Sharpey was once a versatile working dog that performed the functions of a watchman, a shepherd and a defender of herds, a hunter, even a professional fighter. Today, they are most often brought not for protection, but as a companion.
- Breed name: Sharpey
- Country of Origin: China
- The time of the birth of the breed: 202 BC
- Weight: 18-35 kg
- Height (height at the withers): 40-51 cm
- Life expectancy: 10-12 years
- Sharpei is originally from China, it is assumed that he has common roots with Tibetan mastiffs and chow chow.
- Geneticists have established that the age of the breed can reach 3 thousand years.
- The unusual coat of a sharpey is a strong allergen, therefore, before buying, all family members should talk closely with the dog to identify a possible reaction of the body.
- Contrary to the "toy" appearance of puppies and adult animals, their character is not plush at all.
- Sharpey needs an experienced and strong owner who can maintain his authority in the eyes of the pet.
- The dog is not recommended for families with toddlers, but gets along well with older children and teenagers.
- Animal care will not bring excessive hassle.
- Does not need constant physical activity.
- Preferably home content.
- Early socialization is necessary (possibly with the help of a specialist dog handler) to avoid aggression towards other animals and strangers.
- Unfortunately, shar pei are not centenarians, the average life expectancy is 8-12 years.
Sharpey is one of those breeds that it is impossible not to notice at any dog show or just a walking area. The unusual shape of the head and, of course, the branded folds distinguish them from their relatives, and the blue-black tongue complements the picture – among hundreds of modern breeds, they can only boast of this chow chow . But their independent disposition is no less famous among breeders.
History of the Sharpey breed
Sharpeys are sometimes also called "Han dogs". But not at all because they belonged to the great Mongol Khans – the eventful history of China is usually divided into epochs, and one of the longest is the Han Empire (206 BC – 220 AD). The earliest documentary evidence of the existence of this breed dates back to the reign of the Liu dynasty. In the tombs of the III century BC, archaeologists found images of dogs with a square body, a twisted tail and a frowning expression of the muzzle. It is believed that the sharpey clay figurines were designed to protect the deceased in the world of the dead.
However, real representatives of the breed at the dawn of their existence were mainly used as participants in dog fights. There is reason to assume that then these animals were much larger, their weight reached 80 kilograms. The advantages in fights were also powerful jaws and an unpleasant prickly coat for grabbing, and the folds protected the most vulnerable places from significant damage: the muzzle and neck. They also became a good help when sharpeyev began to be used for hunting large, ready to fight back a pack of game – boars, wolves, big cats.
Popularity has made the breed available not only to wealthy Chinese. Of course, during economic crises and famine, it was an unacceptable luxury to keep dogs, but during periods of stability, peasants were happy to use four-legged assistants to protect real estate and protect livestock from predators.
The first written mention of the Sharpeys that has come down to our days dates back to the XIII century, but the following centuries were not favorable for them – representatives of the Ming dynasty, through constant wars and harsh demographic policy, forced their subjects to think not about breeding dogs, but about survival.
Interest in the breed arises again only in the XVIII–XIX centuries. But already in the 1940s, the rise to power of the Communists led by Mao Zedong put the Sharpeys in danger of complete disappearance. From the point of view of the Communist Party, all domestic animals were a useless attribute of bourgeois life and were subject to extermination. Several individuals managed to be preserved on the island of Taiwan and in the oldest European colony in East Asia – Macau. In transit through Hong Kong, the first sharpies ended up in the USA in 1966, where they were registered under the name "Chinese fighting dog" in 1971.
At the same time, an article about a rare breed appeared in the press, with which a campaign to save sharpeys was launched. Enthusiasts were forced to work with limited material, cross with representatives of other, superficially similar breeds and resort to inbreeding. Han dogs were allowed to participate in national exhibitions in 1973. The first breed standard was approved three years later, after which official pedigrees began to be issued.
In the 80-90s, the Sharpeys received the recognition of many American and world cynological organizations: United Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, English Kennel Club, Federation Cynologique Internationale. In our latitudes, the first nurseries appeared after the collapse of the USSR.
Speaking of the latest news, it is worth noting the interest in sharpies from scientists. Geneticists from the University of Washington in Seattle conducted serious work and in 2010 announced that the cause of the formation of folds characteristic of the breed is a mutation of the HAS2 gene responsible for the production of an enzyme that is fundamentally important for the formation of skin cells. They suggest that a spontaneous malfunction in the DNA, which led to the appearance of an unusually "folded" puppy, was noticed and fixed by ancient Chinese breeders.
Another study conducted in 2004 shows: sharpey, along with siberian husky , afghan hound , pekingese , belongs to the so-called first cluster of breeds, that is, their genotype is as similar as possible to the set of wild wolf genes.
Sharpey is a compact, stocky dog of a square format. Males are taller and more muscular, with a height of about 50 cm at the withers and a weight of 23-25 kg, and bitches average 45 cm and 20-22 kg.
Wide and flat, with a moderately pronounced stop between the crown and a wide, strong muzzle that does not taper to the nose. The folds of skin around the forehead and eyes give the dog a frown, even when he is relaxed.
The ears of the sharpey are very small in relation to the proportions of the dog, triangular in shape and bend forward.
Medium-sized, almond-shaped and vary in color depending on the color of the sharpey's coat.
Large teeth, scissor bite. The jaws are powerful. The pigmentation of the gums, lips and tongue is pronounced: they should be blue-black, although some individuals have a lavender shade.
Neck and back
Muscular and lean; some excess skin around the neck is acceptable, although folds should be absent from the ears to the shoulders, possible at the withers.
An ideal sharpey should have the same length from the withers to the buttocks as the height from the ground to the withers, with a chest half as deep as this measure, which gives a pleasant proportion. The ribs are well arched.
Fore and hind limbs
Exhibit a moderate angular shape of the joints, giving a powerful, athletic look and clearly muscular. Skin folds are undesirable.
The tail of the sharpey is thick at the base, where wrinkles are often visible again, and tapers to a thin tip. It can be twisted into a tight ring.
Consists only of the guard hairs, there is no soft undercoat. Short and extremely rough, feels like stubble.
Sharpey can be any solid color except white: "red deer" (red, classic), black, chocolate, apricot or cream dilute, blue, isabella, lavender and others. Spots are not allowed, but darker (along the spine and on the ears) and lighter (tail and back of the thighs) areas of wool are possible.
Photo of an adult sharpey
The character of sharpey
Sharpies will definitely disappoint people who dream of a cheerful and playful pet. These are independent, closed and not particularly mobile "philosophers". If the owner gives up in their upbringing, they will not hesitate to take advantage of the blunder to take a dominant position in the "pack" and dictate their conditions to the household. However, an experienced owner who will be able to assert his authority without the use of physical force and shouting, with the help of professional advice, will grow a well-mannered and obedient dog.
The protective functions assigned to the breed for many generations leave their mark on the character. To strangers and in general to everyone who is not part of a close circle of communication, sharpey will be wary and can openly demonstrate unfriendly intentions.
Han dogs have never been known as good-natured babysitters who patiently endure the unintentional rudeness of small children. It is strongly not recommended to leave them alone with the unwise crumbs. It is also worth remembering that due to physiological features, sharpey's field of vision is very limited, he perceives sudden movements as a potential threat and reacts accordingly.
The sharpey usually gets along poorly with other animals. He perceives dogs as opponents, and treats the rest of his pets as prey by virtue of his instincts. An exception may be cats if they grow up together.
However, do not rush to be disappointed in the breed and refuse to purchase a puppy! Properly trained and socialized sharpies in time are excellent companions. They are calm, intelligent, noble, loyal to the family, not prone to fuss and loud barking.
Education and training
These domestic "hippos" are independent and stubborn. In the process of training, you will need patience and firmness, because learning commands actually becomes a collision of the will of the owner and the dog. If your pet does not respond to certain requirements, the problem is not at all in the lack of mutual understanding – he does not occupy intelligence, but the desire to dominate a person leads to disobedience.
It is important from the first days of the appearance of a puppy in a new family to demonstrate your authority without aggression, clearly marking the boundaries of what is allowed. The main mistake at this stage may be indulging the desires of a "cute baby", so similar to a soft toy. It will be very, very difficult to restore discipline after you show weakness!
In addition to performing standard commands, the ability to behave in the presence of strangers and other pets should become an obligatory part of "good manners" training. Any unmotivated manifestations of aggression are unacceptable here, although it is impossible to demand from sharpey an unusual delight at the sight of any guest. The ideal option would be a restrained reaction.
Care and maintenance
Due to the rather calm and quiet nature of the sharpei, they are well suited for apartment maintenance. Moreover, it is preferable because the short coat does not protect against low temperatures, and overheating has a bad effect on the health of the animal due to the peculiarities of the structure of the skin and respiratory tract.
These dogs do not require expensive professional grooming, frequent bathing. Note, however, that during bath procedures (once every 2-3 months, if nothing extraordinary happens), it is mandatory to use special shampoos that do not cause irritation, and thorough drying with a hairdryer. In short-haired individuals, even seasonal molting takes place almost imperceptibly, it is enough to iron them once a week with a mitten purchased at a pet store for combing wool, and pets with "bear fur" need more careful care twice a year using rubber brushes.
What needs to be done regularly and diligently is to take care of the skin. Sweat and fat secretions, dirt, food particles accumulate in its folds, which can lead to the appearance of dermatitis. Attention should also be paid to the ears in order to avoid inflammatory processes in the shells and the auditory canal.
An hour of walking a day is enough for sharpe to maintain a normal physical form. The structure of the skull makes them similar to brachycephalic type dogs (bulldogs, boxers, pugs), so intense loads like jogging and overcoming obstacle courses are contraindicated due to breathing problems.
Recommendations regarding feeding do not differ from the standard for all purebred animals. High-quality ready-made premium or super-premium food or a carefully designed diet based on conventional products, in which the nutrients will be balanced. The portion size is individual and depends on the age, size and physical activity of each animal. It is absolutely necessary to provide round-the-clock access to fresh drinking water.
Sharpei's Health and Diseases
Dog handlers refer sharpeys to breeds with poor health. The number of possible hereditary and acquired diseases during life is such that some organizations generally raise the question of the expediency of further breeding. The reason for this is largely the dishonesty of breeders who, in the wake of the outbreak of popularity of Han dogs in the 80-90s of the last century, chased commercial benefits to the detriment of animal welfare.
Today, breeders, in close cooperation with veterinarians, try to cut off unwanted genetically pedigreed lines, but even in good kennels, puppies with certain diseases are born.
- Sharpey fever (also known as swollen hock syndrome) manifests itself in swelling of the hock joint or even two against the background of an unexplained temperature rise to 39-42 ° C, accompanied by abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea. Presumably it has a hereditary character, usually occurs at the age of 18 months and may bother the dog in the future. There is no effective treatment, during seizures they struggle with symptoms, reducing the temperature and pain with medication.
- Hypothyroidism is a lack of thyroid hormones, which provokes the development of epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma (purulent inflammation of the skin) and other dermatological problems, and in especially severe cases – lethargy. It is treated with medications and diet.
- Dysplasia of the elbow or hip joint is a degenerative disease, as a result, a weak joint is formed in a growing animal, which can lead to arthritis and lameness.
- Demodicosis – the appearance of areas of reddened, flaky skin, hair loss caused by infection with skin parasites. The tick can be transmitted from the mother to puppies in the first days of life and does not manifest itself until the period of reduced immunity. Humans and other animals cannot become infected by contact with a dog.
- Pyoderma is a bacterial infection that leads to the appearance of pus accumulations in the outer layers of the skin and near the hair follicles.
- Seborrhea – dermatitis in the form of peeling of keratinized skin, most often is a consequence of allergic, infectious and parasitic diseases, problems with immunity, endocrine system or metabolism.
- Cutaneous mucinosis – excessive production of mucin by epithelial cells leads to the formation of mucus-filled blisters, mainly considered a cosmetic problem, but sometimes the oropharynx is affected, which provokes breathing problems. It is treated with corticosteroids.
- Dislocation of the kneecap (patella) is a congenital or acquired displacement of the kneecap relative to the normal position, is episodic or permanent. In severe cases, it is almost impossible to set it into the femoral block, and the animal loses the ability to rely on the diseased limb.
- Osteochondrosis – improper growth of cartilage in the bag, causes painful stiffness of the joint.
- Inversion of the stomach is a dangerous condition that is associated with stretching the stomach with air trapped as a result of too fast absorption of a large volume of food. Leads to a violation of the normal blood flow, a sharp decrease in pressure. The immediate help of a veterinarian is required! Disturbing symptoms are restless behavior, bloating, excessive salivation and inconclusive vomiting.
- Glaucoma – increased intraocular pressure, leading to optic nerve atrophy and loss of vision.
- Entropion is an incorrect position of the eyelids, in which the free edge of the lower (less often – upper eyelid) is wrapped around the eyeball and constantly injures its surface, provoking inflammation of the cornea and loss of vision.
How to choose a puppy
It is worth noting: newborn sharpies do not have folds at all, but by the 6th week of life they accumulate so much that they become like a rubber man Bibendum – a recognizable symbol of one of the manufacturers of automobile tires. As the dogs grow up, they seem to "grow up" to too large a skin, only the head and the nape of the neck remain covered with large wrinkles. To understand how strongly the folding of the future pet will be expressed and what type of coat, you need to look at his parents.
The health of the baby largely depends on them, so do not hesitate to ask the breeder for medical documents. The puppy itself should have marks in the veterinary passport at the time of purchase about age-appropriate vaccination.
An important indicator is the conditions of keeping mothers and puppies. A dark, cramped, not protected from the wind, and even more so a dirty aviary testifies not in favor of the breeder. Proper nutrition in the womb and in the first months of life lays the foundation for a lifetime, be sure to pay attention to the contents of the bowls!
If the sharpies of the selected nursery do not participate in exhibitions at all, this is a wake–up call - they have problems either with health and physical indicators, or with behavior. It is better to refuse to purchase a pet in such a place.
The main thing is that the puppy easily makes contact, is not afraid of a person and does not show aggression, is not suspiciously apathetic.
Photo of a sharpey puppy
How much is a sharpey
The lowest price of sharpeys is traditionally offered at bird markets and Internet sites with free ads. Naturally, in this case you have no guarantees of the purity of the breed, the health of the dog and the stability of its psyche.
Pet-class puppies, that is, pets with purebred parents who do not fully meet the breed standard due to minor appearance flaws and do not receive a decorated pedigree, cost from $120 and above.
For the breed-class sharpeys, which have all the breed characteristics and may be interesting for further breeding, the new owners will have to pay at least $250 - $350.
The most expensive are show–class dogs, they not only fully meet the standard, but also have a character suitable for exhibitions, a special ability to present themselves. It is impossible to find out the potential of a champion at an early age, therefore, if you hear categorical statements about such prospects in relation to a baby of 8-10 weeks, do not doubt the dishonesty of the seller. A real breeder knows what to ask for $500 - $650 can only be paid for a teenager (8-9 months) who already has experience of participating in junior exhibitions.