Having been in danger of extinction during the late 1960s, this ancient Chinese dog breed has since attracted the attention of dog fanciers throughout the world, and its future is now assured. Its origins date back over 2,000 years, and it may have a common ancestry with the Chow Chow, with which it shares the unique characteristic of having a blue tongue. A recent addition to the British show scene, at one stage Shar-peis were kept as fighting dogs, their loose folds of skin enabling them to wriggle free from an opponent and strike back. These days are thankfully long past, and, in terms of temperament, the contemporary Shar-pei is an exuberant and loving companion.
Coat Type/Colour: Short; wide variety
Height: 18 – 20 Inch (45.5 – 51 cm)
Weight: 44 – 55 lb (20 – 25 kg)
Nature: Exuberant and loving
The rescue of the breed was achieved through the efforts of a Hong Kong breeder called Matgo Law. Directly as a result of his appeal in the dog press, American enthusiasts imported Shar-peis and the breed was then taken to Britain and other European countries. Although the first litter of Shar-peis was only produced in 1982 in Britain, the breed has since become a relatively common sight. There can be a problem associated with it, however, which breeders are now trying to eliminate. Bacterial infections may develop in skin folds if these are excessive, and Shar-peis are also prone to an abnormality affecting the eyelids, called entropion. This is likely to need surgical correction before the eyelashes can damage the cornea and affect the dog’s sight.