I am anxious to thank Mrs Brigitte Pelloux to have written this historic.
Some people thinks the race would be 2000 years old ; others think it would be rather ancient but remodelled recently.
If chinese origins of Shar-pei are certain, its history was told on different ways.
What is sure, that is shar-pei exists since several hundreds of years in the coastal regions of the south of China ; it would be originating from Dialack - a province near the canton of Guangzhou - and was also very widespread in the town of Dah Let (canton of Kwungtun).
We know too that "shar-pei" means in China "skin of sand", what seems well to correspond to the definition of their coat's texture : dry and stiff, indeed irritating, rough.
The old statuettes at the time of Han (from 200 before J.-C. to 200 after J.-C.), representing, according to some, our Shar-pei 2000 years ago, are also used to illustrate the seniority of other Asian mastiffs, with which the race has certainly common ancestors.
Shar-pei has never been a dog of luxury like Pekinois ; on the contrary, it was a rustic dog, used by farmers for the guard and the hunting.
Then, it has been used for fights thanks to its physical aptitudes. So It has been called "dog of Chinese fight" at that time. Indeed, dogs' fights were a very appreciated leisure in ancient China, as well in the countryside as in the working districts of provincial towns.
It is, at that time, that some race's characteristics ( full skin, eyes pushed in the folds of the face, curved hooks ) were selected to give to these dogs more defenses during the fights.
We were told that they were doped and watered of win to give them the agressiveness that them been lacking naturally.
In the 19th century, with the arrival of the westerners in China, new more powerful and combatant races made their appearence like bulldogs and mastiffs. Crossed with local races, these dogs were "machines of war", too powerful for Shar-pei. They weren't required any more, and the race started to die out. This disappearance was still accelerated by the heavy taxes on all dogs that the communist regime had etablished in the Fifties.
At the end of the Sixties, very few specimens still survived in Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan, or in some remote provinces. In those days, breeders fascinated by Shar-pei like Mr Law (affix "Down homes") and Mr Chung (affix "Jones") alerted the westerners and particularly the Americans, in order to these last ones buy some of their dogs "to save the race of the extinction". After a press campaign, the first births of Shar-pei took place in the United-States of America, and provoked the craze ; lots of people still remember this event. In 1979, the first shar-pei arrived in Germany, then in 1981 in France