1. We’ll start off with one of the most well-known facts about the breed, its tongue! The Chinese Shar-Pei is one of only two known dog breeds that have a blue-black colored tongue. The other being the Chow-Chow. According to Chinese folklore, those colored tongues help to ward off evil spirits.
2. Although there is evidence this breed was cultivated in China as far back as the Han dynasty in 200B.C., the Shar-Pei is relatively new to the western party; only being officially recognized as a distinct breed by the American Kennel Club as recently as 1992.
3. The heavy amount of loose skin that distinguishes this breed was originally selected as a trait to aid the dog in protection and attacking. The extra skin would act as a buffer from bites from other dogs, protecting vital organs.
4. It is an excellent companion dog as it is devoted thoroughly to its owners and maintains a loyal, calm, and independent demeanor.
5. Some of the Shar-Pei’s characteristics include: a robust, sturdy frame, a hippopotamus-like muzzle, small, triangular ears, a thick tail that rides high on the body, sometimes curling over, and short, stiff hair.
6. The name “Shar-Pei” actually means “rough, sandy coat”, in reference to the texture of its fur.
7. Shar-Pei come in over 18 colors, from brown to cream to red fawn, and 7 markings such as brindle and spotted.
8. The breed was nearly extinguished with the rise of communism in China. Having any sort of pet was seen as a decadent luxury and in 1947, a hefty tax was levied on owning dogs in particular. Moreover, dog breeding was banned by the government. All of this led to the Shar-Pei being one of the rarest breeds to exist during the 1960’s and 70’s, according to the Guinness World Records.
9. While Shar-Pei are generally hearty dogs, the breed does have a disease specific to them: Familial Shar-Pei Fever. It is a disease characterized by recurring fever and swelling of the dog’s hocks, leading, without treatment, to renal and liver failure.
10. Tonkey Bear is one of the most famous Shar-Pei. She has the face of a teddy bear, a pink nose, unusually long fur, and soulful eyes. These attributes got her one of the fastest-growing Instagram following in the history of pet Instagram accounts. Check her out here: https://www.instagram.com/bearcoat_tonkey/