History Of The Breed


The Chiness Shar-Pei was listed in the 1978 "GUINESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS" as the worlds rarest dog. The Shar-pei is certainly one of the world`s most extraordinary dogs.

Difference of opinion, or lack of concrete evidence often complicated the history of the origin and development of our breeds. In the case of the Shar-pei no such problems occur: Everyone agrees that the Shar-pei has existed for centuries in the southern provinces of China, bordering on the South China Sea. Over two thousand years ago this was the all-purpose, generalutility dog kept by the peasant farmers of the area. The Shar-pei was used for hunting or to protect the livestock from predators, but most of all he served as guardian of his master`s home. He was selectively bred for strength, for intelligence and for the valued "Warrior Scrowl" that would increase his menacing appearance and help intimidate the barbarian thieves, against whom the farmers were always at war.

While the Shar-pei`s original purpose was for use as hunting dogs, because of their strength and appearance, these dogs were introduced to a combat role at a later time in history. The village of Dahlet, in Southern China`s Kwantung province near Canton, was at one time known as a Gambler`s Haven. Betting on dog fights was a popular pastime and the farm dog became a favourite contestant. Dahlet dog breeders anxious to improve the dog`s ability in the ring set out to perfect some of the main characteristics we know today.

The bristly coat was encouraged to make it distastefull in an opponent`s mouth: the very loose skin to enable a dog to turn and twist in the grasp of his opponent: the recurved canine teeth to provide a hook like hold on the antagonist and small ears so that the attacker had little to hold on to. He possessed stamina and determination, but before a fight he was given wine and stimulating drugs to heighten his aggressiveness. Eventually fight promoters introduced larger dogs which were selected for vicious temperament. The native fighting dog of Dahlet provided no match for these bigger stronger dogs, no longer in demand their breeding was neglected and the numbers of the Dahlet fighting dogs rapidly decreased.



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