An alert, compact dog of medium size and substance; square in profile, close coupled; the well-proportioned head slightly, but not overly large for the body. The short, harsh coat, the loose skin covering the head and body, the small ears, the "hippopotamus" muzzle shape and the high set tail impart to the Shar-Pei a unique look peculiar to him alone. The loose skin and wrinkles covering the head, neck and body are superabundant in puppies but these features may be limited to the head, neck and withers in the adult.
Size, Proportion, Substance
The height is 18 to 20 inches at the withers. The weight is 45 to 60 pounds. The dog is usually larger and more square bodied than the bitch but both appear well proportioned. The height of the Shar-Pei from the ground to the withers is approximately equal to the length from the point of breastbone to the point of rump.
Head and Skull
The head is large, slightly, but not overly, proudly carried and covered with profuse wrinkles on the forehead continuing into side wrinkles framing the face. Eyes--Dark, small, almond-shaped and sunken, displaying a scowling expression. In the dilute colored dogs the eye color may be lighter. Ears-- extremely small, rather thick, equilateral triangles in shape, slightly rounded at the tips; edges of the ear may curl. Ears lie flat against the head, are set high, wide apart and forward on the skull, pointing toward the eyes. The ears have the ability to move. A pricked ear is a disqualification. Skull--flat and broad, the stop moderately defined. Muzzle--one of the distinctive features of the breed. It is broad and full with no suggestion of snipiness. (The length from nose to stop is approximately the same as from stop to occiput.) Nose large and wide and darkly pigmented, preferably black but any color conforming to the general coat color of the dog is acceptable. In dilute colors, the preferred nose is self-colored. Darkly pigmented cream Shar-Pei may have some light pigment either in the center of the nose or on the entire nose. The lips and top of muzzle are well-padded and may cause a slight bulge above the nose. Tongue, roof of mouth, gums and flews--solid bluish-black is preferred in all coat colors except in dilute colors, which have a solid lavender pigmentation. A spotted pink tongue is a major fault. A solid pink tongue is a disqualification. (Tongue colors may lighten due to heat stress; care must be taken not to confuse dilute pigmentation with a pink tongue.) Teeth--strong, meeting in a scissors bite. Deviation from a scissors bite is a major fault.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck--medium length, full and set well into the shoulders. There are moderate to heavy folds of loose skin and abundant dewlap about the neck and throat. The topline dips slightly behind the withers, slightly rising over the short, broad loin. A level, roach or swayed topline/backline shall be faulted. Chest--broad and deep with the brisket extending to the elbow and rising slightly under the loin. Back-- short and close-coupled. Croup-- flat, with the base of the tail set extremely high, clearly exposing an up-tilted anus. Tail--the high set tail is a characteristic feature of the Shar-Pei. A low set tail shall be faulted. The tail is thick and round at the base, tapering to a fine point and curling over or to either side of the back. The absence of a complete tail is a disqualification.
Shoulders--muscular, well laid back and sloping. Forelegs--when viewed from the front, straight moderately spaced, with elbows close to the body. When viewed from the side, the forelegs are straight, the pasterns are strong and flexible. The bone is substantial but never heavy and is of moderate length. Removal of front dewclaws is optional. Feet--moderate in size, compact and firmly set, not splayed.
Muscular, strong, and moderately angulated. The metatarsi (hocks) are short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Hind dewclaws must be removed. Feet as in front.
The extremely harsh coat is one of the distinguishing features of the breed. The coat is absolutely straight and off standing 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 one inch at the withers or a coat that has been trimmed is a major fault. The Shar-Pei is shown in its natural state.
Only solid colors and sable are acceptable and are to be judged on an equal basis. A solid color dog may have shading, primarily darker, down the back and on the ears. The shading must be variations of the same body color and may include darker hairs throughout the coat. The following colors are disqualifications: Albino; Not a solid color, i.e.: Brindle; Parti-colored; Spotted; Patterned in any combination of colors.
The movement of the Shar-Pei is to be judged at a trot. The gait is free and balanced with the feet tending to converge on a center line of gravity when the dog moves at a vigorous trot. The gait combines good forward reach and strong drive in the hindquarters. Proper movement is essential.
Regal, alert, intelligent, dignified, lordly, scowling, sober and snobbish essentially independent and somewhat standoffish with strangers, but extreme in his devotion to his family. The Shar-Pei stands firmly on the ground with a calm, confident stature.
Deviation from a Scissors Bite.
A soft coat, a wavy coat, a coat in excess of 1" in length at the withers or a coat that has been trimmed.
Solid pink tongue.
Absence of a complete tail.
Albino; not a solid color, i.e.: Brindle; Parti-colored; Spotted; Patterned in any combination of colors