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19 Most Popular Asian Dog Breeds ( With HD Photos )

If you’re a dog lover and looking to adopt or purchase a pup and seek to find breeds that didn’t originate in the western world, understanding the breeds of dogs they are, 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

chow chow standing on the lawn

Temperament:

 Distinguished, Serious-Minded, Aloof

Standard Coat Colors:

Black, Blue, Cinnamon, Cream, Red

Average Lifespan:

8-12 Years

The American Kennel Club describes the Chow Chow as an “all-purpose dog of ancient China.” This breed is famous for its blue-black tongue and dawns a beautiful loin-like mane about its head and shoulders.

Being a favorite within 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

shih tzu at the park

Temperament:

Warm, Playful, Outgoing

Standard Colors:

Black, White, Liver, Brindle, Liver & White, Light Brown, Dark Brown, Black & White, Blue, Gold

Average Lifespan:

10-18 years

The Shih Tzu (meaning “Little Lion”) is an ancient breed intended to be great house pets.

Due to the skill sets commonly bred into family pets, there isn’t a violent bone in this dog’s body, but rather, it is full of love for its owners and is known to be affectionate dogs around young children.

The beautiful coat of this breed 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

Dog breed Tibetan Mastiff on the lawn

Temperament:

Intelligent, Independent, Reserved

Standard Colors:

Blue Gray, Cream Sable, Black, Black and Tan, Blue Gray and Tan, Brown, Cream, Brown, and Tan, Red Gold, Red Gold Sable

Average Lifespan:

10-12 Years

The massive 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 breed of dog; 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 out there- if not the oldest dog breed.

4. Lhasa Apso

lhasa apso outdoors

Temperament:

Class Clown, Intelligent, Confident

Standard Colors:

Charcoal, Black, Black and Tan, White, Silver, Blue, Cream, Red, Red Gold, Golden, Gray, Grizzle, Liver

Average Lifespan:

12-15 Years

The Lhasa Apsos are another ancient dog breeds that have caught the hearts of an untold number of owners.

This 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

Thai Ridgeback on the lawn

Temperament:

Self Sufficient, Independent, Loyal

Standard Colors:

Black, Red, Blue, Yellow

Average Lifespan:

12-13 Years

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), with the other two being the Rhodesian Ridgeback 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

akita inu at the park

Temperament:

Watchful, Formal, Stately

Standard Colors:

 Brindle, White, Red

Average Lifespan:

10-12 Years

These days there are two types of Akita Inu bred in two different countries: The Japanese dogs and the American Akitas (derived from the Japanese strain).

Here we’ll talk about the indigenous dogs from 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, which comes with all of the temperaments that one would expect.

Serious, frequent training beginning at an early age is necessary for most popular living situations.

7. Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin dog at a Dog Agility Trial

Temperament:

Loving, Bright, Graceful, Noble

Standard Colors:

Black and White, White and Black, Lemon and White, Black Tan and White, Sable and White, Red and White

Average Lifespan:

10-12 Years

The Japanese Chin is classified as 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 given to it by 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, even washing its face with its paws similarly to a cat.

8. Afghan Hound

afghan hound in the garden

Temperament:

Independent, Dignified, Affectionate

Standard Colors:

White, Blue and Cream, Black, Black and Silver, Black and Tan, Red, Silver, Blue, Cream

Average Lifespan:

12-18 Years

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, 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

pekingese dog on the couch

Temperament:

Sophisticated, Loyal, Affectionate

Standard Colors:

Red, Red Brindle, Red Sable, Biscuit, Light Red, White, Fawn Sable, Black, Black and Tan, Fawn, Fawn Brindle, Cream, Gray Sable, Gray

Average Lifespan:

12-14 Years

This little toy-classed breed is of ancient origin, hails from China, and was often found on the laps of Chinese nobility.

Though they are a small dog breed, they have a strict sense of loyalty to their owners and are affectionate 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.

10. Shar-Pei

shar-pei puppy on the lawn

Temperament:

Independent, Regal, Loyal

Standard Colors:

Black, Fawn, Lilac, Cream, Sand, Red

Average Lifespan:

8-12 Years

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 (which is the Chinese name meaning sand skin) is somewhat of an oddity 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 with 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

siberian husky in the woods

Temperament:

Friendly, Graceful, Tenacious

Standard Colors:

White, Black, Black and White, Brown and White, Gray and White, Sable and White, Red and White, Black Tan and White, Agouti and White

Average Lifespan:

12-14 Years

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 their beautiful thick coat, they are most famous for pulling sleds across the Siberian Tundra as well as across the ice-covered areas of the United States and Canada.

12. Korean Jindo

 Korean jindo dog lying on the ground

Temperament:

Watchful, Intelligent, Loyal

Standard Colors:

Gray, White, Fawn, Black, and Tan, Brindle

Average Lifespan:

14-15 Years

The Korean Jindo is a breed that comes to us from South Korea and was initially developed to be hunting or guard dogs.

Generally, this breed 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

2 types of chinese crested dogs

Temperament:

Devoted, Alert, Dynamic

Standard Colors:

Black, Apricot, Chocolate, Cream, Tri-color, Blue

Average Lifespan:

 13-18 Years

The Chinese Crested Dog is classified as a toy breed with two varietieshairless (still bearing tufts of hair on the head, feet, and tail) and the “powderpuff” variety, which has a full coat of thin, silky fur.

Be they hairless or not, both varieties require 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

japanese spitz outdoors

Temperament:

Intelligent, Fun-Loving, Loyal

Standard Colors:

White

Average Lifespan:

12-14 Years

With an all-white coat, pointed small ears, and 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 companion breed, and the Japanese Spitz never ceases to make good on that classification.

Most of the time, the Japanese Spitz can make an excellent watchdog due to its constant state of being alert.

15. Indian Spitz

standing indian spitz dog

Temperament:

Alert, Playful, Intelligent

Standard Colors:

White, Brown, White, and Brown

Average Lifespan:

12-15 Years

The Indian Spitz is classified as a utility dog breed from India covered with a double coat of varying lengths.

There are two varieties of this breed- the “Small” or “Lesser” Indian Spitz, who stands about 10″ tall, and the “Bigger” or “Greater” Indian Spitz, who stands about 18″ at the shoulder.

Typically, they get along well with other dogs or pets and are usually good with small children.

16. Central Asian Shepherd Dog

Central Asian Shepherd Dog on the lawn

Temperament:

Brave, Independent, Assured

Standard Colors:

Gray, White, Fawn, Brindle, Black

Average Lifespan:

12-15 Years

Since ancient times, this Shepherd 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 from central Asia, they can still be found working and living throughout the entirety of the Orient.

17. Dosa Mastiff

dosa Mastiff on a red carpet

Temperament:

Loyal, Intelligent, Dignified

Standard Colors:

Red, Mahogany, and Chocolate

Average Lifespan:

7-12 Years

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, short silky fur, and hails from Korea.

This gentle giant is often an easy-going, good-natured breed who might wind up being the largest lapdog in existence if owners allow it. It is friendly toward small children, but care must be taken because it is a  large dog.

18. Shiba Inu

shiba inu on the lawn

Temperament:

Attentive, Lively, Confident

Standard Colors:

Red, Red Sesame, Black and Tan, Cream

Average Lifespan:

13-16 Years

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 of these Asian breeds that are often compared to a cat in terms of self-grooming and particular temperamental traits.

Also, this breed is unique in that it has a scream (the Shiba Scream) when it feels slighted or is otherwise displeased. Shiba Inu dogs are generally high-spirited, bold in action, and good-natured.

They are also proud in temperament and will often avoid as many situations as possible where they risk dirtying their pristine and carefully self-groomed coats.

19. Formosan Mountain Dog

list of 19 Asian dog breeds

Temperament:

Adaptable, Loyal, Intelligent

Standard Colors:

Black, Yellow, Yellow Brown

Average Lifespan:

9-13 Years

The Formosan Mountain Dog (otherwise known as the Taiwan Dog after their home country)  is a working breed- often used as hunters, guard dogs, rescue dogs, or stunt dogs.

Despite their origins as wild Asian dogs, they have gradually become good companions with training and make for a high-energy, affectionate domestic dog.

Once viewed as primitive dogs, they have integrated well into society throughout southeast Asia, begrudgingly trading their strong survival instincts for the love and companionship of their owners.

Final Thoughts

chow chow with a young woman on colored background

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.

For sure, there are many differences and some similarities between any combination of these breeds. The same is true with European dogs- or dogs from western countries.

But you’d be hard-pressed to find any region that has as many years of culture incorporated around their breeds as you’d find in Asia.

I’m confident that this has helped you decide which characteristics would be the best fit for your home.

Check Out More Asian Dog Breeds Below:

RELATED QUESTION:

1. What is a Hmong Dog?

hmong dog puppy standing on a table

The Vietnamese Hmong dog is a mid-sized breed of dog that is described as possessing 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.

About the author: Pablo Pascua created dogbreedsfaq.com because of his interest in all the different breeds, and his desire to learn more. His inspiration comes from the many dogs he has owned throughout his life.