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. The loose skin and wrinkles covering the head, neck and body are superabundant in puppies but these features may be limited to the head, neck and withers in the adult.
The head is large, slightly, but not overly, proudly carried and covered with profuse wrinkles on the forehead continuing into side wrinkles framing the face. Eyes - Dark, small, almond-shaped and sunken, displaying a scowling expression. In the dilute colored dogs the eye color may be lighter. Ears - extremely small, rather thick, equilateral triangles in shape, slightly rounded at the tips; edges of the ear may curl. Ears lie flat against the head, are set high, wide apart and forward on the skull, pointing toward the eyes. The ears have the ability to move.
Neck - medium length, full and set well into the shoulders. There are moderate to heavy folds of loose skin and abundant dewlap about the neck and throat. The topline dips slightly behind the withers, slightly rising over the short, broad loin. A level, roach or swayed topline/backline shall be faulted. Chest - broad and deep with the brisket extending to the elbow and rising slightly under the loin. Back - short and close-coupled.Croup - flat, with the base of the tail set extremely high, clearly exposing an up-tilted anus. Tail - the high set tail is a characteristic feature of the Shar-Pei. A low set tail shall be faulted. The tail is thick and round at the base, tapering to a fine point and curling over or to either side of the back.
Shoulders - muscular, well laid back and sloping. Forelegs - when viewed from the front, straight moderately spaced, with elbows close to the body. When viewed from the side, the forelegs are straight, the pasterns are strong and flexible. The bone is substantial but never heavy and is of moderate length. Removal of front dewclaws is optional. Feet - moderate in size, compact and firmly set, not splayed.
The extremely harsh coat is one of the distinguishing features of the breed. The coat is absolutely straight and off standing on the main trunk of the body but generally lies somewhat flatter on the limbs. The coat appears healthy without being shiny or lustrous. Acceptable coat lengths may range from extremely short "horse coat" up to the "brush coat," not to exceed 1 inch in length at the withers. A soft coat, a wavy coat, a coat in excess of one inch at the withers or a coat that has been trimmed is a major fault. The Shar-Pei is shown in its natural state.
Muscular, strong, and moderately angulated. The metatarsi (hocks) are short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Hind dewclaws must be removed. Feet as in front.