weird 16 Cultures Around the World That Actually Eat Dogs  

Laura Allan
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If you're a serous dog lover, you might want to stop reading right now. These images and descriptions are graphic. Okay, with that said, let's get right to the point: some countries use dog meat in food. Whether it's religious, cultural, or just a long-standing tradition, foods made with dog meat are still served in many countries worldwide. From soups to just the meat, some cultures that eat dog meat rely on this source of nourishment just as other cultures lean on beef and pork as a staple of their cuisine.

In Western cultures, we don't tend to view eating dog as exactly acceptable. To tell the truth, people who eat dog meat are often shamed or scorned for their dietary choices. Because of this, it might seem horrifying that dog meat dishes are the norm in other countries, but that doesn't change the fact that different cultures have different norms. 

Whether you can accept people who eat dogs meat or not, you have to admit the concept is kind of morosely fascinating. So, let's take a look at different ways that dog meat is eaten around the world.

Millions of Dogs Are Eaten Every Year in Vietnam


Millions of Dogs Are Eaten Eve... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 16 Cultures Around the World That Actually Eat Dogs
Photo: Elliot Paul Photography/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Vietnam may be the country that's best known for eating dog meat, and for good reason. Dogs are a common dietary staple there, ranging from roasts to stews, soups, and even simply spiced meat on a stick. Just about every part of the dog is used for food in Vietnam, and there are many slaughterhouses devoted only to dog meat. An estimated five million dogs are eaten here each year, more than in any other country, and the meat is in demand, with price tags higher than pork. The meat is considered very healthy for consumption, and some believe it may even have medicinal properties. Unfortunately, there is a long history of slaughter methods being cruel and unsanitary. 

South Korea Keeps a Breed of Dog as Livestock, Not as Pets


South Korea Keeps a Breed of D... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 16 Cultures Around the World That Actually Eat Dogs
Photo:  File Upload Bot (Magnus Manske)/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

In South Korea, it's not just any dog that's used for meat. While it's true that mastiffs and terriers may sometimes be seen on the menu, the main staple of dog-meat cooking is nureongi. This yellowish breed of dog is raised, like cattle, in mass, for the sole purpose of slaughtering it and cooking it later. The breed is not kept as a pet. What's more is that this is no small industry. Millions of dogs are eaten each year, and the meat is said to be very healthy for those who have recently had a medical procedure. When all is said and done, studies show that 83 percent of South Koreans have eaten dog meat at some point during their lives.

The Swiss Have Dog Jerky


The Swiss Have Dog Jerky is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 16 Cultures Around the World That Actually Eat Dogs
Photo: erik jaeger/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

One wouldn't think of dog as a holiday food, but it is considered one in parts of Switzerland. Around 3 percent of Swiss people eat dog meat, and it is often done when a farmer has too many dogs and needs to get rid of one or two. The meat is salted and dried into a chewy jerky most of the time, though it is also used in traditional sausages. This custom dates back centuries, as does the belief that dog fat can be used as medicine for rheumatism. While some may be opposed to eating dog, it is not illegal in Switzerland and is most commonly done around Christmas time. Probably not the stocking stuffer you were hoping for this year. 

A Small Chinese Province Holds a Festival Where Dogs Are Sometimes Boiled Alive


A Small Chinese Province Holds... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 16 Cultures Around the World That Actually Eat Dogs
Photo:  Flickr upload bot/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

The Yulin dog meat festival, also called the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, is known worldwide and, though widely protested as well, draws a massive crowd each year. Oddly enough, the festival is pretty new, only really existing in this form since 2010. The meat is thought to be very healthy, however, the means of preparing it during the festival have been called unhygienic and cruel by opponents. For example, some dogs are boiled alive, so as to enhance the texture and flavor of the meat. Each year, around 10,000 dogs are killed for the festival and served boiled, baked, spiced, preserved, and, of course, in stews and curries. The festival may not be recognized by mainstream government or society, but it still happens each year, and prices of the meat are going up due to the demand.