If you’re a dog lover looking to adopt or purchase a pup and seek to find breeds that didn’t originate in the western world, understanding there are hundreds of breeds of dogs that are there, their temperament and instincts will guide you in your search. Here is a list of the 19 most popular Asian dog breeds.
1. Chow Chow
Distinguished, Serious-Minded, Aloof
Standard Coat Colors:
Black, Blue, Cinnamon, Cream, Red
The American Kennel Club describes the Chow Chow as an “all-purpose dog of ancient China.” This popular breed is famous for its blue-black tongue and dawns a beautiful loin-like mane about its head and shoulders.
Being a favorite of the Chinese emperor in the Han Dynasty, this breed demands respect, is fiercely loyal to its owner, and despite its stuffed animal appearance, is a breed that typically means business.
Popular Chinese names for the Chow Chow are Hei Shet Kou (Black-tongued Dog), Hsiung Kou (Bear Dog), Lang Kou (Wolf Dog), and Kwantung Kou (Dog of Canton)
2. Shih Tzu
Warm, Playful, Outgoing
Black, White, Liver, Brindle, Liver & White, Light Brown, Dark Brown, Black & White, Blue, Gold
The Shih Tzu (meaning “Little Lion”) is an ancient breed intended to be a great house pet.
Due to the skill sets commonly bred into family pets, there isn’t a violent bone in this dog’s body; instead, it is full of love for its owners and is known to be an affectionate toy dog around young children.
Shih Tzus’ beautiful long hair comes with a bit of a cost, though, as they will need frequent grooming and brushing to maintain the look of a sharp little lion dog.
3. Tibetan Mastiff
Intelligent, Independent, Reserved
Blue Gray, Cream Sable, Black, Black and Tan, Blue Gray and Tan, Brown, Cream, Brown, and Tan, Red Gold, Red Gold Sable
The giant size of the Tibetan Mastiff is imposing and is viewed by some as intimidating, as they often wind up standing 26″ at the shoulder.
Appearances aside, they are at heart guard dogs in China, calm and loving to family members and peaceful around the house- until strangers arrive or a threat is detected.
Despite the breed’s name, this is not a true Mastiff but is better classified as a mountain dog or, more specifically, a Tibetan Mountain Dog.
This kind of classification mix-up has happened several times in the past. For example, the Black Russian Terrier isn’t a true terrier. The Tibetan Mastiff is among the oldest breeds from Tibet, if not the oldest dog.
4. Lhasa Apso
Class Clown, Intelligent, Confident
Charcoal, Black, Black and Tan, White, Silver, Blue, Cream, Red, Red Gold, Golden, Gray, Grizzle, Liver
The Lhasa Apsos are other ancient dog breeds from Asia that have caught the hearts of many owners.
This small breed is historically known as a “bark-guard” type of dog. In other words- it’ll bark when a threat is detected.
This breed was considered sacred in many parts of China and wasn’t formally introduced to the world until the Dalai Lama petitioned to give a pair off as a gift back in 1933.
5. Thai Ridgeback
Self Sufficient, Independent, Loyal
Black, Red, Blue, Yellow
Though the Thai Ridgeback bears an independent nature, it is adaptable to family life and makes for a great companion dog.
They are one of three different breeds bearing the “Ridgeback” trait (a line of fur going against the rest of the coat, heading from tail to its head) from Thailand, with the other two being the Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs from Africa and the Phu Quoc Ridgeback from Viet Nam.
Thai Ridgebacks can have a solid blue-black tongue, but spotted tongues are more common with this breed.
6. Akita Inu
Watchful, Formal, Stately
Brindle, White, Red
These days there are two types of Akita Inu bred in two countries: The Japanese Akita and the American Akita(derived from the Japanese strain).
Here we’ll talk about the indigenous dogs popular in Japan. The Akita is a breed that is always down to business, demanding respect and is well known for its independent solid will.
As is true with breeds worldwide, most Japanese dog breeds are bred for specific reasons. Its lineage is primarily a hunting dog, with all the temperaments one would expect.
Serious, frequent training beginning at an early age is necessary for most popular living situations.
7. Japanese Chin
Loving, Bright, Graceful, Noble
Black and White, White and Black, Lemon and White, Black Tan and White, Sable and White, Red and White
The Japanese Chin is a toy breed, often standing no taller than 11 inches at the shoulder. The Japanese Chin is most often a quiet, affectionate lap dog with an exotic appearance by of its long hair.
Its petite size and companion-focused temperament make it perfect for apartment life.
Though it is a canine through and through, it is often comparable to cats in terms of attitude; intelligent, slightly independent, alert, and even washing its face with its paws, similarly to a cat.
8. Afghan Hound
Independent, Dignified, Affectionate
White, Blue and Cream, Black, Black and Silver, Black and Tan, Red, Silver, Blue, Cream
The Afghan Hound is famous for its elegance, beautiful coats, strong legs, and agility.
Though this Afghanistan dog breed is now considered companion dogs or house pets, they were originally hunting dogs for thousands of years whose revered coat served its original function- protecting the breed from the frigid elements of the Middle East Mountains before moving out toward Persia and Afghanistan.
9. Pekingese Dog
Sophisticated, Loyal, Affectionate
Red, Red Brindle, Red Sable, Biscuit, Light Red, White, Fawn Sable, Black, Black and Tan, Fawn, Fawn Brindle, Cream, Gray Sable, Gray
This little toy-classed breed is of ancient origin, hails from China, and was often found on the laps of Chinese nobility of the Chinese Imperial Court.
Though they are a small dog breed, they have a strict sense of loyalty to their owners and are loving toward their families- though they will pick a favorite in the bunch.
They do like children but don’t fare well when roughhousing is at play and can be at risk of injury due to its small size. A handful of Chinese breeds have been revered for centuries, as is true with a handful of Chinese breeds.
Independent, Regal, Loyal
Black, Fawn, Lilac, Cream, Sand, Red
This may be among the most interesting-looking Chinese dog breeds on the list and is purported to hail from southern China.
Wearing a short, prickly coat, blue-black tongue, skin folds around its head, and rugged build, the Shar-Pei or Shar Pei (the Chinese name meaning sand skin) is somewhat odd due to its unique appearance.
Originally used to protect livestock and hunt wild boar in China, the Shar-pei is a long-time guard dog loyal to its owners but aloof and guarded by strangers and other dogs.
The Chinese Shar-Pei is a rare breed that needs constant and early training to avoid trouble down the line and become a better home fit.
11. Siberian Husky
Friendly, Graceful, Tenacious
White, Black, Black and White, Brown and White, Gray and White, Sable and White, Red and White, Black Tan and White, Agouti and White
Hailing from just over northern China into Russian Siberia comes the Siberian Husky.
Being a pack-oriented breed, they tend to get along well with other dogs (though they have a tough time resisting chasing small animals).
They are fluffy dogs, and with their high-energy motor and beautiful thick coat, they are sled dogs, most famous for pulling sleds across the Siberian Tundra and the ice-covered areas of the United States and Canada.
12. Korean Jindo
Watchful, Intelligent, Loyal
Gray, White, Fawn, Black, and Tan, Brindle
The Korean Jindo is a breed to come out to us from South Korea and was initially developed to be hunting or guard dogs.
Generally, jindo dog doesn’t do too well with other animals due to being territorial and instinctive to hunt either large or small game.
Korean Jindos are known to become independent dogs yet remains loyal and loving companion animal.
13. Chinese Crested Dog
Devoted, Alert, Dynamic
Black, Apricot, Chocolate, Cream, Tri-color, Blue
The rare Chinese Crested Dog is classified as a toy breed originating in China, with two varieties– hairless (still bearing tufts of hair on the head, feet, and tail) and the “powderpuff” variety, which has a full coat of thin, silky fur.
Like other hairless dog or not, each variety requires a certain amount of grooming, and skin care becomes a factor with the hairless.
The genetic diversity of this breed is on display as one litter of Chinese Crested pups will often contain both varieties.
14. Japanese Spitz
Intelligent, Fun-Loving, Loyal
With an all-white coat, pointed small ears, and a black nose, the Japanese Spitz, is an affectionate class clown who loves to be the center of attention.
Their mane-like fur about its neck gives the breed a regal, yet at the same time cuddly, appearance.
They are classified as a medium-sized companion breed, and the Japanese Spitz dogs never cease to make good on that classification.
Most of the time, the Japanese Spitz can make an excellent watchdog due to its constant state of alert.
15. Indian Spitz
Alert, Playful, Intelligent
White, Brown, White, and Brown
The Indian Spitz is a utility dog from India and is covered with a fluffy white double coat of varying lengths.
There are two varieties of this breed- the “Small” or “Lesser” Indian Spitz, which stands about 10″ tall, and the “Bigger” or “Greater” Indian Spitz, which stands about 18″ at the shoulder.
They are popular family pets. They get along well with other dogs and are usually good with small children.
16. Central Asian Shepherd Dog
Brave, Independent, Assured
Gray, White, Fawn, Brindle, Black
Since ancient times, this powerful breed has been a menacing presence to all who would dare mess with its flock.
The Central Asian Shepherd enjoyed a rich history and was bred specifically to take on the largest predators in the region like Gray Wolves, bears, etc.
These Asian dog breeds are hard-working breeds that are naturally protective and courageous, making them great guardians over their instinctive territory.
Though their name denotes their origin in Central Asia, they can still work and live throughout the Orient.
17. Dosa Mastiff
Loyal, Intelligent, Dignified
Red, Mahogany, and Chocolate
Some breeds of dogs are not tempered as they appear to be, and the Dosa is among them.
Otherwise known as the Korean Mastiff, the Dosa Mastiff is a heavy-boned working dog covered in wrinkles and short silky fur and hails from Korea.
This gentle giant is often an easy-going, good-natured breed who might be the largest lapdog if owners allow it. It is friendly toward children and other pets, but care must be taken because it is a large dog.
18. Shiba Inu
Attentive, Lively, Confident
Red, Red Sesame, Black and Tan, Cream
The Shiba Inus’ compact size placed this breed among popular dog breeds in Hong Kong due to being comfortable in tight living quarters.
This is another Asian breed that is often compared to a cat in terms of self-grooming and particular temperamental traits.
Also, this breed is known for its unique scream (the Shiba Scream) when it feels slighted or displeased. Shiba Inus are generally high-spirited, bold in action, and good-natured.
They are also proud in temperament and often avoid as many situations as possible where they risk dirtying their pristine and carefully self-groomed coats.
19. Formosan Mountain Dog (Taiwan Dog)
Adaptable, Loyal, Intelligent
Black, Yellow, Yellow Brown
The Formosan Mountain Dog (otherwise known as the Taiwan Dog after their home country) is a small to medium-sized dog – often used as a hunter, guard dog, rescue dog, stunt dog, and family dogs
Despite their origins as wild Asian dogs, they have gradually become good companions with training and make for high-energy, affectionate domestic dogs.
Once viewed as one of the primitive dog breeds in the world, they have integrated well into society throughout southeast Asia, begrudgingly trading their strong survival instincts for the love and companionship of their owners.
Some of the most feared and beloved beautiful dog breeds hail from the Asian Continent, and understanding the typical mindset of any of these breeds is essential.
Some are meant to be great house pets from their creation, while others have different responsibilities that might make them less predictable than simple house pets.
Certainly, any combination of these breeds has many differences and some similarities. The same is true with European dogs- or dogs from western countries.
But you’d be hard-pressed to find any region with as many years of culture incorporated around their breeds as you’d find in Asia.
I’m confident that this specific dog breed information has helped you decide which characteristics best fit your home.
Check Out More Asian Dog Breeds Below:
- Pakistani Dogs
- 5 Iranian Dog Breeds
- 7 Turkish Dog Breeds
- Popular Dog Breeds In The Philippines
- Kintamani Bali Dog
1. What is a Hmong Dog?
The Vietnamese Hmong dog is a mid-sized dog from the South East Asian nation of Vietnam with a large head and large muscles.
They have small, pointy ears that stand erect on top of their head and are naturally born with short or docked tails.
Vietnamese Hmong Dog For Sale:
Are you looking for Hmong dog puppies for sale or adoption? You can try contacting the Vietnam Kennel Association on their Facebook page or any registered Hmong dog breeder in your area for more information.