The Chinese Shar-Pei, an ancient and unique breed, is thought to have originated in the area around the small village of Tai Li in Kwangtung Province, and has existed for centuries in the southern provinces of China, apparently since the Han Dynasty (c. 200 B.C.). At that time the dogs were called Chinese fighting dogs and weighed c. 60 – 70 kg.
They were not a palace dogs, they lived in the Chinese countryside. Their life was tough. The villagers used the Shar Pei mainly as guardian of his master's home. They were also used to protect livestock from predators and to hunt animals such as the wild boar. Supposedly they were also eaten especially in the Canton Province which is known for using anything that hasn’t run away in its cuisine.
The name "Shar Pei" itself literally means "sand-skin", but translated more loosely as "rough, sandy coat" or "sand-paper-like coat" and refers to the two distinctive qualities of the Shar Pei coat - roughness and shortness - which make the breed unique in the dog world.
Loose skin, deep set eyes and small ears that are difficult to attack are major features to make the dog perfect for hunting large animals and later made the breed typical for dog fights. Up to this day, when attacked, their loose skin enables them to turn quickly and fight back the predator.
After the communist takeover of China, dog breeding was banned and high taxes were placed on dog owners. The dog population of China was essentially eliminated. Dogs were declared a "decadent, bourgeois luxury" and dog breeding was banned. The result of all this pressure was that when in the 70’s Mr Matgo Law started to take care of the Shar Pei breed, only a few scattered specimens of the noble Shar Pei of the Han Dynasty were left.
Strong interest in the breed increased in 1973 when Matgo Law of Down-Homes Kennels, Hong Kong, appealed to dog fanciers in the United States to "Save the Chinese Shar-Pei". The response was enthusiastic, and because of their rarity, a limited number of Shar-Pei arrived in the United States in the fall of 1973. The recipients of these dogs corresponded with each other and decided to form a national dog club and registry. The Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America, Inc. (CSPCA), held its first organizational meeting in 1974, and the club has been in continuous existence since that time.
The first Shar Pei in Europe was born in 1980 to Bedlam’s Love Song (black bitch) in BS (breeding station) TSIHMAO´S. The first Shar Pei to Czechoslovakia was brought from Danmark in May 1986 – it was a grey-black short-coat bitch called Fallohide Shanghai Lily. She was then one year old and on 1st June 1987 she gave birth to seven puppies in BS BULLIT owned by Mr Tomas Petrus. That was a start of Shar Pei breeding in our country.
Source: H. Petrusová – This is Shar Pei (Toto je šarpej)
ORIGIN : China.
PATRONAGE : F.C.I.
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD : 14.04.1999.
UTILIZATION : Hunting- and watch-dog.
CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. : Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossians and Swiss
Section 2.1 Molossian, Mastiff type.
Without working trial.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : This Chinese breed has existed for hundreds of years in the provinces bordering the South China Sea. The town of Dialak in the province of Kwun Tung is probably the place of origin.
GENERAL APPEARANCE : Active, compact, short coupled and squarely built dog of medium size. Wrinkles over skull and withers, small ears and « hippopotamus » muzzle impart to the Shar Pei a unique look. Dogs larger and more powerful than bitches.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS : The height of the Shar Pei from withers to ground is approximately equal to the length of the body, from point of shoulder to point of buttock, especially in males. The length from nose to stop is approximately equal to the length from stop to occiput.
BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : Calm, independent, loyal, affectionate to his family.
Rather large in proportion to body. Wrinkles on forehead and cheeks continuing to form dewlap.
CRANIAL REGION :
Skull : Flat, broad.
Stop : Moderate.
FACIAL REGION :
Nose : Large and wide, preferably black, but any colour conforming to general coat colour permissible. Wide opened nostrils.
Muzzle : A distinctive feature of the breed. Broad from root to tip of nose with no suggestion of tapering. Lips and top of muzzle well padded. Bulge at the base of the nose permissible.
Mouth : Tongue, roof of mouth, gums and flews : bluish black is preferred. Pink spotted tongue permissible. Solid pink tongue highly undesirable. In dilute-coloured dogs the tongue is solid lavender.
Jaws/Teeth : Jaws strong with a perfect scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Padding of lower lip should not be so excessive as to interfere with the bite.
Eyes : Dark, almond-shaped with a scowling expression. Lighter colour permissible in dilute-coloured dogs. Function of eyeball or lid in no way disturbed by surrounding skin, folds or hair. Any sign of irritation of eyeball, conjunctiva or eyelids highly undesirable. Free from entropion.
Ears : Very small, rather thick, equilaterally triangular in shape, slightly rounded at tip and set high on the skull with tips pointing towards eyes; set well forward over eyes, wide apart and close to skull. Pricked ears highly undesirable.
NECK : Medium length, strong, set well on shoulders. The loose skin under the neck should not be excessive.
BODY : Folds of skin on body in mature dogs highly undesirable except on withers and base of tail, which show moderate wrinkling.
Topline : Dips slightly behind withers; then it rises slightly over loin.
Back : Short, strong.
Loin : Short, broad, slightly arched.
Croup : Rather flat.
Chest : Broad and deep, brisket reaching the elbow.
Underline : Rises slightly under the loin.
TAIL : Thick and round at the root, tapering to a fine point. The tail is set very high, a characteristic feature of the breed. May be carried high and curved, carried in tight curl or curved over or to either side of the back. Lack of or incomplete tail highly undesirable.
FOREQUARTERS : Forelegs straight, moderate length, good bone. The skin on forelegs shows no wrinkle.
Shoulders : Muscular, well laid and sloping.
Metacarpus (Pastern) : Slightly sloping, strong and flexible.
HINDQUARTERS : Muscular, strong, moderately angulated, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Wrinkles on upper thighs, lower thighs, rear pasterns as well as the thickening of the skin on hocks undesirable.
Hocks : Well let down.
FEET : Moderate size, compact, not splayed. Toes well knuckled. Hindfeet free from dewclaws.
GAIT / MOVEMENT : The preferred gait is trot. The gait is free, balanced, active with good forward reach and strong drive from the hindquarters. The feet tend to converge to a center line when the speed increases. Stilted gait undesirable.
HAIR : A distinctive feature of the breed : short, harsh and bristly. The coat is straight and offstanding on the body, but generally flatter on the limbs. No undercoat. The coat may vary in length from 1 cm to 2,5 cm. Never trimmed.
COLOUR : All solid colours acceptable except white. Tail and rear part of thighs frequently of a lighter colour. Darker shading down the back and on the ears permissible.
Height : 44 - 51 cm at withers (17,5 - 20 ins).
FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
SERIOUS FAULTS :
- Deviation from a scissor bite (as a transitory measure, a very slightly overshot mouth is permissible).
- Snipy muzzle.
- Spotted tongue (except pink spotted tongue).
- Large ears.
- Low set tail.
- Coat longer than 2,5 cm.
ELIMINATING FAULTS :
- Aggresive or overly shy.
- Flat foreface with badly overshot bite; undershot bite.
- Solid pink tongue.
- Lower lip rolled in, interfering with the bite.
- Round, bulging eye. Entropion, ectropion.
- Skin, folds or hair disturbing the normal function of the eye.
- Pricked ears.
- Absence of tail; stumpy tail.
- Heavy folds of skin on body (except withers and base of tail) and limbs.
- Not a solid colour (albino, brindle, patches, spots, black and tan, saddled pattern).
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
REMARK : Any artificial physical alteration to the Shar Pei (in particular lips and eyelids) eliminates the dog from competition.