China Sets Standards for Family Dogs

Is your pet "suitable"?

Apr 4, 2014
Outside Magazine

Your dog is your best pal. He wags his tail every time you walk into the room. On backpacking trips, he keeps your toes warm in the bottom of your sleeping bag. He's a part of the family. But what if the government suddenly mandated that your furry friend didn't meet its standards and had to go to the pound?

On Wednesday, this became a reality for dog owners in China. The National Companion Animal Standardization Committee was established in Beijing to test breeds of dogs to measure if they are "suitable," Bloomberg reports.

Dogs will be categorized by "body type, disposition, disease resistance, and ease of training." The dogs will then be sorted into more categories: "aggressive dogs, working dogs, active dogs, hunting dogs, sheep dogs." The purpose? To establish strict national guidelines on which breeds are suitable as house pets. Once the standards are set, China's National Standardization Management Committee with make the final call.

"New standards are more scientific and meet actual demands of family dog owners," said Wei Haitao, secretary general of the Committee.

What about the dogs that don't make the cut? 

According to China Daily, last June the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau announced that dogs taller than 13.78 inches were banned from the city, along with 41 breeds that were called dangerous and violent—collies, for example, were designated as dangerous. 

At the time of the announcement, there were one million registered dogs—not including those unregistered—in Beijing. Where were the poor pups to go? The government suggested families send their rebel dogs to the shelter. 

China has a history with dog regulation, the GBTimes reports. During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, dogs in China were eradicated by the tens of thousands. Many of the original Chinese dog breeds nearly became extinct.

"Dogs were seen as a symbol of the bourgeois, therefore they were involved in the class struggle," Marina Shafir said in an interview with GBTimes.

It seems this struggle in China continues with Wednesday's news. The country's dogs face a terrier-fying future.

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