These Cuddly Lapdogs Were Once Used as Stealth Weapons
For Year of the Dog, we look into the origins of East Asian dog breeds—including the surprisingly ferocious Pekingese.
This is the Year of the Dog, according to the Chinese Zodiac, and in the holiday spirit we decided to sniff out the facts on some canine breeds native to China.
Here are a few "pekes" into some special breeds that originated in East Asia.
Some well-known East Asian breeds include the chow chow, the Chinese shar-pei, and the Tibetan mastiff.
These breeds likely had a common East Asian ancestor about 20,000 years ago, John Bradshaw, animal behaviorist at the U.K.'s University of Bristol, says via email. (Read why dogs are so friendly.)
The chow chow and the shar-pei belong to the spitz group. Spitzes, heavy-coated dogs with tails that flop over their backs, are the