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Chinese Red Dog: Meet the Protective Laizhou Hong

Chinese Red Dog with his ears perked up and text next to him reading "Chinese Red Dog."

Dog owners have varying opinions regarding the types of canine hybrid breeds that would make their ideal companions.

However, fans of the working slash “guard dog” breeds usually express their desire for a mix between a Doberman, a Rottweiler, or a form of Mastiff or Bully breed.

What many would claim to be a symbol of a rough, tough, and menacing canine – in reality, all breeds above are extremely smart, protective, and excellent family dogs who are gentle with children and the elderly, especially with proper training. 

If you’ve ever found yourself daydreaming about this type of breed or potentially creating one, you may have to put in less legwork – or even create one at all.

The Chinese Red Dog – a rare breed that many enthusiasts are unfamiliar with, checks most of the boxes that fans of German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Great Danes, and large dogs cut from similar cloth might be looking for. 

Featured Image: Chow the Chinese Red Dog

What is a Chinese Red Dog?

The Chinese Red Dog, known as the Laizhou Hong, is a breed of dog from the Shandong province of China in the 19th century. The breed was created by breeding German Shepherds and Great Danes with the local Xian Hound.

The breed is known for its dark red patches, brute strength and agility, and high endurance. It is also known as an efficient guard dog with a playful and friendly demeanor toward humans.

A portrait of a Laizhou Hong dog.
Chinese Red Dog (credit: Junior Chin).

The Chinese Red Dog is a great companion animal known for its unwavering dedication and protection of its family. It is also a highly trainable breed and is becoming more common as a service or emotional support animal.

The breed is rare, with limited breeding outside its region of origin in China.

History of the Chinese Red Dog

Because the Chinese Red Dog breed doesn’t exist in great numbers, especially in the Western part of the world, very little is known about this unique, intriguing breed.

However, there is a small amount regarding their history on record, including their origin and regional status. 

Origins of the Chinese Red Dog

The earliest known origins of the Chinese Red Dog go back to the Shandong province of China during the 19th century. This geographical region on the eastern side of China was in turmoil for an extended period.

Map of China with a star pointing out the Shandong region.
The Chinese Red Dog originated in the Shandong region of China.

Germans ended up relocating to the Shandong area after Jiaozhou Bay and Qingdao Peninsula were leased from the Ching Dynasty at the turn of the century. 

This migration and colonization would ultimately lead to the official creation of this dog – or at least its first introduction to the public masses. 

How was the Chinese Red Dog created?

The Chinese Red Dog is widely associated with the influx of German migrants during the early 19th century. And with the German settlers came the German Shepherd, one of the most popular herding and working breeds. 

The Germans spent several years – even decades- breeding their German Shepherds and the Great Danes that were brought along as pets or working dogs.

One of the primary breeds local to the area of Shandong includes the Xian Hound, which was ultimately crossed with the Shepherd and Great Dane mixes.

German Shepherd sitting next to a Great Dane.
The Chinese Red Dog’s ancestors are the German Shepherd (left) and Great Dane (right).

The result was a breed that the newly residing Germans and Chinese locals created together – the Laizhou Hong. 

The name is fitting, as “Hong” translates to “red” in Chinese. Dark red patches are one of the primary characteristics of these breathtaking dogs. 

Chinese Red Dog Breeders

There is little to no breeding outside this specific region in China. Although it makes the dog extremely rare, only a small handful of breeders seem to be, with Ragga Kennels being the primary source for Chinese Red Dogs globally. 

While this may seem a negative element because of the lack of availability, the dog is restricted to its root geography instead of worldwide mass production, keeping the bloodlines pure.

Ultimately, this allows the dog to maintain the most dominant and instinctive traits that make it unique to its breed.

Other Chinese Dog Breeds

The Chinese Red Dog is one of many notable breeds to come from China. There is a handful of other breeds from different parts of China. The following dogs are Chinese breeds:

  • Chow Chow
  • Shih Tzu
  • Chinese Crested Dog
  • Kumming Wolfdog
  • Shandong Xian Hound
  • Japanese Chin
  • Shar Pei (Chinese Shar-Pei)
  • Chongqing Dog

Additionally, a few breeds, mostly small dogs, originate from Tibet. Depending on whom you ask, Tibet is an “autonomous region of China.” The Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier, and Tibetan Spaniel all hail from this area.

What was the Chinese Red Dog bred for?

The Chinese Red Dog was clearly – and still is, used for a few primary reasons. In its earliest years, the breed was an excellent worker dog. They helped on farms and in other labor situations, as one of their most significant and prominent characteristics is their brute strength and agility. 

They also have an incredibly high amount of endurance, allowing them to work more extended periods without tiring. 

Artistic render of a Chinese Red Dog with text saying "Chinese Red Dog."

The Chinese Red Dog is also historically known as one of the most efficient guard dogs. They’re not overly aggressive towards humans, but their overall physical appearance and demeanor make them very intimidating. In reality, they’re very playful and warm up to children and the elderly. 

That said, it takes a few minutes for these dogs to meet and size you up – but after this point, you’ve got a friend for life.                                

Popularity as a Companion Animal

Because of their stout and aggressive look, many people are surprised when they find out that the Chinese Red Dog makes a great companion. They’re great companion animals, acting as strict one-owner dogs. 

Their dedication will be unwavering and expect them to protect your family with intense commitment. Aside from the fierce guard-dog persona, the Chinese Red Dog is also known to make a high-quality service animal. 

Since China began relaxing some of its restrictions on dog bans, there have been more cases of these versatile dogs becoming service and emotional support animals. Their high trainability makes them great candidates for these types of jobs. 

Use In Agility and Obedience Competitions     

Because they are not as widely known, the Chinese Red dog has yet to perform in many large dog competition events worldwide. Unfortunately, they’re not officially recognized by any major kennel clubs. 

They’re only officially recognized as a breed by one registry, and it’s labeled after their namesake. The Chinese Red Dog Registry, created by one of the foremost breeders in China, was created to regulate the breeding and tracking of these dogs.

This has been an excellent way of keeping the bloodlines pure and not adulterated by knock-off breeders or those looking to mass-produce the Chinese Red Dog. 

Traits & Characteristics

Visual summary of the traits and characteristics of the Chinese Red Dog.


The physical characteristics of the Chinese Red Dog are incredibly close to those of German Shepherd dogs. 

Size and Weight

The Chinese Red Dog is a lean breed with very high muscle and body fat. Their large frame houses a chiseled physique prime for running, jumping, and other performance activities. 

On average, these dogs weigh anywhere between 40 and 60 pounds. In rare cases, they may get closer to 70 or 80, but this is only in a few instances. 

As stated before, they have a towering frame, likely thanks partly to their Great Dane heritage. At the base, some Chinese Red Dogs grow to a height of up to 32 inches or more – this doesn’t include how high they can reach on their back two legs with their front paws outstretched.  

Coat Type and Color

This is where these dogs get much of their notoriety from. The coat type is nearly always identical to that of a Doberman – short in length, with about a mid-level range of thickness.

Doberman with a glistening black and rust coat.
Chinese Red Dogs have coats similar to Dobermans – which are often black and rust/red.

Because of the coat length, these dogs hardly have any problems with shedding, and grooming is self-maintained! 

The color is another claim to fame for the Chinese Red Dog. The deep, dark patterns on the coat are rare, as almost no other breed in the world shares this very distinct shade. 

The rest of the dog is black, and the two colors exist in about a half-and-half dynamic. When it comes to the red portion of the coat, it hardly ever goes any lighter than dark rust but usually favors a deep copper or brass. 

Distinctive Features and Markings

The coat patterns and markings are other traits these dogs share with the Doberman and Rottweiler breeds. Their snouts are generally multi-colored, with several more minor spots throughout the body and trunk.

What makes them so beautiful is that most of their patterns are symmetrical throughout the length of their coat.

Also, they typically have a black nose.               

Temperament & Personality

Activity and Energy Levels

The Chinese Red Dog is a highly active and energetic breed – maybe even more than the German Shepherd. They love to run and make excellent fetchers. Some farmers in rural areas of China still use them for herding – a testament to their Shepherd roots. 

If you own a Chinese Red Dog, it’s IMPERATIVE that you give them plenty of exercise. Otherwise, this could cause tension and anxiety in the breed, leading to challenges you don’t necessarily don’t want to deal with. 

Loyalty and Affection

As stated above, the Chinese Red Dog is one of our most loyal breeds. Their instinct to protect their families is uncanny – but it’s not all business as usual behind the scenes.

They do have a goofy streak, and they LOVE to be where everybody else is. Rarely will your Chinese Red Dog ever want to leave your side, and they feel as if they must be touching you in some way at all times. 

You’ve been warned – these dogs are incredibly crafty and tactical. If you don’t want them on the bed or your couch, watch out for them attempting to creep up one paw at a time as if they’re invisible when they move slowly enough.

It’s not that they’re disobedient – it’s more of a playful game to them. 

If you have a large couch and a big enough bed – great. However, if you prefer not to have your dog in bed and on furniture, it’s best to lay these boundaries out early in the relationship. 

Is the Chinese Red Dog easy to train?

Yes – with the proper training plan and some patience. Consistent training sessions are critical. Chinese Red Dogs, like most dogs, will respond well to a structured training program that utilizes positive reinforcement.

Training them to stay off the couch or bed won’t be much of an issue, as they’re intelligent and fast learners. The key to getting them to react to you is giving them plenty of exercise and praise and ensuring you’re using clear and concise commands. 

If you’ve ever trained a German Shepherd, this process should be similar, as their activity level, intelligence, and overall personality and mindset are closest to that of the Shepherd. 

Potential Training Challenges

As stated above, the only potential issues with this breed are not giving them enough exercise and needing to be assertive with your commands.

It’s essential to use the correct body language and tone of voice with these dogs, as they’re brilliant and can and will gain the upper hand if they believe they can pull it off. 

With dogs like the Chinese Red Dog, it’s vital that you demonstrate yourself to be the pack leader from the start. If not, their personality is usually that of the Alpha, and they’ll attempt to dominate and take the lead, which can become a headache if you allow that to happen. 

With dogs as intelligent, muscular, and strong-willed as the Chinese Red Dog, allowing them to become the pack leader can potentially become dangerous. This isn’t to say they’re dangerous animals – but keep in mind, at the end of the day, they still are animals that possess animal instincts. 

With the right plan, enough love and affection, exercise, and the right home environment, these are one of the most unique and beautiful breeds in existence, and any owner should be proud to have one. 

Care and Maintenance

Feeding and Nutrition

The Chinese Red Dog should have a high-protein diet consisting of lean meats like chicken or fish. Giving them a regimen with extra fat is a good idea since they have a high metabolism because of their energy levels.

Their coat does have a bit of a shine to it, so cracking an egg in their food bowl a couple of times a week isn’t a bad idea to help keep that natural luster. 

Exercise and Physical Activity

As stated throughout, physical activity is vital with this breed. They’re excellent climbers, so some type of wall obstacle or jumping courses are ideal. If you have the means, having them train and take on a more rigorous training regimen is a great idea. 

Grooming and Hygiene

The Chinese Red Dogs are self-sustainable when it comes to grooming. They won’t require clipping or cutting as their short coat doesn’t grow past a certain length. It’s still good practice to keep them brushed and bathed every other week. 

Health Concerns and Preventative Care

Like the German Shepherd, Great Dane, and Doberman, the Chinese Red Dog is at risk of developing hip dysplasia. Hypothyroidism is another potential ailment.

Chinese Red Dog Lifespan

The Chinese Red Dog has an average life expectancy of 12-14 years. This rare breed can live longer than 14 years with proper care and nutrition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Chinese Red Dog a good family dog?

Yes, the Chinese Red Dog can be a good family dog if adequately socialized at a young age. They require a lot of physical activity as well. They can serve as excellent watchdogs for your household and are incredibly loyal.

How much does a Chinese Red Dog cost?

Chinese Red Dog puppies generally cost more than $2,000. Since it is a rare breed, there are only a few dedicated breeders in the United States. This scarcity increases the price of a puppy significantly.

What is a Chinese Red Dog mixed with?

The Chinese Red Dog, or Laizhou Hong, is purebred, meaning it is its own breed. There’s been speculation that certain variations of the Chinese Red Dog exist that have the Tibetan Mastiff as part of its family, along with the German Shepherd and Great Dane.

What is the bite force of a Chinese Red Dog?

The Chinese Red Dog has a bite force of around 250 psi. The Chinese Red Dog was bred from the German Shepherd and Great Dane, which both have a bite force of about 240-250 psi. It is reasonable to assume that the Chinese Red Dog has a similar force.

Kevin is a proud Bernedoodle owner and Doodle dog fanatic. Read how a chance encounter with two Bernedoodles spurred a lifelong passion here. If you want to get in contact with Kevin, you can send him a message.