10 Most Popular Chinese Dog Breeds

10 Most Popular Chinese Dog Breeds

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: May 09 2023


There are over 400 officially recognized dog breeds in the world, and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are tiny dog breeds like the Mexican Chihuahua, which is considered to be the world’s smallest dog breed to the large English Mastiff, which can weigh over 300 lbs in extreme cases. It is hard to imagine that these breeds are a part of the same species, but all dogs share a common ancestor - the ancient wolf.

Dogs developed differently in different parts of our world and were used for different things. Some dogs were hunters, others were protectors, and some dogs had the sole job of keeping us company.

Some of the most interesting breeds come from China. Chinese dogs have been developing for thousands of years, and they have a vivid history that is full of twists and turns. Dog breeds that originated in China are diverse and played many roles in Chinese history. Some of these breeds were fearless guardians of ancient monasteries, while others kept Chinese royals entertained and occupied.

Interested in Chinese dog breeds?

We put together a list of our favorite Chinese dog breeds, and you can find a future friend whose origins are from an ancient Chinese civilization.

Small Chinese dog breeds

1. Pekingese

The Pekingese is a Chinese dog breed that was primarily bred to be the best possible companion. These dogs were kept by the Chinese royalty, and Pekingese ownership was fairly restricted. These Chinese dogs couldn’t be owned by commoners and could only be given as a gift. These dogs are often called “lion dogs” because there is a Chinese legend that says these dogs were created when Buddha granted a wish to a lion and shrunk him to the size of a dog. The lion only asked Buddha to leave him his courage and that is why the Pekingese are so brave and fearless today.


2. Shih Tzu

Today, Shih Tzu might be one of the most popular Chinese dog breeds. These small Chinese dogs get along great with just about anyone and are really friendly and obedient. This is another one of the royal Chinese dog breeds that were extremely valued and loved by the Chinese royalty. The name “Shih Tzu” comes from a Chinese word for lion. Two of the most interesting things about these small Chinese dogs are that they are an extremely old breed and they are very closely related to the wolf - closer than other dog breeds (even though they look very different from the large wolf).

shih tzu

3. Japanese Chin

Contrary to popular belief and their name, the Japanese Chin is actually a dog breed that originated in China. The “Chin” as it is often called, is a breed that first came to life in old China, over 1.500 years ago.  Around the beginning of the 11th century, the Japanese royalty received some of these dogs as gifts and as spoils of war with the Chinese. The Japanese Chin became very popular with the nobility, and when the British came, these dogs were often sold to the sailors and British guests.

japanese chin

4. Chinese Crested

We might never be completely sure about how these Chinese dogs came to life, but it is widely believed that early hairless dogs were brought to China and crossed with small Chinese breeds. DNA analysis proved that these Chinese dogs have ancient origins, but unfortunately, we cannot place them in an exact time in history. What is known about the Chinese Crested dogs is that they are extremely fun to be around. Chinese sailors used these dogs onboard to control and hunt mice and rats. These Chinese dogs can come in hairless and coated varieties. Fun fact - the coated Chinese Crested is called Powderpuff.

chinese crested

5. Pug

The Pug might be a popular dog across the US but it is an original Chinese dog breed. It is a Chinese breed that is nearly 2.500 years old which makes them one of the oldest living dog breeds. These Chinese dogs are extremely friendly, and they have a very calm attitude. During the Han dynasty, the Pugs were considered royalty, and they even had their guards. The Pug was also a popular companion to the Buddhist monks that lived in China as well as in Tibet.


One thing all these breeds have in common is - they all love having a soft bed to lay in. Luckily, they are pretty small, so getting them a small-sized bed would be a good idea. The Puppy Bed for Small Dogs will do a great job in helping your dogs relax and get a good night's sleep.

Medium Chinese dog breeds

6. Shar Pei

The Shar-Pei is a unique Chinese dog breed that is known around the world for its pricked ears, blue-black tongue, and adorable, wrinkly face. It is an ancient breed, over 2.000 years old. It was first bred for hunting and guarding though it is believed that the original Shar-Peis were bigger and stronger than modern-day dogs. This attractive Chinese dog breeds nearly went extinct in the 1900s when the Chinese communists declared pet ownership banned. It wasn’t until the 1970s when American breeders stepped in that the breed was saved and their numbers went up again. 

shar pei

7. Chow Chow

The popular “teddy bear dog” - the Chow Chow, is another Chinese dog breed that took the hearts of owners around the world. Some speculate that this Chinese dog is so popular because of their significant resemblance to the popular stuffed toy and some say that it is because of their fluffy coat. This is another Chinese breed that was kept by the royal families and one Chinese emperor allegedly had over 500 uniquely-colored Chow Chows in his royal estate. These dogs remain popular to this day but keep in mind to always get a dog from a responsible breeder.

chow chow

8. Chinese Chongqing

The Chongqing is a Chinese dog breed that is not recognized by either the US cynology body or by the Federation Cynologique Internationale, but these dogs are very famous in the native land of China. This Chinese dog breed was named after the Chinese city of Chongqing where they were first used as hunters and property guardians. These dogs became extremely rare in the modern world and even in their native China, they are not the most common sight you can stumble upon.

chinese chongqingSource: Wiki

These medium-sized dogs are all enthusiastic chewers, and to avoid destroying your stuff, get them a durable chewing toy. Plus, if you get them the Dog Chew Toy for Aggressive Chewers, it will help your dog preserve their oral health. This toy clears tartar and plaque.

Large Chinese dog breeds

9. Kunming

The Kunming, or Kunming Wolfdog, is another indigenous Chinese dog breed that shares a striking resemblance to the German Shepherd. It is a popular breed for the Chinese K-9 unit and these Chinese dogs were widely used as police dogs during the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. It is widely believed that these dogs are closely related to the old German Shepherds and the Chinese Kunming is also very intelligent, athletic, and trainable.

kumming dogSource: Wiki

10. Xiasi Quan

The Xiasi Quan, or simply Xiasi, is a Chinese hunting dog breed with a unique coat and color. These dogs are also not recognized by the international cynology associations, but they are widely known around China. These Chinese hunting dogs are considered to be a good luck charm. In China, it is believed that these dogs bring wealth and happiness into the house of their owners. The Xiasi is a unique dog breed and unlike any other Chinese dog breed.

xiasi quan dogSource: Wiki

These large breeds will need something that will help them productively spend their energy, so why not get them a tug-o-war toy? This Big Chew Rope will be an ideal tool for you to play with your dog.

World Dog Finder team