The Chinese Shar-Pei, an ancient and unique breed, is thought
to have originated in the area around the small village of Tai
Li in Kwangtung Province, and has existed for centuries in the
southern provinces of China, apparently since the Han Dynasty
(c. 200 B.C.). Statues bearing a strong resemblance to the Shar-Pei
have been discovered and dated to this period.
More recently, a Chinese manuscript of the 13th century has been
translated; it refers to a wrinkled dog with characteristics much
like those of the Shar-Pei. The name "Shar-Pei" itself literally
means "sand-skin", but translated more loosely as "rough, sandy
coat" or "sand-paper-like coat" and refers to the two distinctive
qualities of the Shar-Pei coat - roughness and shortness - which
make the breed unique in the dog world.
Shar-Pei shares another distinctive characteristic with only one
other breed, the Chow-Chow, in having a blue-black tongue, which
may indicate an ancestor common to both breeds. However, proof
of such a relationship is difficult.
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.