When I was a child I always wanted a panda. I was too young to realise that pandas were endangered, lived in China and ate more than I weighed in a day – I still wanted one. I had to make do with a toy panda that my sister brought back from Bristol Zoo, and I was happy with that.
However, Chinese children don’t have to put up with small toys as a placebo for pandas – they can just paint their dogs to look like pandas, as that’s the latest craze sweeping China. The panda, sorry dog, pictured above is named ‘Kung Fu’ (as in Kung Fu Panda, get it?) and he’s become something of a local celebrity around his neighbourhood in Beijing.
The dog was bleached and dyed to look like a panda by his owners, Yang Kun and Li Changxian, because they’re very interested in pandas. His fur has been dyed black in places, and bleached white in others, to give the appearance of a panda… presumably his dog groomer also does his roots every month.
Li Changxian commented:
“I think he loves it. Since he’s been dyed, he gets lots of love and attention.”
Kung Fu isn’t the only do in China to be dyed to look like another animal – it’s becoming something of a fad. Haibo, for instance, is a mascot for the Shanghai World Expo and he’s been dyed blue, for some reason.
Meng Meng, pictured here, has been dyed to resemble a tiger. No doubt if Meng Meng runs away from home he’ll cause panic in his neighbourhood!
Perhaps the oddest dog dye job is that sported by Raphael. No, he’s not named after a famous painter, he’s named after a turtle, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and he’s been dyed to look as though he were a turtle… in a half shell.
If you’re thinking that dyeing and bleaching the fur on dogs doesn’t sound particularly safe, then you’re right. Mary Peng is a dog expert as she heads up Beijing’s International Center for Veterinary Services – she believes that many of the chemicals used to dyeing the fur on these dogs are unsafe for pets. She commented:
“Sometimes these dyes can be fatal for pets. Most of this industry, especially hair dyes and coloring for pets, is so new that there might not be a lot of regulation.”
Peng even explained how some owners would dye their pets to make them look like other breeds in other to sell them and get a higher price. She added:
“I saw a black-and-white tuxedo kitten who was dyed to look like a seal point Siamese because it would have a higher sale price. This animal did not do very well. There was probably the use of industrial grade hair coloring products. The animal was sick and required extensive treatment and hospitalization.”
Would you consider dyeing the fur on your dog for any reason?
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