Panda dogs are the new rage in China. The black and white canines are fluffy and chubby. They bare an uncanny resemblance to pandas. The Panda dog is not an accepted breed or the result of any special crossbreeding. Most are chows that have undergone cosmetic primping to have them appear as pandas.
Breeds such as the Labrador and French bulldog were once the dog of choice for the Chinese. Now it is the Panda dog and pet shops in China are having a difficult time keeping up with demand.
Hsin Ch’en, a pet store owner in Chengdu, China remarked that ten years ago, the Chinese use to eat dogs. Now people in China have become like Westerners. They want a dog as a companion and pet.
Ch’en said he perfected the technique of creating the Panda dog in Changdu. Now his pet store cannot keep up with the demand. With careful grooming and coloring, he found it easy to transform a chow into a Panda dog. The process takes two hours. The Panda dog will maintain its appearance for up to six weeks. After that, the color fades and the owners can bring the dog in for a touch up.
The process of transforming a chow into a Panda dog involves neither chemicals nor cruelty according to Ch’en. The price of the Panda dog does cost more due to the grooming and coloring involved. Ch’en said people do not mind paying for the service. His customers like the fact heads turn whenever a Panda dog walks past them. Owners like boasting to their friends that they have a Panda dog.
Ch’en and other pet shop owners across China selling Panda dogs do not disclose the exact dyes or techniques they use. The panda-monium for these dogs that have become the rage in China has pet owners around the world concerned.
Cesar Milan, an experienced dog trainer, believes the Panda dog does receive toxic chemicals in the form of hair dye used to color around the eyes, ears, and other parts of the chow’s fur. These dyes pose safety and health issues for the dog. Dying an animal’s fur must be considered wrong for many reasons. Hair dye is designed for human use only. To date, there is no dye approved for animals.
People have reported health issues after using hair coloring. A dog may have a similar reaction, but unlike humans, a dog cannot explain what is wrong. Milan believes covering parts of a dog’s body with hair dye is harmful to the animal. The chemicals can enter the dog’s eyes or could be ingested when the dog licks its fur.
Veterinarians do not recommend hair dyes for dogs. They believe the process would be physically as well as psychologically harmful to the animal. For Panda dog lovers, such concerns are secondary. Chinese citizens do not care how the adorable dog gets its looks. They simply want one to show off to their friends as a status symbol. For now, Panda dogs are that new symbol of status and all the rage in China.
By Brian T. Yates