In the cramped metropolises of East Asia, brown toy poodles have become the latest must-have accessory.
They amble down Chinese streets in sweaters, bowties and dinosaur costumes. They are so popular in Tottori, Japan, that the police force has added two female toy poodles, Fuga and Karin, to its ranks. In China, the pets are known as "taidi," a riff on the English word "teddy."
So, why toy poodles? And why brown?
Chinese poodle-lovers described the breed as smart, easygoing and humanlike in personality. They said the coffee-colored coats set these pups apart from standard poodles and made it easy to conceal grime from the street.
In the hygiene-obsessed cities of East Asia, there is another perk: toy poodles are known for shedding very little hair.
"I regard her as one of my family," said Xu Chen, 25, a flight attendant from Beijing whose poodle, Ceicei, is clean, cuddly and low maintenance. "She's very beautiful and smart."
Dogs were once dismissed as a bourgeois luxury in China, and large pets are still banned in parts of some major cities. That has led to a boom in the market for small dogs, with toy poodles selling for several hundred dollars each.
Of the 950,000 dogs in Beijing last year, more than 13 percent, or about 125,000, were toy poodles, according to the Beijing Kennel Club. They outpaced other breeds like the bichon frisé, the golden retriever and the Welsh corgi.
北京养犬协会(Beijing Kennel Club)称，去年北京市的95万只狗中，超过13%的狗（约12.5万只）是玩具型贵宾犬。贵宾犬的数量超过了比熊犬、金毛猎犬和威尔士柯基犬等其他品种。
Shen Ruihong, who leads the club, said demand for toy poodles in China surged several years ago after a craze in Japan. Toy poodles starting showing up on popular television programs, and soon "they went viral," he said, especially among the young women who fuel so many fads.
"The more people who raised them, the more people who wanted them," he said. "Now we have too many."
Source: New York Times