Stylish dogs rule the catwalks of Shanghai's streets

A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Feb 18, 2017.
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Feb 18, 2017.PHOTO: AFP
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Feb 28, 2017.
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Feb 28, 2017. PHOTO: AFP
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Feb 12, 2017.
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Feb 12, 2017. PHOTO: AFP
 A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on March 5, 2017.
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on March 5, 2017.PHOTO: AFP
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on March 15, 2017.
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on March 15, 2017.PHOTO: AFP
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Dec 1, 2016.
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Dec 1, 2016.PHOTO: AFP
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on March 16, 2017.
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on March 16, 2017.PHOTO: AFP
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Feb 18, 2017.
A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Feb 18, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (AFP) - Poodles in pink dresses, pekingese wearing blouses, a pomeranian in sneakers and a raincoat - Shanghai's sidewalks can sometimes seem like fashion catwalks gone to the dogs.

Chinese adore their pet canines, often dressing them up in eye-catching outfits, and nowhere are such furry fashionistas more conspicuous than in China's commercial hub.

"Pet owners like to dress up their pets, the way they would their own children," said a woman surnamed Huang as she walked her two fluffy brown poodles, one with a pink bowtie and the other wearing a blue one, through a central Shanghai neighbourhood.

Or rather they walked her - riding in a baby stroller as Huang pushed.

It's big business too.


A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Feb 20, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

At least 40 per cent of pet merchants in China sell pet clothing, according to Yourpet Market Research Institute, which studies the country's huge pet industry.

The industry overall generates sales of around US$17 billion (S$ 23.7 billion) per year and is expected to grow by 20 per cent annually, it said in a report last year.

"Millennials are becoming the main customers with their consumer power growing," it said.

Zhang Jiequn, a psychologist at Shanghai's Huada Institute of Applied Psychology, said that for many Chinese, pet ownership "is a kind of escape from interpersonal relationships".

"The pet becomes a projection of the opposite sex for some people who do not find a partner," she told AFP.

Dog ownership rates have grown along with China's fast-expanding middle class.

A 2015 survey cited by the state-run China Daily said there were at least 100 million registered pets in China, with dogs making up the vast majority, and that pet ownership was growing by 10 per cent annually.


A dog dressed in clothing on a street in Shanghai on Feb 18, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

Shanghai - which has 24 million people - also has an estimated pet dog population of up to one million.

The high rate of dog ownership prompted the city in 2011 to impose a "one-dog policy" - limiting owners to a single canine - to curb noisy barking, waste on sidewalks and dog attacks.