A growing number of Beijing residents are opening up their homes to
four-legged tenants - during the first six months this year, about 50,000
households registered dogs for the first time.
It is an increase over similar periods in previous years, the Beijing News
reported yesterday, quoting the Beijing municipal public security bureau (PSB),
but gave no comparative figure.
If the trend continues, it means one out of seven pet dogs in the city will
be registered this year. According to official figures, the total number of
registered dogs in the city stood at 659,000.
PSB officials could not be reached yesterday but veterinarians and pet
advocates said they were not surprised that more people are embracing dogs. They
are also pleased that more people seem to be following the law by registering
"The city has witnessed increases in the number of pet dogs over the past few
years. It is a natural outcome as people's standard of living keeps improving,"
said Zhao Xu of the Bejing Association of Small Animal Protection, an animal
Mary Peng of the International Center for Veterinary Services, a private
animal hospital in Chaoyang District, said the number of patients has being
growing "all the time".
She said she expects pet ownership to become even more popular.
"My honest response is that's just the tip of the iceberg," Peng said.
"You're going to see more and more dogs and cats. People love animals as they
are such a joy to have in our lives. Chinese people are no different than people
anywhere else in the world."
Peng said there are several general reasons for the worldwide increase in dog
ownership; and a few specific ones in Beijing.
"A lot of people are postponing childbirth and also a lot of young people are
considering whether to have children," she said. "For many people, their pet is
For older people, man's best friend is the perfect companion once the
children grow up and leave the house, she said.
As dogs become more popular, pet experts stress that first-time dog owners
should carefully consider whether to bring a pet home. And if they decide to get
a dog, they should adopt one from a shelter instead of buying one.
Pet advocates say that many people buy pets for the wrong reasons, either as
a birthday or festival gift, only to realize in hindsight that caring for the
pet takes patience they don't possess.
Dogs in Beijing are required to be registered with the local office of the
PSB. The fee is 1,000 yuan ($130) with steep discounts outside downtown Beijing
and further discounts if the dog is neutered or desexed.
Meanwhile, people seem to be open to more breeds after size restrictions were
announced last year. Big dogs of mild character such as Labradors, Golden
Retrievers and Huskys are at the top of the list, said Zhao.
"Because of the tight restrictions on raising big dogs, many people have to
shift to smaller ones," Zhao said. "The most common are Pekingese, Chihuahua and
(China Daily 07/03/2007 page1)