One of the group activities for Team China 18 this month is putting together an introduction pack for DOT to use in introducing our team to the communities we will be working with. Each of us are supposed to provide a mix of professional and personal details about our lives that will help people to know us better.
In these slides, several of my colleagues have indicated a fondness for dogs; this got me wondering if there were any notable breeds of dog from Kunming. And sure enough there is one. So Brett and Renata, I give to you the Kunming Wolfdog.
The breed was started in the 1950’s in response to the need for a common standard of dog for China’s military and police corps. In 1988 it was recognized internationally as a distinct breed. The main antecedents are German Shepherds and a group of wolf-dog crossbreeds developed in Beijing, but there were also a number of house dogs of indistinct breed in the initial breeding pool; detailed pedigrees were not kept.
Physically, they strongly resemble German Shepherds, but their wolf heritage is evident in the taller rear haunches and in how they carry their tail. They are a very active breed, and require significant exercise every day to stay healthy and happy. The breeding guides all say that they require at least one long walk every day.
They are primarily working dogs and seldom kept as pets, though this may be changing over time. But even though they are mainly working dogs, the breed is quite popular. There is an annual dog show in Kunming every October that features the breed. The 2011 show was held on October 15, so it is not impossible that we will be there at the right time.
So there you have it. The Kunming Wolfdog. I shall keep my eyes posted during my visit for a glimpse of this very handsome looking hound.