SHAR-PEI.jpg
Breed Group Group 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds
Sub-group 2-C: Asian Spitz Breeds
Origin Country China
Weight Males: 40-60 pounds. Females: 40-60 pounds.
Height Males: 17-20 inches. Females: 17-20 inches.
Other Name(s) Chinese Fighting Dog, Chinese Shar Pei, Chinese Shar-Pei, Shar Pei, Shar-Pei
Breed Type Pure
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Shar-Pei

Breed Group Group 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds
Sub-group 2-C: Asian Spitz Breeds
Origin Country China
Weight Males: 40-60 pounds. Females: 40-60 pounds.
Height Males: 17-20 inches. Females: 17-20 inches.
Other Name(s) Chinese Fighting Dog, Chinese Shar Pei, Chinese Shar-Pei, Shar Pei, Shar-Pei
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

Like many breed histories that have been lost to antiquity, the Shar-Pei’s exact origins are not fully known. The history of the Chinese Shar-Pei can be traced as far back as the Han Dynasty (200 CE), with Shar-Pei-like dogs being found on pottery dating back over 2000 years. Due to the shared demographics and geography, as well as some physical similarities, the Shar-Pei is believed to share common ancestors with both the Chow Chow and Mastiffs. The ancestors of the modern-day Shar-Pei were originally used for hunting, herding, sentry work, the cruel sport of dog fighting, and even as a food source. Like the Chow Chow, the Shar-Pei exhibits a darkly pigmented tongue. It was believed that when the Shar-Pei barked, he would scare off evil spirits.

Because they weren’t technically a breed until rather recently, several types of these dogs were developed throughout China. In southern China, the dogs were athletic, short coated, muscular, and had a clean bite. In the middle part of the country, the dogs were medium sized, shorter in stature than the dogs in the south, more substantially boned, and very athletic. They developed a herding and terrier-type of instinct that was prevalent in the areas of central China where farming and herding were predominant. In northern China, the winters were long and cold in the small villages, so these dogs had thicker coats, and were generally larger. The Shar-Pei was expected to remain quiet if he was to reside in the same quarters as his master—a trait that many Shar-Peis carry to this day.

The breed was almost lost in its native homeland of China during the Communist Revolution, and their numbers suffered a dramatic decline. However, the breed’s plight came into the spotlight when it was discussed in issues of Dogs magazine during the 1970s. From there, roughly 200 Chinese Shar-Peis were imported to the United States, of which the American variety was developed.

Today, there are two varieties of Shar-Pei that are recognized: the Traditional, Eastern, or Bone-Mouth Shar-Peis still found in native China, and Western or Meat-Mouth Shar-Peis. Traditional Shar-Peis tend to be rangier, leggier, and lighter in bone with minimal wrinkles. The Western varieties have been specifically bred to have an abundance of wrinkles and tend to be heavier in build.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is broad, medium in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head exhibits somewhat loose skin and some wrinkling, but loose skin that allows for or contributes to ectropion or ectropion is incorrect. The topskull is flat, long, and broad, being as wide (measured from one side to the other in front of the ears) as it is long (measured from occiput to stop).
Eyes: They eyes are moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and color should be in accordance to the coat color. They should appear well-set in the skull. The eye rims are well-fitted and should never be appear heavy, wrinkled, or “sunken.” There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: The ears are thick, relatively small, and shaped like equilateral triangles with slightly rounded tips. Ears are set high on the plane of the skull and preferably with the tips lying close to the head, and pointing forward. Ears should never be fully erect.
Muzzle: The muzzle is a distinct characteristic of the Shar-Pei breed. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed and approximately equal in length. They have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak. It does not taper, or form a wedge, but is rounded in profile due to thick, well-padded, large lips. A bulge formed by skin before the nose is permissible.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat in liver and dilute color varieties. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage and strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. Folds forming a slight dewlap are permissible; however, excessive skin or pendulous dewlaps are incorrect. Skin on the neck and body should be somewhat loose, but taut at the same time, not altering the overall outline of the dog.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Body: The body is short-coupled and may range from a compact and solid build to moderate substance throughout, depending on the type. The body should always appear athletic, and never cloddy or racy. Wrinkling, excess skin, skin folds, or any looseness that obscures the natural outline of the mature dog is incorrect and undesirable.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set high on the croup. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. It may be straight, gently curved, or curled over the back to either side. Tightly curled tails are not uncommon for the breed, but should not be preferred as they are associated with hemivertebrae (twisted spines).
Movement: The Shar-Pei is an athletic breed and should move freely, effortlessly, and efficiently. He should show no signs of stilted gait or hindrance. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The Shar-Pei is a highly intelligent breed that can adapt to just about any home and lifestyle. They exude a calm, regal, and sovereign character, being unconcerned and unthreatened by people and things that do not directly appeal to them or their senses. They are notoriously independent and somewhat strong-willed; therefore, early socialization and training to help them understand life in human society. When raised with children, they become instant friends. Their primary role is companion and pet, but due to their nature to only bark when they sense something worth barking at, they can be excellent sentry dogs. While extremely devoted and loyal to his family, a mature dog can develop an attitude of indifference and even aloofness toward strangers or people outside of their families. This should not be considered a fault. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 2: Spitz and Nordic Breeds

Proportions: Square with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump being just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio is between 1:1 and 10:9. Females may be slightly longer. The body is well-put together, with sturdy substance and medium bone. The overall substance may range from moderate to substantial, depending on the type.

Head

General Appearance: Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is broad, medium in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head exhibits somewhat loose skin and some wrinkling, but loose skin that allows for or contributes to ectropion or ectropion is incorrect. The topskull is flat, long, and broad, being as wide (measured from one side to the other in front of the ears) as it is long (measured from occiput to stop).
Expression: Regal, self-assured, somewhat serious, and composed.
Stop: The stop is moderate.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:1, with the topskull being equal to the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel.
Muzzle: The muzzle is a distinct characteristic of the Shar-Pei breed. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed and approximately equal in length. They have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak. It does not taper, or form a wedge, but is rounded in profile due to thick, well-padded, large lips. A bulge formed by skin before the nose is permissible.
Lips or Flews: Lips are loose and moderately thick, but never pendulous and hanging. They should never hang below the plane of the lower jaw. Lips should never interfere with the bite or the closing of the mouth.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat in liver and dilute color varieties. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: The cheeks are smoothly muscled, but should not appear chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, and white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: They eyes are moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and color should be in accordance to the coat color. They should appear well-set in the skull. The eye rims are well-fitted and should never be appear heavy, wrinkled, or “sunken.” There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: The ears are thick, relatively small, and shaped like equilateral triangles with slightly rounded tips. Ears are set high on the plane of the skull and preferably with the tips lying close to the head, and pointing forward. Ears should never be fully erect.

Body and Tail

General Description: The body is short-coupled and may range from a compact and solid build to moderate substance throughout, depending on the type. The body should always appear athletic, and never cloddy or racy. Wrinkling, excess skin, skin folds, or any looseness that obscures the natural outline of the mature dog is incorrect and undesirable.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage and strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. Folds forming a slight dewlap are permissible; however, excessive skin or pendulous dewlaps are incorrect. Skin on the neck and body should be somewhat loose, but taut at the same time, not altering the overall outline of the dog.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Topline: Level from slightly prominent withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never swayed or roached. Top lines that rise just slightly toward the loin and croup are not uncommon, but are not preferred, as they detract from the dog’s ability to move efficiently.
Croup: Flat and level with the back or gently sloped.
Underline: Slight tuck-up present or the underline may run parallel to the topline. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, but never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set high on the croup. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. It may be straight, gently curved, or curled over the back to either side. Tightly curled tails are not uncommon for the breed, but should not be preferred as they are associated with hemivertebrae (twisted spines).

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, moderate bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length. Hindquarters are strong, sturdy, of moderate bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The Shar-Pei comes in three coat varieties: the horse coat, the brush coat, and the bear coat.
Horse coat: extremely short, straight, stiff, standing away from body, up to 1 inch.
Brush coat: extremely harsh, straight, standing away from body, lying flatter on limbs 1-2.5 inches.
Bear coat: extremely harsh, straight, over 2.5 inches, with or without undercoat.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Chinese Shar-Pei breed: the standard color and non-standard color variety.
Standard coat color variety: Solid colors including cream, tan, orange, black, liver, blue, Isabella, lilac, champagne, fawn or apricot (any shade of tan or red with black, liver, blue, Isabella, or lilac mask), agouti, sables in the above listed colors.
Non-standard coat color variety: All of the above listed colors with white markings (flowered, or spotted), solid white, brindle, saddle marked, tan points, creeping tan, brindled tan, all with or without white markings (flowered or spotted).

Movement

The Shar-Pei is an athletic breed and should move freely, effortlessly, and efficiently. He should show no signs of stilted gait or hindrance. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The Shar-Pei is a highly intelligent breed that can adapt to just about any home and lifestyle. They exude a calm, regal, and sovereign character, being unconcerned and unthreatened by people and things that do not directly appeal to them or their senses. They are notoriously independent and somewhat strong-willed; therefore, early socialization and training to help them understand life in human society. When raised with children, they become instant friends. Their primary role is companion and pet, but due to their nature to only bark when they sense something worth barking at, they can be excellent sentry dogs. While extremely devoted and loyal to his family, a mature dog can develop an attitude of indifference and even aloofness toward strangers or people outside of their families. This should not be considered a fault. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.