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About the Shar-Pei ears

By Mr Li Fook Wah
complete english Translation by Peony Wong, January 2015

Shapes of the Sharpei ears: “clamshell”, “fungus”, “half-floating half-sinking”, “pingpau”(1), “chamfa”(2), “horse”, “cow”, etc. When it comes to the choice of ears in a Sharpei, their position is most important, and equally important, whether they are extremely mobile and capable of swift responses. Ears lacking mobility are “dead” ears; the best are ears with extreme mobility. The position of the ears should come out from behind the brain. The distance between the two ears on the top of the head should be close together, with the tips pointing forward. There are two poetic lines that describe the Sharpie ears: “Head must be gourd, ears must be fork; tail must be javelin, waist must be prawn.” Fork portrays the shape of the ears like that of a fork with the tips pointing forward, not left or right or inward. A Sharpei possessing fork-shape ears are considered more obedient to its master, and also feistier; proud like a warrior. When the dog is hunting and competing, the ears and the nose have to coordinate. When hunting, ears move in all directions, alert to any sounds. When competing, the ears move continuously, capable of ducking attacks targeting the ear gate (External Auditory Meatus, EAM) especially the key ear canal.

There is no standard for the size of the ears. Nonetheless, Sharpei lovers in general prefer small ears. The smaller the ears the more popular the dog.

Droopy ears: clamshell, fungus, cap

Clamshell: Triangular, coming out from the back of the top of the head. There are no frills/ruffles in the surface of the skin. The ear gate is big and wide; tips pointing forward, skin is thick. Tips of the ears should be approximately 0.1-0.2 inch away from the top of the head.

Fungus ears: are frilly, skin is rather thin, the ear gate relatively small, ear canal narrow. Fungus ears are more prone to diseases. We do not quite understand, however, why fungus ears have gained so much popularity among breeders in recent years. It may be due to the fact that fungus ears are smaller.

Cap (hat) ears: are bigger than the clamshell ears, but they are round instead of triangular, and the skin is thin.

Erect ears: chamfa, horse, and cow ears.

Chamfa (2): Triangular, thick skinned, wide ear gate.

Horse: longish shape like that of a horse; narrow ear gate.

Cow: bigger, “horn-like” ears pointing to the sides. A Sharpei with cow ears are often wilder in character. Sharpei veterans prefer small ears. That is why cow ears are not popular.

All ears must be mobile to be qualified as good ears. They may be clamshell ears, but if they cannot move smartly, they are not good ears. Mobility trumps shape.

(1) Sterculia monosperma (Chinese: 蘋婆; Thai: เกาลัดไทย), also known as Chinese Chestnut, Thai Chestnut and Seven Sisters’ Fruit is a deciduous tropical nut-bearing tree of genus Sterculia.

(2) “Chamfa”, a pair of decorative triangular ornaments used to decorate the ancestral tablet in Guangdong province. Besides Chamfa, there are also “Chapfa” (which means planting/sticking flowers in a vase). Chapfa ears are extremely mobile and they can abduct to the sides when alert, like this black female did when I was photographing her.

Half-floating-half-sinking: skin is thin, lacks courage for competition.

Sterculia ear (pingpau): For this type of ears, the main thing is the position, and mobile pinnae.

Hallo Shar-Pei Freunde,
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