The Shar-pei is believed to have originated in southern China and has been traced to the han dynasty ( 206 BC - AD 220 ).
It was originally used to hunt wild boar, protect livestock and guard the homes of its owners.
For centuries the Shar-pei was a particularly prized for its intelligence, if this trait was not so evident then the dog was slaughtered and eated.
In 1947 taxes were so high(bit like now) that few people could afford to keep a pet and the chinese government ordered all dogs to be destroyed. Fanciers in Hong Kong are credited with saving the breed.
It is believed that the Chow Chow has played a big part part in the Shar-pei,both breeds sharing a blue tongue.
The Tibetan Mastiff and other Mastiff breeds have also played there part in the Shar-pei.
The Pyrenean mountain dog could also have some part to play as they are born with double dew claws as do some Shar-pei.
A close ancestor of the breed is the Dah-let fighting dog. It's jaws were big and powerful and it's stiff coarse coat was uncomfortable to hold onto making other dogs let go.