The Chinese Shar Pei
The Chinese Shar-Pei is quite a large dog, ranging from 18-20 inches in height and weighing between 40-55 pounds. It is highly distinguished by its wrinkled skin and almost hippopotamus muzzle. One misconception, commonly made, is that Shar-Peis have skin problems because of their wrinkles. Some do have skin problems, but it is likely a hereditary condition for example skin allergies. The breed has a square profile with a broad, flat head, and wide padded and full muzzle. They have a purple tongue, a lot like and sometimes confused with the Chow Chow.
Shar Peis eyes are small and almond-shaped, they are dark but can be lighter in dogs with a dilute coloured coat. Their ears are very small, high set and triangular. The tail is thick at the base, tapering to a fine point and set extremely high.
Their distinguishing wrinkles are more apparent in puppies, adults tend to loose a lot of their wrinkles, especially those on their back.
There are three coat varieties; horse-coat, brush-coat and bear-coat, bear-coat is not recognized by the Kennel
Club because it does not fall within KC standards for coat length, which must not exceed 1 inch. A common theory about the bear-coat is that it’s a “throwback” to the Chow-Chow. They are rare but quite a popular choice when the dog is to be no more than a pet as they can not be shown. They are often confused with the Chow because of their full coat.
The horse-coat is very rough to the touch and commonly referred to as sandpaper, it is extremely prickly. The brush-coat has a much smoother plush feel to it. Coat colours include solid colors, sables and a more unusual flowered coat, again the flowered coat would be a disqualifying fault in the show ring according to KC standard.
The Shar-Pei is a very loyal dog. They are intelligent, somewhat aloof or snob like, playful, active, dominant, and brave. They tend to develop great bonds with their family but need to be socialised whilst still young. The Chinese Shar-Pei is easy-going, calm, independent and hopelessly devoted to its owners. It makes a delightful companion and a good watchdog. They require a confident handler. If not, it will attempt to take over as the boss. The Shar-Pei needs a firm, but gentle handler. It needs to be taught that all humans are above him in the pecking order. Those who see themselves as above humans will be stubborn and bold.
Upon first approach, never stroke a Shar Pei on his head. They don’t like being touched by strangers. It takes a little while to earn their trust but once you do you have a friend for life and they would protect you to the death.