The fu dogs are best known for it’s tendency towards mistaken identity.
This is because they are known in English as fu dogs… which the average person would assume to refer to some type of dogs.
While their appearance can seem like dogs, especially when you tag it’s english name to them, they are actually lions and known as shi shi (石獅) in mandarin.
Many classical Chinese literature also describe them as lions rather than dogs. This is actually a reference to snow lions in Buddhism.
However, I can’t be sure whether it’s adopted as dogs by western feng shui practitioners.
Well… whatever they are… or whatever they are meant to represent… there is no doubting it’s presence and the purpose of that presence.
It could also very well be that they started out as lions. But slowly evolved through culture and became known as dogs over time.
It must be said that the Mandarin word 獅 which translates to lion is used to describe them.
Sometimes also referred to as dragon dogs or lion dogs, they are the pair of celestial creatures we often observe standing guard on both flanks of a main door.
The appearance of them do resemble lions with their beautiful manes.
In many instances, actual lions are placed in front of front doors. Only the owner who approved this would know whether this is done on purpose or by mistake.
Public places with a much larger physical presence often see the placement of lions. This is because under such circumstances, distinctive lions add a stronger presence for protection.
But in feng shui, the fu dogs are traditionally used for protection against negative energy entering the front door of residences.
Lions for residential homes can just seem too much for some homeowners.
Fu dogs comes in pairs
Unless meant for a specific or unique purpose, fu dogs are always displayed in pairs made up of male and female.
The number of bumps or markings on their heads is said to be a reference to how highly ranked the person who inhabits the place they are guarding is.
From the perspective view of the main door looking in, the male should be on the right side of the house while the female on the left.
While statues of fu dogs can vary in design, they are usually carved with each one having a paw on something.
This helps the homeowner identify the gender of each one.
Males often have a ball under the paw due to it’s playful nature. And females often have a cub (offspring) under it’s front paw.
Some people argue that the ball is actually an egg that is supposed to contain a lion cub. Some even contend that the ball is in fact a pearl like what the dragons often play with. These details are up to debate. But it is generally agreed that the one with the ball is the male and other with the cub is female.
If these depictions are not apparent, then the user must practice care in identifying their genders.
Wrong placement can lead to ineffective protection for the property or a household with no clear authoritative status between family members.
A male and female pair of foo dogs also bring about both yin and yang protective energy. This helps to keep out negative sha chi of both yang and yin nature.
Keep in mind that when it comes to celestial creatures, bigger does not necessarily mean better.
The size to purchase really depends on the size of the house or the size of the door.
A huge pair of dogs at a height comparable to the height door is just too intimidating a presence not just to those who have bad intentions outside the house, but also to the inhabitants inside the house.
Placement of fu dogs
The placement of fu dogs are not based on directions.
They can pretty much be orientated in any direction as long as it is at both sides of the door facing outwards.
Sometimes they are also used indoors or as protection for spiritual or religious monuments inside the house.
In this case, they should not be larger than the monuments that they are trying to protect.
And as fu dogs are usually placed outdoors, they are best made in stone (my preference) or metal.
As they are usually manufactured standing on an elevated platform, they would already be in an ideal position that is slightly elevated.
However, if you purchase them without them relaxing on platforms, you should set them up in slightly elevated positions for placement.
Those carved out of wood might not stand up well against the weather, while those made of plastic is too lightweight to hold any significance.
When used indoors where smaller versions of them are more appropriate for display on tables, countertops of cabinets, jade is often used for a more aesthetic appeal.
What you should never do is to separate them by placing each in a different room.
They are meant to be displayed in pairs and the absence of either one will significantly reduce the protective energy they bring to the place they are guarding.