complete english translation by .
The Original Chinese Shar Pei standards are: Calabash head, clam shell ears, black-bean triangular eyes, old lady’s face, roof tile mouth, bamboo tongue, butterfly nose, yellow cattle neck, grass carp body, shrimp waist, hard wire tail, persimmon butt, column arms, pipa thighs, garlic clove paws.
These are the descriptions of the morphological standards of the Shar Pei, employed by senior Shar Pei lovers who used names of things that came up in their surrounding environment. For each and every one of the experienced Shar Pei friend, when they are judging the dog, they first look at the dog’s “hair and eye”. What is “hair and eye”? Hair is the hair on the dog, and eye is the pair of eyes on the head – both hair and eye must coordinate.
How should they coordinate? First of all, let us talk about the different kinds of hair: shar pei coat, brush coat, bamboo coat, palm nut coat, and shredded farmer’s raincoat, etc. Shar Pei coat is called “Horse Coat” in Hongkong. I once had conversations with Mr CHIU Gei, and on another occasion with Mr TSE Sing Wei on the subject. Both veterans said the short coat was never called the horse coat. It was either called Shar Pei Coat or Shar Pei Boy or Shar Pei Girl. Horse Coat started in Hongkong. I kept contemplating that Horse Coat is not short, therefore, I agree with their thinking. Shar Pei coat is very short, less than half an inch (or 1/5 of a Chinese inch). Longer than that is called brush coat. Longer than brush coat is called bamboo, then palm nut, then shredded farmer’s raincoat… and so on. Of all the coats described above, whether long or short, the hairs must be coarse, hard, sparse, moist, matte, and not shiny bright; with no under coat. With a sparse coat, heat is dissipated quickly and the dog’s endurance is much higher when hunting. The moist and matte coats have higher pain tolerance and endurance, while the shiny bright coats have relatively low pain tolerance. Hair colors can be yellow (brown), black, white (beige), snuff box (coffee brown) and monk’s robe or ash grey (grey or blue). Yellow coats divide into Matte Yellow, Big Golden Yellow, Fire Red Coat; best of Black Coat is Rusty Black; Matte White is best in whites. On the body there should only be dilute colours, just like the stripe on the ridge of the back. If there are two colours, they must not be black and white, yellow and white – these are features in “foreign dogs”. Attention must be paid to the shape of the eye – triangular, no white shown, outer corner slightly sways upwards, brow bone should protrude to envelope the eye ball, eye colour must be dark. Now let us go back to the coordination of the hair and eye colours. Yellow dogs (brown) are easier to coordinate, because the eye colour must be darker than the hair colour, therefore many people prefer Matte Yellow. Black and White (Beige) are harder to coordinate because of the same rule, e.g. black tea, chestnut kind of dark eye colours. Matte Yellow, Big Golden Yellow, Fire Red Coats can have many different good eye colours, such as Black Tea, Chestnut, and Kerosene Blue (or lamp wick). Black Tea, Chestnut, and Lamp-wick Blue are good eye colours. Good eye colours need to go with good “grains”. What are “grains”? Grains can be seen next to the pupil of the eye – the eye colour. You will only see these “explosions” of grains when the dog nears maturity. There are different grains – coarse and fine. Explosion type grains look like a piece of cracked glass; big cracks are considered coarse, and small cracks, fine. Dogs with coarse grains are self-motivating in nature, and the fine-grained are conservative. Therefore, coarse-grained are true-fire dogs (i.e. fire in the belly), and the fine-grained are subtle-fire dogs. If a dog comes with good eye colour but no sand/grain explosion in the eyes, it cannot be called a quality dog.
A footnote by Mr Li Fook Wah regarding the kerosene blue eye colour:
Special addendum on Kerosene Blue: Compared to the yellow (brown) dog, the effect of a black dog or white dog (beige) with the Kerosene Blue eyes are minimal. For when the yellow dog with Kerosene Blue eyes fight, the blue turns into black tea. Kerosene Blue eyes are very rare, Ah Bo [90’s] had Kerosene Blue eyes. His character was that of a king, never bullied the small dogs, and very brave and ferocious vis a vis vicious big dogs. Very loyal to his master and family. I have raised a lot of Shar Pei, only Ah Bo had Kerosene Blue eyes. The only other one with those eye was Bobby [60’s].