The Chinese Shar-Pei breed was developed in the Southern provinces of China where they were bred to be used as an all-purpose utility dog for lower-class farmers and workers, often for herding, hunting, and guarding. The exact origin of the Shar-Pei is uncertain, but wrinkled dogs have been shown on pottery dating back over 2,000 years to the Han Dynasty. It is believed that they share the same ancestors with the Chow Chow, another Chinese breed, and Mastiffs because of similar physical characteristics and geographical location. The word Shar-Pei means "sand skin" in Mandarin, named after their extremely coarse coat and loose skin. The Chinese Shar-Pei's coat served beneficial for their survival when they participated in the deadly sport of dogfighting, earning the name "Chinese Fighting Dog."
Shar-Peis are a very unique-looking breed that is known for their deep wrinkly appearance and blue-black tongue, which characteristic is also only shared by the Chow Chow. Traditional specimens from China tend to be lighter and longer-legged, while Western-born dogs are heavier in build and usually have an abundance of wrinkles. Their extremely harsh coat is covered in straight hairs and loose skin, coming only in solid colors and with lengths that range from short ("horse coat") to about one inch ("brush coat"). The Chinese Shar-Pei's widely recognized characteristics consist of their dark sunken eyes, triangular-shaped ears that are small in comparison to the size of their broad head, and "hippopotamus-shaped" muzzle with a large, wide, black or self-colored nose. These wrinkly dogs have a thick tail that curls over or to either side of the back.
With their unique appearance, Chinese Shar-Peis make everyone curious to know what he is all about. These wrinkly dogs exude strength, calmness, and are usually unthreatened by others. Due to their background and natural instincts, they are very dedicated to their families and can act as a great watchdog and guardian even though they tend to be quiet in the home. Only family members will receive affection and devotion from this independent and sometimes standoffish breed. Proper training and extensive socialization are crucial for the Chinese Shar-Pei to avoid dominant and potentially aggressive behavior towards strangers and other dogs. Confident and eager, these intelligent workers are too smart for their own good and require an experienced owner. Remnants of territorial behavior can be seen from their roles in dogfighting and guardian work, making them better suited for a home with older children and no other dogs. Exercise frequency is dependent on your particular Shar-Pei, some dogs may need more or less than others but all of them will need some form of regular stimulation. Extremely protective and devoted to their families, Chinese Shar-Peis are a strong guardian that is known for their versatility and loyalty.