Chinese Shar Pei origin
Though opinion about the ancient origin of a Chinese Shar Pei is widespread and conventional, it in fact is no more than the one of hypotheses. Although the ancient statuettes resembling Shar Peis do exist, they can represent Pugs or Chow Chows as well. Historically dogs never were an object of much worship in the Chinese culture, and there are no competent sources helpful in tracing the history of the Shar Pei breed before its first appearance in the USA. The theory alleging an ancient origin of Shar Peis is disproved by Marco Polo’s notes, for instance. He had been living in China for several years but never mentioned Shar Peis in his notes published in 1271 after his return; meanwhile he described Pugs and Chow Chows in detail. What seems to sound more trustworthy is a history of Chinese fighting dogs. It started right after 1751 when the Chinese emperor permitted a seaborne trade in the Pearl River Delta in Guangzhou. The first Chow Chows also appeared in Great Britain in 1775. Gambling was outlawed in China, therefore when British sailors introduced a dogfight, a common entertainment in those days, it briefly became extremely popular in Southern China. Due to paucity of English dogs participating in dogfights Chinese tried to breed their own fighting breed by crossing English breeds like Bulldog and Mastiff with smooth-coated Chow Chow. Likeness of a Chow Chow and a Shar Pei is evident. And the Chow Chow is the only breed in China which was used as hunting and shepherd dogs and as companions as well. And it is Shar Pei that is also known by these talents.
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