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Asian Dogs: Fourteen of the Most Popular Asian Dog Breeds

From Pugs to Shih Tzus and Chow Chows to the Central Asian Shepherd, Asia has some of the most loved dog breeds in the world. Let's explore the top Asian breeds of all time.

Did you know that Asia may be the birthplace of domesticated dogs? Research suggests that Southeast Asia may have been where dogs originated from some 30,000 years ago. Eventually, these dogs made their way to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

Many of those original Asian wild dogs still exist today, such as Pugs and Shih Tzus, and they have found their way from China to many countries worldwide. Even though they were favored by Chinese royals thousands of years ago, these days, they're available to be anyone's best friend. 

Other parts of Asia, such as Japan, Korea, and Thailand, have spawned many loveable dog breeds like the Central Asian Shepherd. With 48 countries and thousands of years of cultural influence, Asia is on the map for dog breeds! Let's look at some of the most popular breeds and what makes them so cute.

Larger Asian Dog Breeds

#1. Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff has impressive attributes such as loyalty and courage. Along with the loyal Central Asian Shepherd, the Tibetan Mastiff is one of the top Asian guard dogs.

The Tibetan Mastiff originated from China, Mongolia, and Tibet and has a long and rich history in which they became well-known as excellent sheep herding dogs.

A large dog breed with square muscles, this dog is also heavy-boned and has a broadhead. These physical attributes are directly related to their ancestry. In primitive times they had to survive high altitudes. They boast thick necks and beautiful bright brown eyes.

#2. Shar-Pei

The Shar-Pei is one of the oldest Asian fighting dogs that originated from ancient China and are still around today. They have a highly unique appearance; a head shaped like a hippo with small ears and a wrinkly forehead. 

These dogs are super intelligent but also very affectionate, with fierce loyalty and courage. The Shar-Pei makes an excellent watchdog because of these qualities. Although they could become aggressive and hostile, these dogs are mostly quiet and calm.

#3. Chow Chow

One of China's most popular dog breeds, the Chow Chow, is loved and admired for its unique beauty worldwide. It has a striking blue to bluish-black tongue, looking like a teddy bear with its fluffy and wispy coat of hair.

Although the origins of the Chow Chow are under some debate, it either originated from Mongolia or the Arctic region. However, its spitz-type appearance would indicate that the dog originated from the Han Dynasty.

Once seen as a skilled and noble hunting dog from the Emperors of ancient China, these dogs are seen as loyal family companions today. Chow Chow was given to the dog after arriving in Europe, as "chow chow" was a term to describe things coming from China.

#4. Tosa Inu (Japanese Mastiff)

One of the largest Japanese dog breeds, the Tosa Inu, has an incredibly muscular body set on a large frame. Initially bred as a hunting and fighting dog, they make an excellent protective dog due to their massive size and confident disposition.

This dog would be well-suited for a larger home or having room to roam due to their restlessness and constant need for exercise and activity. Without it, they may become aggressive. Plus, they have a stubbornness about them, so run that dog!

#5. Akita Inu

Being the national symbol of Japan, it's no wonder the Akita Inu is one of the most popular Japanese dog breeds. They are also one of the best companion dogs since they are so fearless, protective, devoted, and territorial. 

Because they are incredibly loyal and struggle to get along with other dogs or pets, it is best to socialize this dog early. The Akitu Ina can become difficult to train, but once trained, they are great with children and make excellent playmates.

#6. Central Asian Shepherd Dogs 

A self-assured breed, the Central Asian Shepherd, is quiet and balanced. Also known as the Alabai dog, these dogs are also proud and independent. A courageous dog, The Central Asian Shepherd, is a fearless protector to its human family.

Originating some four thousand years ago, the Central Asian Shepherd came from the Caspian Sea area to China and Southern Ural to Afghanistan.

#7. Afghan Hound

When you think of the Afghan Hound, the chances are that a long and majestic coat comes to mind. They are elegant but solid dogs with a ton of energy. Originally bred as a hunting dog in Afghan mountain regions, their regal and agile qualities make them a perfect pet and show dog.

Standing at about 27" high at the shoulder, the Afghan exudes a certain confidence and royal disposition. It is a loyal companion but requires a lot of attention and is therefore only recommended for serious and experienced dog lovers. 

Smaller Asian Dog Breeds

#1. Telomian

The Telomian is the most popular Asian dog breed to come from Malaysia. It is a rare purebred dog initially bred to hunt rats and other vermin in the jungles. Their hunting wasn't their only ability, they are great climbers and jumpers, and they are also excellent watchdogs. 

Telomian dogs are gentle and patient. They need training early due to their independent nature, but they can be pretty social once trained. Because they have a lot of energy, pet parents need to play with them regularly. 

#2. Kintamani Dog

This breed was named after the Kintamani region of Bali, Indonesia. Although smaller than a Samoyed dog, they have similar features. The main difference is that the Kintamani dog has a broad head and fluffy and long hair. The Kintamani is quite energetic and can climb well.

An independent dog breed, the Kintamani, is loveable and makes a great family pet if it is socialized early on. Younger children love this energetic and playful dog breed. 

#3. Pekingese

Besides the Central Asian Shepherd, the Pekingese is probably one of the most iconic Asian dog breeds. It is a small "toy breed" with a distinctive lion's mane. Favored by Chinese royalty for centuries, these days, these Asian dogs make great lap dogs for anyone.

Although one of the smaller Asian dog breeds on our list, this little fellow acts anything but small. With an aristocratic demeanor, the Pekingese is confident but also charming. However, they are feisty, so they may not be ideal pets for smaller children. 

#4. Shih Tzu

Another famous Asian dog breed, the Shih Tzu, is a toy breed that Chinese noblemen revered. These tiny pups are loyal, affectionate, and very clever and make one of the best lap dogs.

A sturdy dog for its size, the Shih Tzu is a charming creature with a smooth coat ranging from gold to white, brown, and black. To make these dogs more "family-friendly," it is best to socialize them early on.

#5. Pug

Pugs originated from China but slowly became the choice of dog for European noblemen. Another popular Asian dog breed hailing from Asia, the Pug became a dog of choice worldwide.

A playful, even mischievous dog with large expressive eyes also possesses very "human-like" expressions that clearly show its emotional state. The Pug is perfect for apartment living and makes great companions. Consider getting a bed ramp for dogs so that this cutie pie can hop up on the bed with you.

#6. Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is a unique hairless dog breed that has become iconic as an authentic Chinese dog breed, even though it was believed to have originated from Africa or South America. Another member of the toy dog family, they make excellent companions.

A generally happy Asian dog breed, The Chinese Crested is alert and has a ton of affection for their human companions. These little furry friends love to be cuddled and make loyal and attentive pets.

#7. Shiba Inu

One of the most sought-after Japanese dog breeds, The Shiba Inu (or Shiba Ken), is also one of the cutest dogs with its small size, independent nature, and cat-like appearance. They clean themselves regularly and are agile and quick.

With a similar look to other Japanese dogs, the Shiba Inu has made its way to social media in the form of memes. Their popularity aside, the Shiba Inu is hard to train, so socializing them early on to be more gentle with children is essential.

The Asian Dog Craze

Whether you prefer the Central Asian Shepherd or a Pug, Asian dogs make waves among dog owners. Many of these dogs have a culturally rich history and continue to exhibit some of their ancestor traits. 

If fierce loyalty and unconditional love in an interesting-looking dog are what you need in a furry friend, one of these Asian dogs is an excellent choice. 

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