Panda-Dog Craze Sweeps China

Pet stores can't keep the dogs in stock, because they are so damnably cute. Just look at that dog.


The panda dog came about when a French zookeeper ushered his Bernese Mountain Dog into the panda enclosure, threw in a wheel of brie, turned up the Serge Gainsbourg, and gave the two animals until morning to … wait, no. That’s how a French zookeeper got fired.

The panda dog came to life in the usual way: Someone had a late night with a bottle of hair dye. And, of course, a Chow Chow — no animal is more suited to become a panda than a Chow Chow. (Other than, you know, a panda.)

To be honest, we aren’t sold on this new trend of extreme grooming — too many stupid people can do stupid things to a poor dog — but we have to admit: Aww. Plus, the grooming is nowhere near as extreme as we’ve seen. At least these dogs don’t look like Pluto, or whatever the hell this is:

The trend has hit huge in China, where Hsin Ch’en, who owns an animal store in Chengdu city in southwest China’s Sichuan province, says he can’t keep up with demand, according to the Metro. Ch’en appears to be the godfather of Panda dogs, though his boasting might just be a ploy to get more people into his shop.

“I perfected the technique here, and now it is spreading across the country. With a bit of careful grooming and coloring, it is easy to turn a Chow into a panda dog in about two hours,” he said. “Then the look will stay with the dog for around six weeks, and the owners bring them back for some touching up.”

Pet stores are struggling to keep the dogs in stock as the Panda-dog fever sweeps the country. While such a craze might sound ridiculous to our Western ears, it’s important to realize that China hasn’t had the best record when it comes to caring for dogs. Consider this line by Ch’en:

“Ten years ago the natural instinct of a Chinese person was to eat a dog. Now we are like Westerners and want one as a companion,” he said. “The cute breeds like French Bulldogs and Labradors were the favorites, but now it is the panda dog.”

Watch a panda dog in the wild:

Ch’en appears to be making a tidy sum off panda dogs, and he says the dogs do not suffer from the procedure, aside from sitting still for extra-long grooming sessions.

“There are no chemicals or cruelty involved. But the price of the dog does rise significantly because of the amount of grooming that goes into it,” Ch’en said, according to the Post. “People don’t mind paying the extra, though — they like the fact that heads turn in the street and they can tell their friends: ‘I have a panda dog.’”

Would you get a panda dog? Are you already in the bathroom mixing up the hair dye? Or do you find this whole extreme grooming trend distasteful? Let us know in the comments!

Read about dogs in the news on Dogster:

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