A Chinese Zoo Tried To Pass Off This Huge, Fluffy Dog As A Lion

There was also a rat in the snake’s cage and a fox in the leopard’s den.

1. The People’s Park Zoo in Luohe, Henan, made international headlines Thursday after Chinese newspapers reported the zoo was trying to disguise a dog as an African lion.

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2. The “lion” was really a Tibetan mastiff. Visitors reportedly called the zoo’s bluff when they heard the animal bark.

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A Tibetan mastiff dog at a mastiff show in Baoding, Hebei province, south of Beijing on March 9, 2013.

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3. “The African lions will be back. They went to another zoo to breed,” an administrator at the People’s Park Zoo explained to the Oriental Daily.

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4. Ticket buyers were outraged. “To use a dog to impersonate a lion is definitely an insult to tourists,” a visitor named Sharon Liu told reporters. “The zoo is absolutely cheating us.”

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5. Tibetan mastiffs are hugely popular in China, selling for as much as $750,000. Puppies are smuggled in from the Himalayan plateau, despite many veterinarians arguing that the huge dogs are “unsuitable” as household pets in the climate.

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Tibetan mastiff puppies!

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6. They’re known for being difficult to train, but Tibetan mastiffs are also among the “most reliable guard dogs around.”

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7. More mistaken identity at the People’s Park Zoo, via users on Sina Weibo:

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Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jessica Testa at

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