follow us:
site: HOME > > Economic > China Buzz > Zeigeist
How Much is that Panda Doggie in the Window?


Before                                                                              After

The latest pet trend in Beijing is Huskie ownership. You can’t go one block in my east Beijing neighborhood without seeing a new dog owner being dragged down the sidewalk by a jubilant Huskie puppy.

A year ago, ferrets were the pet flavor of the month. Within a 2 month span, several pet shops marketing Angora ferrets popped up on opposite sides of Gulou Dong Da Jie in central Beijing. According to a recent Global Times article , over 600 people in Beijing own ferrets; I believe that number to be far greater considering that it is common to see a ferret scurry across your path while walking through the hutongs late at night. While some may believe wild ferrets are common in Beijing, the hutong ferrets probably used to belong to people who realized that once fully grown, ferrets are not all that cute. 

Huskies on the other hand, with their clear blue eyes, and waggily tail, I can see the appeal of. The only problem is, what are their owners going to do with them once they are fully grown? In Beijing, residents who live within the 4th Ring Road are forbidden to own dogs taller than 35 cm. Owners of dogs that do not fit the profile walk their dogs late at night to avoid being fined 5,000 yuan or more. I predict walking around the city after dark this winter in Beijing will be akin to attending a dog-sled race. I wonder if the Huskies will understand, “Mush! Mush!”

Another pet-owner trend in China that has been picked up by the western media is fur-dyeing. While some complain that the dyeing of fur is inhumane, I must admit I did get a kick out of seeing my neighbor’s poodle with Olympic rings dyed onto its side.

The more money one has, the more frivolous things they buy. And the growing middle class in China is more than willing to buy adorable things. It is not unusual to see a flat bed bicycle carrying an assortment of pets for sale on a street corner or a woman selling puppies in plastic bags while sitting on the floor in front of the subway entrance, which I witnessed this past weekend.

China Daily quotes a pet business owner from Shenzhen who states that one out of every 15 people own a pet in China. I’m not sure where his statistic came from, but they seem fairly accurate, considering the dozens of tiny dogs that can be found in the courtyard of my apartment complex at any given moment.

With a growing number of Chinese citizens owning pets, eyes are being opened to animal issues. Last January, researchers from a Chinese government think-tank proposed the ban of eating dogs and cats. Although according to reports this ban may take a decade to go into effect, my coworker recently remarked that a Korean restaurant she frequents is no longer serving dog meat due to activists protesting the sale. Additionally, Ai Weiwei studios recently had a public viewing of its film documenting the network of cat trafficking across China, with the producer hoping the documentary may help “inspire discussions about human compassion”.

Hopefully the growing numbers of pet owners in China will spread the seed of compassion planted by our furry friends. 



Comments(The views posted belong to the commentator, not representative of the EO)

username: Quick log-in

About China Buzz

The Economic Observer's editorial staff are always on the look out for interesting, fresh and high-quality China-related content. Whether it's the latest buzz on Weibo, links to insightful articles or updates on the latest books and reports, through China Buzz we'll keep you in the loop about what's going on in the world of Chinese politics and economics.

Most popular

this week
this month


E-mail subscription

Enter your e-mail address to subscribe to China Buzz and receive notifications of new posts through e-mail.