The Ori Pei is a hybrid mix of the breeding of a Pug and a Chinese Shar-Pei. We can get some limited information for the Ori Pei hybrid itself but we will need to look at the histories of the parent breeds to get a fuller picture of what the hybrid is and what it can be.
In 1970, a gentleman named Aaron Silver in the United States, being a lover of the Shar-Pei breed, was interested in making the Shar-Pei breed smaller in size and eliminating some of the health conditions from which it was known to suffer. He bred a Pug with a Shar-Pei to accomplish this and the Ori Pei hybrid came on the scene. This hybrid, also known as the American Ori-Pei, Pugpei, Sharpug and Pug-a-pei, is one of the older designer breeds bred in America. There are at least six generations of this designer hybrid on the ground, so there is greater predictability in the appearance, temperament and health traits. While it appears to have been created for the purpose of companionship, it is also a great family dog and watchdog.
The Pug, also known as the Chinese Pug, Dutch Mastiff or Dutch Bulldog, is quite an old canine breed which originated in China at least 2,400 years ago. The breed's name origination and meaning is unknown but some believe it is slang for "monkey" while others believe it to be a derivative from a Latin word "pugnus" which means "fist". Regardless of where you think the name emanated, the Pug breed is quite distinctive in its appearance, having stockily built bodies with prominent eyes and were historically favored companions of the monks and royal families in China and Europe. It appears that their original purpose was that of companionship, a function they filled expertly then and continue to this day. The Pug breed moved from China to Europe in 1572 and to England in 1688, gaining the affection of Queen Victoria in the 19th century. Queen Victoria was instrumental in the establishment of the Kennel Club in 1873, this as a result of her breeding activities. The Pug breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.
The Chinese Shar-Pei breed, also known as the Chinese Fighting Dog or simply as Shar-Pei, originated in China. It is believed that this canine breed is quite ancient but an actual date of origination is not available due to the lack of records and documentation of dog breeds created in China. The Shar-Pei was owned by peasants for the most part for many centuries, being bred for hunting, herding and protecting tasks. Another activity for which the Shar-Pei was bred was for fighting competition entertainment, an activity in which their loose skin was an advantage, making it difficult for the opponent to get a firm hold on them. The Shar-Pei breed barely escaped extinction when Communist rulers killed thousands of Chinese dogs, believing that dog ownership was a "Western decadence". They eventually were recognized by the Hong Kong Kennel Club in 1960 and, in October of 1970, the American Dog Breeders Association registered the first Shar-Pei. The Shar-Pei was accepted by the AKC in 1988 with full recognition being given in 1992.
Another interesting note: the Chinese Shar-Pei was, in 1978, in the Guinness Book of World Records as the rarest dog breed alive, having only 60 dogs known to be alive at that time. The Ori Pei hybrid itself is recognized by the following organizations: American Canine Association, Inc., American Pet Registry, Inc., American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America, Inc., International Designer Canine Registry and the Designer Breed Registry.