THE HEIGHT AND WEIGHT OF THE SHAR PEI

 

Introduction

On numerous occasions, I was asked to write a book about the Shar Pei ("SP") but I hesitated to do so. The reason was a simple one, from the most prestigious Cruft show to any local show, one could hear a lot of slander, innuendo and gossip between breeders, but never have I heard so much venom or back stabbing as in the SP circle. Indeed, the Chairman of the Hong Kong Kennel Club, Dr. Allan Auchnie did warn me that it could be like worms getting out from the can. So all alone I knew that I would be treading on dangerous ground should I commence to write about the Shar Pei. But if the truth is ugly then only lies make things beautiful, and the truth about the modern type of SP may not be a pretty one. I therefore decided that it is about time to recount my own experience with this breed and share it with other SP lovers. Hence readers could be better and correctly informed. I must say, I shall make no apologize to those people that I may have to offend.

Instead of writing a book that consumes a lot of my time, I came to the conclusion that it would be more sensible for me to write different articles concerning this breed in chapter form. In the future, I could then simply bundle all the different articles or chapters together and label it as my journey or a voyage with the Shar Pei.

In the Beginning

One of the most difficult areas to have this breed be recognized by the Hong Kong Kennel Club (HKKC) was to draft the standard. To portray the breed in an acceptable usage of English language in canine terminology that the whole word could understand, yet without losing the original meaning, description that we Chinese are accustomed to using. At this point, I feel that I ought to express my thanks to many people who have assisted me in drafting the standard. Therefore, I am obliged to introduce some of them to the readers. Readers could obtain a clear picture of what had happened during the journey of how the standard was reached. For I dare not and shall not be the only person to take any credit in achieving the breed's final recognition by the HKKC and the FCI.

Mrs B Murdock was at that time the office administrator of the HKKC. She is now a breeder of Kings Charles Spaniels in New Zealand. She assisted me in the English usage of canine terminology while I commenced to draft the standard, so this first hurdle was overcome with considerable ease.

Mrs Irene Paul assisted me in typing the drafted standard and enabled me to submit the final draft to the Hong Kong Kennel Club.

The second difficulty and the most serious one to overcome was to have the breeders, owners of the original type of SP to agree or compromise to what the original descriptions mean and whether it is capable of interpretation. (The word original and traditional is being used in the same content). Finally, to agree to what was the best to put down in the draft standard. This group of SP specialists may not be to many western readers their cup of tea, many of them have used the breed for less desirable use, i.e. blood sport. I would like to remind readers that it is a golden principle that the breed must be judged according to its natural function. For this very reason they should know better than many modern breeders. I must seek their opinions and evaluate their views. Hence, I had this very difficult task to gather many of them to discuss the matter of what a traditional type of SP should and ought to be. Some of them I have to interview individually, since they would never be able to see each other eye to eye. I can assure the readers that during those days of discussions, meetings and debates, the amounts of swearing, heated arguments between the original type of SP enthusiast erupted continually thoughout any gatherings we have. I was glad when it was all over. In the following chapters, I intend to use the standard approved by the Hong Kong Kennel Club and adopted by the FCI to elaborate on how and why the standard was reached. It is also by this explanation that it may assist others to choose what an original type of SP ought to be. I trust these essays would assist western readers to clear many doubts they have.

Bigger the better. V. Small and beautiful

In this chapter, I intend to discuss about the size of the SP, the reason is because in Hong Kong, the original type of SP enthusiasts (herein after called "the old boys") maintained the old Chinese description of "High head big horse" to describe the size of the SP. By this very description of high head big horse, one could anticipate that the Chinese are referring to a bigger dog, while in UK the breeders favour a slightly smaller dog which is under 20 inches tall, This view was reflected to me not only by Pat Pearce, the president of the Midland Shar Pei Breed Club and also by others while I was in U.K. in U.S.A., I understand their standard goes even further to suit a type called the Miniature Shar Pei! I was under the impression that the Americans should prefer something bigger the better. It surprised me that there is now such a new type of American Miniature Shar Pei. One can now see the conflicting view of whether a SP should be a smaller dog or a slightly larger breed as the old boys have claimed.

I shall now account to readers of some of the people who contributed to the debate of what the size should and ought to be according to their own memories of this breed. At this juncture, I wish to inform western readers that Cantonese always address each other by nick names according to one's profession, or even by one's look. For example, Mr Chan Fat was crowned to be the Shar Pei King in the mid sixties to seventies, Chan Fat engaged himself in manufacturing bean cure products, he was then called "Bean curd Fat" or "Uncle Fat" by the others, yet people really addressed his real name as Mr Chan Fat. Therefore, many of these specialists that I shall address to would be labeled by their nick names.

Most of the SP specialists were of the opinion that the breed should reach 22 inches in height to suit the description of "High head big horse". I personally at that stage had reservation of such claim. One person protested to me that since the SP is a southern breed from China, it should and ought to be a smaller sized dog. This gentleman was called "Paper De" who engaged himself in paper cutting business. Dogs for game was his main hobby. The reasons why he said that SP need not be big was because southern Chinese, i.e., the Cantonese were smaller and shorter than their northern counterparts. Hence, likewise to it's master, the breed should be smaller than what was alleged. I consider what he said was logical, for I compared the northern dogs, such as the Tibetan Mastiff that was definitely a larger breed. Paper De maintained the view that SP could be small and beautiful and hence, it should not be over 22 inches tall and not over 50 pounds in weight. He further described the SP as a "stool", of course, a Chinese stool. In other words, he was saying that the body need not be big and tall, and a slightly longer body should be acceptable.

Incidentally, Paper De also claimed to have cross breed a SP with a bull dog in Macau. One of the off spring was given to we all know who, the person said to be the father of modern type of SP. I had reservation of what Paper De had told me, but I didn't have time to find out whether he was telling the truth or not. My primarily concern in those days was to gather any available data to draft up the standard regarding the traditional type of SP.

I compared what Paper De had said and my own observations of the breed in all these years. I could only recall a handful of SP that could reach over 22 inches in height and over 60 pounds in weight. The first one that I ought to introduce was called Oik qai which means nasty devil. The owner was Uncle Fat. If I may recall correctly, he started with three SP in the beginning, the year was around early and mid 1960s. His first SP that I knew was actually called Shar Pei, followed by Lucky. They were both under 19 inches' dogs and both with open and standing ears; but Oik Qai stood distinctively taller than these two dogs at around 22 inches and weighted around 60 pounds.

Even in the later years, the legionary Dai Fan Shui, translated as Big potato was considered to be a big SP, stood around 22 inches and weighted 55 pounds. Big Potato's mother was a bitch from China whom I rescued from the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter Harbour. I named her as Pai Por, translated as Nosy Bitch. She was given to Uncle Fat and then mated with a dog called Ar Bo was a creamy dog from Macau. Both of these two dogs were under 20 inches in height, yet Big Potato was considerably bigger and heavier than his parents. Bean Curd Fat, no doubt favoured the taller type of SP.

Another big dog that I could recall was named Ar Choi, he belonged to a Mr Ho, nick name Ho jai. This Ar Choi should be the biggest one that I could remember, he stood over 23 inches and weighted over 65 pounds. The reason why I could remember this Ar Choi was because I was a loyal member of truancy brigade in those days, on hearing that there was a meeting between a dog from Macau also known as Ar Choi, which was a cross between a bull mastiff and a SP owned by a Mr Wonge Perk Change, I then wore my school uniform, accompanied by other tear aways, off we went to an old dock yard in Yau Ma tai, Kowloon to join the excitement. I do believe that some readers, in particular, western readers would find it unacceptable, distasteful and to the extend of being disgusted by my behavior in the past, but I shall account to western readers in a later chapter of this unacceptable behavior. Hoping that there could be meetings between western and eastern mind, to reach a better understanding in culture that we were brought up differently. Perhaps, to learn to respect our difference.

There was a local stray in Causeway Bay that I remember well. He was a big creamy and a loner. He was owned by a Chinese restaurant that was situated in Ngan Mok Street which served Northern style of cooking. This big boy stood over 22 inches and weighed around 60 pounds. He roamed around the area and in Victoria Park freely. He never caused any one or other dog any trouble, I have never seem him back off from a fight. Even the territorial dispute between him and Big Potato was brief when they encountered each other on mutual ground. Big Potato simply halted the advance when he realized that he was unable to take advantage to this loner. I was quite certain that if not because of the presence of his owner, Uncle Fat, Big Potato could only put up a gesture of advance.

All of these so called big ones were only a few that I could recall. The rest were all smaller dogs in both heights and in sizes. Based on what have been said above, I then considered that 23 inches was too tall for a SP. Unfortunately, this opinion was not being accepted and shared by the rest of the original type of SP old boys. The only one agreed with me was Yuen Chit Chee, who at one time owned over 60 SP in his kennel situated in Lantau Island. All his dogs were from China, he possessed them so jealously that he would rather have the dogs put down than to export it to overseas buyers. I could understand his sentiment, he being a wealthy business man had at one time purchased almost the entire stock of good SP in the Dailack area. I did warn him frankly that should he have such desire to be the authority in this breed, then it must be by sharing rather than by possessing.

C.C. Yeun's kennel offered me a good study ground for my research work. All his dogs were originated from China and they were all under 20 inches. The only distinctive one and the one that I loved best was Red Nose. In my personal opinion, Red Nose was the best characteristics that the traditional SP had, calm in normal circumstances, but brave when encountering averse situations. He always reminded me of the big stray in Causeway Bay area, they were of similar built and character. Red Nose then proved to be the most valuable line founder subsequently he influenced most if not all of the breeders of the traditional type of SP in the Breed Club. Many of his off spring reached 22 inches. Red Nose was only an exception amongst over 60 dogs that I have seen. It was not sufficient and strong enough to convince me that SP could reach 23 inches at that time.
Another dog that was in C.C. Yuen's kennel was called Small Ear, he was a small dog that reached only 18 inches. Small Ear was mated with Brown Sugar owned by Chan Shing Yin. Brown Sugar was named by me and registered with the HKKC, she was of the same height with Small Ear, yet one of his off spring General Rasta reached over 21 inches. His brother in the same litter was called Buffalo Solider, smaller than General Resta and reached only about 20 inches the most. These two brothers represented the second generation of SP in C.C. Yuen's kennel. There was a vast difference in seize between the parents and sons.

By comparing the off springs between Small Ear and Red Nose, Small Ear was a much smaller dog than Red Nose, yet their off springs reached similar sizes. In particular, General Rasta was much bigger and a better dog than his father, both in height and in temperament.

Special note must be recorded about General Rasta. At that time the HKKC didn't formally recognise the SP, General Resta was placed in Exhibition Class and in AOV class alone with his brother Buffalo Solider in the following year. I loved this dog very much because he could become one of the most valuable and influential stud. He possessed sufficient wrinkles to impress the western and modern type of breeders. Moreover, he maintained the swift movement of the original type of SP.

Another early SP breeder who was one of the very few that exported SP to USA was the late Chan Hoi Kong of the Hong Kong Shousonhill Kennel. His exportation to USA was in the very early 70s, the breed was referred as Chinese Fighting dogs. Almost most of his SP that I have seen in his kennel were of strong bones and heavy built. Majority of them reached over 21 inches. One dog in particular reached over 23 inches and well over 70 pounds. But I had great doubt that they were the original type of SP even though he registered his dogs with the HKKC long before the other breeders. I must say, amongst all the breeders that I have seen, Mr Chan Hoi Kong's kennel was the best managed one. His SP were all well looked after. For this reason, I did ask myself that the SP have loss its original size's since 1949 after the Communists had taken over China. Then perhaps, with good, proper care and feeding that Mr Chan had given to his dogs, the traditional type of SP could regain its size.

Although Mr Chan's dogs did reach the sizes that the old boys have claimed. I was unable to convince myself because in my honest opinion, I believed that his dogs possessed the influence of the Mastiff breed. It was so unfortunate that because of Mr Chan's dogs, my opinion about Mr Chan differed from our Chairman's, but I have always managed to discuss matters in the most logical and civilized manner with Doctor Allan Auchnie, our Chairman.

Perhaps, I should even go further in saying that I have misunderstood my Chairman and doubted about his knowledge at that time. The reason was a simple one, he, as a veterinary surgeon and a very respectable person in the community, would never have attend any meetings like the local Chinese from the grass root level, so how could he understand the breed as we, the commoners did. I now admit that I was wrong about Doctor Allan Auchnie for the reasons that stated below. He was in China before 1949 and came to Hong Kong around the year I was born. Eventually, he was the chief vet in the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club until his retirement. If I may recall correctly, there were about five vets practicing in Hong Kong during the early 60s. He had rescued so many dogs lives, which of course, included many SP which ended up in his surgery in Shan Kwong Road's stable. He has seen the changes from the traditional type of SP to the modern ones through out all these years.

Another gentleman who certifies the SP alone with Doctor Auchnie is Mr S Lo, Mr Lo is a committee member of the HKKC, he comes from a very conventional Chinese family. Well brought up and knowledgeable, he was very keen on the Mastiff breed. Even though he was not too keen on the modern SP breed and in particular, cruel sport, but he had seen sufficient SP in the pre war years in China which in those days, pit meetings were regular features of entertainment. He was also of the opinion that the SP could and should be big according to his own recollection.

My counter argument to those who favoured the notion that SP should be big was that amongst most of the dogs that we have seen, the dogs that fitted the description of high head and big horse were a few. Any standard must be taken to the average measurement of its kind. Those few big ones were only exceptions to the rule, they could be the products of giantism. I even compared the toy breeds that without control and selective breeding, over sized dogs were the result. To back up the argument that the SP needs not to be big. I have even tried to compare the relative breed of the SP. It's cousin, the Chow Chow to compare their sizes, to see if there could be any relevance. So again, I have to take readers back to memory lane in Hong Kong and in U.K..

During the 60s, there were still many Chow type of local dogs around Hong Kong. By appearance, they were similar to those of the Chows in the show ring, the local Chows were definitely taller in conformation but lighter. In a same litter of Chows, one would not be surprised to find Smooth coated Chows which also shared features resemblance to the SP. I am convicted that the SP and the smooth coated Chow must be related.

One of the earliest SP breeder, Mr Jones, a Chinese breeder with an English name now retired in Canada, did confess to me that he used the smooth coated Chow to mate with the SP. This may explain why many American dogs do look so much alike to that of the Chow. Incidentally, just for argument sake, I sometimes wondered between the Chows from the western world and the local Chows that were without pedigree, which could have a better claim to be a real Chow since their sizes and type were different. Of course, I primary aim was to compare the height with the SP.

In my later years in U.K. around 1968-9, I treasured a long lasting friendship with Ms C Collett, a Chow expert I respected. Chow enthusiast would no doubt, remember this remarkable lady well. I promised myself that I should write an article concerning her enlightenment to me regarding a Buddist myth in due course. I visited her in Slough, Middlesex, the year was 1969. For those who have visited her home would also remember her two guard dogs, one blue and one cream one. They were one of the most beautiful Chows that I have ever seen, yet she said to me that the cream Chow could never be placed in any shows because he was simply too big. One can now anticipate what I am now referring to, is the sizes of these two Chows. They were bigger than the other Chows, i.e. over size. I trust that they were over 22 inches. So again, I could only prove to myself that the Chow, had such a long history of stable breeding, they rarely reached over 23 inches. The Chows being related to the SP and yet they could rarely reach that height of 23 inches, than how could the SP obtaining the height that the old boys have claimed.

I was very reluctant to submit my draft to the HKKC because I was uncertain about the sizes of the breed. Even though up till this day, in my honest opinion, I would be happy to see a 22 inches SP weighting at 55 pounds, but this reflects my personal preference. As a professional, I understand full well that I must listen objectively to all others' opinions before I submit my findings to the HKKC. The following persons were those who influenced me, to a certain extent twisted my arm to reach a decision that the SP could reach 23 inches.

Lee Fok Wah, a dedicated loyalist of the original type of SP. He was a person I constantly had heated arguments with, but we always end up patting each other's shoulders. He was the strongest advocate in preserving the original type of SP and insisted that SP should be big and tall. He simply couldn't stand the sight of any heavy wrinkle and huge hippo mouth shaped SP. I was sure that even if a gun was put over his head, he would still be of the opinion that meat mouth type should all be put down. I then jokingly nick named his philosophy as SP nazism. But, I must express my respect to his knowledge and stubbornness.

Another person who gave me a very convincing assertion that SP could reach 32 inches was Mr Tsang Pong Shing or pong Sok. Pong Sok was my personal consultant in dog training during the 60s. We parted bitterly in our philosophy concerning canine training. Not that he trained dog in any cruel form, on the contrary, he trained all his animals in the most acceptable and seductive manner. Our differences lie mainly in his exploitation of the dog in circus acts. Recently, a Miniature Schnauzer that I bred and trained by Pong Sok became the most welcome and demanded canine star in Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Rail System. The MTR is equivalent to the Underground system in London, so one could picture the impact of such advertisement, the demand of Miniature Schnauzer puppies extend not only locally but also to the southern parts of China.

The reason why I gave Pong Sok so much introduction is because this could reflect his canine knowledge. He came from China, commenced work in a pig farm in his early age, then embarked on his vocation in pet shop trading. All of his life was involved with animals, in particular, dogs. He confessed that he was not really keen on the SP, but it doesn't necessarily mean that he had no knowledge in the SP. He attend many meetings in those days in Guongchow. Like many good and experienced breeders and owners, he could and used to pick a good dog by looking into the dog's eyes. He utilized his tenet and experience to judge a SP. Whether it would be suitable for game, hunt or just a house dog, he then sold it to the buyers according to their needs when he was in the trade during the 40s. He did also use the SP for vermin hunts and without a shadow of doubt, he had dealt with so many SP that I verily believe that except for Dog King To, a dog dealer who sold SP in China, no one could have seen so many SP as Pong Sok had. I shall account for several incidents of his expertise regarding his relationship with the breed in due course. He has given me details in great depth of well-known meetings in Guongchow. Senior Chinese readers if any, would find the following names familiar, the black dog in Shing Kee Won ton shop, situated in Cheung Shar Road and the Gig Fane in Choi Kee Shoe Shop, another big black SP belonging to a Taoist Priest Nam Mo Chan were all prominent dogs during 1945 to 1949. They, according to Pong Sok were all big dogs that were over 22 inches and over 60 pounds.

His stories were backed up by other old boys in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay in Hong Kong. During the 60s, Victoria Park was almost the center heaven for dog owners from the working class back ground, to meet, discuss and talk about the good old days in China. Whether lay or experts from the past concurred that SP should be taller than the modern ones that we see nowadays. No matter how strong their views were regarding the size of the breed, I yet had to convince myself to see more big SP. Not until I could convince myself that SP do carry recessive genes that could reach over 22 inches, I wouldn't dare to summit the draft to the HKKC that the breed standard height should be 23 inches.

Although I verily believed that I have seen sufficient traditional type of SP in my days, I considered it best to venture into Dailack and have a field study. Even though I knew full well that the SP had lost its original sizes after 1949 when the Communist took over China. On the other hand, in the depth of my heart, perhaps I was hoping to convince myself that there ought to be some trace of evidence that the breed could be of the height that the old boys have insisted. After all, it would only be under two hours journey to reach China. So, Lee Fok Wah and I went into China. I was very disappointed in the beginning, all the dogs we saw were of very light built, small bones and chronically under nourished. I pray to witness just one that could convince me that they could be a high head big horse. My hope turned to frustration. The only comfort that I had was contrary to what many people who claimed that there were no SP left in China. In fact, there were still local SP in remote parts and the villages. As we all know full well, dogs were not allowed in China, then it was odd to see dogs in the main land. In particular, during the Cultural Revolution in the 70s, dogs were almost faced out from the Chinese soil. Many SP have successfully crossed the border between Hong Kong and China even before the 60s, but I did wondered and believed that most of the dogs in China must have ended up in the pots by the 70s. Fok Wah explained to me that the hunters were of the exception in those days, they were allowed to keep dogs in the hilly districts. Furthermore, one could be convinced very easily that China is a vast land, SP could have escaped quite easily away from human's intervention, by retreating to remote fields, hill sides and then survived. Food may be scare to them, but they were survivors.

I must say, Fok Wah was the greatest guide, for he was and still is one of the very few who continues to travel into China to look for SP. The days walk into the remote parts of Canton villages was more than enjoyable. No cars, no telephones, no radios, no televisions and certainly peaceful and scenic. Except for the worrying scene that domestic dogs were not sufficiently taken care of, but most of the village dogs looked very happy to me. It is of course, always encouraging to hear the story having a good ending. While Fok Wah and I were in the village itself, I spotted a pack of dogs, the whole school contained five members. All were of light fawn in colour, walking through the fields as if on no body's business. By their appearance, they must be closely related as a pack. I hurried forward and pointed to them. Fok Wah, if I may recall correctly, said: "They are rubbish!" They may be rubbish in his eyes, but up till this day, Fok Wah still didn't know that what I was with at that time was the - sizes. This pack must be barely domesticated, they were of slightly longer coat, heavy looking and most of all, taller than all those SP that I have seen in the area. I chased after them and the encounter was brief, lasted only seconds. I have managed to take a photo of this pack. Mrs Jenny Muntford, a judge from New Zealand was judging a show in Hong Kong the day I was in China. When I show her the photos the next day, she straight away picked the one which the pack dogs were in, her comment was that they definitely looked in a better condition and in sprit than the domestic ones.

The journey was not wasted. At least I have seen larger and taller SP that reached about 20 inch's height. I am no expert in heredity, for what I have seen suggested to me that the SP should carry recessive genes which enabled the breed to reach the height that we have tried to achieve. In other words, if this breed was to be kept in a normal way, being taken care of and undisturbed by war, be feed like any western dogs, perhaps, they would be as big as what the old boys have claimed.

To conclude the matter I had several sleepless nights. We have all come to agreement or compromise regarding the standard of this breed. Surprisingly, it was the size that gave me the biggest headache. I event went to the extent to compare the height of human that were born after the second world war. It is now evident that in Asia, children that were born after the post war years were in average 3 inches taller than their parents. Children born during the late 70s and early 80s were also 3 to 4 inches taller than their parents. In other word, Asian children in this generation could reach a 6 inches different from their grand parents. This vast increase was attributed to the food and sufficient nourishment and medical care that were being provided for by their parents and state. Perhaps, I have gone too far in comparing dogs to human's height. As far as I am concerned, if I could do something to benefit the breed, to establish the standard, I would have to do it even by comparing human to canine. Western readers may find it aceptable if one makes such a comparison. No doubt, Jane Goddall and Dian Fossey would conclude that human was after all, animals, but for senior Chinese, they would find that disgraceful to have to be ranked with the less dignified species in this planet.

Another factor that influenced my decision to summit to the HKKC that the breed could stand at 23 inches was because everyone consented that it should reach that height. They concluded that in any marital art sports, such as Judo, Boxing, it was always and always would be the heavy weight that could attract the attention of the mass. This was evident in all those meetings that they have accounted to me, the days in the Big Temple, Guongchow where all known meetings were held.

I have put up my final argument that SP's natural function was capable of hunting and not fighting. Pit meetings were unnatural, while hunting was. SP hunt by pack like any hunting dogs. In Braemar Hill, North Point, Hong Kong. Uncle Fat and I were probably the last to witness the breed in utilizing it's natural instinct. I confess that we never have done it in purpose, but rather in letting the dogs took it's own course. It was unavoidable for the breed to investigate into the hiding place of the bush buck, the dogs then engaged a fanatic chase while we observed from a distance with excitement until the whole school of bush buck disappeared in the forest.

I further submitted that the SP in order to chase, must chase at speed, then a big dog may not be in a more advantageous position. In particular, the breed had to explore through the forest or thick growth of vegetation. It was also evident that they have encountered wild boars both in the New Territories of Hong Kong and in China. Accounts from Change Yuen even went further that SP was used to chase big cats. However, I am not convinced that they were used to hunt big cats. The argument that they need to be big simply could not stand, the reason being that since in Africa and India, the wild dogs were small in size, they could simply out number their prey. Likewise to the dingo in Australia which could easily put their prey at bay by its sheer number. It was recorded that the wild dogs of Indian did kill the king of the forest because of their join effort. Although I though about the Hyena that was a larger species of canine, its jaw is very much similar to that of the SP. If SP belongs to its subgroup, then the old boys were right regarding the size, but if the SP was closer link to the wild dogs family, which I believe they do, then it should be a smaller dog. I confess this analogy must be better left to other experts to explore whether SP belongs to Hyena or the Wild Dogs family.

Conclusion

Through out this essay, I have brought readers to confusion after confusion. All alone I have asserted that SP need not be big and why in the standard that I have drafted for the HKKC, the height settled at 23 inches. It is not a contradiction? No matter how I tried to convince the old boys that SP needs not reach 23 inches. Fortunately or unfortunately, we live in a civilized and democratic society. If the majority's view was that the standard should reach 23 inches in height and 60 pounds in weight, I had no alternative but to oblige.

A final and most crucial factor that influenced me and compelled me to them majority's view was that Bull dogs influence was evident to the modern type of SP. Later on, when more irresponsible breeders tried to ratify their mistake by injecting even Pug into the breed to minimize the gross appearance of the muzzle size. This would explain the reason why many of the dogs in the Western world could have longer coat, shorter neck and smaller size than the original type. In that case, it is impossible for modern SP to fit in the description of high head big horse. To avoid any further ignorance of using this short neck, long coated type of SP in breeding, I must and am obliged to settle the height in 23 inches.

At the moment, many of the local SP specialists have breed 21 to 22 inches dogs. Western readers must bear in mind that this group of specialists didn't like to attend shows in the past or at all. It was only after a lengthy persuasion that they agreed to attend the shows and to breed their dogs from scratch. Some have now reached the third generations dogs and as stated above, there was a vast different in size between the dogs from the third generations to their parents and grand parent. In days to come, I trust that it would be before the millennium 2000 that the SP could regain its original size.

Finally, I have put it clearly in the standard that should the SP not reach 23 inches in height, it ought not to be penalized. In the mean time, If one has to stand in the judging ring to choose between a bigger and a smaller dog with equal qualities, then I would advise the bigger and taller one prevail.

 

NELSON LAM
SHAR PEI CLUB (HONG KONG)