Interview with Franki Leung

Franki Leung

Dogs have always been a big part of Franki Leung's life. He has been exhibiting dogs since 1976, starting with his first Shar Pei. He has bred Shar Pei, Shih Tzu and Kerry Blue Terrier and is now focusing a little more on native Chinese breeds. He is an all breed FCI judge and deputy general secretary of the CKU (Chinese Kennel Union).

You have a very long history with the Shar Pei. Could you tell us how and when you got in contact with the breed?

Franki Leung
With his godson in the 1980s,  showing his Shar Pei

I got my first Shar Pei in 1974 when I went to Yuen Long, the New Territory (Hong Kong) to learn about dog training. Yuen Long was considered as a countryside area at that stage and there were many farms in that area. The farm usually rears a lot of the local dogs to watch their property. As a native breed, the Shar Pei obviously is one of the popular breeds in that area.

What was the name of your first Shar Pei?

“ Wang Cai “, he was a male.

What do you like most about the breed?

Loyalty and cleanliness.

As an experienced and respected FCI Judge you have seen Shar Pei all over the world in dog shows. In your opinion, how much has the breeds appearance changed over the years? How do you feel about it?

The coat is neglected by many breeders and judges. If you really study the breed standard, you should understand the characteristics of the coat that are so important for the breed. They should have kept this distinguished feature, otherwise it is a mongrel for me. 

At CKU you are responsible for native chinese breeds. When did you start working for CKU? What is your personal goal? What is your affection with the native chinese breeds?

Franki Leung
source: Franki Leung

I started working for CKU in 2013 as a volunteer. My major responsibilites are Judges Training, Handling & Native Breeds. At 2019, our President Chen appointed me as the deputy general secretary and I am working in the Beijing office now. I want to train our talented members to become good judges and to influence the whole dog world in China. In the past, almost all the Chinese breeds standard were written by foreigners, except the Shar Pei. We have to admitted that our breed standards in general are not too comprehensive. It could be better if we avoid using the old Chinese description to introduce to foreigners. It created many misunderstandings and damaged the breed. I don’t want to see our native breeds fall into a wrong track like the Shar Pei. We will conserve our native breeds carefully to introduce them to the international dog world.

As you know I am working towards getting more and more Shar Pei in China registered with CKU. When CKU registers these new dogs, the dogs will get a microchip, a blood sample is taken for DNA testing and a qualified member of CKU will check the dog personally. 

Could crossbred dogs or dogs that do not qualify according to the FCI standard get registered?

Of course we will certify the breed according to FCI standard even though the standard is not perfect.

As breeder, we want to protect and preserve a breed. How important is it for a breeder to look out for correct features of a dog?

Franki Leung
CKU registration

Shar Pei breeders like other breed breeders as well, must widely open their eyes to study the breed. Unfortunately, there are too many kennel blind people around.

There are many myth and stories around about the correct features of the breed. Some so called experts on the breed promoting erected ears as the correct type, some claim that the bear coat type has to be original, saying there would be some “ancient gene” correlation. What can we do to prevent those myth and false claims damaging the breed even further?

Just simply follow the breeds standard, unless you want to create another breed.

In the Shar Pei world there are voices who think it would be best, if FCI would separate the breed into “western” and “original” type. Do you have a personal opinion about this you would like to share? Is there a need to go into this direction to your opinion?

I don’t agree to separate the breed into two types, I believe Matgo Law won’t agree to this idea either. Nowadays, there are different appearance dogs in the Shar Pei community either China , Hong Kong or in the West. The standard of the breed has been established for many years even though there is still room to tighten up the standard. Obviously many breeders and judges ignore the breeds standard and especially violate the breeds characteristics.

Many thanks Franki Leung for giving me this interview


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