Murphy the Shar Pei is melting hearts at his rescue centre thanks to his fantastically uncanny resemblance to a lion. The ancient Chinese breed is classically known for having short fur, a dark blue tongue and of course, an abundance of wrinkles. But Murphy is a rarer, bear-coated version of the breed, meaning his appearance is more like the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz! The three-year-old was recently acquired by the Dogs Trust in Snetterton, Norfolk, after his previous owner could no longer keep him. However, staff at the rescue centre have fallen for him deeply as they look to rehome him.
Due to a recessive gene occurring in both males and females, some Shar Pei have bear coats, resembling fur much like the Chow Chow rather than the standard horse coat we are usually accustomed to. To qualify as a bear coat, the fur needs to be at least one inch long, yet Murphy’s mane is an astonishing six times bigger than this!
Diane McLelland-Taylor, the re-homing centre manager at Dogs Trust Snetterton said, “Handsome Murphy has so much potential and loves a fuss being made of him and receiving attention when he gets used to you. Unlike his doppelganger, Murphy can be independent and enjoys having his own space. But there are similarities with his big cat twin; he is very loyal and affectionate.
“Murphy is looking for a calm, patient and adult-only home with a family who can support him in becoming a more confident boy. He can be a little unsure of new people and situations at first, but he's always happy to work for a treat.”
Shar Pei are one of the world’s oldest dog breeds, yet they nearly became extinct in the 1960s and 70s under Chinese Communist rule. It was thought there were as few as 12 left in the world in the early 70s. This near crisis of extinction prompted Hong Kong businessman and Shar Pei enthusiast Matgo Law to contact the US magazine Dogs in 1973 to highlight the plight of the breed. Subsequently, Americans began importing puppies of the breed to save the Shar Pei, which in 1978 was the Guinness World Records rarest dog.
If you are interested in giving Murphy or any other Dogs Trust Snetterton residents a home, please call the Rehoming Centre on 0300 303 0292 or visit www.dogstrust.org.uk
Images courtesy of Dogs Trust.