SHANGHAI, Dec 21 — Corgis waddle around a pink-walled cafe in Shanghai as customers chomp on sweets shaped like the rump of the short-legged dogs.

Welcome to Hello Corgi Cafe, the latest coffee shop in China populated with pets that clients can caress while drinking coffee or tea.

“We want to provide a place to those who want to play with corgis but are not able to raise one at home,” said Wang Yimi, who founded the cafe with his girlfriend and another couple.

The group said their affection for corgis inspired them to open a cafe where other people can enjoy the animals’ company.

Hello Corgi, which opened in August, is famous for the chef’s special: corgi bum-shaped dumplings made of glutinous rice and brown sugar syrup.

Cakes and coffee are all topped by corgi butt patterns. Even the table cards are in the shape of canine bottoms.

Fourteen females shuffle around the cafe, some wearing shirts with QR codes printed on them, ahead of a planned systems upgrade when the pooches will become waitresses taking orders, Wang said.

“Customers can use their phones to scan those codes on the back of our corgis and order on their mobile with the new system coming soon, which can help us save on labour,” said Wang. 

“They are all female because females are more docile and do not fight a lot,” Wang said.

Customers took photos and hugged corgis on a recent afternoon.

“I like small animals so I enjoy visiting pet cafes like this one,” said Liu Xinyi, a customer who visited the coffee shop with her boyfriend.

“It can help me release stress. Touching them is comforting.”

Pet cafes have become an increasingly popular attraction in China, especially among young people who do not have enough money or space for a cat or a dog. — AFP