A popular tourist city in northern China says it will ban residents from keeping large dogs such as German shepherds in its downtown core.
The city of Xian in Shaanxi Province said in a statement posted on its Web site late on Tuesday that the ban will start on Feb. 1.
The city has three ring roads and large dogs will be banned in all areas inside the third ring road. They will also be banned from some places outside the third ring road.
Xinhua news agency said 34 types of dogs would be banned, including violent dogs such as pit bulls.
Xian is known for the terra-cotta warriors — thousands of life-sized clay figures that are one of the most significant archeological finds of the 20th century.
Although the statement did not give a reason for the ban, other cities in China have tightened rules on dog ownership and sizes because of worries about rabies, concerns about health issues and problems with wild dogs.
The statement said that beginning Feb. 1, residents would be banned from “keeping fierce or large dogs inside the third ring road and from residential areas, government and company grounds, schools, kindergartens, hospitals, scenic and historical spots outside the third ring road.”
Pet ownership in China was once rare because the Communist Party condemned it as bourgeois and most people could not afford to own cats or dogs. Now it is booming, especially in the bigger cities.
Xinhua said large dogs were defined as those dog species with a shoulder height of more than 50cm.
In May last year, Shanghai imposed restrictions on dog ownership, setting a limit of one dog per family in an effort to gain control over a soaring pet population and curb rabies.