Named after their panda-like appearance, these panda dogs are selling out across China, particularly in the southwest Sichuan province.
But as it turns out, there’s no cross-breeding going on here, just a rigorous grooming regimen involving hair dye.
“I perfected the technique here and now it is spreading across the country. With a bit of careful grooming and colouring it is easy to turn a chow into a panda dog in about two hours,” tells Chengdu city pet shop owner Hsin Ch’en.
“Then the look will stay with the dog for around six weeks and the owners bring them back for some touching up. 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. 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.’”
“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’.”
The panda dogs have become a bit of a status symbol in the region where a love of cute dogs is growing. What next? Polar bear pups?
We shudder to think.