The ban on keeping large dogs as pets in Chengdu has led to an unexpected fad—ferret raising.
Regulations that prohibit owners from keeping 22 breeds of large dog went into effect July 1 this year. Banned breeds include the Tibetan Mastiff, the Great Dane, and the German Shepherd. (For a complete list of banned breeds, click here.) The regulations stipulate that each household may keep one small dog.
But while most large dog keepers still haven't found a way to deal with their beloved animal friends, a new trend has emerged among city dwellers: keeping ferrets as pets.
"Ferrets have become a new fashion in Chengdu since the banning of large dogs," said Shi Lei, the owner of a pet store in the Wuhou District. "We sell at least one per day on weekdays and four to five of them on Saturdays and Sundays."
According to Shi, the most popular breed is the Angora ferret from Denmark. With a domestication history of over a hundred years, the animal is mild-tempered, and, says Shi, "completely different from wild ferrets."
Xiaoyu, a student in a nearby high school, comes to Shi's shop everyday to look at the ferret. She finally decided to buy one yesterday.
"Minks are sweet and quiet, unlike my dog who barks all the time," said Xiaoyu, cuddling her new pet. "I just love ferrets so much."
But the animals don't come cheap: a baby ferret costs RMB2,480, and an adult one sells for RMB5,000 to 8,000.
"They're imported!" Shi explained in defense of their high price. "But regardless, they are incredibly popular among the young."