The purpose of this 501c3 non-profit corporation is to rescue and steward homeless and death-row shar pei dogs and to find permanent placements for them by utilizing a network of sponsors and volunteers, fundraising, promoting awareness, and partnering with other rescues. We rescue pei in the hopes that one day it will not be necessary.
Our Core Volunteers
Elise Loden - Director
Dayna Breman - Corporate Officer
Barbara Evans - Corporate Officer
Tiffany Anderson - Corporate Officer
Liz Lizzard - Regional Coordinator
Lida Mansouri - Volunteer
Gail Raymond - Volunteer
Maria De Carlos - Volunteer
Steve Durand - Volunteer
Thomas Migrock - IT Support
History of the Chinese Shar Pei
The Chinese Shar Pei is an ancient breed. Many believe they originated in the Kwangtung Province of China. Paintings on pottery along with a few drawings and some statues that resemble the Shar Pei have dated back as far as the Han Dynasty in 200 B.C. More recently manuscripts dating back to the 13th century describe a wrinkled dog with many of the Shar Pei characteristics.
The ancestry of the Chinese Shar Pei is still somewhat of a mystery. Many believe it is a descendent of the Chow Chow but the only clear link is the purple or black tongue. The bear coat Shar Pei albeit rare bares a strong resemblance to the Chow Chow breed also. Chinese Shar Pei were kept as a general purpose farm dog in the Chinese farming country for hunting, protecting livestock and guarding their family and home. During that period of time the Shar Pei was bred for intelligence, strength and their fighting ability. They also were said to have been used to protect Chinese Royalty and Samurai Warriors.
Later they were used for fighting dogs because of their incredible strength and loose skin and extremely prickly coat they became known as "the ultimate fighting dog". Shar Pei were extremely hard for their opponent to hold on to and take to the ground. They also used their hind quarters to swing at their opponent letting their opponent get a grip on their back side, then they would virtually roll in their loose skin and shred their opponent with razor sharp teeth. The Shar Pei have tremendously strong jaws and could crush the bones of their opposition. During the communist revolution the Shar Pei breed was rescued by a Chinese business man named Matgo Law, who pled with the Americans through magazine ads to save the breed. At that point in time between 1970 and 1973 the Chinese Shar Pei was nearly extinct. Following the establishment of the People's Republic of China, China became a communist nation. The dog population of China was virtually eliminated. No dogs were seen in the cities and few dogs remained in the country side. During this period of time there were a few Shar Pei bred in Hong Kong and some in Taiwan. There were very few specimens that came to the United States, most by "well off" dog fanciers and unfortunately the rule of the day was inbreeding to save them from complete extinction.
Since that time the Chinese Shar Pei have become extremely popular and the estimated number of the breed now exceeds 80,000 according to the AKC registry. When the Shar Pei first came to the United States they were very expensive and unaffordable to most families. Now they are in the same price ranges as most purebred dogs.
The name "Shar Pei" roughly translated means "sand skin". The horse coat Shar Pei has short hair and feels prickly to the touch which is another of it's unique qualities. Shar Pei also has been loosely translated to "rough, sandy coat" or "sandpaper coat. However there are two distinct varieties of Shar Pei, one is called a "bone nose" and the other a "meat mouth". The meat mouth has a heavily padded muzzle while the bone nose has a more typical muzzle. There are also three different kinds of coats they may have. The one described above and also there is the brush coat which is softer and up to one inch in length. Then there is the rare bear coat which is also soft and can be up to three inches in length.
The history of the Chinese Shar Pei in more recent times is somewhat incomplete. In the United States the breed dates back to 1966 when a few dogs were registered with the Hong Kong Kennel Club. The American Dog Breeders Association registered a Chinese Shar Pei for a Mr. J. C. Smith in October of 1970. Interest in the breed increased in the U.S. and the Chinese Shar Pei Club of America was founded in 1974. It wasn't until 1978 that the Chinese Shar Pei was accepted by the American Kennel Club. (AKC) In the early 90's the Shar Pei became popular and demand for them grew rapidly.
The Chinese Shar Pei because of their being still relatively rare and their unique appearance are very highly sought after. As previously stated they are relative in price to many other pure bred dogs. However they can be "high maintenance" dogs meaning in the early years of their life they can incur some high veterinary bills. As with any pure bred dogs they come with some distinct health problems.
Energy level - Medium energy Exercise - needs Medium Playfullness - Can be playful Affection level - Somewhat affectionate Friendliness toward other dogs - Shy Friendliness toward other pets - Friendly Friendliness toward strangers - Shy Ease of training - Easy to train Watchdog ability - High Protection ability - Very protective Grooming needs - Low maintenance Cold tolerance - Medium tolerance Heat tolerance - Low tolerance
Care & Health
The name Shar-Pei means sandy coat, referring to the gritty sandpaper texture of the coat. When rubbed backward, the prickly coat can be uncomfortable, and even cause welts on the skin of an occasional sensitive person. • Major concerns: entropion, CHD
• Major concerns: entropion, CHD • Minor concerns: patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia, demodectic mange • Occasionally seen: ciliary dyskinesia, renal amoidosis • Suggested tests: hip, knee, elbow, (eye) • Life span: 8 – 10 years • Note: The breed is susceptible to fevers of unknown origin, often occurring with swollen hocks.
After the Final Rose - You and Your Rescue Pei
So you fell in love with a rescue pei, filled out an application, passed a home visit, and signed an adoption contract. The honeymoon is over, now the real work begins! To ensure a long and happy life together, please follow these basic guidelines for new dog guardians.
First, please realize that change is hard for everyone, and that includes your new rescue pei. Rescue dogs need time to adjust to their new environment and learn what is expected of them. Adopters need to remember that their new family member has just been through a traumatic life experience and may still be sad or stressed. They may still be grieving the loss of their family, the trauma of a kill shelter, or the confusion or upheaval after leaving boarding or a foster home. Know that with love, patience and understanding, a successful transition will likely occur within a month.
The first 30 days with your new dog are the most critical. Before you allow your new dog into your home, take him/her for a walk outside to relieve themselves. Keep your new dog on a leash while entering your home for the first time. It is important for you to be physically present with your new dog for a few days in order to bond and establish ground rules. Maintain a calm, quiet atmosphere. Slow introductions and a crate will help during this transition period. Keep your new dog separate and introduce him/her slowly to other people and pets. The dog will need to learn both your communication style and your schedule.
Be prepared for the worst! Your new dog may have housetraining accidents, may chew on furniture or possessions, may attempt to escape, may exhibit nervous behaviors such as whining, barking, pacing, may have an upset stomach, etc. All these things are considered normal adjustment behavior. During the first days with you, few demands should be made on your new dog. No talk, no touch, no eye contact. Don't force the dog to interact with you, let him/her come to you when they are ready. Keep the dog supervised by using a crate or tying their leash to heavy furniture in your vicinity or to your waist. Limit the dog to one room or area. Establish a consistent routine and stick to it.
Take the dog on walks, set up a place for their food and water, set a schedule, show them where they may relieve themselves and pay attention to signals that they may need to relieve themselves. Gradually extend unsupervised time. Do not leave your dog unsupervised or alone with other pets until you have carefully monitored them and know that they may be trusted together. Show your new dog that you are the pack leader and teach him/her what you consider to be acceptable behavior. Show them what you consider off-limits. Be firm, but calm. Adjustment takes time, but your patience and positive reinforcement during this critical period will be rewarded.
If your dog refuses to eat, you may need to adjust their food. Ideally, you should feed the dog the same food he/she was eating prior to coming to you. If the dog refuses to eat for more than two days, you should consult your vet. If the dog has indigestion or diarrhea that persists for more than a day, please contact your vet.
Know that even if your dog has been housetrained, changes in schedule and food will likely result in some accidents during the adjustment period. The use of a crate will help immensely. The crate can gradually be phased out as your dog learns what is expected.
When your new dog is submissive and acting calmly, holding the head low, ears relaxed and slightly back, this is the time to pet him/her. The dog might curl into a circle, basically becoming smaller, this indicates that he/she does not wish to alpha. If your dog lowers his/her head and turns away from you, this is not sadness, instead he/she is trying to tell you that you may now have the leadership position.
If you have made it this far, congratulations! Your patience and perseverance will pay off and result in a wonderful furever relationship filled with unconditional love and companionship. To further strengthen your bond and learn how to control behavior, you may also want to enroll in obedience classes. May you have a long and happy life with your rescue pei.