Pandas are some of the cutest and cuddliest animals in the world. Unfortunately, as much as the idea of cuddling up to one seems fun, pandas are a protected species and can be dangerous. You cannot keep them at home. But, there’s a way around that: Panda dogs!
Panda dogs fulfill this fantasy in every way possible. They are furry, cuddly, and look like real pandas. Before you go looking for one, let’s get this out of the way—a panda dog is not a breed. It’s a regular dog that’s been groomed and colored to look like a panda bear.
The panda-dog craze originated in China, with dog-lovers lining up outside a pet store in Sichuan province to buy dogs resembling pandas. With dyes and grooming, the pet-shop owner could turn any dog breed into a panda dog within two hours. This trend spread across Asia and into the western world.
In this post, we’ll look at the dogs whose fur length, size, and coloring are similar to panda bears. We’ll also look at breeds that are favorites for the panda-dog look transformation.
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Interest around dogs resembling pandas first began due to the Tibetan mastiff breed. These large-sized dogs originated from Tibet and are found in Asian countries such as China, Nepal, and Mongolia.
At a glance, Tibetan mastiffs look like big teddy bears. They have a double coat with bulky fur and a mane similar to a lion’s. Their coats come in a variety of colors, including shades of red, black, and grey. Some also have white markings around the legs, chest, and neck.
The bulky, furry build and white markings make Tibetan mastiffs the ideal panda dogs. Their droopy black eyes complete the look. Tibetan mastiffs are not naturally white, but some breeders have been able to produce gold ones.
Originating from northern China, Chow Chows are another breed that got extremely popular with the panda-dog trend. Chow chows are an ancient breed, so they’ve been popular with dog owners even before the panda-dog craze.
Naturally, these dogs bear a resemblance to teddy bears, with their large heads and deep-set eyes. They come in a variety of coat colors, including black, red, cinnamon, and blue. Some chows come in a single shade, others are bi-colored, while some are multi-colored.
Their faces are squishy and square, framed by fluffy manes. Their natural look, especially when they’re bi-colored, resembles pandas. Single-shade chow chows are particularly easy to dye around the eyes and ears for the perfect panda look.
A Bichon Frise is a small, fun-loving dog with high energy levels. The breed originated from the Mediterranean islands in the 13th century. Thanks to their easy-going nature, Bichon Frises are popular family pets. They’re great with children, elderly people, and other pets.
Bichon Frises are usually white or cream in color, with black eyes and nose. Even without any cosmetic transformation, they already resemble panda bears in this manner. With coloring and grooming, this breed can look very much like little pandas.
Also known as a Maltipoo, a Maltese poodle is a hybrid between a toy poodle and a Maltese dog. Both dog breeds are small-sized, furry, and low shedding. They were first bred to produce a hypoallergenic mix.
Toy poodles have white coats, while Maltese dogs are available in several colors, including black, silver, and grey. The hybrids can take on any mix of colors from the parents. Their furry coats, small size, and black eyes and nose create an appearance that’s popular with panda dog lovers.
Labrador retrievers make great panda dogs. These dogs come in three recognized coat colors—black, chocolate, and yellow. Black Labradors are especially easy to turn into panda dogs. All you need to do is dye them white around the eyes and ears.
French bulldogs are a result of breeding toy bulldogs with ratters. They look like miniature bulldogs with small, erect ears that resemble those of a bat. When painted with black and white dyes, French bulldogs make great panda dogs.
There are lots of other dog breeds that are great candidates for the panda look. Small-sized and furry dogs like the Norfolk terrier, Pomeranian, Japanese Chin, and Yorkshire terrier (Yorkie) are favorites among dog owners. But, this doesn’t mean mid-sized or larger breeds are not suitable—as proven by the Labrador panda dogs.
Mountain dogs, Alaskan malamutes, and Belgian sheepdogs are some bigger breeds that make beautiful panda dogs. No matter the breed, creating distinct patches of black and white around the body will produce your desired look.
Precautions to Take When Looking for a Panda Dog
Panda dogs look fun and cute until toxic dyes are involved. With many pet shops looking to cash in on the trend—where a transformed dog much more than a regular one of the same breed would—some are using harsh chemicals that poison the animals. Therefore, only buy from reputable pet shops that are transparent about the steps they take to protect dogs from toxins.
Once you get your desired panda dog, you’ll need to take them for retouching after about six weeks. This is critical in maintaining the panda look, which is a result of extensive grooming and coloring techniques.
Refrain from trying to transform your dog at home unless you’re an expert. Many people who have tried to create panda dogs themselves have ended up injuring their pets or causing their deaths.
Caring for Your Panda Dog
Once you get your panda dog, it’s important to give them proper care to keep them looking good, happy, and healthy.
The cosmetically altered coat of a panda dog requires extensive grooming to maintain its appearance. Once you get a panda dog, you should be ready to commit to this crucial task.
You should also note that grooming services for a panda dog will cost more than those of a regular dog because of the special treatment necessary to maintain its look.
To figure out the best care regimen for your panda dog, consider its breed, age, sex, and activity level. With this information, you’ll be able to identify the best foods, exercise, and health examinations they need.
When pet shops treat panda dogs ethically and give them proper care, they make great pets. Avoid any practices that harm dogs in the pursuit of the coveted panda look. At the end of the day, your panda dog is just another furry friend in need of your attention, affection, and care.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.