Turbulent Times in Shar Pei History
Times of Ming Dynasty (approx 14th - 17th centuries). History shows dogs in China never enjoyed excessive love or worship. So when total disorderliness and unrest caused by wars and famines hit the country, pitiful fate overtook Chinese dogs as well. This fate turned the dogs from food hunters into food.
20th century. Shar Pei managed to survive those turbulent times until the next wave of crisis hit the breed. In the 1940ís when Communists took over China, Mao Tse-Tung (Mao Zedong ~ 1893-1976) proclaimed pets to be useless symbol of privileged classes and charged enormous tax for their possession. Moreover dogs were seen as the largest peopleís rivals for food which meant their quantity was to be reduced to the minimum. This led to a great massacre and mass abandoning of pets. Some Shar Peis were smuggled off the mainland to islands, where they were often used for dog fights.
This catastrophic situation almost resulted into an extinction of the breed.
By 60's of the 20th century few Shar Pei were counted all over the world and the appearance of the dogs left was far from the original.
In 1978 the Shar Pei was included into the Guinness Book of World Records as the rarest dog breed. Of course, thins have changed from that time...