By NBC News' Bo Gu
BEIJING – As Beijing’s population of 22 million people continues to grow, another population is also on the rise: dogs.
Beijing Public Security reports that in recent years there has been a growth rate of about 100,000 dogs a year. By mid-2010 the total number of dogs registered with the Beijing police was around 900,000 – but of course, that doesn’t take into account all the unregistered dogs.
Along with the burgeoning dog ownership, the market for veterinary care – as well as dog grooming - has catapulted. And as the middle class is willing to spend more on their pets, a unique service has become the newest fashion trend: dyeing dogs’ fur.
The dogs – mostly white-haired chow-chows, poodles, and bichon frises – are often dyed to look like other animals such as pandas, donkeys, raccoons. Or they simply have their ears and tails dyed in bright colors.
Photo courtesy of Jianwen Pet Beautician School
A dog who had a tough guy look painted on him – down to the toe nails.
We visited the Jianwen Pet Beautician School in northern Beijing and watched a white poodle named Laifu get his coiffure colored.
After being styled to have a carrot-orange tail and a red Chinese shirt, Laifu’s dog-fashion obsessed owner wanted to have a pair of blue-green-yellow butterfly wings painted on his back.
Laifu cooperated well, standing there for a few hours without barking or showing any sign of pain. He’s probably used to it.
Check out more dogs getting dye jobs in this video above.
And watch NBC’s TODAY Show anchors discuss the trend in a recent segment:
Tiger or terrier? Chinese transform dogs with dyes