A Chinese woman was surprised to discover that the "pet dog" she has been raising is actually a fox.

The woman known as Ms Wang, who spent NZ$275 buying a fox-like dog breed, Japanese spitz, said her dog stopped eating dog food and started to grow a long, fluffy tail after reaching three months old.

A staff member from a local zoo recently confirmed to Wang that her pet was a domesticated fox, the Daily Mail reports.

As the animal grows, it develops a pointy face and thick coat. Photo / Shanxi TV
As the animal grows, it develops a pointy face and thick coat. Photo / Shanxi TV

Wang, from Jinzhong of Shanxi Provicne, told Shanxi Network Television that she bought what was said to be a Japanese spitz puppy from a pet shop last July.

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She fed the long-haired pooch fruit, chicken breasts and dog food. When the pet was three months old, it stopped eating dog food.

But Wang noticed her dog had never barked once.

The woman bought the 'Japanese spitz' puppy from a pet shop in Shanxi Province, north China. Photo / Shanxi TV
The woman bought the 'Japanese spitz' puppy from a pet shop in Shanxi Province, north China. Photo / Shanxi TV

"The fur got thicker when it reached three months old. Its face became pointy and its tail grew longer than that of a normal dog," she told the reporter.

Wang got told by park-goers that her pet was not a dog but a fox.

"Other pet dogs seemed to be scared by my pet so i walked it with a leash," she added.

She took her pet to Taiyuan Zoo in order to seek advice from experts.

The woman said onlookers suggested her pet was actually a fox. Photo / Shanxi TV
The woman said onlookers suggested her pet was actually a fox. Photo / Shanxi TV

Sun Letian, an expert in animal epidemic prevention at Taiyuan Zoo, confirmed Wang's pet is a fox.

"Based on the size, it is a domesticated fox. It carries a smell in their body and the smell can get stronger as it grows older," explained Mr Sun.

Measuring 30 centimetres long, the white-coated fox is expected to grow bigger.

The pet stopped eating dog food when it was three months old. Photo / Shanxi TV
The pet stopped eating dog food when it was three months old. Photo / Shanxi TV

Wang decided to send her pet to the zoo to receive suitable nutrition and a better living environment.

Sun said the fox will put in a quarantine zone for a month as workers carry health checks on the animal.

A Japanese spitz, pictured, has long fluffy hair that is similar to a while fox. Photo / 123RF
A Japanese spitz, pictured, has long fluffy hair that is similar to a while fox. Photo / 123RF

It will then put in the fox enclosure after approval.

"If you miss it, come by and have a visit," Sun told Wang.