The Bull-Pei is the result of a cross between two relatively singular pure breeds, the Bulldog and the Chinese Shar Pei.

The Bulldog is a heavyset, low-slung dog, immediately identifiable for its flattened, wrinkly face, massive head, under-bite, and rolling, shuffling gait. Originating in England, it is also known the English Bulldog, as opposed to other breeds such as the French Bulldog and the American Bulldog. Its history is of a fighting dog, used in bull-baiting and bear-fighting. When these sports were outlawed by the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835, the Bulldog started to be considered as a pet and companion. Selective breeding resulted in the modern dog that is amiable in nature and emotionally attached to its owner.

The Chinese Shar Pei is distinct for its hippopotamus-shaped muzzle, blue-black tongue, and wrinkled face and body. It was named as one of the rarest dog breeds by Time magazine in 1978. The Shar Pei was originally a Chinese fighting dog, and was also used for a variety of chores around the farm, such as hunting, and guarding and herding livestock.

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