asian dog breeds

Discover Top Asian Dog Breeds – Rare & Popular

Asia is not only known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse cuisines, but also for its fascinating array of dog breeds. From the popular and well-loved companions like the Pug and Shih Tzu to the rare and majestic breeds like the Central Asian Shepherd and Tibetan Mastiff, Asian dog breeds offer a unique blend of charm, beauty, and loyalty.

With a history dating back thousands of years, Asian countries have played a significant role in the development of domesticated dogs. Research suggests that dogs originated in Southeast Asia around 30,000 years ago, making Asia the birthplace of our beloved four-legged friends.

Key Takeaways:

  • Asia is home to a wide variety of dog breeds, both popular and rare.
  • The Pug, Shih Tzu, Central Asian Shepherd, and Tibetan Mastiff are among the most loved Asian dog breeds.
  • Asian dog breeds come in all sizes, from large breeds like the Tibetan Mastiff to small breeds like the Telomian and Shih Tzu.
  • Some Asian dog breeds have ancient origins, such as the Akita Inu and Afghan Hound.
  • Asian dog breeds are known for their unique features, cultural significance, and enduring popularity.

The Most Loved Asian Dog Breeds

When it comes to Asian dog breeds, there are several beloved and popular choices that have gained recognition and admiration worldwide. These breeds captivate dog lovers with their unique characteristics, adorable appearances, and cultural significance. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top Asian dog breeds that have won the hearts of many:


The Pug, originating from China, is known for its compact size, wrinkled face, and playful personality. These adorable dogs have a distinct appearance with their round head, curly tail, and expressive eyes. Pugs are friendly, sociable, and make great companions for individuals and families alike.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is another popular Asian breed, hailing from China. These small dogs are known for their long, flowing hair and impressive topknot. Shih Tzus are affectionate, gentle, and make wonderful lapdogs. They are often referred to as “royal dogs” due to their historical connection with Chinese nobility.

Central Asian Shepherd

The Central Asian Shepherd, originally from Japan, Korea, and Thailand, is a highly revered breed in Asia. These dogs are known for their protective instincts, loyalty, and strong working abilities. With their muscular build and impressive stature, Central Asian Shepherds excel as guard dogs and are deeply valued by their owners.

“Asian dog breeds, such as the Pug and Shih Tzu, are adored for their unique characteristics and cultural significance.”

Asia’s rich cultural diversity has contributed to the development of these beloved dog breeds. From China to Japan and beyond, each region has its own unique breeds that hold special meaning and attract dog enthusiasts worldwide. The popularity of these Asian dog breeds can be attributed to their distinct personalities, charming appearances, and the bond they create with their human companions.

Shih TzuChina
Central Asian ShepherdJapan, Korea, Thailand

Large Asian Dog Breeds

Asian countries boast a variety of large dog breeds, each with its own unique characteristics and devoted following. These magnificent canines are known for their size, strength, and loyalty, making them popular choices for both working roles and family companionship.

Tibetan Mastiff

Originating from China, Mongolia, and Tibet, the Tibetan Mastiff is a true giant among dogs. With its square muscles, thick neck, and majestic appearance, this breed exudes power and strength. Not only is the Tibetan Mastiff an impressive sight, but it is also fiercely protective of its family, making it an excellent guard dog.


The Shar-Pei, hailing from southern China, is distinguished by its loose, wrinkled skin and unique appearance. This large breed has a reputation for loyalty, intelligence, and a calm disposition. While its characteristic wrinkles are adorable, they also serve a practical purpose by allowing for easier grappling and biting in case of a confrontation.

Chow Chow

The Chow Chow, originating from China, is instantly recognizable for its thick, fluffy coat and distinctive blue-black tongue. Despite its fluffy appearance, this breed is muscular and robust. The Chow Chow is known for its independent nature and reserved demeanor, but it forms deep bonds with its family members, making it a loving and protective companion.

Central Asian Shepherd Dogs

The Central Asian Shepherd Dogs, as their name suggests, come from the vast regions of Central Asia. These large, powerful dogs have played an essential role in protecting livestock from predators for centuries. Known for their courageous and confident nature, Central Asian Shepherd Dogs are fiercely loyal to their families and excel in guarding and protecting their territory.

Tibetan MastiffChina, Mongolia, TibetSquare muscles, thick neck, majestic appearanceProtective, loyal
Shar-PeiSouthern ChinaLoose, wrinkled skinLoyal, intelligent, calm
Chow ChowChinaThick, fluffy coat; blue-black tongueIndependent, reserved, protective
Central Asian Shepherd DogsCentral AsiaPowerful, muscular buildCourageous, loyal, protective

Large Asian Dog Breeds

Small Asian Dog Breeds

Asian countries are home to a variety of small dog breeds, each with its own unique characteristics and charm. Whether you’re looking for a rare hunting breed or a popular companion, there’s a small Asian dog breed that’s perfect for you.

small asian dog breeds

The Telomian

The Telomian, originating from Malaysia, is a rare breed known for its exceptional hunting prowess. These small and agile dogs are highly skilled at tracking and capturing prey, making them valuable companions for hunters in their native region.

The Kintamani Dog

The Kintamani Dog, native to Bali, Indonesia, is smaller in size but shares similarities with the Samoyed breed. With their fluffy coats and friendly personalities, Kintamani Dogs are beloved as family pets and are known for their loyalty and affection.


The Pekingese is one of the most popular small Asian dog breeds. With their luxurious double coats and distinctive wrinkled faces, Pekingeses are truly adorable companions. Despite their small size, they possess a confident and fearless personality.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is another beloved small Asian dog breed known for its distinctive appearance. With their long, flowing coats and friendly nature, Shih Tzus make great family pets and bring joy wherever they go.


The Pug is a small Asian dog breed with a big personality. These charming and comical dogs are known for their wrinkled faces, curly tails, and playful nature. Pugs are great companions and thrive in households of all sizes.

Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is a unique and eye-catching small Asian dog breed. With their hairless bodies and plumed crests, these dogs are sure to turn heads. Chinese Cresteds are known for their affectionate and lively personalities.

Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a small Japanese breed known for its fox-like appearance and spirited nature. These independent and intelligent dogs are fiercely loyal to their families and make excellent companions for active individuals.

Whether you’re looking for a rare and exceptional hunter or a small companion with a unique appearance, small Asian dog breeds offer a wide range of options. From the Telomian’s hunting abilities to the loving and playful nature of breeds like the Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Pug, Chinese Crested, and Shiba Inu, these small dogs bring joy and companionship to their owners.

Ancient Asian Dog Breeds

Asia is home to some of the oldest and most revered dog breeds in the world. These ancient breeds have deep roots dating back thousands of years, and their lineage reflects the rich history and cultural significance of the region. Let’s explore some of the fascinating ancient Asian dog breeds and discover their unique characteristics and origins.

Akita Inu: National Symbol of Japan

The Akita Inu is an iconic Japanese breed that has been treasured and revered for centuries. It is considered a national symbol of Japan and holds a special place in Japanese culture. With a powerful and dignified presence, the Akita Inu is known for its loyalty, courage, and unwavering devotion to its family.

Akita Inu

Afghan Hound: Elegance and Noble History

The Afghan Hound is a breed that exudes elegance and grace. Its lineage can be traced back to the ancient times, predating even the advent of Christianity. Known for its regal appearance and silky, flowing coat, the Afghan Hound has long been a cherished and esteemed companion. With its aristocratic heritage and captivating beauty, this breed commands attention wherever it goes.

Shih Tzu: A Living Heritage

The Shih Tzu is a small but mighty breed with a fascinating history. Originating in ancient China, these dogs were highly esteemed by Chinese royalty. Revered for their charm and affectionate nature, Shih Tzus have become a beloved breed worldwide. They embody the essence of ancient Asian dog breeds, offering a living glimpse into the past.

Central Asian Shepherd Dogs: Guardians of Tradition

The Central Asian Shepherd Dogs have a rich heritage as guardians and protectors. Bred in Central Asia, this ancient breed has been instrumental in safeguarding livestock and property for centuries. Recognized for their strength, endurance, and unwavering loyalty, Central Asian Shepherd Dogs remain highly valued in their native regions.

Asian Dog Breeds with Unique Features

Several Asian dog breeds possess distinctive and unique features that set them apart from other breeds. These breeds showcase a range of characteristics that make them truly extraordinary.

asian dog breeds with unique features

Chow Chow: Beautifully Unique

Renowned for its luxurious and dense fur, the Chow Chow is instantly recognizable. Notably, this breed has a distinct blue-black tongue, making it truly one of a kind. With its regal appearance and bear-like features, the Chow Chow is often admired for its beauty.

Tosa Inu: Powerful and Protective

The Tosa Inu, a Japanese Mastiff breed, is known for its large and muscular build. Bred for protection and fighting, this formidable breed possesses immense strength and loyalty. With its dignified presence and powerful physique, the Tosa Inu is an ideal protective dog.

Shar-Pei: Wrinkles of Character

With its unique wrinkled skin, the Shar-Pei is a breed that attracts attention wherever it goes. These wrinkles provide the breed with a distinctive appearance, showcasing its individuality and charm. Shar-Peis are known for their loyalty, making them beloved companions for many dog enthusiasts.

Tibetan Mastiff: Majestic Guardian

The Tibetan Mastiff is a majestic and awe-inspiring breed that epitomizes strength and loyalty. With its thick double coat and imposing size, the Tibetan Mastiff is not only visually striking but also an excellent guardian and protector. This breed’s regal presence and unwavering devotion make it a remarkable companion.

Pekingese: Elegance in a Small Package

Despite their small size, Pekingese dogs have a unique appearance that exudes elegance and grace. Known for their luxurious and abundant coats, these dogs possess a lion-like mane that further enhances their regal charm. Pekingese dogs are characterized by their confident and independent nature.

Shih Tzu: Affectionate and Distinctive

The Shih Tzu is a beloved Asian breed adored for its distinctive appearance and affectionate temperament. This breed features a flowing double coat, expressive eyes, and a gentle expression that captures hearts effortlessly. Shih Tzus are known for their loyal and outgoing nature, making them cherished companions.

Pug: Playful and Expressive

Recognized for their unique facial wrinkles and charmingly expressive eyes, Pugs are an enchanting and playful breed. Known for their entertaining antics and friendly demeanor, Pugs have an uncanny ability to bring joy and laughter to the lives of their owners.

Chinese Crested: Unconventional Beauty

The Chinese Crested is an unmistakable breed that stands out due to its lack of fur. With its exposed skin and a crest of hair on its head, this breed embraces its unconventional beauty. Chinese Cresteds are friendly and affectionate dogs that are often cherished as loving companions.

These are just a few examples of Asian dog breeds with unique features. Each breed possesses its own set of characteristics that contribute to their individuality and appeal. Whether it’s the Chow Chow’s blue-black tongue, the Tosa Inu’s powerful build, or the Shar-Pei’s wrinkled skin, these breeds offer a captivating blend of physical distinctiveness and delightful personalities.

Asian Dog Breeds with Cultural Significance

Some Asian dog breeds hold great cultural significance in their respective countries. These breeds have long been admired and cherished for their unique qualities and historical connections. Let’s explore some of these culturally significant Asian dog breeds:


The Pekingese, also known as the “Lion Dog,” has a rich history tied to Chinese royalty. These small and elegant dogs were considered sacred in ancient China and were solely owned by the royal family. Pekingese dogs symbolize power, loyalty, and regality, and their presence in palaces and ceremonies highlights their cultural significance.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu, another Chinese breed, also holds great cultural importance. These adorable and affectionate dogs were highly prized by the imperial court and were considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Shih Tzus were often given as gifts to foreign diplomats, further spreading their popularity and cultural significance.

Akita Inu

The Akita Inu is a Japanese breed that embodies national pride and loyalty. These large and powerful dogs have been recognized as a national symbol of Japan. Akita Inus are revered for their bravery, loyalty, and protective instincts. They are also associated with the legendary story of Hachiko, the faithful Akita Inu who waited for his owner at a train station every day.

Central Asian Shepherd Dogs

The Central Asian Shepherd Dogs, also known as Alabai, have a long history as protectors and guardians in Central Asian countries. Bred to defend livestock and property, these strong and independent dogs are deeply rooted in the nomadic traditions of the region. Their presence in Central Asian culture reflects their significant role in safeguarding communities and possessions.

These Asian dog breeds exemplify the intertwined nature of dogs and culture. They serve as living embodiments of heritage, symbolism, and historical importance, enriching the lives of those who appreciate their unique characteristics.

Asian dog breeds with cultural significance

Asian Dog Breeds with Cultural Significance

BreedCountry of OriginCultural Significance
PekingeseChinaSymbol of Chinese royalty and power
Shih TzuChinaConsidered a symbol of good luck and prosperity
Akita InuJapanNational symbol of Japan, associated with loyalty and bravery
Central Asian Shepherd DogsCentral AsiaHistorically important as protectors and guardians

The Origins of Asian Dog Breeds

Asian dog breeds have a rich and diverse history that spans thousands of years. These breeds have their origins in ancient Asia, where they were developed and shaped by their unique environments and cultural influences. Let’s explore some of the fascinating ancient Asian dog breeds that have captured the hearts of dog lovers worldwide.

Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the oldest and most majestic dog breeds in the world. Originating from the Himalayan region of Tibet, this large and powerful breed was bred to guard monasteries and nomadic camps. Its thick and luxurious coat allowed it to withstand the harsh mountainous climates.


The Shar-Pei is a distinctive breed known for its wrinkled skin and unique appearance. Originating from China, it was originally bred for hunting and guarding. Its loose and wrinkled skin served as a protective feature, making it difficult for adversaries to grab onto during fights.

Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is a breed with ancient Chinese origins. With its lion-like appearance and blue-black tongue, it has captured the fascination of many dog enthusiasts. Originally used for hunting, herding, and guarding, the Chow Chow is now cherished as a loyal companion.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a beloved toy breed that originated in Tibet. Bred to be companions to Tibetan Buddhists, they were considered sacred dogs. Adored for their long flowing coat and friendly demeanor, Shih Tzus quickly became popular in China and later worldwide.


The Pug is a small but mighty breed that traces its roots back to ancient China. Revered for its playful and mischievous nature, the Pug was highly valued by Chinese Emperors. Its distinctive wrinkled face and curled tail have made it a favorite in many households.

Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is a unique breed renowned for its hairless body and tuft of hair on its head, known as a crest. Originating in China, it was prized as a companion dog and often served as a warm lap dog for royalty. Despite its hairless appearance, the Chinese Crested is known for being affectionate and outgoing.

Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a small, agile, and energetic breed that originated in Japan. Bred for hunting small game, this spirited breed is known for its fox-like appearance and independent personality. The Shiba Inu’s popularity has recently soared, making it one of the most sought-after Asian breeds.

Origins of Asian Dog Breeds

These ancient Asian dog breeds have captivated dog lovers around the world with their unique characteristics, rich history, and cultural significance. Whether it’s the majestic Tibetan Mastiff, the wrinkled beauty of the Shar-Pei, or the playful nature of the Pug, these breeds continue to enchant and bring joy to families everywhere.

The Enduring Popularity of Asian Dog Breeds

Asian dog breeds have captured the hearts of dog enthusiasts worldwide and continue to enjoy enduring popularity. These breeds are highly sought after due to their unique characteristics, rich cultural heritage, and the irresistible charm of their distinct appearances.

One of the factors contributing to the Asian dog breeds craze is their exceptional loyalty. Whether it’s the regal Akita Inu, the adorable Pekingese and Shih Tzu, or the protective Central Asian Shepherd Dogs, these breeds form deep bonds with their owners, providing unwavering companionship and devotion.

The intelligence of Asian dog breeds is another aspect that sets them apart. Breeds such as the Shiba Inu, Chinese Crested, and Tibetan Mastiff demonstrate remarkable adaptability and wit, making them quick learners and versatile companions.

Furthermore, the cultural heritage associated with Asian dog breeds adds a layer of fascination and allure. Breeds like the Akita Inu, cherished as a national symbol of Japan, and the historical significance of the Pekingese and Shih Tzu among Chinese royalty, evoke a sense of reverence and cultural pride. The enduring popularity of Asian dog breeds is a testament to their timeless appeal, making them beloved companions for dog lovers worldwide.


What are some popular Asian dog breeds?

Some popular Asian dog breeds include the Pug, Shih Tzu, Central Asian Shepherd, and Tibetan Mastiff.

Are Asian dog breeds known for their size?

Yes, Asian countries are home to several large dog breeds such as the Tibetan Mastiff, Shar-Pei, Chow Chow, and Central Asian Shepherd Dogs.

Are there small dog breeds from Asia?

Yes, there are several small dog breeds from Asia, including the Telomian, Kintamani Dog, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Pug, Chinese Crested, and Shiba Inu.

Do any Asian dog breeds have ancient roots?

Yes, Asian dog breeds such as the Akita Inu, Afghan Hound, Shih Tzu, and Central Asian Shepherd Dogs have ancient origins dating back thousands of years.

Which Asian dog breeds have unique features?

Asian dog breeds with unique features include the Chow Chow, Tosa Inu, Shar-Pei, Tibetan Mastiff, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Pug, and Chinese Crested.

Do any Asian dog breeds hold cultural significance?

Yes, the Pekingese and Shih Tzu were favored by Chinese royalty, and the Akita Inu is considered a national symbol of Japan. Central Asian Shepherd Dogs also have a long history as protectors and guardians in Central Asia.

Where do Asian dog breeds originate from?

Asian dog breeds have diverse origins. The Tibetan Mastiff, Shar-Pei, Chow Chow, Shih Tzu, Pug, Chinese Crested, and Shiba Inu all have roots in ancient Asia.

Why are Asian dog breeds so popular?

Asian dog breeds continue to be popular around the world due to their unique characteristics, cultural heritage, and the enduring appeal of their distinct appearances.

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