Blooming Prairie resident breeds rare ‘happiness dog’

Published 9:05 am Thursday, December 9, 2010

With more than 40 years of experience raising dogs, one man from Blooming Prairie has focused his expertise on what is called the “happiness dog.”

Brad Trom gained an interest in dogs when he was a teenager. During his high school summer vacations in the 70s, he worked at dog-boarding businesses and gained some of the experience he has today.

The Chinese Foo dog is a rare breed that comes in several different sizes. Brad Trom's dogs generally range from 30 to 50 pounds. - photo submitted by Chinese Foo Dog Club of America

Like many, he was inspired by the TV show “Lassie,” except he took things one step further. He began raising and training collies, something he continued for about 25 years.

Email newsletter signup

After serving as show chairman for dog shows and obedience trials, Trom became interested in intelligent, rare breeds. He found the Chinese Foo, or Fu (CFD), which refers to happiness in Chinese. Trom said the CFD is a northern breed with a double coat, pointed ears and muzzle. It’s a clean and quiet breed that makes for a good watchdog, too. Because of its massive, fluffy coat, it should be groomed on a regular basis, no less than once a month.

The breed is fairly rare in the U.S., part of the Rare Breed Network, which has an extensive list of many of the world’s rarest breeds of dogs.

Trom is part of that network. He is the first breeder of the Chinese Foo in America, and he founded the Chinese Foo Dog Club of America in the early 90s. The club is small, due to the rarity of the breed, and members must be invited to be a part of it. They are committed to maintaining the purity of the breed. They don’t want it to be over-bred and degraded.

The breed ranges in size from toy-breed size to larger than 50 pounds. Trom’s dogs are of the medium and large sizes, as the others are not yet available in the U.S. However, if they become available, he would consider working with them.

In recent years, because of his involvement, Trom has traveled to Germany to see the foundation of the Chinese Foo Dog Club of Europe.

Now, Trom usually raises about one litter a year. But he also uses the dogs as a way to keep his composure.

“Life with a CFD teaches one to live life for the moment and accept what is, even if things don’t always go your way,” he said.

That may be because Trom has learned to view the world differently after his battle with cancer — twice. He survived struggles with cancer in 1982 and again in 2005. For surviving it twice, he considers himself a very lucky guy. Between chemotherapy and surgeries that stretched about 9 to 12 months each, Brad cut back on a few of his dogs at those times. That’s because he said having dogs is like having kids, except that kids grow up and can take care of themselves — dogs are co-dependent on their masters. But for his love of the dogs, he considers that a good thing.

Trom said people looking for any type of dog should take careful note of the environment in which it is raised. Look at its parents’ characteristics and temperament, instead of just relying on breed stereotypes, he said.

To find out more about the Chinese Foo and Trom’s dogs, visit