Panda dogs are taking China by storm. The latest designer puppy craze to sweep the People's Republic involves dying the hair of a Chow Chow to resemble the beloved bamboo-eating bear that has become a national symbol.
According to Chinese pet shop owner Hsin Ch'en, who came up with the unique-looking dog, the demand for the Panda dog is so great that he can't keep up.
"The cute breeds like French bulldogs and Labradors were the favorites, but now it is the panda dog," Ch'en told the Central European News
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"I perfected the technique here and now it is spreading across the country," Ch'en added. "With a bit of careful grooming and coloring it is easy to turn a chow into a panda dog in about two hours. Then the look will stay with the dog for around six weeks and the owners bring them back for some touching up."
Ch'en claimed the technique is not harmful to the dogs.
"There are no chemicals or cruelty involved," Ch'en said. "But the price of the dog does rise significantly because of the amount of grooming that goes into it. People don't mind paying the extra though - they like the fact that heads turn in the street and they can tell their friends: 'I have a panda dog.'"
The Huffington Post notes that although Ch'en claims to be the inventor of the Panda dog
, in recent years other dogs resembling pandas have been spotted at dog shows across China.
There is, however, some controversy around coloring a dog's coat in the animal community.
While "pet-safe" hair dyes for dogs do exist, dog trainer Cesar Millan's website
warns against the practice, claiming "Hair dye and pets do not mix." The site argues that such dyes could potentially be harmful to dogs if consumed, such as would happen if the animal cleans itself. Also the chemicals used in some of the products could irritate an animal's skin despite having no effect on a person's scalp.
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