Chinese Chongqing Dog
The Chinese Chongqing Dog is an all-around working breed, which was developed in the Chinese areas of Chongqing and Sichuan at least 2 000 years ago. The initial predominant task of this dog was hunting but today it largely serves as a guardian and companion. It faced the danger of total demise several times throughout its history and it’s still reckoned as one of the rarest canine varieties in the world.
Photo: © Irina Holodenko
There is no doubt about the ancient origin of the Chinese Chongqing Dog as its direct ancestors had already been well-established by the time of the Han Dynasty, which controlled China from about 206 B.C. until 220 A.D. The most part of its development occurred on the territory of the ancient Chinese province of Sichuan where presently the city of Chongqing and its proximate surroundings are situated. This unique Chinese canine variety appeared as a result of centuries of purposeful selective breeding when only the dogs with desirable qualities were kept alive to breed.
The farm people of Chongqing and Sichuan often lacked essential sustenance for their families, to say nothing of canine pets. That’s why the Chinese Chongqing Dog was treasured as a multifunctional working animal although it was most frequently used for hunting various local species of animals ranging from rabbits to tigers. Moreover it could work equally effectively alone and in a pack. The dog was also capable of keeping off and even killing predators, which used to attack farmers’ livestock. It provided desirable companionship for its owners as well as reliable protection for their property. The specimens that fell short of these high expectations became the food themselves serving as a source of much needed and rare protein.
When the communist rule was established in Mainland of China, public attitude towards companion animals changed cardinally. They were considered to be the vestiges of the capitalistic past and therefore were exterminated in great numbers. As the result of this cruel practice the Chinese Chongqing Dog appeared in a single step from total extinction. The breed owes its survival to a combination of two factors. First of all, the vast majority of these dogs lived in a distant mountainous area where the Chinese government had little control. And secondly, it was almost exclusively utilised as a working animal.
The late 80s of the XX century in China were marked with light change of ideologies and the Chinese began to show vivid interest in preserving and restoring nearly extinct national breeds. In the next decade both popularity and population of the Chinese Chongqing Dog increased very substantially. Unfortunately the breed again appeared on the brink of disappearance in 2003 when thousands of its specimens were liquidated by the Chinese government because of a SARS outbreak. Nowadays it still remains in a very bad shape with less than 2 000 pure-blooded Chinese Chongqing Dogs alive.
However, things are about to look up since four distinct organisations were created to protect and promote the breed around the world. It isn’t recognised by any reputable canine club yet but according to the Chongqing Dog Conservation Center the breed has all chances of being recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in several years after Chinese Kennel Union recognises the Chinese Chongqing Dog and if current positive trend in its number continues. Today’s breed members are primarily kept as companion and guard dogs or combine these roles.
The Chinese Chongqing Dog was bred as a general purpose working dog for at least two thousand years so it’s notable for intense devotion, remarkable bravery, and great stamina. This powerful and intelligent dog needs strong and confident leader for the role of its master otherwise it will definitely take the charge over the household. It’s also predisposed to become a one-person dog although it usually gets very attached to all members of its human family. Once correctly socialised the breed member can live peaceably with kids but in most cases it doesn’t like to be involved in too harsh games.
Generally, the Chinese Chongqing Dog displays the outmost suspiciousness when it meets unfamiliar people. Even well-trained dogs will never be friendly with newcomers in your house and will always be on the look-out in their presence. Exceptionally intense territorial instinct and great physical strength allow it to become an outstanding guardian. This dog is always ready to frighten off any unwelcome guest with its ferocious appearance and deafening bark so it can be turned into a highly dependable watcher.
The Chinese Chongqing Dog stands out for moderate tolerance towards other dogs. When brought up with individual canines it will treat them as members of its pack. However most of its specimens show low to high levels of hostility towards unfamiliar dogs. This breed retains its prey drive intact and it poses mortal danger for any stray cat that is too unfortunate to cross its path. Proper and early socialisation may make the Chinese Chongqing Dog to accept individual household pets although no amount of training can eliminate non-canine aggressiveness in some of its members.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· cold intolerance;
· intolerance to hard surfaces;
· heat intolerance;
· food allergies;
· canine hip dysplasia;
· elbow dysplasia;
· patellar luxation;
· progressive retinal atrophy;
· demodectic mange;
· skin infections;
· skin allergies;
· brachycephalic syndrome;
· breathing problems.
The Chinese Chongqing Dog needs very basic grooming. Its short and sleek coat should be periodically and elaborately brushed to preserve its natural shine. Frequent bathing should be avoided as water can wash off protective skin oils from its fur. The breed is considered to be a light shedder but it’s won’t make an ideal pet for allergic sufferers.
The master of this dog must contribute some time every single day to clean its facial wrinkles, otherwise dirt, food, water and various small objects may get stuck in in them and cause nasty infections or irritations. Other mandatory care procedures comprise of monthly nail trimming and weekly teeth brushing.
The training of the Chinese Chongqing Dog presents serious difficulties because of its dominant and very opinionated character. Nonetheless if it’s trained by a professional who has already had a chance to work with Asian breeds, this dog is capable of coping with very advanced tricks. It’s also known as an independent thinker, which will never follow orders blindly.
Although a great deal of time and efforts are usually required to properly train the Chinese Chongqing Dog, it’s absolutely unacceptable to apply harsh discipline during training sessions. Only tasty treats and liberal praise will help you to achieve adequate progress in the work with the dog.
The Chinese Chongqing Dog is a reasonably vigorous breed that needs equally moderate amount of physical stimulation. It will remain well-behaved and calm indoors if its owners take it for a 30 minutes’ brisk walk each and every day.
Nonetheless this sturdy dog easily adjusts to an activity of virtually any intensity. Joggers and cyclists will find in it a willing and tireless companion and hikers will appreciate its unpretentiousness and eagerness.
The Chinese Chongqing Dog can adapt to an apartment living but remember though that if you fail to provide this dog with essential physical outlet your pet will eventually develop nasty propensity to destructive, hyperactive or even aggressive behaviour.