The politics of dog play in the dog park in Newport/ Melbourne
The trick with this of course is that not EVERY dog in a breed will exhibit strong breed characteristics. There are probably plenty of submissive shar peis' out there.
However knowing the possibility of an extreme event also makes it possible to enjoy the park more, by knowing what a breed can be capable of and diverting your own pack if they begin getting too excited in play, that could incite unwanted behaviour in another dog in another pack.
This dog was exceptional as it took some long running plays with the vizsla puppy we had that wanted to play. Understood the little jack Russell's warding off runs at it were anxiety driven and a request to not intrude further, and it left the other big dogs mostly alone who where weary of it (ie not up to long puppy plays).
Of course reading your own packs body language and how they react as a pack to an oncoming dog is very important in avoiding negative issues in the dog park.
We do that all the time, and usually its the first thing that a good pro dog walker will be aware of. That is, allowing play that is consensual and between equally sized, energy and temperament dogs if play is going to be initiated from one side. Any sized dog and breed can play together when they are completely social.
PS the owner of the shar pei said that her dog was hard to train, was regularly socialised BUT did not back down when it considered play to be bordering on pack status. They were a very good owner for realising these characteristics and being very present to how far their dog could play and how it was affecting the other dogs, but as said, its level of socialisation was such that it was able to easily overcome any breed driven inherent characteristics that could present an issue for less socialised dogs.
I also know that there are trainers that believe that dogs can be trained to exhibit NO characteristics of their breed, but not every trainer can do that, let alone regular dog owners, hence the reason why breed still can play a significant factor in play safety in parks.
That is why we love our dog park, responsible owners and friendly dogs, of all breeds.