All the signals indicate it: the year 2018 will be the year of the Dog and not only according to the Chinese astrology enthusiasts.

Never before has the popularity of our four-legged friends been so strong in China. According to a report issued by the Chinese Pet Products Association, the market for dog products and services is expanding rapidly.

The numbers speak for themselves. Today, there are more than 50 million registered dogs in China, and this figure is growing at an average of 15% per year. In 2017, pet owners spent 10% more than the previous year in products and services for their companions … 134 billion yuan (17 billion euros). Predictions estimate that this amount will reach 188 billion yuan (24 billion euros) in 2020.

Today, no one is afraid to spend 1,000 Yuan (130 euros) for a photo shoot with his new puppy, or to share pictures or report all his « do’s and do’s » on Smellme, a mobile phone game dedicated to whoever they now consider their child.

The growing number of single people, the desire of more and more dual-earner couples not to have children, and the isolation of the elderly, are all evolutions in the structure of Chinese society that create an environment favorable to the increase of the number of the domestic dogs.

Emotional support in an increasingly individualistic society, or outward signs of wealth, the odds of purebred dogs reached record highs: 5,000 yuan (650 euros) for a small brown poodle (the most popular breed), 6,000 yuan (780 yuan) euros) for a Corgi and 6,500 Yuan (850 euros) for a Labrador.

Like infant milks, imported and organic feeds are on the rise. In 2014, a company based in Jiangmen did not hesitate to smuggle tons of lots of dog food from the United States, to meet the demand of owners worried about the health of their hairballs.

So, would China have become a paradise for dogs? Not completely. If dog beauty salons or even acupuncture breeds in Beijing, each year between 10,000 and 15,000 dogs are still killed during the now-famous Yulin Dog Festival.

Author
Ashley Mao

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