Shar Pei Dog Breed Info – Read Before you Get a Puppy

Shar-Pei – intelligent, bold, and affectionate creatures. The Shar-Pei pups can make room in anyone’s heart with their blanket-like skin folds and magnificent eyes.

An inquisitive blend of unusual features, the Shar-Pei has earned the reputation of being a regal breed. If you are planning to get this adorable puppy, read on more to find interesting facts and figures about this one-of-a-kind Chinese breed.

How old are Shar-Pei dogs?

Shar-Peis have a long history dating back to more than 2000 years to the southern provinces of China such as Guangdong. The origin of this, wrinkled skin pup, is related to the discovery of ancient statues of China’s Han dynasty (200 B.C). The statues bore an uncanny resemblance to Shar Peis, Chow-Chows, and Pugs.

Some historians believe that the Han dogs in southern China gave rise to the Shar-Pei. Initially, this versatile dog was kept by peasants and farmers for herding, guarding livestock against predators, and pit fighting.

After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, dog breeding became unpopular. This led to the Shar-Pei almost becoming extinct, especially in 1973, it looked like the Shar-Peis won’t survive.

However, a few Shar Peis were preserved and bred in Hong Kong and Taiwan. After saving the Shar-Pei from extinction, a breeder Matgo Law was able to get the world’s attention towards this rare species.

The Shar-Pei clan then began to gain popularity in the US and the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America Inc. was formed in 1974. In 1992, it was recognized as a member of the Non-Sporting Group by American Kennel Club. This was the saga of how dog lovers from Hong Kong and America ensured the breed’s survival.

Related: 10 Rarest Dog Breeds

What are the best features of Shar Peis?

Just like other Chinese breeds, the Shar-Pei sets itself apart with its looks and feel. Their name literally translates to “sand-skin”, referring to the distinctive, bristle-like coarse coat all over the body that can be any solid color or sable mix. With a medium-sized compact body, Shar Peis are known for their distinctive features that are too cute to resist.

Some of their most notable features are:

  • Shar Peis have a blue-black tongue. The only other dog breed which has the same feature is Chow Chow, and interestingly, both the breeds are of Chinese origin.
  • The average Shar-Pei grows up to 18 to 20 inches.
  • The average Shar-Pei weighs 45 to 60 pounds.
  • They are wrinkly lion-like pups with a mass of loose wrinkles covering their head, neck, and shoulders like the chubby folds of a human baby.
  • Tiny triangular ears lie flat against the powerful head with a “hippopotamus” muzzle.
  • Small almond-shaped sunken eyes exhibiting a scowling expression making them irresistible to cuddle.
  • They tend to grow out of their chubbiness and loose skin as they grow older and only retain it near their heads, shoulders, and neck.
  • Tails are distinctively set high, thick, and curl over his back.

Temperament and Behaviour

This rugged breed is known for its intelligence, protectiveness, and alertness. The regal Shar-Pei has not lost its guarding instincts over years of breeding.

This ancient pedigree is steadfastly loyal to its human family. They possess a calming demeanor which makes them the perfect companions and guardian dogs.

However, given their turbulent past, they come off as standoffish with strangers. Shar Peis are smart and quick to learn. They can be very territorial and are independent thinkers. But extensive exposure to all kinds of people and animals at an early age will help in training your Shar-Pei to not get overwhelmed and will reduce the potential danger.

They are not prone to barking a lot, but they may snort, grunt, and grumble loudly when displeased.

Living with a Shar-Pei Dog:

Shar-Pei dogs, the awe-inspiring compact creatures, are excellent apartment dogs as they rarely bark. They can easily adapt to apartment life and do well with active owners.

Daily short walks in parks are crucial for their daily mental and physical stimulation needs. They cannot typically be called a “friendly” breed but Early, consistent and positive reinforcement is advised to train your pooch into a well-mannered and well-adjusted dog.

They possess a stubborn streak and are very willful creatures. It is essential for the owner to establish leadership firmly at an early stage so the dog knows its place in the family.


Shar Peis are generally clean dogs and require brushing once a week and bathing once every few months to remove dirt and danger of any infection. However, take your time to dry out this loose-skinned canine. Make sure the folds and wrinkles are completely dry and clean to prevent fungal infections.

What are the general health concerns about them?

Sometimes, beauty comes with a price and in Shar-Pei’s case, it seems true. With that loose bristle-like folds, Shar Peis are prone to certain health concerns. So, it is recommended to read this section carefully.

Given below are some of the diseases a Shar-Pei may get in its lifetime.

Shar-Pei fever – a short-lived inflammatory condition that results in high temperatures and aching joints. This health issue, if not treated properly can prove fatal, and the dog may develop amyloidosis (build up in liver, or spleen). None of the other breeds are prone to Shar Pei Fever.

Skin Problems – They tend to contract fungal infections in their wrinkles and folds so it is recommended to keep an eye on their coat.

Joint Problems – Given their body structure, Shar Peis may suffer from joint problems such as dysplasia (hereditary condition). Dysplasia is a serious disorder and may require surgical treatment.

Some of the other treatable diseases that may occur if loose wrinkled-skin isn’t properly maintained.

  • Itchy skin due to mites.
  • Ear problems due to their narrow, folded over earlaps.
  • Breathing difficulties due to their squashed and tightly pinched nose.

The Shar-Pei has an approximate life span of 8-12 years and needs frequent vet trips during its lifetime.

Wrapping it up:

These fierce, loyal, and chubby dogs can easily melt anyone’s heart with their soulful eyes. But can also give a hard-time to a novice parent. They are individual thinkers and hence it is recommended to only go for this breed if you are up for excessive training mixed with a lot of love and attention.

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