The Sharmatian is a hybrid breed that is the offspring of a Chinese Shar-Pei and a Dalmatian. The Chinese Shar-Pei is known for its distinctive deep wrinkles and a blue-black tongue. The name translates as “sand skin” referring to the breed’s short, bristly coat. They were bred as guard dogs in China and are thought by some to be an ancient breed. They were later used in fighting where the loose folds of their skin was said to give them an advantage because they were able to twist in their skin to bite an assailant back. The breed was nearly wiped out when China became a communist country and a massive tax was levied on dog owners. It was only thanks to Hong Kong breeder Matgo Law, owner of Down-Home Kennels, that they survived. He wrote a letter pleading with breeders in other countries to take some of the dogs. Many responded, including breeders in the United States and the Chinese Shar-Pei has since become very popular there. The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1992. The Dalmatian is also known as the English Coach Dog, the Carriage Dog, the Plum Pudding Dog and the Spotted Dick but not much is known about their origins. Similar types of spotted dogs were found painted on the walls of Egyptian tombs running behind carriages. They also travelled with the Romanies. In the late 18th century, a spotted dog called the Talbot Hound ran alongside horse-drawn carriages in England to guard the passengers. They were later referred to as a Dalmatian in 1791 by Thomas Bewick. Some say the breed got its name while in Dalmatia, now known as Croatia where they were used as guard dogs. In the United States the dogs are best known as firehouse dogs. They would run behind the fire trucks, and even rescue people from burning buildings. The Disney movie 101 Dalmatians made the breed instantly recognizable but ultimately resulted in many dogs being dumped in shelters. People rushed out to buy one and then realized they were actually quite a bit of work so discarded them. The Dalmatian was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888.