Breeds of dogs: Shar Pei

Breeds of dogs: Shar Pei

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Origin, classification and history

Origin: China.
F.C.I classification: Group 2 - pinscher, schnauzer, molossoid and Swiss cattle dogs.

The breed was born in China, where it had its slow evolution up to the particular aspect of today. Very ancient breed. The history of this breed begins at least two thousand years BC, with the molossoids that arrived in China from the highlands of Tibet. Dogs very similar to Shar-Pei are reproduced in the paintings of the Han dynasty, from 206 BC to 220 AD It has been known for centuries in the Chinese provinces bordering the South China Sea, especially in the city of Dah Let, located in the Kwuan Tung province.
This singular breed should have evolved in the southern part of China; it was used by Chinese peasants and farmers for the guard, and subsequently for dog fights, in which the Shar-Pei gave a show. The breed was recovered in Hong Kong by American dog lovers around the 1970s. At the beginning, the International Federation doubted the stability of the characters of the breed, therefore it proved hesitant to recognize this dog, but later officially had the admission to the register of recognized breeds, also due to the insistence of the American dog lovers who had it discovery. It is currently bred across Europe; well bred also in Italy.

General aspect

Medium-sized dog, stocky, compact, reactive, solid and square; well planted on the legs. It is an unmistakable breed for its mass of folds and wrinkles that cover its entire body. The head is very strong with a square muzzle along its entire length, which may resemble that of the hippopotamus. It is covered with very hard satin hair, which can be solid black, light tan or cream. The large amount of leather is the characteristic that makes the breed unique.


He is a very peaceful and serene dog. Despite its not large size, it is endowed with great strength; he does not prove quarrelsome with his fellow men. By now the breed has completely lost its past as a fighting dog, even if it knows how to defend itself very well from other dogs. It requires you to spend a lot of time outdoors and to do a lot of movement, in order to oxygenate your skin, which in the folds is very prone to rather annoying inflammations.

Shar Pei (photo

Shar Pei (photo

Shar Pei (photo

Shar Pei (photo website)


Height: between 40 and 51 cm at the withers.

Weight: the male is heavier and more square than the female. The balance of individual proportions is very important.
Trunk: the chest is wide and deep, the back short; the upper line is slightly sloping behind the withers, to then go up towards the junction of the tail, located very high above the kidneys. Numerous folds of the skin, in continuation of wrinkles and dewlap, cover the body.
Head and muzzle: the skull is flat and wide, rather large in comparison to the body; stop little accentuated. The forehead and cheeks are covered by a profusion of fine wrinkles, which extend downwards to form a heavy dewlap. The muzzle has a moderate length and has the same width from the eyes up to the truffle.
Truffle: black, important, wide; there are occasionally cream-colored dogs with brick truffle and beige dogs with brown truffle, but the black nose is always preferable.
Teeth: strong and regular. Scissor closure. Gums preferably black.
Neck: strong, thick, well inserted between the shoulders.
Ears: small, fairly thick, in the shape of an equilateral triangle, with a slightly rounded tip. They are attached very high.
Eyes: dark, small, almond-shaped, deeply embedded in the orbits. Beige and cream-colored dogs sometimes have light eyes. The sunken eye and the wrinkles that cover the forehead accentuate the austere expression of the dog.
Limbs: front straight and of moderate length, with solid skeleton. Strong and muscular hindquarters, the hocks quite open and well descended; the leg is straight between the hips and the hock joint. Medium sized feet, compact and well supported.
Shoulder: oblique and muscular.
Tail: the most appreciated tail is attached high and carried to the side, tightly curled. Three portaments are allowed.
Skin: fundamental characteristic of the breed. It is thick and wrinkled and forms an abundant dewlap around the throat.
Hair: very short and shaggy; to the touch, its hardness is not common.
Allowed colors: black, tan, dark brown, beige and cream, often shaded. The lower part of the tail and the back of the thighs are lighter, but without white traces and never spotted.
Most common defects: prognathism, enognatism, spotted tongue, badly worn tail, smooth hair, long hair, shiny hair, any coat that is not hard or shaggy, snout not quite square, monorchidism, cryptorchidism, incorrect gait, defective back, slightly thick skin, wrinkles and pleats too little marked, colors not allowed by the standard.

curated by Vinattieri Federico -

Video: Dog Breeds: How to Select a Chinese Shar-Pei (July 2022).


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