The Chinese Standard from October 2022

by Sandra LindbergSeptember 27, 2019

The following new breed standard of the Dali Shar Pei was published by the Dali Shar Pei Club on 10/14/2022. 

 (unofficial translation from the Chinese original)

The Dali Shar Pei

The Dali Shar Pei is an ancient and unique breed of dog native to and around the city of Dali, Nanhai, Guangdong. According to legend, the Shar Pei existed in the Chinese coastal regions on the South China Sea since the Qin and Han dynasties (200 BC).

Statues resembling the Shar Pei have been found in these regions in the past.

The "Shar Pei" was kept as a hunting and guard dog. Because dog fighting was very popular in the rural areas of Guangzhou and Dali, Nanhai, Guangdong Province, dog breeders chose to breed fighting Shar Pei, which are the equivalent of the Dali Shar Pei known today with its distinctive bonemouth.

With this historical background, Dali became the center for the breeding and propagation of the Shar Pei. The Dali Shar Pei has overcome many historical challenges, endured some twists and turns, and survived to this day.

We owe all of this to our ancestors through to modern breed enthusiasts who vigorously protected, carefully bred, and actively supported the Dali Shar Pei.

In the 1970s, people from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan also started buying the original Shar Pei in Dali due to their interest in the Shar Pei.

General Appearance

Proud, alert, active and sturdy, medium-sized dog with a square profile. The skin is compact and rough.

As a puppy, the Shar Pei has wrinkles all over its body. In adult Shar Pei, the wrinkles, unique to the breed, are only moderately permitted on the forehead and withers.

The dynamic of the Shar Pei is judged at the trot. The gait is free and easy with the feet tending towards the central line of gravity as the Shar Pei moves at a vigorous trot. The gait combines forward reach with a powerful push from behind. The right dynamic is a basic requirement.

The Shar Pei has a dignified air, an alert, intelligent and calm temperament, and is very loyal to its owner.

Proportion and Physique

Body length range male: (44cm-52cm),

Shoulder height range: (43cm-52cm),

Weight range: (19kg-27kg);

Body length range female (43cc-48cm),

shoulder height range: (40cc-46cm),

Weight range: (16kg-22kg).

Height and length: 9-9.5:10.

Males are generally larger and more angular than females, but both sexes are well proportioned. The distance from the shoulder to the ground is approximately equal to the distance from the front of the breastbone to the back of the buttocks.

Head and Forehead

The head is mostly square and round, the forehead is broad and flat. The forehead and muzzle are of moderate length and the width narrows slightly from the eyes to the tip of the nose, the eyes must not be covered.

Pumpkin Head: A metaphor for the shape of the head, reminiscent of a Chinese gourd (葫芦瓜)1.

Longevity Prefix: The shape formed by the wrinkles on the forehead is reminiscent of the ancient character for longevity (寿) and is a metaphor for a happy future.

Eyes and Ears

The eyes are dark, apricot-shaped or slightly sunken, with a prominent expression that conveys a sense of strength to the other person.

Light dogs may have lighter eyes, blue eyes are disqualifying.

The ears are small, thick, triangular, slightly rounded at the tips and may be curled at the edges. The ears are wide and forward, preferably flat and broad. The ears are freely movable.

Prick-eared Shar Pei are suited for working (hunting).

Snout, Tongue, Nose, Teeth

The snout is reminiscent of a roof tile (瓦筒咀)2, with a characteristic slender bone structure.

The nose is large and broad, preferably black. However, other nose colors also qualify if they harmonize with the coat color, including flowered noses.

A meaty muzzle and meaty lips are unacceptable.

The preferred tongue color is blue (black), but a red or flowered tongue is acceptable.

Upper and lower teeth should form a scissor bite, no missing teeth and the lower jaw should not be longer than the upper jaw.

Topline and Tail

The neck is moderately long, round and strong, sitting well on the dog's shoulders and merging into a straight top line (slightly rising to the rear).

The chest is broad and deep, reaching to the elbow and rising slightly at the loin. Short back and loins, flat hips and very high set of tail with clearly exposed upturned anus.

The high base of the tail is a special feature of the Shar Pei. It tapers from the base of the tail to the tip. The tail is described as a pistol tail, money tail, sickle tail, etc. (a drooping tail is not good), an incomplete tail will disqualify.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters shoulders are well muscled, close to the body and sloping backwards. When viewed from the front, the forelegs are straight and moderately spaced. The elbows are close to the body. The forelegs are straight, even when viewed from the side.

The front legs are strong and mobile, of moderate length but without heavy bone structure. The paws are moderately large, compact and firm, no flat feet.

Hindquarters well muscled, strong, moderately angulated, with discrete segments of moderate length. The legs are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from behind.

The dewclaws of the hind legs should be removed.

Coat Quality and Color

The coat is extremely short, harsh and erect. The fur is originally called: "sand skin fur" (沙皮毛) or bristle fur (刷毛).

The maximum fur length at the withers could be 1.5 cm.

Coat Color: Only uniform coat colors are allowed, including black (黑色), rusty (铁锈色), red (红色), fawn (黄褐色), and even cream (奶黄色)3.

A solid color Shar Pei may have darker coat on the back and ears, but it must blend with the rest of the coat color.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy of the Dali Shar Pei is 12 years, with some living to be over 15 years old. Lifespan: 10-13 years.



No 1: If you look at a Shar Pei head from above, the shape of the head is reminiscent of a Chinese gourd (葫芦瓜), which is mainly found in the southern provinces of China.



No 2: The snout of the Dali Shar Pei, which is described as similar to a Chinese roof tile (瓦筒咀), gives the dog a balanced and harmonious appearance, despite the characteristic bone structure.

Characteristic bone structure with harmonious curves


No 3: Black and rust are both black. However, during the moulting period, black Shar Pei often look a little rusty. Red is a dark variation of fawn. Red Shar Pei are reminiscent of Chinese red tea (红茶).

rusty looking black
Chinese red tea
Red, or a dark fawn