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China's latest craze: dyeing pets to look like other wild animals (PHOTOS)

Are these adorable fuzzballs pandas or dogs? Tigers or retrievers? Check out the photos.
China pet culture panda dyejob 2011 06 21Enlarge
These chow chow dogs have been styled to look like pandas in Xi’an, Shaanxi province on June 18, 2011. (China Daily/Courtesy)

They only look like baby pandas.

These little bundles of joy are actually chow chow dogs that have been dyed black-and-white to look like pandas.

Dyeing pets has been a trend in pet pampering for quite some time. At last summer's Pets Show Taipei, there was a fierce dog-dyeing competition. Check out photos.

But dyeing your pets to look like other wild animals is a more recent development.

The trend demonstrates how quickly and dramatically attitudes toward pets — particularly dogs — have changed in many parts of Asia.

In Taiwan, for example, just 10 years ago, dogs were still eaten in public restaurants and raised on farms for that purpose. Traditional Chinese medicine held that so-called "fragrant meat" from dogs could fortify one's health. Now, eating dog is viewed by many as an embarrassing reminder of a poorer time.

Elsewhere, in mainland China, dog meat is still very much on the menu. In fact, it's more expensive than pork or beef.

So, while more people may be eating dog as the country gets richer, newly wealthy Chinese have embraced dog-owning culture with a vengeance.

Dogs are brought into restaurants, fussed over in public, dressed up in ridiculous outfits and dyed to look like ferocious tigers.

Panda or chow chow? Tiger or retriever? You be the judge:

These dogs were put on show after being transferred to Zhenghou from southwest China's Sichuan province.

These chow chow dogs have been styled to look like pandas in Xi’an, Shaanxi province on June 18, 2011.

And here's another bizarre transformation, courtesy of the Daily Mail: a pet retriever in China has been dyed to look like tiger.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/china-panda-pet-culture-dog-tiger-economy