Commentary on the Topline of the Chinese Shar-Pei

The opening paragraph of the Chinese Shar-Pei standard describes the breed’s general appearance: An alert, compact dog of medium size and substance; square in profile, close coupled; the well-proportioned head slightly, but not overly large for the body. The short, harsh coat, the loose skin covering the head and body, the small ears, the “hippopotamus” muzzle shape and the high set tail impart to the Shar-Pei a unique look peculiar to him alone. While the topline is not specifically mentioned in the general appearance section and the absence of a correct topline is not listed as a major fault, the Judge Education Committee places a high value on a correct topline in evaluating Chinese Shar-Pei. The standard statesTopline – “The dips slightly behind the withers, slightly rising over the short, broad loin. A level, roach or swayed topline/backline shall be faulted.”

Dogs with a correct topline will not have a level backline or appear high in the rear. The slight dip behind the withers should rise slightly to a flat croup allowing the front and rear ends to appear in balance. A level, roach, swayed or exaggerated dip behind the withers topline/backline shall be faulted.

When evaluating a Chinese Shar- Pei, the slight rise in the top line should be visible on the dog in profile – both while standing and moving. Care should be taken to observe the dog in a natural state. Through handler error, a topline may be unintentionally flattened by incorrectly setting the rear legs. Some dogs may be tense and not show their topline best upon a standing or hands on examination.

The slightly rising topline and high set tail contribute to the truly unique look of the Chinese Shar- Pei. This characteristic is valued by breeders and is something the Judge Education Committee would like to see preserved and rewarded.

CSPCA JEC 2-2012