VIDEO: China Zoo Faces Backlash for Trying to Pass Off Dyed Dogs as Pandas

chow chow panda
Visual China Group via Getty Images

A zoo in communist China was accused of disguising dogs to trick visitors into thinking they were pandas because the zoo did not have the real thing.

The “pandas” were revealed to visitors on Wednesday at the Taizhou Zoo in Jiangsu Province, the New York Post reported on Monday.

However, the “pandas” were actually Chow Chow dogs, a breed that may be one of the world’s oldest, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Reports say zoo officials groomed the dogs and dyed their faces to look like pandas before putting the animals on display.

According to Bore Cure, zoo officials said the dye was harmless, and they dressed the dogs that way because they did not have pandas.

Video footage shows the dogs in their costumes playing in their enclosure as the voices of excited visitors are heard from behind the glass wall:

Some visitors accused the zoo of animal cruelty, but its officials insisted the animals were not harmed in any way.

A spokesperson said, “People also dye their hair. Natural dye can be used on dogs if they have long fur.”

This is not the first time China has changed an animal’s appearance. In 2013, a zoo in eastern China put a Tibetan Mastiff in a lion’s enclosure after one zoo worker said the lion had been shipped off for breeding, CNN reported:

In 2019, a pet cafe in China also dyed Chow Chow dogs to look like panda cubs, a move that upset many people online, CNA reported at the time:

Per the AKC, Chow Chows are depicted in artifacts from China’s Han Dynasty, and the dogs have, at times, been “lordly companions to Chinese nobles.”

“An emperor of the Tang Dynasty, circa eighth century, was said to have owned a kennel facility that housed some 5,000 Chows and a permanent staff of twice that number. But over the centuries they also earned their keep as guarders, haulers, and hunters,” the site reads.


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