Hong Kong breeds

CreditsL Kathleen KuokFrom monkey dogs to Shek O sharpies, Sally Anderson identifies Hong Kong’s unique breeds.Photo credit: Kathleen Kuok

A few people recently shared an article on Facebook about trying to increase adoptions from US dog shelters by giving the dogs breed names because people are more likely to adopt a “breed” than a mongrel. I was included in these “shares” along with comments about how brilliant it was and asking why no one had done this before.

Well, excuse me, but I am the creator of many Hong Kong “breeds”. The first, the Wanchai terrier, was even taken up by other organisations to describe a certain type of dog. Wan Chai may have been torn down and transformed, but there are plenty of Wanchai terriers still around. Other “breeds” I have identified and named include the Chung Hom Kok collies – large and beautiful and all originating from one pair that have been allowed to breed and interbreed. From time to time groups of them are surrendered to the AFCD Kennels in Pok Fu Lam following complaints from residents, and I take them out from there.

Then there are the monkey dogs, so-called because as puppies they have a very monkey-like face. I don’t know how this “breed” has survived in such a pure way, but they are unmistakable. The most recent “monkey” arrived last month and was immediately offered a home by the owners of two monkey dogs.

Black fluffies don’t include all long-haired black dogs, but only those with the breed’s distinctive temperament. The Shek O sharpei has very distinctive looks and temperament. It’s similar to the Cheung Chau sharpei, although the two have their differences.

Perhaps the best known of all my breeds is the whippety dog. Not only are they distinctive but there generation after generation of these puppies have appeared at AFCD kennels. Like all the Hong Kong “breeds” I have identified, temperament is as important as looks, and I am sure there are many other “breeds” in Hong Kong we have yet to discover.

Sally AndersenSally Anderson is the founder of Hong Kong Dog Rescue, a charity that rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes unwated or abandoned dogs.