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Chinese Shar-Pei Breed Standard


Chinese Shar-Pei Breed Standard
Non-Sporting Group 

General Appearance 
An alert, compact dog of medium size and substance; square in profile, 
close coupled; the well-proportioned head slightly, but not overly large 
for the body. The short, harsh coat, the loose skin covering the head 
and body, the small ears, the "hippopotamus" muzzle shape and the high 
set tail impart to the Shar-Pei a unique look peculiar to him alone. The 
loose skin and wrinkles covering the head, neck and body are superabundant 
in puppies but these features may be limited to the head, neck and withers 
in the adult. 

Size, Proportion, Substance 
The height is 18 to 20 inches at the withers. The weight is 45 to 60 
pounds. The dog is usually larger and more square bodied than the bitch 
but both appear well proportioned. The height of the Shar-Pei from the 
ground to the withers is approximately equal to the length from the point 
of breastbone to the point of rump. 

Head and Skull 

The head is large, slightly, but not overly, proudly carried and covered 
with profuse wrinkles on the forehead continuing into side wrinkles 
framing the face. 
Eyes--Dark, small, almond-shaped and sunken, 
displaying a scowling expression. In the dilute colored dogs the eye 
color may be lighter. 
Ears-- extremely small, rather thick, equilateral triangles in shape, 
slightly rounded at the tips; edges of the ear may 
curl. Ears lie flat against the head, are set high, wide apart and 
forward on the skull, pointing toward the eyes. The ears have the 
ability to move. A pricked ear is a disqualification. 
Skull--flat and broad, the stop moderately defined. 
Muzzle--one of the distinctive features of the breed. 
It is broad and full with no suggestion of snipiness. (The length 
from nose to stop is approximately the same as from stop to occiput.) 
Nose large and wide and darkly pigmented, preferably black but any 
color conforming to the general coat color of the dog is acceptable. 
In dilute colors, the preferred nose is self-colored. Darkly pigmented 
cream Shar-Pei may have some light pigment either in the center of the 
nose or on the entire nose. The lips and top of muzzle are well-padded 
and may cause a slight bulge above the nose. Tongue, roof of mouth, 
gums and flews--solid bluish-black is preferred in all coat colors 
except in dilute colors, which have a solid lavender pigmentation. A 
spotted pink tongue is a major fault. A solid pink tongue is a disqualification.
(Tongue colors may lighten due to heat stress; care must be taken not 
to confuse dilute pigmentation with a pink tongue.) 
Teeth--strong, meeting in a scissors bite. Deviation from a scissors 
bite is a major fault. 

Neck, Topline, Body 
Neck--medium length, full and set well into the shoulders. There are 
moderate to heavy folds of loose skin and abundant dewlap about the 
neck and throat. The topline dips slightly behind the withers, slightly 
rising over the short, broad loin. 
A level, roach or swayed topline/backline shall be faulted. 
Chest--broad and deep with the brisket extending to the elbow and 
rising slightly under the loin. 
Back-- short and close-coupled. 
Croup-- flat, with the base of the tail set extremely high, 
clearly exposing an up-tilted anus. 
Tail--the high set tail is a characteristic feature of the Shar-Pei. 
A low set tail shall be faulted. 
The tail is thick and round at the base, tapering to a fine point and 
curling over or to either side of the back. The absence of a complete 
tail is a disqualification. 

Shoulders--muscular, well laid back and sloping. Forelegs--when viewed 
from the front, straight moderately spaced, with elbows close to the 
body. When viewed from the side, the forelegs are straight, the pasterns 
are strong and flexible. The bone is substantial but never heavy and is 
of moderate length. Removal of front dewclaws is optional. Feet--moderate 
in size, compact and firmly set, not splayed. 

Muscular, strong, and moderately angulated. The metatarsi (hocks) are 
short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed 
from the rear. Hind dewclaws must be removed. Feet as in front. 

The extremely harsh coat is one of the distinguishing features of the 
breed. The coat is absolutely straight and off standing on the main 
trunk of the body but generally lies somewhat flatter on the limbs. 
The coat appears healthy without being shiny or lustrous. Acceptable 
coat lengths may range from extremely short "horse coat" up to the 
"brush coat," not to exceed one inch in length at the withers. A soft 
coat, a wavy coat, a coat in excess of one inch at the withers or a coat 
that has been trimmed is a major fault. The Shar-Pei is shown in its 
natural state. 

Only solid colors and sable are acceptable and are to be judged on an 
equal basis. A solid color dog may have shading, primarily darker, down 
the back and on the ears. The shading must be variations of the same 
body color and may include darker hairs throughout the coat. 
The following colors are disqualifications: Albino; Not a solid color, 
i.e.: Brindle; Parti-colored; Spotted; Patterned in any combination of 

The movement of the Shar-Pei is to be judged at a trot. The gait is 
free and balanced with the feet tending to converge on a center line 
of gravity when the dog moves at a vigorous trot. The gait combines 
good forward reach and strong drive in the hindquarters. Proper movement 
is essential. 

Regal, alert, intelligent, dignified, lordly, scowling, sober and 
snobbish essentially independent and somewhat standoffish with strangers, 
but extreme in his devotion to his family. The Shar-Pei stands firmly on 
the ground with a calm, confident stature. 

Major Faults 
Deviation from a Scissors Bite.
Spotted Tongue.
A soft coat, a wavy coat, a coat in excess of 1" in length at the 
withers or a coat that has been trimmed. 


Pricked ears.
Solid pink tongue.
Absence of a complete tail.
Albino; not a solid color, i.e.: Brindle; Parti-colored; Spotted; 
Patterned in any combination of colors 

Approved January 12, 1998
Effective February 28, 1998 

Chinese Shar-Pei History

Chinese Shar-Pei History The Chinese Shar-Pei, is an ancient and unique breed and has existed for centuries in the southern provinces of China, apparently since the Han Dynasty (c. 200 BC). Statues bearing a strong resemblance to the Shar-Pei have been discovered and dated to this period. The name "Shar-Pei" literally means "sand-skin", translated more loosely as "rough, sandy coat" or "sand-paper-like coat" and refers to the two distinctive qualities of the coat - roughness and shortness - which make the breed unique in the dog world. Another distinctive characteristic with only one other breed, the Chow-Chow, is having a blue-black tongue. Following the establishment of the People's Republic of China as a communist nation, the dog population of China was essentially eliminated. During this period a few Chinese Shar-Pei were bred in Hong Kong, BC and in the Republic of China (Taiwan). The breed was not recognized by the Hong Kong Kennel Club until about 1968. Subsequently the Hong Kong and Kowloon Kennel Association established a dog registry and registered the Shar-Pei. Today the breed is also registered in Taiwan, Japan, Korea and organizations in Europe, Canada and Great Britain. In the United States a few were imported in 1966 from stock registered with the Hong Kong Kennel Club. Interest increased and the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America, Inc., held its first organizational meeting in 1974. On May 4, 1988, the breed was accepted in to the Miscellaneous Class. Acceptance into the Non-Sporting Group came on August 1, 1992.