The Chinese Imperial Lions are commonly referred to as the Fu Dogs or Foo Dogs, especially in the Western countries.

However, these majestic characters half-dragon and half-lion are known by the name of ‘Guardian Lion’ in the Chinese Asian countries where they are symbols of protection and power.

Fu Dog

Fu Dogs or the lion statues can be often spotted at the entrance of Chinese imperial palaces, imperial tombs, temples, etc. The foo dog statue was traditionally placed in front of the homes of the rich signifying their family wealth and social status.

What Is The Meaning Of Fu Dog?

Dogs are the symbols of protection and power in Feng Shui that are most commonly installed to ‘guard’ the entranceways to buildings and homes.

These are, in fact, lions that are always placed in pairs and were conventionally seen in the form of granite Foo dogs, marble Fu dogs, concrete dogs, or some other decorative stone.

However, these antique Foo dogs pair were also been cast in iron, bronze, and ceramic. Since these Chinese Foo dog statues were made using
expensive material and craftmanship.

They had always remained part of wealthy and prestigious families, imperial palaces, and government offices. That is the reason why the Chinese Foo Dog statue is not only regarded as a sacred protector against negative energy but a display of aristocratic status too.

What Are Foo Dogs?

By now, you must be aware that Foo Dogs are the statues of fierce crouching lions that are believed to offer defense and power to the premises outside which they are placed.

They are believed to deter anyone who might wish to enter the space with malicious intent. The auspicious pair of female and male Foo Dogs symbolizes the yin and yang aspects of the ancient Chinese philosophy and Feng Shui.

They protect both the exterior and interior of those who reside within the space and believe in the power of Foo Dogs to block the negative energies from entering.

Different Types Of Fu Dogs

The Fu Dogs are auspiciously placed usually in pairs (one male and one female). To help distinguish between the two, have a look at the table below:

Male Fu DogFemale Fu Dog
Yang (as per ancient Chinese philosophy)Yin (as per ancient Chinese philosophy)
Protects the exterior (physical elements)Protects the interior (spirit and soul)
Depicted with his front right paw on top of a ball (This ball is sometimes believed to represent a globe)Depicted with her left front paw protecting her cub by placing it directly over the pup (sometimes believed to represent her maternal instinct to protect her baby)
It symbolizes the male fu dog’s control over circumstances and how it guards your private worldIt symbolizes female fu dog’s devotion, loyalty, and protection to the home or business she protects
He signifies great power, authority, and courageShe signifies benevolence, support, and wisdom
Feng Shui Foo Dogs

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What If You Have Two Male Fu Dogs?

It is suggested to place the Feng shui Foo Dogs in pairs of one male and one female to balance the energy (good and bad chi as per ancient Chinese philosophy) of your home and enhance peace, and good fortune.

However, sometimes the manufacturers sell the Foo Dogs in same-sex pairs as it is easier for them. It is better to avoid such pairs, but if you do have them, then make sure that their inside paws are the ones raised.

How Do You Place A Fu Dog?

As per the feng shui, the Foo Dogs should always be presented on either side of a door or entryway looking outward.

Ideal position is facing the entrance of house or room, with the male fu dog being placed on the right side and the female on the left side facing the entrance.

As far as small statuettes such as the Foo Dog bookends are concerned, they must be kept together in the same room while following the above instructions.

Are Foo Dogs Japanese In Real?

There is a strong similarity between the Chinese Foo Dogs (Guardian Lions) in China and Komainu (translates as Korean Dog) in Japan. But it is said that Japan adopted these statues from Korea and the original source of these could be India or even Egypt.

There is evidence of the presence of these statues in a shrine Izumo. Izumo is a small region that has strong connections to the Korean peninsula as well as Buddhism. However, Japan still doesn’t accept the fact that these statues could have been brought from Korea.

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What Does A Fu Dog Tattoo Mean?

What is a Foo dog/Fu dog? – The Fu Dog is a symbol of authority and defense for the places of worship and powerful institutions.

Your body in itself is your most valuable property and must be protected from negative energy. The tattoo enthusiasts have placed huge faith in this symbol.

To enhance its meaning and significance, the tattoo artists have created designs that have a variety of stances or scenes such as Fu Dogs crouching in an attack position or some cubs climbing over the lioness.

They believe that the placement of Foo dogs tattoo on your body could imply different things.

  • Tattoo On The Back: People choose to have the Fu Dog tattoo on their back to suggest that the Guardian Lions are watching their back. They are restricting all the negative energies that one often doesn’t see coming such as gossip and betrayal.
  • Tattoo On The Chest: Getting a Fu Dog tattoo on the chest suggests that they are safeguarding their feelings and emotions. They are keeping it close to the chest and let in only those people who are completely trustworthy and know their inner workings.
  • Tattoo On The Arm: People also choose to get the pair of Fu Dogs tattooed with the male and female on each arm while adhering to the correct positions as per the ancient Chinese philosophy. This implies that that have bodyguards on each side that are protecting their complete self from the negative energies.

Foo Dog Mythology Significance

The origin of Foo Dog mythology can be traced back to Buddhism in the Chinese Han Dynasty, from the second century B.C.

According to one Buddhist legend, the truth sermons of the Dharma bear a resemblance to ‘roaring like a lion’, which essentially eliminates all distractions and silences the other voices within.

It was through the Silk Road trade route that Asiatic lions were first brought to China. The emperors at the time showed keen interest in keeping them as pets that provided the inspiration for the imperial guardian lion dog statue.

It is believed that these symbols gained popularity over the years and from China, they spread across the nearby countries of Tibet, Thailand, Korea, Japan, and various others across Asia.

Japan is said to have adopted them from Korea it was the Japanese who then introduced them to Western cultures.

The resemblance to the Chinese breeds of dogs (e.g. Chow Chow and Shih Tzu) led the westerners to often refer the Foo Lion as “foo dogs” or “fu dogs”.

In China, they are never referred to as dogs, they are given the status of imperial guardian lions instead.

Japanese Foo Dog(Fu Dog)

In Japan, the Foo Dogs closely resemble the lion dog statue of Komainu (Japanese Fu Dog). They are the guardian statues and can be seen at the entrance of Shinto shrines, temples, and other important buildings.

These Foo Dog statue is commonly found in different varieties of shapes, forms, and styles. From cute to comic to fierce and terrifying, with short and chunky to tall and skinny, they come in different sizes too.

They are carved out of mostly stone, but can also appear in bronze, iron, wood, or even ceramic. Komainu (Japanese Fu dog) are usually placed in male and female pairs.

But there are several instances of foo dog placement in male-male pairs as well. It is interesting to notice that some of them have a single horn too.

Though the Japanese Fu dogs never found a place in the study of Japanese religious statuary, they are still fascinating to people who come over from various parts of the world.

Where To Place Fu Dogs In 2020?

The Chinese Lion dog statue will grant you protection from negative elements around you with the ferocity of the lion. According to the tradition, they are known as the guardians of the gates of heaven, able to distinguish between those with good or bad intentions.

The statues of these large Foo dogs have been given the status of imperial guards for important buildings since ancient times. The belief is their mystical power is still alive and you can ensure the safety of your home and your loved ones by placing them near the entrance of the house.

They can also protect and watch over the auspicious entrances to businesses, banks, hotels, and other institutions.

When placing the outdoor foo dog statue, it is important to follow the instructions regarding their correct placement.

Ideal placement is statues looking outwards in the entrance way with the male dog placed on the left side and the female on the right.

They can be kept on either side of your front entrance, front porch, or front gate. It is also advised to place them a few feet above the ground so that they can look farther and block any negative energy from entering your space.

Foo Dog Statue Usages And Placement

If you follow Feng shui, then you must be aware that all the different directions are associated significantly with different colors and elements. So, it is recommended to place the pair of Foo Dogs according to the directions:

Fu Dog Statue
  1. Multi-colored Fu Dogs are advised if your main door of the house is facing South or West directions. It is said that this will boost the luck of home-owners and bring in positive energy.
  2. Golden-colored Dogs are placed usually in the houses with South-facing main doors. They stand for wealth, power, and protection of such spaces. The enticing golden color is a symbol of the high social status of the owner.
  3. Metal Fu Dogs best protect the West, North-west, and North facing premises as these directions are associated with the elements metal and water. It is important to note here that these statues must never be placed facing east as that direction symbolizes the element wood. As per feng shui, metal is considered to be in constant conflict with wood.
  4. Jade Dogs are ideal for premises facing South, South-east, and East. They must be placed outside the buildings.
  5. Porcelain Dogs such as blue dogs or turquoise dogs are said to give out the energies of peace and calm. The best thing about them is that they can be placed in any direction and place which needs protection.
  6. Fu Dog tassel – These can be used for various purposes. You can either hang them near the main door so that they watch over your house or keep them near the area where you store wealth. The mystic knot in the tassel is said to safeguard you and your property while the red color attracts good luck.

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Some important things to remember when placing them around your house: 

1. Dogs must never be placed facing the inside of the house or else it may cause harm.
2. Dogs must always be treated with respect.
3. The owners should express their gratitude towards the Dogs every day as they offer protection from negative energies.
4. It is essential that the Fu Dogs must be placed with a clear conscience. The owner must believe in the magic for it to work and protect them.

5 Things You Should Know About Foo Dogs

#Number 1

  • The first thing you must know that ironically, the Fu is in fact lions. In China, they are commonly referred to as ‘shishi’ that translates to ‘stone lion’.
  • The stone fu dogs bear a close resemblance to Chow Chow and Shih Tzu (dog breeds) that made them more famous by the name of Dogs in the western countries.
  • In the west, the Chinese dogs are also known by the names of guardian dogs or stone temple dogs.

#Number 2

  • Initially, these Fu lion statues were placed only outside the entrances of palaces, temples, and homes of the rich.
  • They were built in huge-size carved out of stone. A common similarity in them is that their wide-open mouths suggested as if they were mid-roar and stood there as watchful guards for everyone who was about to enter the premises.
  • It was only in the later years that they were made into small statuettes and from various other materials.

#Number 3

  • It is considered auspicious to place the Fu Dogs in pairs of male and female close to each other. The female Fu Dog signifies yin while protecting the people inside the homes.
  • The male Fu Dogs, on the other hand, signified yang while defending the structure itself.

#Number 4

  • If you observe closely, each detail of the Fu Dog stands for something. You can distinguish between male and female Fu Dogs by noticing what is below their paws – the male holds a ball.
  • While the female holds a cub. The ball is symbolic of the globe and the cub represents the nurturing spirit.
  • Even whether the mouths of these pairs are closed or open also have significance. They either represent the process of inhaling-and-exhaling of breath, or the sound om.

#Number 5

  • The pair of Dogs cannot be placed randomly or separate from each other as it may lose its significance.
  • It is important to understand that there is a correct way to place the pair whether outside the home next to the entrance or within the house.
  • As per feng shui, the auspicious placement of the female Fu Dog must be on the left while the male must be kept on the right.
  • Additionally, they must always be kept together and never in separate rooms.

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Depending on your belief in feng shui, you can have as many as Fu Dogs that you want for protecting your home and loved ones.

But when you see a sign that says ‘dogs for sale’, we recommend you to buy them in pairs – one male and one female. It is important to follow the instructions while placing them outside or within the premises.

We advise you to treat them with respect and show gratitude to them for keeping you safe.

Also, don’t forget to place them currently facing outward from the main door, so that they can keep the evil spirits out and not inside your home.

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