Updated: Apr 2, 2020
Beijing is a HUGE city with around 21.5 million people and 2.5 million registered dogs. Living in Beijing is not easy, but it's also not all bad.
The worst thing about living here is that many people are afraid of dogs and this may be because dog-pet ownership was banned until 1993 due to the high incidence of rabies. This means generations of people (1983-1993) grew up without a dog and have been conditioned to fear dogs and being bitten by a rabid dog. Even today, China has the highest number of reported rabies cases in the world, with 2,000 deaths on average per year for the past ten years. The Chinese government requires all dogs to be vaccinated against rabies each year and in some districts, like mine, we get free rabies shots when we pay for our annual registration.
The fear of dogs leads to all sorts of problems, like strict restrictions, sneak-attack poisonings and sometimes physical abuse. In some parts of the city, dogs have to be muzzled in an elevator during peak times and some apartment complexes also specify that dogs are not allowed/welcome to live there. Also, by law, dogs living within the inner city of Beijing cannot be taller than 35cm (although this is not strictly enforced). The thing we worry about most is the number of stories we hear of dogs dying after eating poison encased in sausages or other delicious treats.
With all this being said, there are some amazing dog friendly establishments in Beijing and the dog ownership is definitely growing among locals. We'll be sharing some of our favorite dog-friendly spots around the city in future posts so fellow furiends can join in on the fun and we can also help to support these pawsome establishments.