Set aside China’s long history, its Great Wall, and its magnificent (yet occasionally disturbing) cuisine. The Chinese have become an intriguing mix of conservative thinking and touches of wacky liberal ideas – as much as their communist regime allows, anyway. Read on to see some of the craziest Chinese trends that have caught the world’s attention.
Ever dreamed of having an exotic animal as a pet, but thought this dream was impossible to achieve? Cheer up! Now it’s possible, thanks to China’s most recent pet craze. Just get a dog and dye it up!
The fact is, the dog is an animal of universal use in China. It works as a pet, as food, as a back-up animal at the zoo… Really, just recently, the people at a Chinese zoo puffed up a dog’s fur and explained to their tourists that it was actually an African lion. How is this possible? Well, the Chinese have invented ways of painting and arranging dogs’ fur so that they look exotic. (As a side note, the ‘lion’ didn’t look too realistic in the end.)
China’s ‘exotic dogs’ resemble those dogs at canine shows, with ribbons in their hair and funky dog coats, parading elegantly on the dogwalk and leaving a strong trace of perfume behind them, but only to a certain extent. It’s just that China has taken this craze a little further, and has come up with dogs that look uncannily like real, exotic animals.
The best known example in this arena is the tiger dog. You – I mean, specialists – can obtain it from whatever breed you like, but if you want it to look more realistic, pick a golden retriever or a similar breed. While the animal is sedated, the ‘artists’ dye the dog orange, and, if necessary, bleach its belly and half of its legs lengthwise. Then they draw black lines, imitating the pattern of a real tiger, and they’re done. The effect is really spectacular and utterly weird.
If you’re not exactly a tiger-lover, China has another option for your puppy, one that you can’t help loving: the panda dog. While some puppies have been engineered through cross-breeding, most of them are painted, just like the tigers. Again, the method only implies trimming and puffing up the dog’s hair, and dyeing it black and white, to look like a panda – signature eye patches included. Also, canine specialists make sure they choose a plump, roundish breed, such as Bichon Fraise or a Chow-Chow, so that the dog will look more like a real life pandas.
Exotic looking puppies sell extremely well in Chinese pet stores. Apart from panda and tiger, which are the most popular, other models include horses, zebras, chickens or even cute chinchillas. The only problem is that hair grows. In no time, the tiger will transform into a retriever, and the panda cub, into a chow chow. They will still be adorable, but in the end you’ll realize you have paid a ton of money for an illusion.