About the Shar Pei Breed
The Shar Pei is a square dog with a large head. It has a free gait with a good drive. It has characteristically wrinkled skin which, belies its ability as a fighting dog behind a slightly dopey appearance. The wrinkled skin means that it can twist and slide out of grips easier when under attack, and the short, bristly fur protects from bites.
This sandy coloured dog is very distinctive. The wrinkles it has are much more concentrated when a puppy, and they spread out as the dog ages, giving it a strange appearance of growing into its own skin. The hair that covers it is barely visible, and can either be 'brush' or 'horse', with brush being slightly longer, but still very short. There is also a 'bear' coat variety, but this is less pure blood, and is classed as being a coat longer than an inch at the withers. It has folded triangular ears, and a thick, curled tail.
As the name indicates, the Chinese Shar Pei originated in China. Not a lot is known about the origins of the breed, due to records being lost during the country's political turmoil. It is thought to have worked for peasant farmers as a guard dog or hunter/protector. It went through a worrying time in the 1900s when it became touted as "the world's rarest dog", but the rarity saved it as breeders sought them out and bred them away from extinction.
The Shar Pei needs daily physical and mental stimulation to keep it healthy. However, when playing it may try to chase animals as if they were livestock, owing to its suspected farming origin. This history also gives it a stubborn and independent attitude, and yet a potentially protective attitude over its family.