Dog Breeds in Chinese You Should Really Know

A Simple Guide to Dog Breeds in Chinese

Want to shock your colleagues with your knowledge of dog breeds in Chinese?

Chow Chow - dog breeds in China
Chow Chow

Did you know dogs can learn more than 1000 words?

Maybe my 4 legged friends should be taking my upcoming Chinese exam for me.

If you find yourself in need to talk about man’s four-legged best friend in Chinese then you’ve come to the right place!

Not only will we be going through the dog breeds in Chinese, you’ll find plenty of great Chinese dog vocabulary and information about Chinese and Singaporean dogs.

Dog Breeds in Chinese

Dog Actions in Chinese

Dog Body Parts in Chinese

Taking Care of Dogs in Chinese

Chinese Dogs

Singapore Special Dogs

⬇️⬇️⬇️ BONUS: Chinese Dog Vocabulary Quiz ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Dog Breeds in Chinese
Dog Breeds in Chinese

Did you know there is a World Canine Organization? Well, I hope my boss isn’t reading this because I applied immediately after finding out of its existence.

The FCI, or as it’s known by in its original French title “Fédération Cynologique Internationale”, has identified 339 breeds of dogs.

Despite this blog involving a lot of Google image search of dogs, 339 dog breeds are way too many to get into.

We do however have an entire encyclopedia of animals so you can learn every animal name and its literal translation in Chinese.

Dog Breeds in Chinese

Have you ever heard of the native dog in Australia called the Dingo? Well, it turns out this breed of dog is not as native as it seems.

With modern DNA testing, scientist’s best guess is that the dingo originated from southern China anywhere between 4,600 and 18,300 years ago!

Having studied the DNA of over 900 dogs breeds in China and Asia, geneticists have been able to establish the link between the Australian dingo and their long lost cousin, the New Guinea singing dog.

Best guess is, this particular dog migrated south from China around 10,000 years ago!

See more here

GREAT BLOG ALERT – Want to read 99 more mind-blowing facts about China?

Before learning about dog breeds in Chinese, there are two important distinctions to make when talking about dogs.

The spoken word for dog is 狗 gǒu and there is the more formal way of writing it 犬 quǎn.

Dog in Chinese - dog breeds in Chinese
Dog in Chinese (informal and formal)

A good way of making the distinction is similar to that in English.

To call someone a dog in Chinese or English is insulting in both languages! DON’T DO THIS.

However, to call a dog a dog isn’t insulting (what does he care?).

While it is appropriate to casually call a dog 狗 gǒu you’ll see the more formal version in writings about dogs and especially in reference to service dogs.

  • DON’T call a police dog 警狗 jǐng gǒu
  • DO call a police dog 警犬 jǐng quǎn

Here’s a breakdown of the most common dog breeds in Chinese.

  • Basset in Chinese
  • Boxer in Chinese
  • Bulldog in Chinese
  • Chow Chow in Chinese
  • Cocker Spaniel in Chinese
  • Dachshund in Chinese
  • Dalmatian in Chinese
  • Doberman in Chinese
  • Husky in Chinese
  • Mastiff in Chinese
  • Newfoundland in Chinese
  • Poodle in Chinese
  • Pug in Chinese
  • Rottweiler in Chinese
  • Saint Bernard in Chinese
  • Sheepdog in Chinese
  • Spitz in Chinese
Dog BreedChinese CharactersPinyinLiteral Translation
Basset矮腿猎ǎi tuǐ lièShort Leg Hunting
Boxer 拳师 quán shī Fist Division
Bulldog 牛头 niú tóuCow Head
Chow Chow 松狮 sōng shīLoose Lion
Cocker spaniel 可卡kě kǎCan Card
Dachshund 短腿猎duǎn tuǐ lièShort Leg Hunting
Dalmatian 斑点bān diǎn Spot Point
Doberman 杜宾dù bīnDu Guest
Husky 哈斯基hā sī jīWhat Span Base
Mastiff 英国獒 yīngguó áoEnglish Mastiff
Newfoundland 纽芬兰niǔfēnlánNew Finn Blue
Poodle 贵宾guì bīnExpensive Guest
Pug 巴哥bā gēBar Brother
Rottweiler 罗特伟尔luótèwéiěr
Saint Bernard 圣百纳shèng bǎi nà Holy Hundred
Sheepdog 牧羊mù yángHerd Sheep
Spitz 斯皮茨sī pí cí Span Skin

Want to know more dog breeds in Chinese? Keep scrolling! We’re getting to the Chinese and Singaporean dogs shortly.

Dog Vocabulary in Chinese

In need of some basic dog vocabulary in Chinese?

What’s the point of knowing the dog breeds in Chinese if we can describe their behaviour.

Beware of the dog 当心狗 dāng xīn gǒu!

Dog VocabularyChinese CharactersPinyin
To Bite咬人yǎo rén
To Sniffwén
Barking (dog)狗吠声gǒu fèi shēng
To Barkfèi
To Gnaw (bone)kěn
To Scratch (claws)抓破zhuā pò
To Playwán

Dog Body Parts in Chinese

Now time for the dog body parts in Chinese…

Dog Body PartChinese CharactersPinyin
Snout口鼻部kǒu bí bù
Mouth (animal)zuǐ
Tail尾巴 wěi ba
Whiskers胡须hú xū
Hair (animal)máo

Taking Care of Dogs in Chinese

If it wasn’t obvious already the author of this article loves dogs.

This next section of vocabulary is very important.

If your Chinese neighbours ask you to take care of their dog, make sure you have the Chinese vocabulary to take care of them!

You’ll really impress them if you can tell them you know their dog breeds in Chinese.

Animal Care VocabularyChinese CharactersPinyin
kennel狗窝gǒu wō
to breed (animals)饲养sì yǎng
to tame驯化xùn huà
to train (animals)训练xùn liàn
to feed喂养wèi yǎng
pet store宠物店chǒng wù diàn
muzzle (for dog)嘴套zuǐ tào
(animal) collar颈圈jǐng quān
name (of the dog)绰号chuò hào
pedigree血统xuè tǒng

Chinese Dogs

If you’re about to embark on a trip with us, you had better be prepared for a whole new world of dog breeds in China!

Here’s our breakdown of Chinese dogs.

  • Bone Mouth - dog breeds in chinese
  • Chinese Crested - dog breeds in China
  • Chongqing - dog breeds in Chinese
  • Chow Chow - dog breeds in China
  • Formosan Mountain Dog - dog breeds in Chinese
  • Japanese Chin - dog breeds in China
  • Kunming Wolfdog - dog breeds in Chinese
  • Lhasa Apso - dog breeds in China
  • Pekingese - dog breeds in Chinese
  • Pug in Chinese - dog breeds in China
  • Shar-Pei - dog breeds in chinese
  • Shih Tzu - dog breeds in China
  • Tibetan Kyi Apso - dog breeds in chinese
  • Tibetan Spaniel - dog breeds in Chinese
  • Tibetan Terrier - dog breeds in China
  • Xiasi Quan - dog breeds in Chinese

Bone-mouth or Guzui (骨嘴, gǔ zuǐ), translates to “bony snout”. Wouldn’t have been my first choice for a name but he doesn’t seem to mind it. Guzzi’s are best known for being docile and loyal dogs.

Chinese Crested (中国冠毛 hōngguó guān máo) comes in two forms with and without hair. An incomplete dominant trait will lead to the hairless variety. The only distinction is the hair, so will be referred to as either Powderpuff and the Hairless. Hairless was a great companion to Chinese sailors in the 14th-century who’s job was pest control for rats on board. Today they’re a much-loved family member in Chinese homes best known for their playfulness.

Chongqing (重庆犬, chóngqìng quǎn) is referred to as East Sichuan city dog and as you might have guessed is from the Chongqing region. Incredibly, this dog can be traced back to the Western Han Dynasty (BC 202- AD 8). They are great family dogs according to locals.

Chow Chow - dog breeds in China
Chow Chow

Chow Chow (松狮, sōng shī) as see above translates to Loose Lion. That’s because of the thick mane they have looking like a lion! Chow Chows are the most independent of Chinese dogs. Often confused as being dumb, they’re in fact stubborn and simply don’t mind being left alone. Typically, they are socialised early they still make an incredibly loyal family member.

Formosan Mountain Dogs (高砂, gāoshā) are not from Mainland China but rather Taiwan. Despite the name, Formosan Mountain Dogs are more commonly seen wandering around cities both wild and domesticated. They’re great dogs for hunting, guarding, and of course, our friends.

Japanese Chin (日本下巴, rìběn xiàbā) as you can imagine has sparked some debate over its origin. It’s believed that these dogs were gifted to Japan by the ancient Chinese Emperors hence seeing them in both countries.

Kunming Wolfdog (昆明狼, kūnmíng láng) is a breed made by the Chinese military. They’re not from Kunming but rather were first used in Kunming for military purposes. As such, its exact origins are hard to pinpoint but they’re likely to be of German shepherd descent. Keep an eye out in China for the Kunming Wolfdog, they’re usually with police and military.

Lhasa Apso - dog breeds in China
Lhasa Apso – dog breeds in China

Lhasa Apso (拉萨阿普索 lāsà ā pǔ suǒ) is another breed originating in Tibet. Don’t let this little fluff ball fool you. Despite its cute appearances, the Lhasa Apso was bred by the monks of Tibet as a guard dog.

Pekingese (北京犬, běijīng quǎn) is a Chinese toy dog. Most famously known for only being allowed to be owned by royals in the 8th century (Tang Dynasty). Pekingese are named after China’s capital Peking (Beijing). They’re still a loved pet all over China making a great family member but (and I can attest to this) very arrogant to strangers.

Pugs (巴哥, bā gē) originated from China if you can believe it! Pugs were great companions in Ancient China to the Buddhist monks. Today pugs are still common in China, best known for their friendliness and adaptability to smaller apartment lifestyles.

Shar-Pei (沙皮, shā pí) is an ancient Chinese dog breed, believed to have originated around 200 BC (Han Dynasty) in Southern China. You won’t have a hard time spotting a Shar-Pei in China due to their very unique wrinkly face (see above). ‘Shar-Pei’ is a Cantonese word meaning ‘sandy skin’. They’re very docile and friendly dogs to have around but will be very protective of family members.

Shih Tzu - dog breeds in China
Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu (西施, xī shī) is a toy dog breed. This little guy is all over China. They’re most ideal for the dog lovers in small apartments. They were once a favourite breed of the elite during the rule of the Ming Dynasty. They’re usually happy little fur balls especially around their owners but have been known to bark a lot, especially around strangers.

Tibetan Kyi Apso (藏犬, cáng quǎn) or more commonly known in the west as an Apso Do-Ky. It is a rare Tibetan Collie breed seen most commonly helping farmers with livestock.

Tibetan Spaniel (西藏猎, xīzàng liè) originated from the Himalayan regions of Tibet nearly 2,500 years ago. They’re not actually Spaniels but rather just look alike. Similarly to Lhasa Apso, they’re seen with monks as friends and guard dogs. They’re quite intelligent as they’re known for being able to learn various tricks.

Tibetan Terrier (西藏梗, xīzàng gěng) is not a terrier but rather a Tsang Apso (Tibetan). They’re called the “Holy Dog of Tibet” as they once protected the ancient monasteries of Tibet.

Xiasi Quan (下寺泉, xià sìquán) is a breed of dog originating from Guizhou Province. Often used as a guard dog, the Xiasi Quan has great smell and stamina.

Singapore Special Dogs

There is one last dog we need to talk about.

They’re lovingly called the ‘Singapore Special” (新加坡特辑犬, xīnjiāpō tèjí quǎn).

Singapore Special Dog
Singapore Special Dog
Singapore Special Dog

Singapore Special doesn’t refer to any particular breed of dog but rather a dog that has been bred in the streets.

The genetics of a Singapore Special is almost impossible to pinpoint but here are some images to help give you an idea.

Wait Singapore has street dogs?

The surprising answer to that question is YES. Singapore does have street dogs.

As you can imagine there wouldn’t have been any native dogs roaming around Singapore before man. Rather, these dogs ancestors were introduced to serve as guard dogs for construction sites and factories.

Sadly, as construction finished and factories slowly went away from Singapore a lot of these dogs were left to their own devices.

Today a lot of these dogs still roam the streets of Singapore and occupy a lot of the space in dog shelters.

Animal rights groups in Singapore work with animal shelters to try and find homes for the Singapore Special dogs.

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Dog Breeds in Chinese – FAQ’s

Do they eat dogs in China?

The vast majority of Chinese people don’t eat dogs. There are some parts of China particularly in Yulin where dog meat is still on the menu.

However, these townships increasingly face pressure to stop this cruel practice.

Go to our main website to find out more on the question of do Chinese people eat dog?

How many dogs are there in China?

In 2018 there were estimated to be over 93 million domesticated dogs in China. Owned by 33.9 million Chinese citizen.

How many dogs are there in Singapore?

In 2017 census data indicated around 62,000 pet dogs in Singapore owned by 42,000 dog owners.

What is dog in Chinese?

Dog in Chinese is 狗 gǒu

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  1. Balle

    I would say this is a great list of Dog Breeds! I love them all!

    Thanks Campbell for writing. Shared in my favourite dog groups on Facebook!

    Balle Raahauge

    1. Campbell Alizzi

      Hi Balle,
      Thanks for the love! We’re glad you enjoyed reading it so much.
      Stay posted for more content you’ll love!
      – LTL Marketing Team

  2. I’m seeking a Newfoundlander (purebred) dog in China! Do they exist here and if so, could you provide contact details? Thanks!

    1. Campbell Alizzi

      Hi Alan, Thanks for your question. Sorry, we don’t have the contact details of dog breeders in China. The dog is native to China so you’re sure to find one on the online dog forums, Facebook or dog breeders websites.