March 4, 2009

Shar Pei Colours

I found this great site talking about all the colours. There are even pictures of each colour on their site. I'll post a link to each colour page after each description just to make it easier.

This is the website:

Basic Colours:

Cream: These Shar Pei usually have a darker shading (apricot) on their dorsal line, ears and hocks and include light and dark cream.

Fawn: Is the most common Shar Pei colour and can include Light Fawn, Dark Fawn and Red Fawn.

Red: Shades of Red may vary from red to mahogany to chestnut red.

Brown: Is often confused with chocolate. Brown Shar Pei will have black pigmentation - chocolates are dilute.

Sable: Sable is one of the most difficult colour classifications in the Shar Pei. A TRUE sable will have a lacing of black hairs over a lighter ground colour (not white). The coat colour is uniform over the body, neck, head and legs. A true sable does not have a lighter butterfly pattern on the chest nor Doberman points on the head. Legs are laced evenly. A saddle pattern is also not a true sable.

Silver: These dogs are a light even silver with a charcoal mask. They cast a platinum shade, light like a cream but without the darker dorsal stripe.

Black: Most black Shar Pei have grey, red, silver, brown or chocolate shadings.

Dilute Colours:

Apricot: A distinct apricot colour ranging in shade from light to dark apricot.

Blue: Brush coat blues are usually very dark blue and horse coat blues will usually be a light silvery blue.

Chocolate: Often this colour is confused with brown. Chocolate Shar Pei can not have any black pigmentation. Noses, etc. are chocolate coloured and tongues are lavender.

Cream: The same as basic cream colour but without black pigmentation.

Isabella: These Shar Pei have a dusty rose colour coat with pale blue masking and shading and lavender tongues. The ears and dorsal line may be darker.

Lilac: A chocolately blue dilute colour giving the appearance of purple. Again, the colour is darker in brush coats than in horse coats. (Lilac is the same colour as a Weimaraner) Always found in dilute only.

5-Point Red (Red Dilute): The "5 points" are nose, eyes, skin, foodpads and anus. These dogs are a distinct deep red fawn varying to a dark red colour.

Sable (Dilute): A lacing of dark coloured (not black) hair over a lighter coloured ground colour (not white). The coat colour is uniform in the body, neck, head and legs. A true Sable does not have a lighter butterfly pattern on the chest nor Doberman points on the head. Legs are laced evenly. A saddle pattern is also not a true Sable.

Silver (Dilute): Silvers include blue, grey and taupe. Noses are slate and tongues lavender. This is a bluish/silverish smokey colour with very little variation.



Where in the world did that come from ??? Shar-Pei enthusiasts may find themselves muttering these words during the birth of a new litter when one pup arrives sporting a snazzy coat of two colors. To the breeders' amazement and disbelief this pup will be marked with a uniquely designed colored head and patches of the same color over a stark white background. This is likely to be the breeders first encounter with the ill- fated Flowered Shar-Pei.

It can be reported, after 8 to 15 generations of breeding Shar-Pei in America, this pattern variation has proven to be an intrinsic part of the breed. The consistency of pattern and type does not vary. The "flowered or spotted gene" is documented throughout the official Chinese Shar-Pei stud books beginning with the very first Shar-Pei ever registered in America and continues to appear regularly throughout the decades. The variation originated in China and plays an integral part of the breeds development in the States, strongly influencing the gene pool of the foundation stock. Nearly 90% of today's' Shar-Pei can be traced back to one or more of the very first 20 Shar-Pei registered with the parent club, The Chinese Shar-Pei Club Of America ( hereafter referred to as the CSPCA) and literally all of today's Shar-Pei carry the flowered gene somewhere in their pedigree.

The breeding of Down Homes Sweet Pea HKKA 73/3046 (flowered) to Down Homes Anne Revival (fawn, carrying the flowered gene) HKKA 73/3004 produced 5 offspring: Down Homes China Souel, the very first Shar-Pei to be registered with the CSPCA carries the registration number of 1, and is littermate to Down Homes China Will, Down Homes China Faith, Down Homes China Love and Down Homes China Hope. Virtually any Shar-Pei in America can be traced back to one of these dogs and would be considered an direct descendant of the Flowered Shar-Pei.

Since the flowered gene is recessive, both the dam and sire must possess the gene in order to produce it or pass it on. An early study indicated that other unrelated Shar-Pei were carriers of the flowered gene, including Down Homes Clown Nose Buddha, Down Homes Don Kar, Down Homes Lady Charcoal, Down Homes Rust Copper, Chico's Ro Ro II and Oriental Lion of Ng Wai Lut. Several flowered lines can be traced back to the very earliest Shar-Pei documented in some of the oldest reliable pedigrees from the Orient and elsewhere. According to the available records in the CSPCA stud books the flowered lines can be traced to the oldest recorded Shar-Pei named Tai Tsui.

Much of the information found on early foreign pedigrees was gathered from the Hong Kong and Kowloon Kennel Association, the Japanese Kennel Club and regions of Taipei, Taiwan and Australia lack important data including birthdates, sire, dam or color and were incomplete. Several were notably identified as "spotted". This term is interchangeable with flowered and means the same.

Many well-known and highly promoted studs that strongly influenced the American lines can be traced back to direct flowered lines or known carriers of the gene.They include well known CSPCA Champions as GK's Patrick of Bruce Lee, Brush Creek A'Capella Chang, Gold's Black Magic, Shir Du Bang and Boawnchiens Argie Foo Chew. This is not to state that these dogs actually produced flowered progeny but merely explains that out of the same lines have some of our more notable Champions.

No one knows for sure how the Shar-Pei developed. Factors influencing this breed may have included geographical boundaries, environmental or social factors as well as direct intervention. Since Hong Kong was a major shipping port for centuries many breeds crossed paths in the Orient.. Among other Oriental breeds are the Chow, Chinese Pug, Akita, and Pekinese. Other breeds which may have contributed to the present day Chinese Shar-Pei, included the Mastiff and Bulldog. The closest cousin to the Shar-Pei is, of course, the Chow, the only other dog breed today with a blue colored tongue. Due to great famines in China over the centuries many dogs were eliminated because they were competitors for a limited food supply. Even today, in certain parts of the world, dogs have become a food source themselves and can be found on menus.
What establishes a breed as a " pure breed" is the ability perpetually recreate it's likeness generation after generation. Consistency is the key. This is true with the Flowered Shar-Pei.
Today's Shar-Pei is easily recognizable as a breed ,but rarely, are any two identical. Acceptable in the standard are two lengths of coat, different tail curls ( hanging sickle, coin, etc.) Ears can range from very tiny and curled to a large flat design. Wrinkles on the head and various muzzles sizes give each and every Shar-Pei his own unique look and expression. There are many different colors including blue which appeared for the first time in 1985, more than 11 years after the Shar-Pei came to America in any sizable numbers.

As early as 1978, Tunzi registered Winston C ( Cream Spotted, 1978), Griselda (Brown Spotted, 1979) and Pretty Boy Floyd (Fawn Spotted, 1982) By 1982, Tunzi's kennel was quickly becoming associated with the flowered dogs. Susan and husband, Milton Tunzi, had embarked on rather a vigorish flowered breeding program with multiple litters, several generations and 30 or more of these very rare Shar-Pei in residence at their farm in Petaluma, California. In a stroke of luck ( for Flowered Shar-Pei lovers) Milton Tunzi had a Ph.D in Zoology with an emphasis in genetics. Because their breeding program was scientific in nature and well documented, much of that data serves as a basis for information and correlates important data to establish the Flowered Shar-Pei as an integral part of this breeds history.

During this period, Shar-Pei breeders all over America were reporting and registering the flowered offspring. Breeders form Oklahoma, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan were finding these flowered pups among the solid colored litter mates out of solid colored parents. The registrations weren't consistent. Some were registered as Ch/W ( chocolate and white) while others were registered as F/Sp (Fawn Spotted) Some of these may have been "blaze and sox", the Irish Spotting Gene and not a true flowered. Any questions as to which were actually flowered and which were simply mismarked could be cleared up by a quick research of the CSPCA records since photographs were required for registration.

An unfortunate incident also occurred just about the same time which would eventually put a halt to the promotion and development of the Flowered Shar-Pei in America for quite some time.
Another breeder and "flower" supporter, Ruby Borden placed a photo advertisement in the official CSPCA club magazine, The Barker . She was promoting a beautiful litter of black and white pups. Other well meaning ,"by the book breeders", quickly took exception to the Borden's' ad and raised a storm of controversy. Oddly enough, it was Matgo Law , ( who sent the foundation flowered gene to America in the first place) that made the statement that a spotted dog was not acceptable in China and should be discourage from breeding.

The issue was hotly debated since the prevailing CSPCA standard considered the flowered markings a mismarked dog, therefore, possessing a major fault. (Later , it would be considered a disqualification) As a result, it was officially decided never to allow any CSPCA member promote "faulted" dogs in The Barker again.

The basis for the argument used for the decision was that the Chinese did not accept them. A fact taken at face value and never realistically discussed. Others worried that too many variations would result in denial of AKC recognition, while others insisted that the flowered dogs must be the result of a recent outcrossing. Suddenly, the intentional breeding of a faulted dog was considered unethical. The fledging CSPCA was still relatively small. Most of the serious breeders knew each other and depended on one another for information, sales and promotion. Reputation was everything and no one wanted to be an outcast for deliberately degrading the breed. In direct response, a lot less flowered pups were being registered. No one wanted to let others know that their bitch or dog carried this , so called , terrible fault.

Luckily, just before this incident occurred, Milton Tunzi co-authored with the enthusiastic assistance of CSPCA Registrar, William W. Morrison (one of the very important founding fathers of the CSPCA and friend of Milton Tunzi) the first and only research and genetic study of the spotted variation of the breed was published. Using the CSPCA registration files, Morrison contributed "Analysis of Occurrence of Spotted Dogs in the CSPCA Stud Book Registry" while Tunzi submitted the "Genetic Findings" What could have been just an very interesting article in The Barker actually became a permanent record in the original CSPCA Stud Book Number 3.
Morrison analyzed all registered breedings which occurred between November 14, 1976 and April 30, 1982 where the offspring were registered with the CSPCA. This figure did not include any pups that were culled, died or never registered. The term, spotted/spotting was used to identity spotted, ticked or the combination. Brindle, roan and tan-pointed were specifically excluded.

By evaluating 881 litters, a total of 3,185 puppies born and registered between those dates, they discovered that an astounding 4.6% of what is now consider foundation stock (FDS) could be visually identified as "spotted". Tunzi, citing a formula referred to as the Hardy-Weinberg Law ( a research tool developed for use in agricultural genetics), if 5% of the offspring can be physically identified with a characteristic then approximately 33% of the total population possess the gene.

To further enhance this figure, from 1982 until the CSPCA handed the stud books over the AKC in 1991 it became virtually impossible to import any new bloodlines into America. The parent club issued a directive. (supposedly to protect us from unscrupulous foreign breeders) In order to import any foreign bloodlines, the imported dog or bitch would have to be registered under a "limited" registration and that dog or bitch would have to produced at least 6 pups from 2 successful litters, when the last of those pups reached 6 months then all the pups would have to be evaluated by a chosen group of experts as to the validity and purity of the total group. One mismarked dog could cause the whole group to lose the privilege of CSPCA registration. Closing the stud books to foreign bloodlines drove the value of the domestically born Shar-Pei sky high, with prices in the '80's often reaching as much as $3500 for an 8 week old puppy. Few people were willing to invest the time and trouble for such a project and therefore virtually none were imported during this time period. With no new blood available all the lines in America become tightly co-mingled and as a result all the Shar-Pei in America share the same problems, health concerns and faults associated with a limited gene pool.

Since the flowered gene is recessive in relation to the solid color gene, and both sire and dam must be carriers of the gene in order for a physically flowered Shar-Pei to be produced from solid colored parents. Two flowered Shar-Pei bred together could produce a whole litter of flowered offspring, if no other dominating factors were present.

This was apparent in a breeding between Jewel's Rascal's Mak'n Mischif bred to Lo Foo Lau Jewel's La Fleur. Rascal, an apricot dilute flowered male was bred to La Fleur, a chocolate dilute flowered female. In 5 generations between the parents there were no other physically flowered dogs present Both parents came from litters where they were the only flowered pup in their respective litter. Notable also is the fact that in 62 ancestors--6 generations--only 2 dogs appear twice, back in the 5th and 6th generations. Both parents go back to known flowered carriers in the foundation stock.

This breeding was done twice producing 7 pups in each litter and all 14 offspring were dilute and flowered. All carried the unique head pattern of the inverted "^" and all possess the spotted and ticked pattern. None of the offspring possess other faults such as prick ears, stub tails or bear coats. Other than their unique flowered pattern they were the same as any other Shar-Pei. Some of the flowered pups did have lightly pigmented tongue color, but this was true of many of the early solid pointed Shar-Pei as well.

In a letter published in the original CSPCA Stud Book Number 3, from the Secretary of the Hong Kong Kennel Club ( affiliated with the London Kennel Club and the Federation of World Wide Kennel Clubs) stated 15/7/75, in part reads, " we are trying hard to look for correct ones (Shar-Pei) and doing extensive investigations and to set a series of standards for this breed but before this is done there is none that could be considered correct in type and we cannot accept any for registration ." Considering that there were as many as 15 to 20 breeders in the Orient at the time, none could come up with a standard all could agree.

Soon after this correspondence was received the Hong Kong Kennel Club finally established a breed standard that turned out to be quite different from the one used to establish the breed in America.

The significance of the means there was no officially accepted standard in China or Hong Kong in 1975 and then 14 years later they still had no standard, documentation, or viable research study in progress. In comparison, by 1989, the USA based CSPCA had available extensive documentation, through strictly supervised stud books and photographs of every registered Shar-Pei since the clubs' incorporation.

Looking back, there was no way the founding fathers of the CSPCA could have known what the eventual outcome of the documentation would prove. It was simply the intent of early breeders to save this rare and unfortunate creature from the brink of extinction, rescuing the dog from a society that cared little for it.

They essentially made the decision to first fault, then disqualify the Flowered Shar-Pei from showing based on an unofficial standard written by the very same breeder who used the flowered dogs in his own breeding program "if they were of otherwise good breed type", that according to Matgo Law of the legendary Hong Kong based Down Homes Kennels. Law, primarily, credited with rescuing the breed, which originated in his native homeland of China, by successfully promoting them throughout the world. Law adamantly professed that the Shar-Pei should be of one color with no reasonable explanation "why?"

Once the breed started to gain popularity and prices began to soar for this once very rare dog, infighting and accusations occurred between the Oriental breeders, each hoping to discredit the other kennels in order to become a major exporter of the breed. These breeders had little knowledge of the genetics behind the Shar-Pei. Until Life Magazine focused a front cover with a rather homely Shar-Pei , little was known about the breed, which was for the most part a type of regionally developed "cur dog" used by farmers to protect livestock or taken to the market and sold as food. The Shar-Pei has the undeserved reputation of a fighting dog, since is was mistaken for a mixed breed that developed out of several breeds specifically bred for the fighting and gambling pits in Macaw. That breed was a combination of several dogs and included mastiffs and terriers and may have had some Shar-Pei mingled in. Dogs, were simply not considered pets in this part of the world and were there solely for some aspect of usefulness.

After judging a Shar-Pei Specialty in Phoenix, Arizona, November of 1990, Matgo Law spoke of the differences in the type of Shar-Pei currently being developed in the States. He remarked, "that while you (Americans) have helped to save the breed you have altered the type. He goes on to say, "You are walking a different road than I. People do things according to their own beliefs. It is not a matter of right or wrong."

What the documentation proves is that the "flowered gene" came over from the Orient and was intrinsically part of the foundation stock from which most of our present day Shar-Pei are descendants. Through photographs, we realize that the flowered pattern had not changed in over 20 years, from generation to generation. Except for the pattern, the Flowered Shar-Pei is no different from the solid colored Shar-Pei. Finally, we discover that the flowered variation of the Chinese Shar-Pei does not possess any uniquely related health or temperament problems. In addition, the CSPCA continued to allow full privileges to the solid color litter mates that came from litters containing flowered pups. If Club members actually felt the spotting was a result of a recent outcrossing then none of the litters containing flowered pups should have been allowed into the stud book registration.

The Flowered Shar-Pei would have been as common today as any other color if it wasn't for the fact that for so many years many of them simply went unregistered or were euthanized at birth to protect the reputation of the stud dog, bitch or breeder. In the more recent years the Flowered Shar-Pei appears to be making a comeback in part because of its irresistible uniqueness as well as the fact that the vast numbers of people who own, breed or otherwise enjoy the Shar-Pei no longer feel pressure or otherwise influenced into discriminating against this variation. Still there is no sign that the Flowered Shar-Pei will ever be allowed into the AKC show ring, even though the variation has found its' niche with other kennel clubs such as World Wide and States Kennel Club. Various breeders are forming alliances to promote the "spots"..
Ironically, a very similar situation occurred in the development of another AKC breed, the German Shepherd Dog. The white German Shepherd was disqualified from conformation competition solely on the basis of color. Importantly, they carry no recurrent hereditary health or temperament defects. In addition, the foundation stock that played an integral part in the development of today's German Shepherd dogs were either direct descendants of a white Shepherd or carried the white gene. Similarly, the paternal grandsire of the world's first registered GSD (1899) was white. According to Rodger Hilbert, a recognized expert on the WGSD, Germany's Max von Stephenitz, the acknowledged father of the GSD, believed that, "No good dog should be a bad color."
Other photos:
This is the Canadian breed standards:
Coat and Colour

Coat: The extremely harsh coat is one of the distinguishing features of the breed. The coat is absolutely straight and offstanding on the main trunk of the body but generally lies somewhat flatter on the limbs. The coat appears healthy without being shiny or lustrous. Acceptable coat lengths may range from extremely short "horse coat" up to the "brush coat", not to exceed one inch in length at the withers. A soft coat, a wavy coat, a coat in excess of 1" (2.5cm) in length at the withers or a coat that has been trimmed is a major fault. One coat type is not to be preferred over the other. The Shar-Pei is shown in its natural state.

Colour: Only solid colours and sable are acceptable and are to be judged on equal basis. A solid coloured dog may have shading, primarily darker down the back and on the ears. The shading must be variations of the same body colour (except in sables) and may include darker hairs throughout the coat. A pigmented dog may have a darker mask on the face.
Major Faults

Deviation from a scissors bite.
Spotted tongue.
A soft coat, a wavy coat, a coat in excess of 1" (2.5 cm) in length at the withers or a coat that has been trimmed.


Pricked ears.
Solid pink tongue.
Absence of a complete tail.
Not a solid colour, i.e. Albino; Brindle; Parti-coloured (patches); spotted (including spots, ticked or roaning); Tan-Pointed Pattern (including typical black and tan or saddled patterns or shading that has a defined pattern i.e. distinct butterfly pattern on the chest).

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