Author: Matgo Law, November 2015
Coat and Tail are indeed two very important features of Shar Pei to distinguish it from other breeds o f dogs.
The FCI Standard No. 309, says on the description of the Shar Pei coat: HAIR: A distinctve feature of the breed : short, harsh and bristly. The coat is straight and offstanding on the body, but generally flatter on the limbs. No undercoat. The coat may vary in length from 1 cm to 2,5 cm. Never trimmed.
The requirements on the coat of Shar Pei are actually quite completed in the FCI Standard. lt is my wish to further comment on the Shar Pei coat as followings:
Special features required with the coat of Shar Pei are listed in their priorities of importance
II. Off-standing and Straight
IV. No Undercoat
V. Not Shinny
Texture ranks Number 1 and is the most important feature of SP coat. Very harsh, stiff and bristly; such a texture that jab your skin when you run your hand over the coat, the more uncomfortable you may feel is the better coat. Soft coat texture is a bad fault. When judging coat texture of a Shar Pei run the back side of your hand over the coat you will be more sure of its texture.
I stress again, texture is the most important feature of the SP coat.
Off-standing Coat (hair) on most parts of the body should be straight and stand up right from the skin, especially on the top of the trunk. The coat is flatter and more smooth on the limbs and top of head. A weavy coat indicates its texture is soft and long.
Shortness as short as possible. Coat (length of hair) of a Shar Pei could be shorter than 1 cm, however this very short coat may not be the best coat type as it is very smooth in texture (velvet like). Shar Pei of such coat type was termed as a “horse-coat” in the original Chinese concept and understanding.
Don’t forget. Texture is always first in priority when judging SP coat.
From the beginning when I introduced Shar Pei to the overseas dog world, I had always tried not to introduce the breed with the old Chinese quotes and terms related to the breed. With different cultures and concepts of different countries, those old Chinese terms could be misunderstood and gave wrong concepts for knowing the breed; or even being mis-used to explain some faults in breed type. I would rather try to describe the features and type in simple wordings and explain virtues and faults.
No Undercoat it is concise and easily understood. However the coat (density of hair) of Shar Pei could be thicker with growth of small amount of undercoat in ti mes of year with season changing.
Not Shinny The Shar Pei coat should be healthy and looks healthy without being lustrous or shinny. Actually in the recent years, as I have observed there are no more problems of luster or shin in SP coat. Only too long and too soft is the coat that gives luster.