Bonemouth Shar Pei
Not every Shar Pei in China is what the Chinese call a bonemouth Shar Pei. Too many meatmouth Shar Pei have made their way into China from Hong Kong since the 1990's and for many years hybridization was heavily promoted. The term bonemouth itself is a modern term. Before there was a proliferation of meatmouth Shar Pei in China, there was only the Shar Pei. Bonemouth is just a designation chosen to distinguish it.
A bonemouth Shar-Pei differs in bone structure, coat, character and general conformation from the more modern meatmouth Shar-Pei in China. He looks much more primitive and primeval, especially his fur is even harsher.
When I first got involved with the SharPei, I was told in Hong Kong that the true bonemouth SharPei is extinct and no longer exists. When I started to deal more intensively with the Shar Pei in the country of origin, I quickly learned that this is not true. Thanks to a small handful of breeders who have always aimed to preserve and protect their original type and have resisted hybridization with Hong Kong meatmouth dogs. And while we only have a very small population of these original dogs today, they still exist, as the original bonemouth Shar Pei.
As with any breed, the Shar Pei in China have phenotypic differences. So not all bonemouth look the same. And depending on the aesthetic requirements, one prefers either one or the other type. In China, the phenotype is often of secondary importance, the fact that a dog fulfills its function has a much higher priority.