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The Chinese Shar Pei

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.

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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.


AKC Breed Standard

Canine Connections: The Chinese Shar Pei

 California Chinese Shar Pei Rescue

Be sure to visit "My Guys" to see my Chinese Shar Pei and other pets.

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