The Dogs of Sai Kung

A light hearted look at the obsession with dogs in the Hong Kong fishing village of Sai Kung … but with a serious message. Sunday’s see Sai Kung dog owners parading their pets along the water front and lunching with their dogs in the many water side restaurants. The town is awash with doggie boutiques, many vets and even a doggy bakery. The obsession can be traced back to the former UK administrations attempts to limit the human birth rate. The move proved successful over the years and Hong Kongese substituted dogs in the family to replace babies. The human birth rate in Hong Kong is now one of the lowest in the World.

Words and Images © Brian Cassey

Dogs … Pooches … Woofers … Whatever …

“The Dogs of Sai Kung” photo essay that I made in Hong Kong recently has been a bit of a hit with the Daily Telegraph in the UK.

Their glossy weekend magazine ran the pics as a full four page spread under the title “Barking Mad” using seven images and a very nice story by journalist Jessica Salter. (Thanks Jess !)

On the Daily Telegraph web site TWO of the images from the set starred – alongside images of Prince Will and Princess Kate, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Islamic protests against THAT movie, the Aurora Borealis through the polar ice and other pics from around the World  – in the “Pictures of the Day” gallery for the 18th September. 

The DT also ran another separate full gallery of seventeen Sai Kung doggy images under the title of  “The Pampered Dogs of Hong Kong”.

Nice to get a good run with these images that, to be honest, were not a priority at the time on the Hong Kong trip … and were all made just on a nice Sunday at the very pleasant Sai Kung seaside.

Below I’ve posted – from top – two images of the Daily Telegraph magazine four page spread “Barking Mad” and one image each from the “Pictures of the Day” gallery and “The Pampered Pooches of Hong Kong” gallery.

The complete essay (twenty six images) can be found either on my my personal web site at … 

… or on the web site of my collective ‘fotostrada’ at …

All images © Brian Cassey

“The Dogs of Sai Kung” …

Have just returned from Hong Kong where I worked on several new photo essays … and the first of these – “The Dogs of Sai Kung” – has now been posted to my web site and the site of my collective ‘fotostrada’.

The fishing village of Sai Kung in the New Territories of the former British colony  is a microcosm of the now Hong Kong obsession with the dog as a pet … and not as a menu item. Here’s the text that accompanies the essay …

“The Chinese – and by obvious association the Hong Kongese – have long been accused of devouring ‘anything that moves’ including meals of our beloved canines.

However, the fishing village of Sai Kung in the New Territories of Hong Kong has embraced the dog as members of the family unit with a passion bordering on obsessive. In the 1970s Hong Kong government policy was to actively dissuade the population from having too many children. It worked … and the human birth rate in Hong Kong is now one of the World’s lowest at 1.10 per woman of child bearing age (2010), far below the replacement rate of 2.1. To compensate the locals have taken to treating their pet woofers as an integral and substitute part of the family.

Sundays sees the locals parading their pooches in prams along the pretty waterfront where they join their human ‘parents’ for exercise and lunch at the tables in the seafood restaurants. The town is awash with dog boutiques and even a doggy bakery where you can buy your precious pooch individual doggy pies and other fresh baked treats.

Lavish attention is paid to the grooming of the creatures and competition is fierce … just like comparing human babies.”

I’ve posted below a small selection of images from the new essay … the complete item can be found on my site here and on  ‘fotostrada’ here.

Images © Brian Cassey 2012