These little bundles of joy are actually chow chow dogs that have been dyed black-and-white to look like pandas. Dyeing pets has been a trend in pet pampering for quite some time. At last summer’s Pets Show Taipei, there was a fierce dog-dyeing competition. Check out photos. But dyeing your pets to look like other wild animals is a more recent development. The trend demonstrates how quickly and dramatically attitudes toward pets — particularly dogs — have changed in many parts of Asia.
In Taiwan, for example, just 10 years ago, dogs were still eaten in public restaurants and raised on farms for that purpose. Traditional Chinese medicine held that so-called “fragrant meat” from dogs could fortify one’s health.
Now, eating dog is viewed by many as an embarrassing reminder of a poorer time. With more money to spend, newly wealthy Chinese have embraced dog-owning culture with a vengeance. Dogs are brought into restaurants, fussed over in public, dressed up in ridiculous outfits and dyed to look like ferocious tigers.
Panda or chow chow? Tiger or retriever? You be the judge: