Some of them descended from ancient dynasties, and others hail from snowy mountain ranges. They are the dogs of the Asian continent, and they have all found their way into the hearts and homes of today’s households across America.
Small Asian Dog Breeds
The spunky little Shih Tzu is an ancient Asian dog breed that was likely created by the Tibetan Iamas to resemble a miniature version of a Buddhist lion. The Shih tzu belongs to the toy group of dogs and weighs 9 to 16 pounds. The longhaired coat comes in an array of colors.
Originating in China and cherished among the European royalty, the charming and sociable Pug is the largest of the toy breeds at an average weight of 14 to 18 pounds. The pug has a smooth coat that is fawn or black in color, a wrinkled face that is pushed in, a curly tail and a playful disposition.
The Shiba inu is Japan’s most popular little companion. The shiba inu weighs between 17 and 23 pounds. The breed’s overall appearance resembles a miniature Akita, and some equate its image to that of a fox. The non-sporting dog may be small, but it is not shy about exhibiting an attitude that is larger than life.
Commonly known as a hairless dog, the Chinese crested actually comes in two varieties. The hairless variety exhibits a crest of hair on its head, a plume of hair on its tail and additional hair on the limbs. The powder puff variation of the Chinese crested is covered in a silky coat. These affectionate little dogs belong to the toy group, weighing between 10 and 13 pounds.
The affectionate Pekingese was held in high esteem within China’s imperial court during the Tang dynasty. The toy breed weighs less than 14 pounds. Pekingese are draped in a long, flowing coat that may be of any color or pattern. The Pekingese is also known for its pushed in face and its air of confidence.
Large Asian Breed Dogs
The Akita hails from the Japanese island of Honshu. Teetering on the border between large and giant breeds, the Akita measures weighs in at 65 to 115 pounds. Belonging to the working group, the Akita was developed for hunting bear and elk. The coat is dense, the tail is curly and the pointy ears stand upright. The Akita is a courageous watchdog and is Japan’s choice breed for use in law enforcement. The Japanese government declared the Akita as their national monument in 1931.
Documentation places the Chinese shar-pei’s existence as far back as the Han Dynasty. Characterized by deeply wrinkled skin, a purple tongue and a short, rough coat, the Chinese shar-pei weighs between 45 and 60 pounds. Chinese shar-peis are strong, intelligent and devoted to their masters. The Chinese shar-pei belongs to the non-sporting group of dogs.
The ancient chow chow originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. Weighing between 40 and 70 pounds, the chow chow is clad in a thick coat that forms a ruff around the shoulders and neck, giving the Chow chow the appearance of a regal lion. Chow Chows are born with pink tongues that darken to a bluish black within their first two months of age.
This large working breed weighs between 85 and 140 pounds. The Tibetan mastiff originated in Tibet more than 2,100 years ago. The dog was used as a guardian to protect monasteries and villages. The Tibetan mastiff’s long and dense coat comes in black, slate, chocolate or red, with or without tan accent markings.
Formosan Mountain Dog
This ancient and rare Asian dog breed originated in Taiwan hundreds of years ago. Resembling a dingo, the Formosan mountain dog is actually medium in size and weighs between 26 and 41 pounds. The smooth coat may be brindle, black, white, fawn or a bicolor pattern of any two of these colors. The Formosan mountain dog is a formidable hunter and a loyal and protective guard dog.
Some additional Asian canines include the following:
- Japanese chin, from Japan
- Jindo, from Korea
- Lhasa Apso, from Tibet
- Thai ridgeback, from Thailand
- Tibetan spaniel, from Tibet
- Tibetan terrier, from Tibet
- Tosa, from Japan
Learn more about Irish dog breeds here.