SHAR PEI CHINESE
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CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SHAR-PEI by ALICE FRITZ
I am fairly certain that most people think that their breed of dog is the best one above all the others. The Chinese Shar-Pei is no differ- ent. Once people own one, they seldom change to another breed. It truly is a unique breed. They are very loyal dogs and extremely devoted to their fam- ily. There isn’t much they wouldn’t do for their owners. When you are gone, they will be looking for your return. They are a little bit stand-offish and aloof with strangers but over time will become friends with them as well. Shar-Pei makes great house compan- ions. They are easy to house-train. They love to keep themselves and their area clean. Puppies housebreak themselves. Many of them take care of “their busi- ness” at the farthest corners of their yard to keep their play area clean. This is not taught, it is just a natural quality unique to the breed. If you change the home of a Shar-Pei puppy, give them three days and they will learn where you expect them to go outside. They are pretty mellow dogs and once they have outgrown the puppy stage, they are fairly calm dogs. They do require exercise, though, whether that is daily walks or the opportunity to run freely in a fenced backyard. Most Shar-Pei love children and are very protective if they feel that someone is trying to harm a child. Shar- Pei are watch dogs and they take their job seriously of watching over their homes and family members. Although they aren’t really known as barkers, they will certainly alert you to a strang- er approaching the home or to anything out of the ordinary going on outside. If you hear a Shar-Pei barking wildly, you had better go investigate. Many of them even watch from the window for the owners to return and can recognize the vehicles that the fam- ily drives. They want to be in the same room as their owners and will follow you from room to room. Shar-Pei will either sleep close to your feet while you watch t.v. or they will lay in a spot so
they can watch all the entrances to the home while keeping an eye on the own- ers as well. If you have your heart set on a lap dog, then this probably is not the breed for you. There are some people that don’t believe that dogs can show empathy, but Shar-Pei can! They sense when you are sad and will do their best to show their deep love for you, as well as try to make you feel better. They are very affectionate dogs and might even show- er you with kisses, although that is not reserved for just being sad! Learning is not a problem with this breed. They love to learn new things but they also can be a little stubborn. If they feel that what they are learn- ing is not fun or useful, there might be a problem. On the whole, they love to please their owners and will try just about anything the owner asks of them, up to a point. We have quite a few dogs in our breed that partici- pate in conformation, obedience/rally, agility, therapy work, herding, flyball and freestyle dance. There are several multi-titled dogs that have earned Ver- satility titles from the CSPCA. Most of the breed has a pretty good understand- ing of the difference between working and playing. You can often find them playing outside of a show or perfor- mance ring, but get serious and down to business as soon as they cross the line into the ring. Shar-Pei have no problem running the show, so they need a strong owner that lets them know who the boss is. They are happy to have their owners step up to that job, but if the owner doesn’t, then they will. Most of the breed gets along well with other dogs and some even get along with cats. It is easy to run these dogs in a pack as long as they know who the boss is. You prob- ably need to know that Shar-Pei are like potato chips—you can’t have just one. As with any breed, there are things that you need to do on a regular main- tenance basis. The breed is pretty much a “wash and wear” breed; bathe
them when needed and let them air dry. Their hair is so short so that blow drying is not necessary. Their nails grow very fast so it is a good idea to trim the nails weekly. Since the ears fold over towards the face, that structure is the ideal setting for ear problems. Weekly cleaning of the ears, when you do the nails, is recommended. The breed usu- ally “blows their coat” (sheds) twice a year with the changes of seasons. Dur- ing this time you will probably want to brush the loose hair out of their coat. All breeds of dogs have some kind of health issues. The inherited problems in the breed are Shar-Pei fever, Amyloi- dosis (kidney disease), entropion (roll- ing in of the lids on the eyeball) and allergies, which cause skin problems. Not all Shar-Pei are affected with these problems, but if you have a problem, it is likely to be one of the ones men- tioned. Good breeders have worked hard to eliminate these problems and are making process in eliminating these inherited health issues. All in all, the owners of this breed are just as devoted to the breed as the dogs are devoted to the owners. If you would like more information about our breed, you can always go to our website to find more information www.cspca.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Alice Fix has owned Shar-Pei for 27 years. She is currently a Direc- tor-at-Large for
the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America. She also is Co-Chairman of the Public Education Committee, Chairman of the CSPCA Affiliated Club Presidents Group, President of the Centennial Chinese Shar-Pei Club in Colorado, Editor for The Barker magazine and serves on the CSPCA Health Testing Committee. Alice resides in Aurora, Colorado with her three Shar-Pei.
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Official Standard of the Chinese Shar-Pei
General Appearance: An alert, compact dog of medium size and substance; square in profile, close coupled; the well-pro- portioned 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.
- 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 disqualifica- tion. Forequarters: Shoulders - muscular, well laid back and slop- ing. Forelegs - when viewed from the front, straight moder- ately 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. Hindquarters: 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. Coat: 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 with- out being shiny or lustrous. Acceptable coat lengths may range from extremely short "horse coat" up to the "brush coat," not to exceed 1 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. Color: Only solid colors and sable are acceptable and are to be judged on an equal basis. A solid color dog may have shad- ing, 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 colors. Gait: 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. Temperament: Regal, alert, intelligent, dignified, lordly, scowling, sober and snobbish essentially independent and somewhat standoffish with strangers, but extreme in his devo- tion 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 inch in length at the withers or a coat that has been trimmed. Disqualifications: 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
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 with- ers 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 scowl- ing expression. In the dilute colored dogs the eye color may be lighter. Ears - extremely small, rather thick, equilateral trian- gles 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 pig- ment 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/back- line shall be faulted. Chest - broad and deep with the brisket extending to the elbow and rising slightly under the loin. Back
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JUDGING THE CHINESE SHAR-PEI
By Grace Fritz
A nyone familiar with Chinese Shar-Pei has undoubtedly noticed great improvements in a number of areas since the breed first appeared in the US approximately forty years ago. First accepted into the Miscellaneous Class in 1988, Chinese Shar-Pei took their spot in the Non-Sporting Group in 1992. In addition to significant improvements in temperament and overall health, conscientious breed- ers have worked to standardize the breed’s size, style, pigmentation and structure.
In the past, exhibitors often heard judges lament that the entries “looked so di ff erent from one another.” To be sure, there can still be quite a bit of variation in the appearance of dogs within a class, but today the di ff er- ences are more likely to be within the ranges found in other breeds – di ff erences in sub- stance, structure and movement. A previous article focused on breed-specific judging in regards to the entire standard. Th is article will focus on evaluating distinctive breed characteristics and will include tips to help judges be more successful interacting with Chinese Shar-Pei.
When a judge looks at our dogs in pro- file, several of the unique breed charac- teristics are on full display. Th e standard starts by describing the general appearance of a Shar-Pei as being “an alert, compact dog of medium size and substance; square in profile, close-coupled; the well-propor- tioned head slightly but not overly large for the body. Th e 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. Th e loose skin and wrinkles covering the 4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& + "/6"3: t
head, neck and body are superabundant in puppies but these features may be limited to the head, neck and withers in the adult.” In this section, one of the distinctive characteristics mentioned is the well-pro- portioned head, slightly but not overly large for the body. Judges sometimes get confused by the reference to the “hippopotamus” muzzle shape and perhaps take this refer- ence literally in looking for a head that is not well –proportioned and appears too large for the body. Th e Chinese Shar-Pei should have a broad and full muzzle with no suggestion of snippiness. Th e length from nose to stop is approximately the same as from stop to occiput. Th e stop is moderate and the skull is flat and broad. It is important that the
head is proudly carried and covered with wrinkles on the forehead that continue into the side, framing the face. Th e wrinkling on the headpiece along with small, tightly set triangular-shaped ears, abundant dewlap and dark, deeply set, almond-shaped eyes contribute to the classic scowling expression. (Dilute colored dogs may have a lighter eye.) Regarding overall wrinkling, it is important to note that the while loose skin and wrinkles may be superabundant in puppies; they are often limited to the head, neck and withers in the adult. A judge could certainly penalize an entry with a lack of visible wrinkling in those areas, but an adult should not be penalized for having more wrinkling than others in the
entry, as long as the skin and coat appear healthy and the dog has a balanced look. Another defining breed characteris- tic mentioned in the general appearance paragraph is the short, harsh coat. In addi- tion to checking the coat length (a coat in excess of 1" at withers, or a coat that has been trimmed is a major fault,) a judge must evaluate the coat’s texture. Breed- ers are pleased when producing dogs with extremely harsh coats. Th e name Shar-Pei loosely translates to sand-skin and refers to the sand-paper-like coat. It is recommended that the judge run his or her hand from the rear forward to the withers after com- pleting the individual examination. Soft coats and wavy coats are also major faults.
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Th e Shar-Pei is to be shown in a natural state and the coat should appear healthy without being shiny or lustrous. At some shows classes may be divided into the two acceptable coat types – horsecoat and brushcoat. It is not a judge’s task to deter- mine the type of coat and one coat is not preferred over the other. What is impor- tant is to determine which dogs have coats with the correct harsh texture. Th e general appearance paragraph also mentions the importance of a high set tail, a characteristic feature of the breed. Th e tail is thick and round at the base and tapers to a fine point, curling over or to either side of the back. Th e high set tail goes hand in hand with the up-tilted anus and the slightly rising topline. Th e topline dips slightly behind the withers and rises slightly to the short, broad loin. Th is should not appear to be a sway back or saddle back and there is no dropping of the topline at the base of tail. Th is refer- ence causes some confusion. Th e correct topline should never appear to be high in the rear and it is important that the dog
appear compact with a strong, firm back. Th e topline should be evaluated while the dog is standing and again when moving. The Best Approach—General Tips Judges should remember that one of the original functions of the breed was as a watchdog and Shar-Pei may be essentially independent and stando ffi sh with strang- ers. Due to the deep set eye and wrinkles framing the face, Shar-Pei may have lim- ited peripheral vision. Some dogs may be startled if hands come at them from above.
“What is important is to DETERMINE WHICH DOGS HAVE COATS WITH THE CORRECT HARSH TEXTURE.”
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A Shar-Pei should be approached from the front and judges should use a gentle, confident touch. When approaching the dog from the front, judges can examine the eyes and assess expression. Judges should not try to pry open the eyes; it is a natural reaction to slam eyes shut in response to having them probed. Some Shar-Pei have a tight lower lip that can make examining the bite di ffi cult. It is advis- able to ask the exhibitor to show the bite and tongue. Deviation from a scissors bite and a spotted tongue are both major faults. Th ere is no need to count for full dentition. While our breed has some very unique features, it is important to remember over- all balance — it is NOT simply a head breed. Shar-Pei are to be shown in a natural state and judged at a trot on a loose lead. Th e stan- dard calls for good reach and drive and states that “proper movement is essential.” Th e breed is a ramp optional breed and many exhibitors find the use of the ramp helpful to both their presentation and the dog’s perfor- mance. It is recommended that judges give the ramp a try and make their own determi- nation on the benefits of its use.
An example of a Brush Coat Shar-Pei.
BIO Grace Fritz is from Stil- well, KS and works as a Special Education teacher. She has raised Chinese Shar- Pei since 1984. Although no
longer an active breeder/exhibitor, Grace received the last Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America’s Breeder of the Year title and has had several dogs and bitches receive CSPCA Register of Merit awards. Grace is a former Board Member and two-term President of the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America. She still serves in the Judge Education Program and is the CSPCA Gazette Columnist and 2014 National Specialty Co-Chair. Grace has been an AKC Judge since 2001 and was fortunate to judge Best of Breed at the CSP- CA National Specialty in 2006. She is cur- rently licensed for the Non-Sporting Group, Junior Showmanship and Best in Show. Grace enjoys learning about new breeds and actively works to improve her skills and depth of knowledge in each breed. In addi- tion to Shar-Pei, she has owned dogs in the working, terrier and hound groups.
An example of the Horsecoat Variety of Shar-Pei.
“While our breed has some very unique features, it is important to remember overall balance— IT IS NOT SIMPLY A HEAD BREED.”
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GETTING TO KNOW THE CHINESE SHAR-PEI
By Alice Fix
he Chinese Shar-Pei originated in the south- ern regions of China, and truly is an ancient breed. Th ere is evidence that they existed as early
as 204 AD during the Han dynasty. Farm- ers used them for herding, hunting, com- panionship and even dog fighting. Th ey have been referred to in the past as the Chinese Fighting Dog. Th at name is really a misnomer as they don’t really make good fighting dogs. Th e farmers thought that since they had such loose skin, it would give them an advantage over their oppo- nents because they could still turn and fight with all that skin. Over time they learned that Shar-Pei are not good fight- ers, and that when they get a tear in their skin, infection can travel under the skin and multiply quickly. Around 1947 the Chinese government made the decision to discourage dog ownership by placing a tax on it. Many people could not a ff ord the tax so they took their dogs to Hong Kong where there was no tax. Th e dog population in Hong Kong began to swell. With so many dogs running the streets there was a worry that the pure breed dogs lines would disappear. Serious dog breeders in Hong Kong began shipping the best examples of Shar-Pei to the United States so the breed could be preserved. Th e first Shar-Pei began arriving in the United States in 1966. Th ere were several articles written about saving the rare breed dogs, but the most famous plea to save the Shar-Pei came from Matgo Law. In 1973 he pleaded with breeders in the United States to please help save the Chinese Shar- Pei from extinction. Around that time, the Chinese Shar-Pei was considered one of the rarest breeds. If it had not been for the dedication of the breeders in Hong Kong
to do what they could to save the breed, it might be that none of us would have the opportunity to see or own one. We must give them credit for seeing that this unique breed was saved and promoted. After the first Shar-Pei came to Amer- ica, it soon became evident that there needed to be some kind of organization for registering the breed. On April 24, 1974, the first organizational meeting of the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America was held in Oregon. It was decided to change the name of the breed from the Chinese Fighting Dog to the Chinese Shar-Pei because of the negative publicity concern- ing dog fighting in this country. Th ey also wrote a standard and established a regis- try for the breed. Since the breed was so rare, they were often shown on television and in the newspapers because of the unique-ness of the wrinkly skin. As they became better known, their popularity soared as well. Th ey have been featured in many commer- cials having to do with ironing, wrinkles,
washers and dryers. Th ey are no longer considered to be a rare breed. Most Shar-Pei owners feel that our breed has advantages over other breeds, and that they are like potato chips- you can’t have just one. Th eir wrinkles are just one of the most unique things about them. Th e wrinkles are clearly evident when you look at the dog. Some people have been misled to believe that the wrinkles cause skin issues, but that is not true. You should be aware that the wrinkles around the face sometimes can block their view. It is important to approach a Shar-Pei directly from the front so that they can see you. You should also know that most dogs will get less wrinkling as they grow up. Puppies do outgrow their wrinkles. Th ere are two acceptable coat types for Shar-Pei. One is the horse-coat and the other is the brush-coat. Th e horse-coat has harsh short hair that can be prickly. Th is unique hair on the horse-coat is where they got their name. Shar-Pei means sandy- coat in Chinese. Th e coat is supposed to
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be harsh like sand. Th ese were the origi- nal Shar-Pei. Th e other acceptable coat, the “brush coat”, while not as short as the “horse coat”, can be up to one inch in length at the withers. It should also have a harsh texture. Another of the unique features of our breed is their natural instinct to keep themselves and their living area clean. Most puppies will housebreak themselves by 8 weeks of age. Th ey don’t like soiling the area that they live in. Many go to the furthermost corner of the yard to do their business. Often when you get a new puppy, it takes them a few days to get used to the new home, but after 3-4 days of adjust- ment, they should be asking you to go out- side at the correct door. Th ey make great family dogs but you should understand that they are guard dogs. Th ey are 100% devoted to their families and live to be with the family members and to protect them. I have seen the hair on a Shar-Pei stand on end when a stranger got out of a car to ask “his” kids playing in the yard where someone lived. Th ey become on full alert if they sense that someone is up to no good. A lady used to take her Shar-Pei with her to make her bank deposits at the drop o ff box at night. One night her dog started barking like crazy as she was pulling up to the drive thru. Next thing she knows, the dog has jumped out of the car and is attacking something in the bushes. Th ere was a robber with a gun that was wait- ing to rob her. Th ey have an uncanny sense of knowing when things are not right. Most of the breed love children and naturally become their guardian and protectors. Th is breed does not do well being left alone all day and night. Th ey require human companionship to thrive. You can be sure that as soon as you leave the house, they are waiting and alert for your return. Shar-Pei are full of energy as puppies, but as they grown up and mature they set- tle down to be a pretty calm dog. If you are looking for a lap dog, I’d advise you to look at another breed. Even though this breed is extremely devoted to their family, they require a little bit of sep- aration or independence from the owner
as well. Th ey may sit in your lap for a short time just to please you but they had much rather be at your feet. Th ey often like to sleep where they have the best view of all the activities in the house. If every- one is settled in and busy in the den, they are happy to stay in the den to watch over the family. However if a member is away from the house, then they like to sleep and rest where they can keep a watch over the people in the house as well and watch the doors for the arrival of those that are not there. Th ey are vigilant in watching over their families. Shar-Pei can be quick to learn but they also are very independent. Owners need to let them know who the boss is early on. If the owner doesn’t establish themselves in the leadership role, then the Shar-Pei surely will. Th ey are very trainable but you should also expect that from time to time they may also be stubborn as well. Th ey do well in obedience, rally and agility. Th ey also make great therapy and R.E.A.D dogs. All puppies benefit with early socialization and puppy kindergarten classes as well as obedience classes. Th ere are some Shar-Pei that do lure coursing, tracking, herding, fly ball and canine freestyle dance. As you can see they can participate in a variety of things. You may have seen them in com- mercials as well. Th ey are often used in commercials and advertising because of the ease of working with them. Shar-Pei come in a variety of colors including dilutes. Almost any solid color is acceptable as well as sable. Several dif- ferent colors of puppies can be born in the same litter as well as both coat types. Th ey should have a solid black tongue and mouth including the gums, flew and roof. In the case of dilutes, those areas in the mouth will be a lighter lavender color. Some other unique features to the look of the breed are the triangular shaped ears pointing towards the eyes, a tail that curves over the back and the dip in the top-line just behind the withers. Just a word of cau- tion when buying a Shar-Pei—do not fall for the scams of paying an exorbitant price for a “rare color”. Th ere is no such thing as a rare color. Although Shar-Pei don’t require much in the area of grooming, they do need
an occasional bath. Th ey also need their nails trimmed and their ears cleaned weekly. Th e breed sheds about twice a year with the changes of the seasons. In our breed we call that “blowing their coat”. Other than that, they are a wash and wear breed. Shar-Pei are great family dogs and should work out in most families. Once people have owned their first one, they usually never get any other breed. If you would like more information about our breed you can find it on our website at: www.cspca.com. A Sample of Working Shar-Pei: Flyball, Tracking, Agility, Therapy, R.E.A.D., Service, Herding, Lure Coarsing, Freestyle Dancing, Obedience, Modeling and Rally.
BIO Alice Fix is a gradu- ate of Texas A & M University and has owned Shar-Pei for 28 years. She has written articles that have been
published in over 110 dog club and organi- zation magazines as well as cat, rabbit and horsemanship magazines. Currently she is a Director-at-Large for the Chinese Shar- Pei Club of America, Co-Chairman of the Public Education Committee, Chairman of the CSPCA A ffi liated Club Presidents Group, President of the Centennial Chi- nese Shar-Pei Club in Colorado, Editor for Th e Barker magazine and serves on the CSPCA Health Testing Committee. Alice resides in Aurora, Colorado with her Shar-Pei.
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