Getting a puppy is very exciting. The puppy is going to grow up to be a dog that will love you and be your friend, or so you think. Well, this woman got the surprise of her life when her puppy didn’t turn into, well, …a dog!
A woman got super excited as she chose her very first Japanese Spitz puppy. She was so looking forward to raising her pup. All white and fluffy, this gorgeous pup stole her heart. It was love at first site. Little did she know what her pup what actually going to turn into!
What creature had she brought to her house?
Ms. Wang lives in China. There’s an abundance of Japanese Spitz and are a super-popular breed. She was absolutely ready to be responsible for the life of her new pet, feed it and take it for walks. Little did she know that her little ball of fluff would be so hard to please.
The Japanese are actually a crossbreed. During the 1920s and 1930s, dog breeders in Japan created the Japanese Spitz by crossbreeding a couple of other Spitz breeds to produce the beloved and popular Japanese Spitz.
So the process occurred where initially, breeders started with white German Spitz dogs, originally brought over from the northeastern parts of China to Japan. In 1921 at a dog shown in Tokyo, they were finally shown to the world.
Things start becoming strange…
Ms. Wang paid $190 for her little pup which is not cheap change, but that’s what you pay in China when purchasing a “purebred”. Just to register a dog in China costs $130 which is a lot for people to pay.
Poodles have been known to sell for $1,500, Yorkshire Terriers for $2,000 and $10,000 for Pekignese. Dogs will sell on the illegal market in China for a fifth of the price. You can even “rent” a dog for $1 at a dog zoo six miles of Beijing and walk around the zoo grounds.
Even though there is a high population of pets in Asia, pets aren’t as popular as they are in Western countries. Just as an example, there are fewer than 11 million cats and 26.8 million dogs in China taking into consideration that China has almost 5 times the amount of people when compared to the United States.
Japan, where the Japanese Spitzes came to exist, has an impressive number of pets considering the size of the country. It has 13.1 million dogs and 9.8 million cats.
Things just don’t make sense..
Ms. Wang was an avid animal lover and just wanted to take care of her little animal. She dreamt of the days when she would take him for afternoon walks and feed him when he got hungry. She just wanted him to be her little love and to care for him the best way she could.
In the beginning, he did what puppies normally do and took long naps. Ms. Wang watched as her little angel grew taking care of his needs.
Ms. Wang purchased her puppy from an animal shop that she found and went straight home. As the pup grew it became more and more beautiful. Ms. Wang felt so happy to call this magnificent animal her own pet.
After 3 months though, things became a bit weird and the puppy stopped looking like a Japanese Spitz. Yes, the fur was pure snowflake white and its stature was all good but things started not making sense. Something was off.
Is the puppy sick?
China is a huge country on the largest continent in the world – Asia. It has a huge population. Millions of people in China have dogs that are registered, market stalls and important services like veterinary practices, shelters, and crematoriums.
As China’s economic market has grown and the population has become wealthier, more and more people are deciding to adopt pets. It’s a booming market.
What is the problem with this pup?!
Now, it is well documented that there can be problems with this breed due to all the crossbreeding. The most serious problem a Japanese Spitz can endure is muscular dystrophy. It is a mutation that can be detected.
There are a variety of symptoms that occur with this mutation, namely: Nausea and vomiting, back legs turned in, front legs turned outward, walking like a rabbit (hopping), weakness and ability to walking and playing. It also occurs in other breeds of dogs. Luckily, this pup did not have the mutation.
Ok, so the white puppy was definitely a canine breed, that was for sure. But certain features just looked weird. Ms. Wang explained that the “dog’s” fur thickened once it turned three months old. But things started happening that couldn’t be explained!
Ms. Wang said that its face became pointy and its tail grew way too long for that of a normal dog. At this point Ms. Wang really was considering asking an expert for advice.
The cute “dog” scares other dogs. Now what?
At this point Ms. Wang was really concerned about her “dog’s” appearance. Sure, this could just have been a normal “dog” with abnormal features but then things happened which shocked Ms. Wang.
Of course, Ms. Wang wanted her puppy to socialize but when other dogs approached her growing puppy they started becoming very scared. She now had to walk her young “dog” on a leash. Socialization is important for dogs but her “dog” wasn’t having any of it.
The cute “dog” scares other dogs. Now what?
Socialization during the infant years of most species is very important – especially so with dogs. The reason is that socialized dogs have better-coping skills.
If your puppy has a lot of positive experiences socializing your pup will grow up to be well-rounded and stable. Without socialization, dogs will be afraid of people, other dogs, new experiences and new places. Dogs are also known to be “pack” animals.
There was obviously a problem as this pup was experiencing anxiety around other dogs. It was also an indication that something wasn’t right. A dog in panic mode, which this pup obviously was will showcase aggressive and potentially harmful behavior.
These aggressive and potentially harmful behaviors will show as snarling, growling, lunging, hyperactive attempts to escape and in “normal” puppies and dogs – barking.
What is it if not a Japanese Spitz?
All Ms. Wang wanted was for her dog to be normal. She didn’t want to have the only dog on the block that other dogs were afraid of and couldn’t play with.
Ms. Wang imagined the life her dog would have. All alone with no one but her to play with. She knew that this was not the right way a dog should leave. Dogs love being part of a pack, they love being among one another.
Now, the Japanese Spitz is small to a medium breed of dog of the Spitz type. It is a great companion and pet. Worldwide there is a debate about the actual size it should be. They are also cousins to the Pomeranian.
Their temperament is affectionate, obedient, companionable, intelligent, playful and proud. All in all, they are a wonderful dog to have and that is why they make for such a popular breed. They are also very beautiful dogs.
Something “wild” is about to happen…
Many people in China love the Japanese Spitz. It’s an adorable breed that is also very intelligent, loyal to its owner and exceptionally loving. Now Ms. Wang’s “dog” had those personality traits but didn’t look like a Spitz.
First of all, the Spitz had a super thick fluffy coat and had beautiful slanted eyes. Dogs love affection and being active but certain behaviors and looks made Ms. Wang think her “dog” was not a purebred or perhaps, not even a dog!
Now, the Japanese Spitz is a very popular breed, of course, but there are also other breeds that the Chinese absolutely adore. These dogs are actually very distinct and popular all over the world. There is also a wide variety.
These are the dogs you will find in China: Pugs, Chinese Crested Dogs, Chow Chows, Shih Tzus, Shar Peis, Perkingese, Tibetan Mastiff, Japanese Chin, Chinese Imperial Dog, Chinese Chongqing as well as the Kunming Wolfdog.
The shocking truth..
Now dogs are basically descendants of wolves – or at least that’s what most people think. In 1999, a study occurred supporting the origin of dogs from wolves but scientists realize that most canines today descended from an extinct species of candid close to that of the wolf.
Canidae are a large family of which domestic dogs and wolves are a part of. This canine family includes coyotes, foxes, and jackals.
Something “wild” is about to happen…
The minute Ms. Wang took her “dog” to an expert at the zoo, the staff members did not know what was going on. Ms. Wang had in fact been carrying in her arms a very wild animal. But what was it?
Well, it was white and it was bought in China but the expert looked at it and revealed the truth. A staff member at the zoo stopped her and informed her that what she had in her arms was, in fact, a domesticated fox.
But how did this happen?
In January of 2018, it was reported that a cargo aircraft from Denmark, with 2,000 arctic foxes aboard landed in Qingdao, Shandong province, China. The foxes are considered superior breeds and together were worth more than 10 million yuan ($1.5 million).
The foxes are brought in to improve the quality of the breed in China. Animal breeding has developed rapidly and the arctic foxes are expected to boost modern husbandry in China.
In the wild, the arctic fox builds and chooses dens that face southward facing the sun. This obviously makes the den in their naturally cool climates. The quality of the shelter is the most important feature of the den to the Arctic Fox.
The vegetation from the fox dens traps snow, which gives them a suitable habitat and in turn gives them important sources of food. Their den gives them a strong sense of comfort and keeps them nice and war.
The dead giveaway
Starting off with the similarities, both Arctic foxes and Japanese Spitzes are small, cute and white at birth. As they grow up they remain beautiful and white and are similar in size.
The big differences though is that the Arctic Fox has a bushier tail than the Japanese Spitz and its fur is thicker. Its face is also much pointier and its eyes are slightly more slanted. The biggest giveaway to the puppy’s identity was the fact that it did not bark. Japanese Spitzes are very noisy dogs and the Arctic Fox kept silent all along.
When her fox was a puppy – in fact, a cub – Ms. Wang thought that her fox was a Spitz puppy. It is common for them to be sold as Spitz puppies as they look almost identical at birth. The problem is that when the fox cub grows, the tail will elongate and its face gets pointier.
Foxes also start to smell strange. MS. Wang found out that foxes carry a smell in their bodies that gets stronger as it grows older. So now what? What did Ms. Wang do with the fox?
What Ms. Wang had on her hands was, in fact, an arctic fox. It has many physical characteristics that allow it to adapt to its environment – namely, very cold weather. It has thick and fluffy fur, small rounded ears.
The way they survive in the cold is that a good supply of body fat and system of countercurrent heat exchange keep it at a core temperature.
Now, the Arctic fox has other names, namely the white fox, polar fox or snow fox. It is native to the Arctic and common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. It loves the cold environment and is adapted to it.
Its gorgeous white fur is also used for protection as it is used for camouflage. Unfortunately, on average, arctic foxes only live three to four years in the wild.
Arctic foxes’ actual diet consists of lemmings, voles (small rodents), ringed seal pups, fish, waterfowl as well as seabirds. It likes to prey on all of these. It will also eat seaweed, carrion, berries, insects and other small invertebrates.
In the Arctic, these foxes have natural predators, namely golden eagles, polar bears, grizzly bears, wolverines, and red foxes.
As Ms. Wang was an absolute animal lover it didn’t matter to her that her fox was not a dog, it was still a beautiful animal. She did her absolute best but slowly found out that he didn’t really enjoy the food she was giving him such as chicken and dog food.
Ms. Wang realized that her now grown-up ball of fluff needed more space to run around. He needed to run and play with others like him. She loved him so much that she made a heart-breaking decision.
Ms. Wang’s heart breaks..
Now the purpose of a zoo is often to keep certain species protected and also allow the public to have a view of beautiful creatures they would otherwise never get to see in their lifetime. There are many different kinds of zoos.
Some zoos really care about the well-being of their animals and provide them with trees to climb and a lot of space to roam around. They also feed them well and make sure they socialize and their needs are met.
It is never easy to part with an animal you have raised since birth. After all, that animal is your pet, basically, it is like your little fluffy child – just without the diaper changes, endless crying and sleepless nights.
Some people even allow their animals to sleep with them in their beds. They feed them what they eat and give them all the love they need to be happy.
What did Ms. Wang do next?
Ms. Wang decided that if her fox couldn’t be completely happy in her home she would take it to the zoo – so she did! She asked if they would accept the fox and they said yes. She was so happy.
Finally, the little fox made friends with that wanted to play with him. Just before arriving and able to play with the other foxes, he had to be quarantined and cleared for any sort of disease. Thank goodness he was healthy.
Now, the little fox didn’t end up just at any zoo. It ended up at the Taiyuan Zoo. The zoo is big and there are animals there such as giraffes, black-necked swans, flamingos, monkeys, duck, and bears. Most of these animals have partners.
Taiyuan is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province in China. It is one of the main manufacturing bases of China. During its history, Taiyuan was the capital of many dynasties in China.
Amazing news follows…
When Ms. Wang got home, she knew in her heart that she had made the right decision. Even though, her heart was sore as she was missing her little friend that she took care of since it was a little pup. She realized how quiet her home was without her furry little friend.
As days passed, she adjusted to the fact that her friend was gone forever to a bigger place where it could play with friends and be fed the correct food.
As Ms. Wang found out the hard way, a fox is not to be kept inside the house. They need a big space to move around and can also become very disruptive – not to forget the strong odor they give off.
It was very hard for Ms. Wang to say goodbye to her little pup. After all, she cared for it for a whole year. She had such a good heart that the zoo made an important decision. They allowed Ms. Wang to visit her fox anytime she pleased.
The Beautiful Fox Ends Up In The Best Home
The fox lives a wonderful life at the zoo. He is very safe and is able to roam the outdoors and be with other foxes and have fun with them and play. He gets to enjoy the food he likes and even gets visits from his “mom” Ms. Wang.
What about another puppy? Will Ms. Wang ever get another one? For now, Ms. Wang says she will definitely take a closer look the next time she wants to get a puppy or she may even try another breed.
If you live on the continent of Asia or are thinking about getting a Japanese Spitz, do your homework and buy from a reputable seller who is known for selling purebreds and takes care of the puppies. Even better, take a dog expert with you just to make sure you don’t bring home a cute little fox pup!
As it happens, in the US, many people have gone through the exact same experience as Ms. Wang but instead of bringing home a fox they brought home a wolf cub – imagine that!
The future of Arctic Foxes
Unfortunately, many Chinese dog sellers do underhand things – such as sell foxes cubs in place of Japanese Spitz’s to trick the public.
At home, the best thing you can do is choose dogs without homes and not support puppy mills. Going to the local SPCA will give you the most grateful dog you could ever imagine.
Because the Arctic fox has such a beautiful thick white coat, it was in high demand as people were hunting it. Luckily, they were saved from extinction by a hunting ban in 1928. Still, though it is hard for this beautiful animal to survive.
When there is a lack of food for the Arctic fox they start to die. The climate change is also affecting this species as the temperature is rising the treeline of the tundra is getting pushed further into their territory.
When beauty hurts..
Unfortunately, the beautiful Arctic Fox species still gets trapped for their gorgeous fur. In fact, hundreds of thousands of Arctic foxes are bred solely for their fur. They are kept in little wire cages in fur factory farms.
The painful truth is that on fur farms in Europe, foxes are usually killed by electrocution, while at the same time being restrained with neck tongs. Electrodes are applied to their mouth and rectum with a minimum voltage of 110 volts for at least 3 seconds.
Respect for Animals is working with retailers and running consumer campaigns for the purpose of reducing and eliminating the sale and wearing of fur. They are working with fellow colleagues in many different countries where arctic foxes are still bred and killed for their fur.
The only way to stop this enormous cruelty and lack of respect given to these beautiful creatures is by ending the arctic fox fur trade.
How You Can Help?
If helping arctic foxes and other animals that are cruelly killed for their fur is a cause close to your heart, you can help. You can give your signature towards the cause and make a difference.
Current campaigns you can help with are: “The need for fur labeling legislation”, “Save the Seals 2018: boycott Canada”, “Contact fur-selling Harvey Nichols”. You can also donate where you are given different options of payment including a once-ff, monthly, quarterly and yearly.
Petfinder is a wonderful service with hundreds of animals readily available for adoption. There are many cats and dogs on the site. There is a picture for each animal which tells you the breed as well as the sex and, of course, location of the pet.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is also a great place to find a new fur baby. There are thousands of dogs and cats around the United States at ASPCA’s waiting to be adopted.