Dogs in China have been considered symbols of wealth and prosperity from ancient times. According to their traditional zodiac, the people born in the year of the dog are energetic and loyal.
Some of the oldest dog breeds originated from China, many of which were bred as companions for the monks. But overall, they were produced and used as laborers and as guardians.
This is probably the reason why they have been preserved from outside influences and are considered sacred.
Overall, the Chinese often pride themselves on some of the rarest and oldest dog breeds.
Some studies even suggest that Eats Asia is actually the place where our ancient ancestors first began domesticating dogs 15,000 and more years ago.
So, there are a lot of completely unique Chinese dog breeds, some are more popular, and others can hardly be seen outside of the Asian country.
The Most Popular And Some Rare Large Chinese Dog Breeds
Here is a list of some of the most popular and rare big dog breeds from China if you are considering adding a sizeable Chinese pup to your family.
This giant dog breed originated centuries ago and is among the oldest in the world. The average Tibetan Mastiff will reach a height of 24-26 inches at the withers and weigh from 120 to 176 lbs. or more.
These fluffy giants look like bears, with their thick double coats and brown, red, black, or golden colors. This is why they feel better in colder climates too.
The Tibetan Mastiff was initially bred and used as a watchdog for property and livestock and still has strong protective instincts.
In general, the dogs from this giant Chinese dog breed are very smart but can be very stubborn and independent, which makes them unsuitable for first-time or timid dog owners.
They are not as affectionate as other dog breeds but can adapt to most families and conditions with the proper training and socializing.
Tibetan Mastiffs have a life expectancy of about 10-12 years and are prone to obesity, which is why owners should be careful with their diets and ensure that their pups get enough movement on a daily basis.
This is a large Chinese dog breed, also known as the Chinese Wolfdog. It is a relatively new breed, developed in the 1950s from interbreeding German Shepherds with local dogs in Kunming.
The pups from this breed resemble German Shepherd Dogs in size, looks, and temperament, but they are a little taller and have shorter coats than them. The coat can vary from light straw to deep dark rust color.
Their bodies are athletic, and they have loose skin. The tails of the Chinese Wolfdogs are bushy and long or curved and high when the pups are intrigued by something.
The height of an average Kunming Wolfdog is up to 22.5 inches at the shoulders, and it can weigh up to 120 lbs.
These graceful pups are hardworking and very agile, so they are often used as police and military dogs.
Kunming Wolfdogs are highly intelligent and alert to strangers or perceived threats, making them excellent guard dogs.
But these pups are also loyal, loving, and easygoing, making them excellent family pets.
If you have young children, you should start socializing and training them along with the kids so that they can live safely and happily together in the future.
Since they are highly energetic and agile, these Chinese pups are more suitable for active people who don’t mind long brisk walks, running, or engaging in other rigorous exercises with their furbabies.
If left without sufficient physical and mental exercise, the Kunming Wolfdog can quickly become bored and destructive.
They have the tendency to become destructive and restless. Kunming Wolfdog’s life expectancy is 12 to 14 years.
Shaanxi Xian Hound
According to the Chinese Native Breed Conservation Club, the Shaanxi Xian Hound has existed for at least 2,500 years.
It is believed that this elegant sighthound is the ancestor of the much newer greyhound and Afghan Hound breeds.
Originally bred and used for chasing and hunting, the pups from this big Chinese breed are lean and have bodies and long legs designed for reaching an optimal speed.
A dog of this ancient Chinese breed will reach a height of 24-27 inches and usually weigh 44 to 66 lbs.
It has shorter and hanging ears as well as a curved tail, making it quite different from the newer sighthound breeds.
Overall, these beautiful pups are friendly and loving toward their owners. Even though they are energetic and incredibly fast, when they are not in motion, the dogs from this breed are usually quite relaxed and calm.
One of the most significant potential health issues affecting the Shaanxi Xian Hound is being overweight or obese. Because of the long legs and considerable height, it is prone to joint and mobility problems, which can become worse and detrimental if the dog is overweight.
They are moderate shedders and have a life expectancy of 10-14 years.
Tibetan Kyi Apso
This is the so-called Bearded Tibetan Mastiff, which is very similar in size and appearance to the Tibetan Mastiff.
Only, the pups from this breed are usually a little shaggier and lighter, have beards, and are not wrinkled or have skin folds like their cousins.
The size of an adult Tibetan Kyi Apso is usually 24 to 28 inches, and its weight can be from 70 to 90 lbs.
Like its close cousin, the Tibetan Mastiff, this breed originates from the Himalayas, where it was first bred as a guardian dog for livestock and properties. The locals used its coat to weave carpets and other warm fabrics.
Today, it is among the rarest dog breeds worldwide. In fact, it was first introduced to the west in 1937, when a British woman made a photograph of the 13th Dalai Lama with his Tibetan Kyi Apso in Lhasa. In the 1990s, six puppies from this rare breed were smuggled out of Tibet to the USA, and a national breed club was formed then.
The breed was imported to Europe in the 19th century and was then known as the Tibetan Wolf Dog or even Tibetan Collie.
If you manage to find a pup from this breed, you should know that even though the Tibetan Kyi Apso is an intelligent dog, it can be very stubborn and have strong protective and territorial instincts. This can make it very hard to train and socialize, even with the right experience, patience, and consistency.
But if you manage to train and socialize your Chinese pup properly, then you can expect it to become a loyal companion who is child-friendly and will happily run along with your kids.
The double coats of these furry giants are heavy, and once a year, they shed heavily and release lingering odor.
These pups have amber-colored almond-shaped eyes, black lips and noses, and of course, recognizable beards.
Dogs from this Chinese breed have an average lifespan of 12-14 years.
Related: Wolf Dog Guide 101– Do They Make Good Household Pets Or Not?
The Chinese Shar-Pei is among the most recognizable breeds in this country. These animals usually reach a height of 17 to 20 inches at the withers and a weight of 45 to 65 lbs.
It has a distinctive look, with a broad hippopotamus-like muzzle and a lot of loose folds and wrinkles of the skin on its neck, shoulders, and head.
The coat of the Shar Pei is thick and harsh and can come in a variety of different colors, including cream, chocolate, red, black, and more.
Its tail is curved on the back of the pup.
The Shar Pei breed originated around 200 BC when these pups were used for guarding and hunting.
Later, they became popular dogs for dog fights due to their thick and wrinkled skin making them hard to be bitten or grabbed by other dogs.
But these skin folds often cause skin problems for the dogs of this breed.
While they are excellent guard dogs, the Shar Pei pups are also pretty calm and can get along with other dogs and pets at home.
Keep in mind that the Shar Pei can be quite stubborn and wilful, so you will need to start with extensive and consistent training and socializing at an early age if you want a well-behaved, non-aggressive four-legged companion.
This large breed, also known as the Chinese Red Dog, is a suitable pup for families.
The Laizhou Hong is usually 25 to 32 inches at the shoulders and weighs 70-85 lbs. the breed is known for its courage, loyalty, and confidence. But these pups are friendly and calm, with high protective instincts.
These dogs are known for their beautiful red coats and their tall pointed ears. They have muscular and powerful bodies, and pronounced skulls, better known as molosser-type pups.
The typical features of this dog are almond-shaped eyes and a broad nose with wide nostrils under a flat forehead.
The coat of this pup is short and smooth and sheds a little, making it a breed that is easy to maintain and suitable for people with dog allergies.
According to historical data, the breed was produced by interbreeding local Chinese breeds with the dogs of the German Settlers in the 19th century, namely Rottweilers and German Shepherds.
These brave pups are intelligent and can be excellent work or guard dogs. In China, they have been used for police work too.
The Chinese breed is quite rare in the USA, so you can expect to have to pay a hefty sum if you want to purchase a Laizhou Hong puppy.
If you decide to add a red Chinese Dog to your family, you may be happy to know that these pups get along with kids well and have a relatively long life expectancy of 15 years.
The Chow Chow, or cute fluffy lion dog, is another one of the most popular breeds of Chinese origin.
The dogs from this breed are not as big as some of the giants from this list and will usually reach a height of 17-20 inches at the shoulders and a weight of 45 to 70 lbs. when they reach adulthood.
Although they are more compact than most of the other breeds mentioned here, Chow Chows are powerful pups that look even bigger than they are, thanks to their lion mane-like ruffs and fluffy coats.
These dogs have blue-black or purple tongues, and specific gaits like their legs are stiff.
They are all-purpose dogs that are popular as family pets because they are easy to housebreak, don’t have unpleasant odors, and clean themselves almost like cats.
Still, their coats do require regular brushing and grooming to prevent matting.
While they are very loyal to their owners, Chow Chows are usually aloof to strangers.
They are serene, have moderate exercise needs, and can adapt to almost any living condition, making them suitable for urban pets too.
As you can see, there are some very impressive large Chinese dog breeds with unique looks, characteristics, and characters.
Most of them were developed centuries and ages ago and have since proven their loyalty, companionship, and services to humankind over time.
So, if you find a big-sized dog from a Chinese breed that suits your family’s lifestyle and preferences, do not hesitate to add it to your family!
And as mentioned in the beginning, dogs are considered a symbol of prosperity and wealth in China, so your pup may bring you such luck too!