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     The early chinese history

The Chinese Shar-Pei is an old breed which has existed in the southern provinces of China near the South China Sea.  The breed had its origin in Dailack, an area near the Guangzhou Canton and was very prominent in the city of Dah Let in the Province of Kwuntung.  The name Shar-Pei, in the Chinese language means Sandy Skin.  We know that this is the description of the coat which the Shar-Pei should have; short, erect,straight up and rough.  It is supposed to scratch when touched.  This type of hair is not found in any other breed of dogs.  Traces of this breed (race) could  be verified on hand of findings and descriptive sketches which date back to the Han-Dynasty (206 v. Chr. - 200 n. Chr.)
 The Shar-Pei was never the luxury dog of the upper crust as was the Pekingese, the Shih-Tzu or the Mops.  He rather was kept for useful purposes by the small farmers, for hunting and for protection.  Only later did he become known in a new, but totally different role and, to that end he became known by his earlier name as “Chinese dog fighter.  Betting at dog fights was generally a pass-time activity of rural China, and for that purpose was the Shar-Pei bred and trained.  During this time, the main features and characteristics of the breed were perfected, all to better his chances in the arena.  The bristle coat should make it difficult for the opponent to grab at him, the loose skin of the Shar-Pei enabled him to turn and bite the attacker;  the bent fangs (Canini) allowed him a better grip, and the small but close to the head lying ears plus the deep lying eyes between the swelling fold s offered the opponent little chances to clench his teeth therein.  It has been reported that dogs in order to highten their aggression were given wine and drugs.
 Since China in the 19th century opened up more and became more influenced to western sway, larger and more dangerous dogs were imported.  Bulldogs and Mastiffs were cross-bred with local breeds, and the indigenous Shar-Pei was no longer an equal competitor for those pugnacious fighting machines.  Since there was hardly any demand, the number for the Shar-Pei breed declined quickly.  Another factor was that the communist regime in the Peoples Republic of China began to impose excessive taxes on all dogs.  By 1950 very few Shar-Pei were left.  Those that were left lived in the country or were smuggled to Hongkong, Macoa, Taiwan and the islands around the perimeter of the Peoples Republic of China.  A  new empetus came in 1970, when a new small group of breeders became interested again in the Shar-Pei.  Two members of this group who took an un-common interest in this breed were Mr. C. M. Chung (Kennel “Jones) who had already bred Shar-Peis, and the young Mr. Matgo Law (Kennel “Down Homes) who had just begun to built on his.  The number of dogs which were available to breed was very small and one began to search for more certificated dogs, not an easy task, since most dogs had no papers.  The answer was incest/inbreeding.   This was done by experienced breeders, in order to keep the original type Shar-Pei  naturally bound by good health and harmonious body structure.
 Mr. Matgo Law thought that the Shar-Pei was kept only by simple farmers and that a relationship between the Shar-Pei and the Chow-Chow existed, since the temperament and the character of both breeds are very much alike.  With the difference that the hind quarters of the Shar-Pei are strong ankled, more ankld and alike is the wolf or the Siberian Husky.  Mr. Law had seen as a child Shar-Pei  fights and remembers that for the dog fights mor black and deer colored dogs were used and fewer of the creme-colored dogs; they were less popular.  Other breeds were cross-bred in order to enhance their fighting spirit, breeds such as Boxers, Bull Terriers and ever German Shepherds.
 Mr. Law recalls seeing at a market in Hongkong animals which were kept in cages and offered for sale.  These animals were especially bred to fight, even birds and chickens.  There too he discovered ,kept ina cage a litter of Shar-Peis and purchased one of them for 80.00 Hongkong Dollars.  The bitch (mother) had ears that stood up, but the shape of her head was not very good;  however, she did have a well-formed body.  His second Shar-Pei was “Down-Homes Sweat Pea, a gift from a dogfight organizer.  Sweat Pea, Mr. Law describes as speckled like a Dalmation, with a good head and deep lying eyes,  no close to the heat ears, but with a healthy, strong body.  Next he began to look around farms in the Peoples Republic of China for his next Shar-Pei.  A favored line in his kennel came from “Down-Homes Annie Revical, a fawn-colored bitch, with somewhat open ears.  “Down Homes Clown Nosed Buddha, as a matter of fact,was a real Chinese fighting dog who was, after a fight , left for dead in the rink.  Matgo Law discovered that he was still alive, took him home, and nursed him back to health.  Clown Nosed Buddha, as it turned out later, was one successful progenitor in the history of the breed.  Later he was taken to the USA to Mr. Richard Beauchamp´s Hong-King Kennel.   According to Matgo Law was the Shar-Pei not  not a good hearding dog, but an excellent hunt-and-watch dog.   The early dogs from Hongkong and the first exports to the USA  looked different than the ones known to us today. Several people went so far as to insist that the meaty mouth of todays Shar-Pei did not exist prior to the year 1960.  The dogs which the Chinese preferred were lighter in their general bone structure and legs, as are the Shar-Peis of today.  Only occassionally was the meaty mouth favored  and then again not.
 The Hong-Kong Kennel Club in 1966 refused to register future Shar-Peis.  The club wa s of the opinion that the newer bred Shar-Pei had a too massive head and body, also a too meaty snout and too many folds.  In addition had the hair grown too long and the skin had become soft.  There was suspicion tha this great difference from  the older breed was the result of cross-breeding in order to make the Shar-Pei  especially foldy and to make him appear exotic.  After the Hong-Kong  Kennel Club declined to register any more Shar-Peil did several active breeders establish the Hong-Kong and Koowloon Kennel  Club Association.  This association registers future Shar-Peis and thus saved the breed.  An official standard was worked out and published.

pei-history matgolaw
Shar-Pei Female ´80 Matgo Law

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