|"Loch", a bonemouth Shar Pei owned by Hong Kong writer, Hing Chao|
I confess that when I saw this picture my heart beat a bit faster. I'm sure there'll be some who will whinge about some aspect of his construction, but just look at this dog's head.. distinctive but not overdone. Beautiful, expressive, clean eyes, too.
This dog is an original "bonemouth" Shar Pei and he is featured in the current issue of style mag Hong Kong Tatler, in an article by his owner, writer Hing Chao, charting the history of what happened to this breed to turn it into this... what's called the "meatmouth" Shar Pei.
|Shar Pei at Crufts 2012|
The claim is that the original Pei was bred with bulldogs, pugs etc to exaggerate the wrinkling to appeal to the Western market. In other words, what you see in the showring and pet market today is a mutt... not the real thing.
I love that the original breed has been featured in a top style mag... it sends out a strong and clear message... Want a proper Shar-pei or the canine equivalent of a fake Cartier watch?
There are a few bonemouths in the UK. It would be good to see more. And I would also love it if those who own them would enter them into shows to show people that there is an alternative. (Please let me know if you do so I can come and watch.) We were very much hoping to feature this breed - and the latest research regarding the link between the excessive wrinkling seen in the meatmouths and Shar-pei Fever - in Pedigree Dogs Exposed - Three Years On. Sadly, we ran out of room.
I was delighted recently to be invited to join a very health-focused Facebook group dedicated to improving the health of this breed. Clearly there are good and committed breeders out there.
It is not impossible to breed a long-lived, healthy meatmouth Shar-pei. But it is harder.