New dog owners in Hong Kong may be at a loss when picking a breed that will best suit their Hong Kong lifestyle. The first point to note is that purebred dogs have a long history of which, the bloodline, origin and genetics can be traced by each breed’s pedigree, a family tree that is essential in determining the many characteristics of a dog, including its temperament and inherent health risks.
Considering the many environmental factors that can determine the suitability of a dog owner to its furry friend, here are top five dog breeds that are suitable for Hong Kong homes.
Nicknamed “lion dog”, this hypoallergenic dog is ironically miniature and very adorable. Originating in Tibet but with roots to the Qing dynasty and a prized possession of Chinese royals.
Pro: A friendly personality with stylishly long hair that sheds very little, makes this breed a great pet for those who are prone to allergic reactions. They are also small in stature and can find comfort in small apartment spaces that Hong Kong is known for.
Cons: Despite its minimal upkeep in appearance and domestication, a number of health issues are known to be associated with this toy breed such as, hypothyroidism, intervertebral disk disease, breathing and eye problems.
Estimated Price: HK$45,000
Labrador or Golden Retrievers
This large active hunting breed is a great companion for children and as a family pet.
Pro: They make a great playmate for children because of their gentle and friendly nature. Their inherent hunting skills will also make for a thrilling game of fetch. Being natural swimmers, they are perfect companions for the avid beach goers and water sports enthusiasts.
Cons: This breed of dog can weigh between 29 to 36kg and can live to an average of 12 years. They are also a foodie’s best friend, although if not prompted to exercise regularly, they can be prone to obesity which can lead to other non-inherited conditions such as hip dysplasia and joint problems.
Estimated price: HK$33,000 to HK$62,000
A wiener dog type that adapts to small flats and makes for a gentle companion for young children.
Pro: This breed is known for it strong sense of smell and can put up a chase which will make for a great playmate for young energetic children. It is a dog type that is gentle with young children and can be protective against strangers.
Cons: The temperament of this breed can be stubborn and tend to bark loud and often, which isn’t an ideal trait and will require training to avoid noise complaints from neighbours.
Estimated Price: $42,000
A small but extroverted hypoallergenic breed that is playful and easy to train, and is well-suited for first-time dog owners.
Pro: A natural extrovert, this dog breed eases the nerves of first-time dog owners and will even lift the spirits of their human pals with its playfulness. They are an intelligent and highly spirited breed that are also obedient to commands, but their friendliness is not to be underestimated as they can also be alert and territorial l, making them great watch dogs.
Cons: A healthy breed that lives up to 15 years and will generally cause very little worries in terms of health risk, although they are a breed that is most prone to cancer and may encounter health problems related to high fat levels such as pancreatitis, diabetes and bladder stones. A diet of low to non-fatty and unsweetened foods will help in avoiding these problems.
Estimated Price: HK$25,000
A breed of hunting dog native to Japan that is self-regulatory, easy to train and great mountain climbers.
Pro: Commmonly seen on hiking trails and rock streams around the city, this breed of hunting dogs are very agile and can keep up easily with trail runners and hikers. They are not easily provoked, love to stay clean and are easy to toilet train, making this dog type a low maintenance and ideal companion for busy city folks.
Cons: This dog type can live an extensive healthy life span of up to 15 years or more. Some health conditions known to be associated with them are allergies, hip displasia and glucoma, which will require regular eye tests. Ample exercise is needed to promote a long life for this breed
Estimated Price: HK$50,000
Pembroke Welsh Corgis
A dwarf dog type that adapts well to small apartments in big cities and is the Queen of England’s best friend.
Pros: Corgis are an adaptable breed that can live in the city and is small enough to be housed in an apartment. They ideal for Hong Kong lifestyle and are an affectionate companion to have around— no wonder the Queen loves them so much!
Cons: They generally live very long lives with good health for 12 to 15 years, but they have also been known to have a slight history of Progressive Retinal Atrophy which has an early onset at two years of age and can cause permanent blindness by three years of age.
Estimated Price: HK$40,000
A few points to note when buying a purebred dog in Hong Kong:
- Check for a valid AFCD certification from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
- Identify responsible and ethical breeders by personally visiting the kennel
- Meet the puppy’s parents and observe that the animals are care for
- Observe for a clean environment that is well-facilitated
- When sourcing from kennels outside of the city, check ups, paper works, quarantine, flight and other miscellaneous chargers can quickly add up to the total cost.
As dog breeding is a fast growing business in Hong Kong, the market is often saturated with unethical kennels who aim to breed as many litters as possible without the concern of the animal’s welfare and might state false claims of having purebreds available.
Reputable breeders of purebreds are usually from US or Australia. However, purchasing a dog outside of Hong Kong can cost a lot and involves several health checks and paper works before flying the dog into the city. The few known kennels that offer transparency in breeding practices, the pedigree of purebred puppies, and the ease of transition for new dog owners are Euro Puppy and Grifoncino.