The ability to own and keep a pet dog relies, in reality, on your income being sufficient and so, I am guessing, having pets could be more of status symbol in China than anything. It indicates your income level. Indeed they can be very pampered pooches.
We saw the grooming parlours and the pretty, largely toy or miniature breeds in every town- small being obviously better for a flat and urban living. Certainly they were pedigree and frequently ginger or cream or white, with mutts not being visible on leads ,although we did see the odd, apparently stray, dog scavenging around in the older parts of towns. Even at 18 deg C these pampered little dogs were wearing their coats, and several also sported little paw booties, presumably to protect their paws from the cold dirty pavements.
Many years ago in the 1990s when we first came to China we were saddened by the sight of plump pups in cages in Guilin and around, that were clearly meant for the table, but now it seems that this practice is increasingly being frowned on. There is even legislation being put in place to help prevent the eating of dog, but when some parts of the country still believe that the eating of dog meat is good for them, and that it has medicinal properties, and even sponsor festivals of dog meat eating – see the article in the Mail Online dated 28 June 2011 about the festival in Yulin where some 15,000 dogs were eaten – it will take a while to stop the habit, law or no law.
The other extreme of course is the craze in China for dyeing dogs’ coats to look like other animals – see http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/08/china-s-dog-dyeing-craze-once-shunned-pet-pooches-now-embraced.html. This article has pictures of dogs dyed to look like Pandas and even Tigers! So much for eating them…