Are you interested in learning more about Asian dog breeds? About which may be compatible with your lifestyle or your puppy preferences? Look no further! We’ve created this guide to help you.
For many centuries, parts of Asia were isolated from the rest of the world. This isolation played an important role in Asia’s development of their own unique dog breeds. Fortunately, these beautiful dog breeds have begun to spread to different parts of the world.
Would you like to know more? Below you will find descriptions some of our favorite Asian dog breeds. Some you may be familiar with, while others may be new to you. One thing is for sure, though: these dogs are beautiful and unique in their own ways and make great companions.
Before scrolling down this list of Asian dog breeds, check out other lists you might like: Dog Breeds That Can Be Left Alone For 8 Hours and Best Barn Dog Breeds For Farms and Outdoors.
1. Chow Chow
First on the list of our favorite Asian dog breeds is the Chow Chow. These fluffy dogs may look like lions found in an African Savannah, but they actually originate from Ancient China. Chow Chows are among the oldest known dog breeds, and were often depicted in art during China’s Han Dynasty. However, it’s possible that the breed dates back even earlier.
Chow Chows are known for having been faithful companions to royalty for centuries. Over time, they’ve been used as workers, such as guards and hunters. These beautiful dogs slowly gained popularity in the western world in the early 1900s.
Characterized by their fluffy coat, blue or black tongue, and deep-set eyes, Chow Chows are known for their dignified appearance. Their coats can be tan, blue, or black in color. These dogs are fiercely loyal to their families and can be aloof around strangers. However, early socialization can prevent any troubles your Chow Chow might have with new people.
Related Guide: Chow Chow Poodle Mix.
These beautiful little dogs have origins from both China and Tibet. Shih-Tzus were initially bred in China, but the parent dogs are from Tibetan breeding stock. These dogs, like Chow Chows, were companions to royalty. In fact, the breed remained a hidden treasure, exclusive to Chinese royalty, until the 1930s. After their discovery, these dogs became one of the most popular toy dog breeds worldwide.
Shih-Tzus are known for their large, expressive eyes and beautiful, long coats. The affectionate and loving personalities of these dogs make them great family companions. They are small and gentle, so they are perfect for families with children. In keeping with their history as royal lap dogs, Shih-Tzus are happiest when indoors, cuddled up with their family. This intense love and attachment to their family can sometimes lead these dogs to be very vocal when strangers approach. However, careful and early training ensures your Shih-Tzu will be well-adjusted among new people.
Origin: China and Tibet
Related Guides: Best Dog Food For a Shih Tzu and Best Shih Tzu Breeders in California.
3. Lhasa Apso
Lhasa Apsos are a small dog breed with an extensive history. These dogs have strong ties to their homeland of Tibet. The Lhasa Apso is known as the earth-bound incarnation of the country’s protector, the Snow Lion. Therefore, Lhasa Apsos were used as guard dogs outside palaces and monasteries in Tibet, even despite their small size! The Lhasa Apso’s journey to the West is attributed to the 14th Dalai Lama, who gifted the breed to Americans in the 1940s.
Lhasa Apsos may be small, but they are full of love and energy. Because of their history as guard dogs, Lhasa Apsos make excellent watchdogs for their family. This causes Lhasa Apsos to be uncomfortable and extra alert around strangers – your dog may have a tendency to bark a lot.
Lhasa Apsos can be stubborn dogs, so they can be a challenge to train at times. They are known for their long hair that is often parted down the middle and their soulful eyes that will easily express their adoration for their loved ones.
Related Guide: Best Teddy Bear Dog Names.
Probably one of the most widely recognized dog breeds globally, Shar-Peis are also one of the oldest. Established over 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty in China, Shar-Peis are well-rounded dogs. Unlike many other breeds on our list, Shar-Peis were not bred for royalty. These dogs were the dogs of peasants – this is evident in the balanced nature of the Shar-Pei. Shar-Peis wore all hats on the farms on which they originated. They guarded livestock, herded farm animals, and hunted. These dogs eventually made their way over to the West in the 1960s.
The distinct appearance of the Shar-Pei makes this breed unmistakeable (unless you mistake it for a hippopotamus, which is understandable). Shar-Peis have a broad muzzle, small eyes, little triangular ears, and a blue or black tongue. All these features are nestled within the plethora of wrinkles found along this dog’s body.
Because of their history, these dogs are naturally highly loyal to their families and highly suspicious of strangers. However, these dogs are also brilliant and can be trained easily. Training your Shar-Pei to trust people from a young age is essential to ensure your dog does not become aggressive toward strangers.
Related Guide: Best Chinese Shar-Pei Breeders in the United States.
Similar to Shih-Tzus, Pugs were bred in China to be companions to emperors during ancient times. However, the Pug made its way over to Europe in the 1500s, becoming a popular watchdog in Holland. Pugs later gained extreme popularity in England and later worldwide, making them one of the most highly sought-after breeds.
Pugs come in three different colors: silver with a black face mask, tan with a black face mask, or all black. However, the most notable features of this breed are the compact snout, large expressive eyes, and distinguished wrinkles. This unique and adorable appearance dramatically contributes to the popularity of this breed.
Pugs do best indoors as their short snout makes them susceptible to breathing complications during extreme weather. These little dogs are known for being a little mischievous, but their love and devotion quickly help this breed charm its way into the hearts of anyone it meets.
Related Guides: Best Pug Breeders in New York and Best Pug Breeders in California.
6. Shiba Inu
Originating in Japan, the Shiba Inu has been around since 300 bc. However, these dogs have had a very tumultuous past, nearly becoming extinct during World War 2. Luckily, they’re still around, and the Shiba Inu lives on to touch hearts and lives everywhere.
This is a happy, active breed initially used for hunting. The word “Shiba” refers to “brushwood,” indicating the mountainous region in which these dogs hunted. “Inu” simply means “dog” in Japanese. However, many people worldwide are now familiar with the Shiba Inu, as its popularity has soared to the moon over the last 50 years.
Their history as hunters has led Shiba Inu to be naturally energetic and alert dogs. Shiba Inu’s coats are typically red or a combination of black and tan. They move swiftly, closely resembling foxes, especially those with a red coat. Also, because of their hunting background, Shiba’s should never be left off-leash as they are a flight risk. Don’t take this behavior too personally, though. Shibas love their families, but their instinct to hunt compels them to run when left off-leash.
Related Guides: Best Shiba Inu Breeders in the United States and Best Shiba Inu Breeders in California.
7. Akita Inu
Another dog breed originating in Japan, the Akita Inu (sometimes referred to as the Akita), is a large part of Japanese culture. These dogs are symbols of happiness, health, and long life. There is a Japanese tradition of giving parents an Akita figurine when a new baby is born to signify the prosperity and good luck the Akita is said to have – and bring.
These dogs were once exclusive to the imperial families of Japan but are now a beloved breed in the West. The first Akita Inu was brought to the United States by Helen Keller after a trip to Japan, where the dog was given as a gift.
Akita Inus prefer human companionship over interaction with other animals. They are loving and affectionate with their human friends and family, as well as fiercely protective. Therefore, socializing an Akita from an early age is essential to developing a friendly dog. These dogs were hunters during their past in Japan, so they developed sturdy, athletic bodies. Akitas come in all colors, but their prominent defining feature is their expressive ears and eyes.
Related Guide: Best Akita Breeders in the United States.
We know that the Pekingese originated in China, but it’s actually unknown how far the Pekingnese breed dates back. In fact, these little dogs are so old, they are said to have been created by the Buddha! Legend has it that the Buddha shrunk lions down to get the Pekingese, which would explain their little lion appearances. Unlike other dogs on our list, these little lion dogs were brought to the West reasonably early. It’s assumed these dogs made their way over to the West around the 1860s.
Pekingese are loyal companions that are highly affectionate towards their family, typically choosing one human, in particular, to bond with. These dogs are alert and protective over their family, making them excellent watchdogs. However, they can sometimes be independent and stubborn, making them hard to train. They are characterized by their long “lion’s mane” that drapes along with their heads. Like the Pug, the Pekingese have a short muzzle, making them sensitive to extreme temperatures. These dogs are famously known for the way they move, often referred to as a rolling gait.
Pekingnese Mention: Best Teacup Dogs That Don’t Shed and Cutest Lion Cut Dog Photos on the Internet.
9. Tibetan Mastiff
As the name suggests, Tibetan Mastiffs originate from Tibet. Not much is known about this ancient breed besides their history of being the great guardians of the Himalayas. These dogs are thought to be the original Mastiffs, giving way to all the modern Mastiff breeds we now know and love. The most imposing breed on our list, the Tibetan Mastiff, is a faithful guard dog who is calm and loving with family but fiercely territorial with strangers.
These dogs can weigh anywhere from 70 to 150 pounds, making them a genuinely intimidating breed if not trained and socialized at a young age. Luckily, these dogs are brilliant and will follow their owner’s commands as long as those directives are delivered confidently and firmly. If you do not deliver your commands with conviction, your Tibetan Mastiff will make decisions based on instinct, which can be dangerous!
Tibetan Mastiff Mention: Mastiff Poodle Mix Guide.
Originating on a small island off of the coast of South Korea, the Jindo was a companion and hunter for many years. Jindos are a new breed among the West, only joining the ranks of the pure breed organization, the American Kennel Club (AKC), in 2008. These dogs are considered a protected Natural Treasure in South Korea. These medium-sized dogs come in many colors, including white, black, and red.
They are known for their self-cleaning coats and their tendency to practice similar hygiene acts to cats. Jindos do often shed because of their thick double coats. These dogs are fiercely loyal to their loved ones, often forming an unbreakable bond with one specific person. This extreme devotion can lead to unease and aggression towards strangers. They must be socialized and trained early in life. However, training a Jindo is easy, as these dogs are intelligent and eager to please their loved ones.
Origin: South Korea
Last on the list of the best Asian dog breeds is the Samoyed. Initially bred in Siberia and raised among the Samoyedic, the Samoyed developed the ability to withstand freezing temperatures.The dogs grew strong, lasting bonds with humans as they worked with their human companions to ensure survival among the frozen tundra of Siberia. Samoyeds would huddle in tents with their semi-nomadic families and provide warmth. Because of the extreme temperatures, people would keep large packs of these dogs to ensure maximum warmth in the cold. Samoyeds were also responsible for hunting and herding reindeer. These dogs were eventually brought to the West in the early 1900s.
Because of the strong bonds they formed with humans throughout history, Samoyeds have grown into a highly human-centered breed. They are loving and affectionate dogs that require lots of attention from their humans. These dogs will become sad and depressed if they are not spending enough time with their loved ones.
Samoyeds are known for their snow-white coats and their upturned mouths. The shape of their mouths was forged over time to prevent drool which would turn into icicles in the cold climate! However, nowadays, their upturned mouths contribute to their happy-go-lucky nature as they look like they have huge smiles on their faces.
Related Guides: Best Samoyed Dog Names and Best Samoyed Breeders in the United States.
Conclusion For The “Best Asian Dog Breeds”
As you can see, there is quite a variety of dog breeds originating from Asia. These dogs have become extremely popular globally as they have amazing characteristics both physically and emotionally.
No matter which of these Asian dog breeds you choose for your own family, you can rest assured that your dog is the product of a very long ancestral line. A good breeder will continue reputable breeding practices to ensure you receive a healthy, happy companion.
For more dog breed recommendations, check out:
- Best Medium Non-Shedding Dog Breeds
- Small Non-Shedding Dog Breeds
- Most Popular Dog Breeds in Nigeria
To learn more about this topic, watch “10 Asian Dog Breeds” from AnimalWised down below:
Andy is a full-time animal rescuer and owner of a toy doodle. When he’s not saving dogs, Andy is one of our core writers and editors. He has been writing about dogs for over a decade. Andy joined our team because he believes that words are powerful tools that can change a dog’s life for the better.
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