COURTESY OF BETTY SCOTT
Narcissus Queen Darah Dung with Betty Scott's Chinese cresteds.
The American Kennel Club describes Chinese crested dogs as "fine-boned, elegant and graceful," which is one way of looking at them. Another would be Victor Kim's way: "funny-looking naked dogs."
Splendor of China
» Place: Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall
» When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
» Admission: $2; free for military
» Call: 533-3181
Chinese cresteds are tiny and smooth-skinned -- which we know because they generally have no hair. This is either incredibly weird or endearing, depending on your point of view.
At any rate, Kim is gathering up cresteds and other dogs that hail from China and Tibet for this weekend's Splendor of China, kickoff event for the 57th annual Narcissus Festival.
The event will celebrate all things Chinese, including food, acrobatics, lion dancing, pingpong, acupuncture, calligraphy and feng shui. And since 2006 is the Year of the Dog, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the event, decided to show off China's canine heritage.
Kim notes that nearly a dozen breeds originated in China and Tibet. Many are tiny, cutesy dogs such as Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Chinese pug, Tibetan terrier and Lhasa apso. "Those kind of funny-looking dogs, people assume that's a French dog," he says. "We're going to have a little education, a little fun and see how it goes."
Domesticated dogs go back thousands of years in China, Kim says. The smaller, toy dogs were kept by the palace and temple elite, often carried in their sleeves.
The dogs were more than ornamental, though. At a sign of danger, they'd issue the initial alarm, Kim says. "They make the noise first, and the bigger dogs would come." Bigger breeds, such as Shar-Peis and chow chows, served as guard dogs on both palaces and farms.
Kim has been able to collect representatives of 10 breeds, which will be displayed in a sort of beauty pageant, "four-legged kind," on stage at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The former Chinese Chamber president and owner of seven McDonald's franchises has six wrinkly-faced Shar-Peis himself.
"The dogs are very smart and make good companions," Kim said. "They have a face that -- no matter how bad a day you have -- you look at that face and you cannot help but smile. They're so ugly they're cute."