Animals are all over the internet in many different forms such as cute photos, memes, news stories and so on. We love these furry hair balls SO much that we even invite them into our homes to live with us! Pets are universally loved, and even though the headlines are filled with the Chinese economy’s “new normal” (新常态, xīnchángtài), their pet industry is still growing rapidly. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China: China is the third largest dog owning population, and the pet care industry is expected to grow more than 50% by 2019.
There are, of course, lots of differing opinions regarding pet ownership – particularly in large cities. Some argue that it’s inhumane to keep certain dog breeds in Shanghai during the sweltering summer, for example. Some even argue that it’s cruel and unusual to constantly assault your neighbors’ ears with a particularly loud dog! As a matter of fact, there are restrictions in certain cities on the size of the dog allowed (no more than 35 centimeters/1.1 foot) (source: Pet Relocation). This mistakenly assumes that larger dog breeds are more aggressive and noisy than smaller ones, and that large breeds always require more space and/or exercise. Anyone living in China will have often seen the nighttime hordes of dog owners that come out to walk their dogs. This is either to avoid the heat of the day, or to avoid being caught with a dog that exceeds the size restrictions set in place.
The fact remains that most people will do anything for their pets and love to talk about them! If you want to start up a conversation with someone about their animals at home, the main question you need to know is:
Do you have any pets? 你养宠物吗?
This more literally translates to do you raise any pets as the verb 养 yǎng means to raise. To continue the conversation you should delve into the different types of pets one can have. So once you’ve learnt the words for cat (猫 mǎo) and dog (够gǒu) from this lesson, or learned how to talk about your pet hamster, then you can move on to stranger varieties of pets.
Once you have exhausted all of these options, there are many more weird and cute stories to find on the Chinese side of the Internet to fulfill all of your animal needs!
Here is a selection of some of the cutest and oddest stories from China’s webspace:
- A cat that helps a dog take off its cone of shame and therefore has to be given one of his own!
- A corgi that can balance anything on its head! (Amazing, I know).
- A funeral parlor in Shanghai, exclusively for pets!
- Animals used to test living conditions in the middle of the Tianjin harbor explosion area.
- Corgi 科尔吉 Kē ěr jí
- Cone of shame 耻辱罩 chǐrǔ zhào
- Luxurious 奢华 shēhuá
- Funeral 葬礼 zànglǐ
- Funeral home 殡仪馆 bìn yí guǎn
- Explosion site 爆炸核心 bào zhà hé xīn
- Tianjin (noun) 天津 Tiānjīn
Favourite ChinesePod lesson: "The frog prince in the well".