese sailors during their endeavors. They were used to hunt vermin on boats during the plague, helping to keep sailors free of illness.

Due to their incredible hunting abilities at sea, they were traded at different ports around the world.

Soon, this breed began to make its way around the world. They have been seen in numerous European paintings and prints and made their way to North America in the 1900s. Nowadays, this breed has become extremely rare in China and is not common in many US homes.

Those who own a Chinese Crested are often dedicated to the breed or have a fond interest in the breed.

We’re not entirely sure why this breed is not more popular in homes around the US, as they are known to be one of the most caring and loving breeds out there. They truly love their owners and dote on them in every way.

Good to know about Chinese Crested dog: Chinese Crested is non-smelly dog breed


The Shar-Pei originated in the Southern province of China where they were used as prized hunters and herders. Due to their fierce loyalty and love of defending their own, they were also used as guardians and fighters.

This breed was well known in the area until the People’s Republic of China was created, leading China to wipe out nearly all of the dog population.

The Shar-Pei is here today due to the efforts of a Shar-Pei lover named Matgo Law, who bred some of the last Shar Peis in the 1960s. Thanks to his efforts, some Shar-Pei’s were then brought to America and have become the breed we know and love today.

Due to the Sharpei’s roots of protecting their loved ones, they are known to be quite territorial. It’s important to socialize and train this breed from a young age due to the possibility of aggression.

As long as the Shar-Pei is raised in a loving home that introduces them to life outside of their family, they can be a wonderful family companion. Shar-Pei will also do well on his own if left alone for some period. Just make sure that you provide enough toys.

Tibetan Mastiff

The actual creation of the Tibetan Mastiff is unknown, but this breed is thought to have been around for centuries in ancient Tibet.

DNA evidence states that Mastiff type dogs have been around for up to 5,000 years, and the Tibetan Mastiff is undoubtedly a descendant of this powerful breed.

The Tibetan Mastiff is thought to have been bred into two types of dog; one that lived in villages and traveled with nomads, and ones that served as guardians for Tibetan monks.

Though their history before the 1800s is a bit hazy, this breed was likely treasured by Tibetan families for centuries.

The Tibetan Mastiff soon made their way around the world when they were gifted to Queen Victoria in the 1800s.

Now they are accepted in the US in the AKC working group and are still viewed highly due to their dignified appearance and demeanor.

This breed is known to be quite challenging, so this is not a breed that is recommended for first-time dog owners. With a skilled dog owner and proper training, the Tibetan Mastiff can bring incredible value to any dog lover’s life.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu’s origin is a bit mysterious, but even still, they are considered one of the oldest dog breeds.

Some believe that the Shih Tzu was created by monks as a gift to royal families, while others believe the Shih Tzu was a result of breeding the Pekingese and Lhasa Apso. No matter how this breed was created, they were a beloved breed in ancient China.

Shih Tzu like dogs has been seen in ancient paintings, documents, and even carvings. Though there is some controversy on whether the ancient dogs depicted were Pekingese or Shih Tzu, this breed has clearly been in royal Chinese homes for centuries.

Today the Shih Tzu in recognized in America in the AKC Toy Group, and is found in homes across the country. The Shih Tzu is quite possibly one of the most popular dog breeds in family homes, and for good reason.

The Shih Tzu was specifically bred to be a wonderful companion, and that still reigns true to this day. The Shih Tzu lives for their family, and thrives in a loving home filled with family members to cuddle with!


Some of the most well-known breeds in our homes today come from a long and mysterious Chinese ancestry.

Even with any controversy that follows any of the breeds listed above, one thing is for sure; we are so glad that these lovable pups made their way into homes around the world!