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Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America collection

Identifier: AKD-6-5

Scope and Contents Note

The collection chiefly consists of the club's bi-monthly newsletter/magazine, The Barker (1978-2007) and copies of stud book registries (1975-1993), in addition to select regional and national specialty show catalogs and a small group of club files including pamphlets, officer lists (1974-1997), and a copy of the 1991 AKC club presentation.

The Barker contains many official reports, such as: meeting minutes; treasurers’ reports; the board of directors and standing committees and contact information; president reports; present breed standards; voting updates and results; new member updates, etc. The Barker also houses less official content such as an editor’s corner, health care articles, show information, human interest articles, interviews, as well as pages upon pages of advertising.

When The Barker started (the collection starts in 1976), it was merely a newsletter typed up in small quantities for the few members that were still around since the start of the club. In the 1980’s, the newsletter took on a new, magazine-like look that updated more consistently and on a regular basis. The January/February issue of 1981 was the first bi-monthly issue that started the trend that continues to this day. In 1984, the November/December issue was the first to have a color picture on the cover, as opposed to just black and white, or just printed on. An issue of significance is the 15 September 1978 issue, which contains a detailed history of the club’s activities to that date. While it only covers the first few years, it would introduce researchers to the activities of the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America at the time. Also noteworthy is the breed standard which is printed in each issue, documenting the evolution of the breed standard as more and more people became interested in the breed, and thus adding their opinion of what the ideal Shar-Pei is. T The stud book registry is arranged into two groups; either numerical order or alphabetical order, both covering the same years. All stud books were removed from any bindings, including staples, plastic snap-on bindings, etc.


  • 1976-2007


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Access Restrictions

This material is open to research without restrictions.

Publishing and Use Restrictions

Materials may still be under copyright and require permission of the AKC and/or the creator before publishing. Please consult the Archivist.

Biographical / Historical

Club History Being a fairly new breed, the Chinese Shar-Pei was not recognized by the AKC until 1992. The Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America (CSPCA), which was started by the common interest of the breeds’ first few owners, was the breeds’ first parent club.

The club’s first meeting was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Sanders in Ashland, Oregon, on 26 April 1974. At the time, there were only 13 known owners of the Chinese Shar-Pei, with 27 dogs among them. Members met because of a shared interest in the, at the time, rare and dying breed. At the first meeting, they covered such topics such as: voting on “Chinese Shar-Pei” as being the official name for the breed; wondering whether they should attempt to get the old standard from the Hong Kong Kennel Club (HKKC), or draft a new set of official standards; discussing the two major body-types commonly associated with the breed. Also, during that meeting, the first committee members were nominated and voted in. These positions included: Carl Sanders, President; Lois Alexander, Secretary; John Purcell, Treasurer; Earnest Albright, Historian; and Dee Seas, Registrar.

During the next several meetings, Renee Lew had been elected to be the club representative to the American Kennel Club, and proposed to begin submitting an annual report to the AKC. The first report was produced and submitted in April of 1975. In November of 1974, club members voted to have the Chinese Shar-Pei join the National Rare Breeds Club. It was also during this time that club member Lois Alexander wrote up a set of Confirmation Championship Rules and a points system. In April of 1976, members wrote up a 32-statement “Official Standard of the Chinese Shar-Pei of America”, which later became the basis for the official club registry.

Over the next few decades, the club, along with the breed, gained much attention leading to a rise in popularity. On 17 June 1978, the CSPCA held its first Chinese Shar-Pei Specialty Show in Hinckley, Illinois. Following this show, the CSPCA was supposed to hold its 6th annual meeting, but because nobody remembered to mail out invitations to any of the general members, and because of threats of tornados touching down, the meeting was postponed. In January, 1988, the Shar-Pei was admitted into the Miscellaneous Group of the AKC. This was the first movement in the CSPCA getting official recognition from the AKC. Later, in 1992, the Chinese Shar-Pei was moved into the Non-Sporting group of the AKC, finally allowing the breed to compete for certification points, and to obtain the title of “Champion”. At the American Kennel Club meeting held on 8 June 1993, not but 19 years after they had their first meeting, the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America was elected in as a member. That year, the CSPCA held its 16th annual national specialty show.

Breed History Many things set the unique Chinese Shar-Pei apart from every other breed. For one, the name is unique. The words “shar-pei” translates as either sand-skin or rough-skin. This is an accurate description, since the Shar-Pei was bred to have a very rough “horse coat”. Their wrinkles, whether through natural evolution or selective breeding, are unique to this dog. Their face, often described as being like that of a “hippopotamus”, and with their deep set eyes, give the Shar-Pei a look often described as being stern and unmoving. The blue/black pigmentation of the tongue is also a rare trait to have, found in only a handful of animals worldwide.

The Chinese Shar-Pei as a breed may not actually be as ancient as previously thought. Unfortunately, due to many changes in power in China, not much is definite about the history of the breed. One of the more accepted theories is that it was once a multi-talented working dog on lower-class farms, doing various jobs like catching vermin, herding livestock, and even guarding the grounds. Because of its physical properties, the wrinkles, the short and abrasive coat, and its sunken eyes and small ears, it is also commonly accepted that this dog was used for fighting, even bred for it during a time when dog fights were popular. Due to the rise in trade from the Roman Empire in the west, larger dogs such as Mastiffs found their way into the fighting ring, proving to be too much for the Shar-Pei, leading to the Shar-Pei’s return to guarding and other farm work. Because of the similarity in the rare blue/black pigmentation of the mouth, many are quick to jump to the conclusion that the Shar-Pei is distantly related to the Chow Chow, also from the China region. Aside from the unusual pigmentation, no other evidence holds up this theory.

When Mao Tse Tung took over the new Peoples Republic of China in 1943, he declared dogs and other pets a luxury, and they became heavily taxed. Many could not afford these expenses, especially those times of hardships. Soon after, Mao Tse Tung declared that pets should be a status symbol of the privileged, and soon after called for the extermination of pets of anyone below elite status. Most dogs were executed, and it was then that the Shar-Pei was almost wiped out. Many people managed to smuggle the animals into British occupied Hong Kong, Thailand, and Canada.

One noteworthy individual is Matgo Law, owner of the Down-Homes Kennel, and one of the first to be imported to the United States. He was the leader at the forefront of the “Save the Shar-Pei” movement. His letter was published in the April 1973 issue of DOGS Magazine1. It was his dogs that were some of the first to be imported to the United States. Over 2000 requests in the U.S. were made to adopt a Shar-Pei from Hong Kong2. Back in the 1970’s and 80’s when the use of inbreeding was used in an attempt to bring back the species. Major problems began to show up, due to poor breeding habits and people trying to bring out negative traits to sell more puppies more quickly. Problems one might see with larger breeds, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, became a major problem with the breed for a long time.

Throughout history, there are some Shar-Pei’s that stand out in particular. One of these dogs being Down-Homes Kung Fu, the first Chinese Shar-Pei to be imported to the United States and be registered with the CSPCA. Whelped on 28 May, 1973, he was imported by Matgo Law, and arrived in the United States on 6 July, 1973, where he was picked up by De-Jon and Victor Seas of Caledonia, Ohio. Another dog of magnitude is Ch. Sis Q’s Fu Man Chew. Whelped on 21 October, 1978, he was the first Shar-Pei to receive a confirmation title.

Some fairly common health problems still remain with the Shar-Pei as a side- effect to the frequent use of inbreeding. One problem the Shar-Pei is predisposed to is entropion, or a genetic problem that causes the rolling of the eyelids so that they make contact with the eye ball. It can be a problem if it does not fix itself. While minor surgery is still an option for fixing the problem usually only 1 out of 50 may actually need any procedures2. The easiest way of getting rid of these health issues altogether, like any other problem, is to avoid breeding with dogs who have had or whose line has shown signs of this disorder.

With all those wrinkles, one might think that there would be many skin-related problems. While the occasional dog may have a problem directly related to the wrinkles, most of the few skin-related health issues stems from allergies and demodectic mange. While both of these problems were common 20 years ago, they no longer pose as much of a threat.

Sources: June Collins, “History and qualities of the Chinese Shar-Pei”, DogWorld, July 1982. Alice Bixter, “Meet the Breed: The Chinese Shar-Pei”, DogWorld, June 2006.

Physical Description

5.4 Linear Feet (in 13 document boxes)


The collection chiefly consists of the club's bi-monthly newsletter/magazine, The Barker (1978-2007) and copies of stud book registries (1975-1993), in addition to select regional and national specialty show catalogs and a small group of club files including pamphlets, officer lists (1974-1997), and a copy of the 1991 AKC club presentation.


A gift from Karen Kleinhans, President of the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America (2007).



Guide to the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America Collection
Andrew D'Ambrose, with additions and edits made by Brynn White (2016)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the American Kennel Club Library & Archives Repository

101 Park Ave
FL 5
New York NEW YORK 10178 United States