Although the name Ori Pei sounds foreign and exotic, this delightful little dog owes its history to North America. The breed was created in the 1970s by Aaron Silver. As a Chinese Shar Pei breeder, Mr. Silver was very much aware of the many problems associated with that breed, such as eye tacking, skin problems, and hip dysplasia. This dedicated breeder wished to have a smaller version of the Chinese Shar Pei and a dog that was more sound and healthy. Through careful mixing of the Shar Pei to the Pug, the Ori Pei was born. Originally considered a breed in development, the Ori Pei now has a pedigree history up to six generations and has been given full recognation by the FIC.
Since those early days there are several breeders who have become involved with the Ori Pei and have greatly helped to ensure that this delightful breed would keep its well deserved place in the dog world. One of the early breeders was Janet Asbell, who worked hard to help establish the breed. Unfortunately Mrs Asbell died before she got to see most of the fruits of her labor, but others have carried on with the breed.
The Ori Pei is a lively, intelligent little dog. They are square and cobby and have a regal appearance. They are 12-15 inches tall (at the shoulder) and weigh 15-30 pounds. All things being equal, the smaller size is preferred. Though the most prevalent color is fawn, the Ori Pei may come in any color or pattern, including "parti-colors", which are known as "flowered".
Ori Peis make wonderful pets. They get along well with children and are totally devoted to their families. They are easy to housebreak. Their owners swear they seem to always know what you are thinking. Since they stay small, they tend to always look like puppies. Many people mistake a full grown Ori Pei for a 6 month old Chinese Shar Pei!
The Ori Pei comes in two types of coat, the "Horse Coat" which is extremely short and often harsh and prickly to the touch, and the "Brush Coat" which is 1/4 to 1/2 inch long and has an undercoat, giving it a softer, more luxurious texture. Either coat is equally accepted, but the softer brush coat seems to be the most popular.
The eyes of the Ori Pei are relatively small and round in shape. The eye color corresponds to the coat color of the dog. Lighter dogs have lighter eyes. The same is true regarding the nose color. The head should be flat and broad and have many deep wrinkles. Though heavy wrinkling all over the body is preferred, a dog that is only moderately wrinkled is not heavily penalized as long as it otherwise conforms to the standard.