Dog Owner Dyes Dogs to Look Like Pandas, Sparks Controversy

A dog owner from Singapore has stirred up controversy by dyeing her three pure-bred Chow Chows to resemble pandas. The white fur dogs now have dyed black patches around their eyes, on their ears, and all over their bodies, making them look more like mini pandas than canines.

and her dogs began to gain popularity after many Singaporean residents spotted them around town and posted photographs of them online. About a month ago Jiang decided to make the most of the publicity and started a service called Panda Chow Chows that allows people to rent out her dogs for photo shoots. A Facebook post made by her husband reads: “Meet the cutest and most adorable dogs in Singapore. The Panda Chow Chows! Toudou (Potato), Yumi (Sweetcorn) and DouDou (Bean). Very proud of my wife Meng Jiang launching her new venture.”

The couple revealed that they brought the three dogs with them from London, when they moved to Singapore in October last year. They started by dyeing only one of the dogs, Yumi, because they thought the puppies were looking more and more like pandas as they grew older. “Yumi loved it and TouDou and DouDou were really jealous of her, so we tried it with them and they all had a new level of energy after it was done,” Jiang told Channel News Asia.


Photo: Meng Jiang/Facebook

“Out on the streets people go crazy for them,” she added. “On Orchard Road last week, I think about 500 people must have taken photos of them or together with them in the space of three hours. Scores of people always kept coming over, wanting to take pictures with them. So I thought why don’t we let people come over to our home and do shoots with the dogs? Why don’t we go to people’s homes and do shoots with the dogs?”

But ever since she started Panda Chow Chows, Jiang has come under heavy criticism for animal cruelty, and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore has started an investigation. The Society of Prevention for Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) also spoke out against Jiang’s actions. “SPCA is strongly against such a practice and would advise pet owners to refrain from altering their pet’s appearance in this way, because it is unnatural and unnecessary,” they said. “There are also potential side effects with no benefits to the animals – it can be physically harmful and subject the animal to stress in the process. Animals have natural coats and should be appreciated for what they are, rather than trying to alter them artificially.”


Photo: Panda Chow Chows/Facebook

Jiang, of course, is denying all allegations of cruelty and is calling her critics “keyboard crusaders attempting to take some sort of moral high ground”. On her website, the 27-year-old wrote that the dogs are naturally white, so she used “100 percent organic and natural” colorant to dye portions of their fur black. “The product we use is readily available off the shelf in Singapore and can be bought in Singapore at dog grooming stations,” she wrote, adding that she employed a qualified dog groomer with over 10 years of experience.

According to Jiang, two groomers were present during the process to ensure that none of the product was ingested by the dogs. Their eyes were also treated with “meticulous care” by applying the color with fingers, 30mm to one cm away from the eye lids. The dye around the eyes was not washed away but wiped off, so none of it would get into the eyes.


Photo: Panda Chow Chows/Facebook

“Being cruel to a dog is locking it up all day so it gets no exercise, starving a dog to death, not cleaning up after it and letting it live in its own filth, being cruel to a dog is beating it, NOT dyeing your dog with 100 percent organic product,” she wrote. She also explained that her dogs roam freely and play all day in her 3,500 square-foot home, which is always maintained at a comfy 20-degree C. She claims that she feeds them the best dog food and gives them supplements twice a day.

Bizarre dog grooming trends have been around for a while – like these square doggy haircuts in Taiwan, and puppies painted with toxic varnish in China. But it seems like these trends are relatively unheard of in Singapore. Although there are at least three local salons that offer pet dyeing services, dog groomers in the nation have told the media that very few pet owners actually go for it. And those who do only ask to dye a small portion of their dogs, so the panda Chow Chows are almost certainly a first.


Photo: Panda Chow Chows/Facebook

“As long as the coloring is safe, and everything is organic, and the dye is not in contact with the skin or sensitive areas, I don’t see a problem,” a spokesperson for The Pet Loft said, speaking to Straits Times. But Desmond Chan, co-owner of Bubbly Petz, spoke out against the practice of dyeing animal fur. “The dogs don’t ask for it and it may result in unwanted attention and stress for them,” he said.

While AVA suggests that owners who want to dye their pets’ fur should have a patch test done, Ricky Yeo, president of Action for Singapore Dogs, condemned the process entirely. “Anything chemical in nature is always detrimental to the dog’s health,” he said. “I don’t really approve, from an animal welfare point.”


Photo: Panda Chow Chows/Facebook

Meanwhile, internet users have expressed mixed feelings towards the panda-dogs. Some people can’t seem to get over how cute they are, while others think it’s a terrible idea. Like Facebook user Bibiana Soh, who wrote: “I don’t see the dogs as being cute!! I see them as being abused.”

Jiang, however, has no patience for critics because she thinks they’re being hypocrites. “They (the Chow Chows) are walked and exercised more than any of these people complaining actually walk and exercise their dogs,” she said. “Maybe they have been to see pandas at Singapore Zoo and exchanged money to do so for photos? Now you can see the total hypocrisy of these people!”


“Is this the morality that parents who turn their children into child models and actors display?” she questioned. “If you watch the TV you indirectly already support child actors through your viewing figures and TV advertising revenue.”

“If after reading all of this, you can still not bring your ‘moral crusade’ to a logical argument and conclusion, then when you see us walking the dogs around Singapore, don’t be a hypocrite and come over to take personal photos with them and try to stroke them and play with our dogs. Hypocrites are not welcome to do so.”

Sources: Channel News Asia, Straits Times