The Chinese Shar Pei were
brought to the United States, from China, in the early 1970's by a man from
California. He saw a story about them in Life Magazine. It explained their sad
fate as they were almost extinct. This touched his heart, and he decided to
play an integral role in their rescue. He brought back several Shar Pei and
began breeding them. However it was to take almost 20 years for them to give
up their status as a rare breed.
The name of "Shar Pei",
loosely translated, means "sandy coat" and relates to a bristly or rough feeling
of the short coated dogs of this breed. Even the longer haired Shar Pei, whose
coats are named "brush coat" still have a bit of a bristly feel to them. This
along with their wrinkles, protected them during "fights". Like a porcupines
quills, this rough coat made it extremely unpleasant for another dog to bite
into. The wrinkles, just loose skin, allowed them to turn around or be mobile
even when their opponent was biting into them. Uggh, awful isn't it that people
would actually breed a dog with significant advantage over another to win a
fight for money.
The Shar Pei are a misunderstood
breed. It was probably to some degree truth, that the inbreeding that occurred
contributed to some of the illnesses associated with the Shar Pei however there
are no greater number of illnesses associated with the Shar Pei than there are
with other purebreds. Inbreeding was almost unavoidable in the Shar Pei as there
were just not many Shar Pei left alive. Their history states that they were
used as guard dogs, and to a great extent as fighting dogs. This is certainly
no fault of their own, and the individuals perpetuating this type of "entertainment",
well I don't want to say what I think of them. The Shar Pei acquired a reputation
for being vicious and unpredictable. Sadly enough that may have been the case
with some, however there were and are, many breeders out there who worked honestly
and with great pains, to have their dogs be wonderful family pets.
As with any other dog,
socialization is extremely important. It is of paramount importance in the Chinese
Shar Pei as they tend to become very attached to one person. They are very loving
and loyal companions because of this and beware anyone who threatens or who
is a perceived threat to their person. When people ask me if they are good with
children I can only answer that I don't believe that a blanket statement such
as that should ever be made. I believe, that some dogs may be better with children
than others, but I also believe that some children may be better with dogs than
others. In general most any dog socialized well will be able to accept the child
however remember too that a child may touch any dog's basic instinct of domination
over the weaker and smaller.
The Shar Pei now have
full status in the AKC. They were admitted in the early 1990's. Even then their
admission was met with much skepticism, however I have heard that the judges
and fellow competitors alike, have been pleasantly surprised at their gentle
and loving nature.
Ihave found the Shar Pei
to be a wonderful, loving, energetic and definately protective pet. That silly
look they have is surely enough to melt even the hardest heart.
Below you will find the
standard for the Chinese Shar Pei. They require a firm hand, good and thorough
training, and lots of love. They truly are a regal and noble breed.
Interested in learning more about the Chinese Shar Pei?
Click on the links below.
Connections: The Chinese Shar Pei
Chinese Shar Pei Rescue
Be sure to visit "My
Guys" to see my Chinese Shar Pei and other pets.