Chinese Panda Dogs
There’s a new trend sweeping the nation of China, and it doesn’t involve high fashion or the latest in mobile technology. It’s actually the uniquely adorable panda dog that is all the rage now, becoming so popular that pet stores all across the country are having trouble keeping up with the high demand, according to the New York Post.
The Panda Dog
Although its name and appearance suggest otherwise, the panda dog is not a new breed. The Daily Mail reported that these fluffy, lumbering companions are Chow Chows, one of China’s native dog breeds, dyed and groomed to look like pandas.
The glamorous Bichon Frise has also been popping up disguised as the country’s native endangered bear, according to the New York Post. The whole process takes about two hours, and the coloring lasts around 6 weeks before owners need to bring their pups back into the shop for a touch-up.
Hsin Ch’en owns a pet store in Chengdu City, and he told the U.K. Metro that the Chinese have recently changed their perspective of keeping dogs as pets. A decade ago, he said, they were more likely to eat a dog than raise one as a companion. In recent years, however, the nation has adopted more of a Western approach when it comes to canines, preferring to adopt them as a member of the family instead.
According to Dog Time, Tibetan Mastiffs were the most recent must-have pets, followed by the Lab and French Bulldog. Now, the panda dog has become the latest status symbol among the Chinese middle class.
Hsin went on to tell the Metro that, although panda pups are pricier than other breeds due to the amount of grooming that goes into their creation, people have no problem paying extra. He said the pet owners enjoy turning heads when they walk their panda dog around town, and being able to tell their friends about their new pet makes the price worth it.
The London Metro reported that Hsin said no harmful chemicals or cruelty are involved in transforming a pooch to a panda. However, according to The Liberty Voice, neither Hsin nor any other pet store owners who sell panda dogs have revealed the exact grooming process, including which dyes are involved.
But, according to Cesar Milan, world-famous dog trainer, the fact that dyes are involved at all suggests that the process isn’t safe for the animal.
There are no dog fur dyes on the market that contain absolutely zero chemicals, and human hair dye is even more dangerous. It’s already harmful to human skin, and a dog’s skin would be even more vulnerable to irritation and long-term damage. Additionally, the chemicals could get into the dog’s eyes, nose, ears, and mouth to cause serious health issues.
Lynnette Walczak wrote in her DIY dog grooming Fun Times Guide that food coloring is the safest way to color a dog’s fur.
She suggested using real food, such as blueberries and beets, as dye since they would contain no chemicals and be safest for the animal, provided it was a food that is safe for dogs to begin with. Alternatively, organic or artificial food coloring would do the trick as well.
Because the food coloring trick tends to last around 4 to 6 weeks, it’s very possible Chinese pet store owners are using this method to achieve the much sought-after panda look.
Hopefully, Hsin and others in the industry are keeping the animal’s safety in mind as the panda dogs sell like hotcakes in China.