You might have heard rumors about a rare, “indigenous” breed of dog swirling around the internet. They claim this dog looks like a little teddy bear, is rusty red, and comes from Guangzhou, China. According to the rumors, these dogs are highly sought after and becoming a popular designer breed.
There’s just one problem: they don’t exist.
Red Cantonese Bear Dog: Real or Fake?
Regardless of the few photos you might have seen of the so-called “Red Cantonese Bear Dog,” this breed doesn’t exist. The red Cantonese bear dog is a fake internet hoax, possibly created to try to scam eager (but undereducated) buyers out of money.
The few images online of this fake breed are obviously photoshopped or could be photos of other breeds groomed to look slightly different than the breed standard. A third possibility could be that some unethical breeders have attempted to “create” a new breed, but this seems unlikely based on how little information is available about the red Cantonese bear dog.
Why Are So Many People Searching for this Breed?
Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy for unethical breeders to pull the wool over the eyes of their customers. There are tons of backyard and puppy mill breeders who make enormous profits off the sale of unregulated breeds. When a new breed is “discovered” or “created,” it doesn’t take long for people to start searching for it.
In this case, the breed in question doesn’t exist, but because the few photos available on the internet are pretty cute, we imagine people are just trying to find more information.
Where Did the Hoax Start?
It appears that the fables of the red Cantonese bear dog began on either Twitter or Reddit, where trolls posted fake images of their “bear dogs.” It’s unclear exactly why someone would make up a new breed, but of course, there are plenty of examples of people doing strange things online.
Who is Spreading Misinformation?
Misinformation is everywhere online, and it can be difficult for some to distinguish between what is real and what is fake. Fortunately, in the case of the red Cantonese bear dog, the little information available is obviously unreliable. The few sites featuring blogs or features on this breed are not credible sources, nor are they affiliated with accredited or credible animal resources like the AKC, the ASPCA, or known animal experts like Rocky Kanaka.
How To Spot a Fake
Worried you might fall for a fake breeding scam? Here are a few tips to help you identify real vs. fake breeders and dogs.
- Google is your friend. If you aren’t immediately familiar with a dog breed and what it should look like, it’s time to turn to Google. While there is some variety within any breed, most dogs should fall within the same phenotypic range. If you find that the breeder you’re looking at has dogs that look nothing like the breed they claim they are, you’re dealing with a fake.
- Ask to meet the parents. A good breeder will have no problem introducing you to the parents if they are in their possession. Typically, breeders own their female dogs and will hire sire dogs that are a good match for their dog’s genetic makeup. At least one of the parents should be available to meet, which can help you to determine whether the breeder is using quality genetics.
- Ask to see genetic testing evidence. Qualified, ethical breeders will go through rigorous genetic testing to determine whether a pair of dogs are fit to breed. Good breeders will have no problem showing you this, while someone who has something to hide might be more hesitant.
- Check the AKC. If a breeder is claiming that their dogs are “purebred,” that breed will appear in the American Kennel Club dog breed database. The AKC also has resources to help you find reputable breeders.
Breeds that Look Like Red Cantonese Bear Dogs
The most likely answer behind the red Cantonese bear dog hoax is that the images are simple of different dog breeds. During a simple Google search, I turned up a number of photos that claimed to be of “red Cantonese bear dogs,” that looked suspiciously similar to common, and readily available breeds like the pomeranian and the Chow.
Let’s take a look at a few dogs that look a lot like red bears!
1. Watson the Chow
Watson is an almost 2-year-old Chow living in Canada with his feline brother, Gandalf! A boy with some serious floof, Watson loves to play in the yard, hang out in bed, and show off his very serious face. FYI, the Chow comes from China!
2. Mia the Pomeranian
Mia is a one-year-old pomeranian living in Vienna who is always up for an adventure! So sweet and petite, Mia is especially known for the feathery fur that blooms from her teddy bear ears.
3. Freya the Finnish Spitz
Freya is a three-year-old Finnish spitz living in New Zealand! A lady who loves to lounge, you’ll find Freya snuggling with her best buds, sitting on the softest spot in the house, or possibly on a walk with her paw-rents.
4. Bagel the Shiba Inu
Also from New Zealand, Bagel is the quintessential Shiba Inu from his gorgeous round face and ears to his perfect red coat. A chill dude who is always along for the ride, Bagel goes everywhere with his family and even helps run errands!
Chinese Dog Breeds
Even though the red Cantonese bear dog doesn’t exist, there are plenty of gorgeous Chinese dog breeds available. Here are just a couple that you might consider if you’re on the hunt for a rare and interesting breed.
The Sharpei is a large dog breed from Southern China known for its deeply wrinkled face, and loyal personality. Traditionally used as livestock and home guardians, the Sharpei requires firm, consistent training, and is best for a family with working dog experience.
The Pekingese is a toy breed originally bred to be a companion animal for Chinese royalty in the Imperial Court. Sweet, but sometimes territorial, these little dogs are sort of like pugs with long fur, which also happen to be from China.
Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese crested dogs are one of the most unique-looking breeds, and one of the few partially hairless dog breeds in the world. A mostly hairless dog with a crest of hair along the tail, back, and top of the head, these dogs also sometimes have furry “boots” that make them especially stylish in winter. A sweet little dog that’s perfect for families and older folks, the major worry with this breed is avoiding sunburn and cold.