After a two-year lull, Kunming dog sales are brisk once more, Kunming Information Hub is reporting, with waiting lists at some shops and prices rising for the most desirable breeds.
"How is it that buying a dog has become like buying a car?" a prospective dog owner surnamed Zhou pondered as she waited to survey the dogs for sale at a popular shop in the Chunyuan Bird and Flower Market. "You even have to line up."
Other up-market dog shops are also reportedly experiencing their best sales since new Kunming dog regulations were passed in 2008.
A Boyuan Yinxiang Bird and Flower Market dog shop owner named Liu Yang said that the first Kunming dog craze hit a peak in 2006 when popular breeds like Samoyeds could go for tens or even hundreds of thousands of yuan.
But in 2008 the city government introduced strict new dog-keeping regulations, which outlawed certain breeds and introduced mandatory registration chips implanted under dogs' skin, plus a 320 yuan dog registration fee.
Liu said demand is surging again this year due to Kunming citizens gradually accepting the new dog registration laws.
Other factors contributing to rising dog ownership rates among Kunming residents are rising disposable incomes, the one-child policy and the trendiness of owning certain dog breeds.
For many people, dogs are filling emotional holes, for others they are a way to feel superior to their neighbors.
An unmarried man surnamed Liu said he calls his Siberian husky 'Son'. "I walk him every day after I get home from work," said Liu. "I get immeasurable pleasure when he frightens people on the street."
Which breeds are most sought-after? Here are the 10 most popular breeds in Kunming, according to local pet shops:
1. Poodle (贵宾犬/泰迪熊)
2. Bichon (比熊犬)
3. Pomeranian (博美犬)
4. Yorkshire terrier (约克夏犬)
5. Chow chow(松狮犬)
6. Golden retriever (金毛犬)
7. Border collie (边牧犬)
8. Husky (哈士奇犬)
9. Pyrenean mountain dog (大白熊犬)
10. Samoyed (萨摩耶犬)
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