Origin and Brief History
As its name might suggest, the Chinese Shar Pei breed originated from China. While the early history of these dogs is unclear, what is certain is that small clay figurines have been found in China dating back approximately 2,000 years. The Shar Pei is thought to have been a common dog, especially amongst farmers of the region. It has been suggested that the Shar Pei could be related Chows, mainly due to the fact that these two breeds are the only in the world that both have blue/black tongues. Recent DNA analysis has shown that the Shar Pei is actually one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world. They were used as fighting dogs for a time as well.
While they can be very loving and devoted dogs, the Shar Pei also has it’s stubborn side. Originally being bred as work/guard dogs, they can still exhibit these behaviors, though with proper training early on this can hopefully not become too big of a problem.
The Shar Pei is well known for its wrinkly face and short hair. The large flaps and folds of skin on and around the face can prove to be quite the challenge however. They should be cleaned on a regular basis, since the area can get very moist, resulting in poor hygiene. The dog’s skin can become red and irritated if not kept clean and dry. Bacteria buildup is a real concern, so a normal cleaning schedule should be maintained.
Specification of Breed
The male Shar Pei can weigh anywhere from 40 to 65 pounds, while the female comes in at a smaller 40 to 55 pound range. Both genders generally reach a height of between 18 to 22 inches. There are three different types of coats a Shar Pei can have: horse, brush, or bear. The horse coat is the shortest of the three, while the brush coat contains hairs up to one inch long. A Shar Pei with hair over one inch long has a bear coat. They also come in many colors, including black, blue, cream, red, and fawn. The American Kennel Club officially recognizes 16 colors for the Shar Pei breed. And as mentioned earlier, the Shar Pei is best known for its wrinkles.
Due to poor breeding when the Shar Pei was first brought to America, many of these dogs are predisposed to health problems. If not bathed regularly, the skin on and around the face can become raw and infected. Also, due to the excessive skin around the eyes, the Shar Pei can develop entropion, a condition where the skin and/or eyelashes rub against the eye. If left untreated, blindness could occur.
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