The Chinese Shar-Pei, also known as the Chinese Fighting Dog or simply the Shar Pei, is an ancient breed that has existed for centuries in the southern provinces of China. “Shar-Pei” literally translates as “sand skin” but more loosely means “rough, sandy coat” or “draping sandpaper-like skin.” In addition to their strange wrinkled appearance, they have a characteristic solid blue-black tongue, a feature shared only with another ancient Chinese breed, the Chow Chow. The Chinese Shar-Pei was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1988 as a non-sporting dog and fully approved in 1992.
The average Chinese Shar-Pei stands 18 to 20 inches at the withers and weighs between 45 and 60 pounds, with females typically being smaller than males. Their extremely rough, short, wrinkled coat is unique to the breed. It should be neither shiny nor lustrous and comes in solid colors and sable. It should be brushed regularly, and the folds of skin should be cleaned and checked frequently to avoid moistness, irritation and infection. Shar-Peis are compact and sturdy, and they normally do not bark unless they are threatened or feel the need to alert their owners.