Pets & Animal Dog Breeds

The History of the Foo Dog

    General Description

    • The Foo dog is a compactly built, square-bodied dog coming in toy, medium and large sizes. Featuring spitz-like features in the breed's short body, pointed ears and tail carried over the body, the Foo dog resembles the Chow Chow in coat.

    Breed Origins

    • The origins of the Foo dog stretch back over 3,000 years. Many scholars agree that the Foo dog likely originated when Northern European hunting dogs crossing with the ancient Mongolian Chow Chow, leading the the Foo's resemblance to the modern Chinese Chow. The Foo dog likely received its name from the Chinese city of Foochow, Minhow in modern day China. The breed was originally used for hunting and herding, although the Foo also became a popular watchdog throughout its history.


    • The Foo dog is known for a being an active, alert and courageous dog, lending well to the breed's use for hunting and guarding. Foo dogs are valued as devoted family dogs, but are prone to independent thinking. The breed responds well to training and is a very even-tempered animal around children when socialized properly.

    Cultural Importance

    • Due to the long history of the Foo dog, the breed has found itself into various elements of Chinese culture. The breed's original name, The Dog of Fo, results from a Buddhist word for lion. The Foo dog resembles the lion as it appears in Chinese artwork, and the extremely scared nature of the lion in Buddhist religion prompted the naming of the dog after the Chinese word for lion.

      In addition to the Foo dog's significance to Buddhists, the breed serves as the mascot for the Tongs. The Tong is a Chinese fraternity, the oldest secret society in the world, and regards the dog as a symbol of good fortune. Foo dogs are kept and bred by Tong members, maintaining the breed's importance as a symbol for the society.

    Other Breed Names

    • In addition to Foo dog and The Dog of Fo, the breed is known by a number of other names bestowed through the dog's long history. The Rare Breed Network authors list the dog as being known under the names of the "Sacred Dog of Sinkiang," "Chinese Choo Hunting Dog," "Chinese Temple Forest Dog," "Chinese T'ien Kou" (Chinese Celestial Dog) and "Chinese Lung- Kou" (Chinese Dragon Dog).

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