A New Appreciation
Isn’t it funny how quickly your perceptions can change? Nearly 20 years ago, I had a scary encounter with a Chinese Shar-Pei and I let that one isolated incident taint my ideas about the breed. Recently, my feelings about Shar-Pei recently did a 180 when I was lucky enough to spend a day with some very special dogs.
Back when I started my first job as a kennel attendant at a veterinary clinic, I was so thrilled to be working with the animals that I didn’t mind the unglamorous work of scooping poop. In between cleaning, I assisted the veterinarians and vet techs. For me, it was a dream job.
One day, a Chinese Shar-Pei escaped from his kennel run (he figured out how to lift the latch) and charged at me. I was alone in the kennel area and could do nothing but shout for help while holding a metal chair between me and the dog. The Shar-Pei didn’t bite me, but I was truly terrified. I know it’s not fair to judge any breed based on one individual dog, but I’m sad to say that this particular Shar-Pei (obviously under-socialized and of questionable temperament) soured me toward the breed.
Flash forward to present day. While working on this month’s breed profile on the Chinese Shar-Pei, the Dog World team traveled to Shar-Pei breeder Judy Dorough’s home for a photo shoot. I spent the day with four adorable Shar-Pei puppies and a number of gorgeous adults. All of the dogs were friendly, well-mannered and surprisingly calm, despite all of the commotion. I instantly fell in love with the precocious puppies.
As the day progressed, my affection toward these dignified dogs grew. I watched the interactions between the dogs and their owners, and finally understood why the breed has so many admirers. There truly is something almost magical about the Chinese Shar-Pei. It is a breed like no other.
I can’t thank all of the Shar-Pei breeders enough – for not only allowing us to photograph their beautiful dogs, but also completely changing my perception of the breed. I can’t wait for another opportunity to spend my day with a Shar-Pei.
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