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Chinese Shar Pei

Chinese Shar Pei

March 2020

Dating back to 200BC, this ancient breed was saved from extinction in China and registered with the Hong Kong KC and subsequently with the AKC gaining full registration in 1992.

His silhouette, with the “hippopotamus” muzzle, loose skin and wrinkles combined with a compact, square body and harsh short coat makes this breed an interesting stand out and created great curiosity when they debuted in the show rings. His characteristic blue tongue does lend some thought to the rumours of long-ago associations with the Chow. Perhaps? Perhaps not? Nothing was recorded for posterity and he was primarily a peasant’s dog, used for hunting, guarding and herding.

His high set tail is a breed characteristic showing anus uplifted and the tail base thick and round, tapering to a point.

Shar Pei is literally “sand skin” or “sandpaper-like coat” alluding to the standard request for a short and rough coat, without shine. A soft coat is a fault, so the emphasis is for that “must-have” harsh coat.

Now they do say extremely harsh coat, so our focus is to keep hydration & coat vigour, be kind to the skin as many Shar Pei’s experience sensitive skin issues, and yet, keep this coat harsh and without shine.

The best routine you can undertake is to bath, oil and blow dry during the week and for the show, bath, and blow-dry without oiling. Blow drying ensures all the loose skin and wrinkles are dry and you are removing any dead hair regularly. Takes effort but is by far the best routine to get into.

It is a relatively simple procedure. You don’t have oodles of coat, nor trimming to do. You just need to be consistent each and every week.

Between shows and for the show, bath with 1/2 Plush Puppy Sensitive Skin Shampoo and 1/2 Plush Puppy Herbal Whitening Shampoo. Dilute 5:1 i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo. The Sensitive Shampoo will assist the issues that many Shar Pei have and the Whitening Shampoo is not softening, will tone the unwanted warm hues the coats can exhibit especially when coat is ready to shed and work with all the solid colours of the Shar Pei. This is a great mix for both show and between times. The coat can get oily and be hard to cleanse and this mix will make sense of it all for you.

For a dog that needs texture or added texture use Plush Puppy Texture + Shampoo is another product formulated using the latest technology to retain and improve coat texture. Recommended to thoroughly yet gently cleanse and deodorise the coat of harsh or coarse coated breeds without softening or compromising texture. It’s ideal for boosting body and coarseness in coats of all colours and coat types. Formulated to be pH controlled, creates/ maintains texture, easy to rinse out and low irritant with a subtle apple fragrance. Incorporates Gentian Root Extract, Juniper Fruit Extract, St John’s Wort Leaf Extract, Norway Spruce Leaf Extract, Hayflower Extract, Lemon Balm Leaf Extract, Arnica Flower Extract. Use at 1:10 or apply undiluted directly to areas requiring cleansing. Rinse thoroughly.

However, between shows you do need to make sure the skin and coat are hydrated and a little Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil diluted 1 teaspoon into a  2 L / 1/2 gallon of warm water and the whole quantity sponged liberally through to the skin and left on – do not rinse out but do blow-dry to keep those wrinkles and loose skin dry.

Make sure you also work Seabreeze Oil – UNDILUTED – into the elbows and hocks to keep the skin supple and discourage callouses. Leave on – do not rinse off.

The Seabreeze Oil is magical – it is not greasy and will work wonders on the skin and coat. A real must-do step. Please ensure Seabreeze Oil and indeed, any product does not get sloshed around the eyes. Whilst they are gentle and safe, no dog likes the irritation of foreign substances into the eye. It only encourages tearing and thus staining. They don’t even like water sloshed in the eye! Neither do I.

For show bath just eliminate the Seabreeze Oil from the routine. Shampoo only and then blow-dry.

His coat is not to be trimmed and must not be longer than 1″ or 2.2 cms. That’s explicit and so is the express request for an Extremely harsh coat. It does not get clearer than that.

You never use Conditioners of any sort on this coat as they will flatten and soften. The coat is meant to stand out somewhat on the main body and somewhat less on the limbs. Blow drying will assist the lift to this coat whether it be a “horse coat” or a “brush” coat. Hence the Seabreeze Oil which will give you the hydration and won’t flatten nor soften and allow you to consistently blow-dry without harm to the health of the coat. Blow drying will also assist to keep the silhouette from looking raggedy. The continual rolling of the coat by lifting all dead hair weekly with the dryer will shape a far better outline.

Every so often the coat can get too dry and even brittle for this use Plush Puppy Coat Rescue has been specifically formulated to help dry or damaged coats. Coat Rescue’s naturally blended essential oils and pure plant extracts help restore strength and elasticity to dehydrated and tired coat hair. With its scientific formula containing Kaolin, Almond Oil, Cinnamon Bark, Castor Oil, Soya Protein, Seaweed Extract, and other naturally sourced ingredients. After shampooing and rinsing apply directly to coat. Use at 1 tablespoon to 250 ml (8 oz) of water and mix well. Leave for 5-20 minutes and rinse. Can be left in longer for stronger results or as a conditioner for hydration without softening.

Now for the show, and you can do this on show day, it’s important to keep the harsh texture and no shine, so apply when the coat is dry, Plush Puppy Powder Puff Terrier. Don’t go overboard. This is very performant – instant coat hardener and a little bit goes a long way. So, perfect texture and no shine! What else could you ask for?

You should always take to the show – Plush Puppy Wonder Wash and a towel for a quick spray, foam up and towel dry off any areas that are muddy, dusty or peed on. This works a treat and cleans wonderfully, no pun intended!

A light mist of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher to deodorise any greasy skin odours Shar Pei’s can have and you are pretty much ready to show. The hard work has been done before in the weeks leading up to the event. No coat is made overnight. You can mask, cosmetically cover, etc but the stress at the show is worse and far better you are done and dusted with this quick routine on the day because you did the hard yard for many long weeks beforehand.

The Shar Pei is lordly. I did love that descriptive. He really is snobbish and independent with that calm, confident stance and his characteristic scowl.

He stands firmly and on the move at a trot, will start to converge to centre line of gravity as he settles into the gait.

Whilst standoffish with strangers, he is devoted to family and is regal, intelligent and dignified. This individual character in the ring is captivating. He is a breed alone from the far distant times of Chinese culture and as enigmatic as the old pictures of those long-gone people with their eastern life and inventions. He really can look right past you. I see this and know this is a long chain of dogs just being a Shar Pei. You do have a dog to be well proud of.

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