Shar Pei Information

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(Chinese Shar-Pei) The Shar-Pei is a medium-sized dog with a moderately substantial build and distinctive facial features. The breed has a broad, deep chest and a short, close-coupled back. The brisket extends to the elbow and rises slightly under the loin. Their croup is flat and the base of the tail is set extremely high. Tails of this breed are round, thick, and taper to a fine point. They curl over to either side of the dog’s back. Their shoulders are well-muscled sturdy, and sloping, and their forelegs are straight and moderately spaced. Elbows of this breed are close to the body. The limbs are substantially boned, but they are neither heavy nor excessively long. Their feet are medium-sized, compact, and firmly set. They have strong, muscular, well-angulated hindquarters and hocks that are short and perpendicular to the ground. Their medium-length neck is full and properly set into the shoulders. Moderate to heavy folds of loose skin are present around the throat and neck. The breed’s topline dips slightly behind the withers, and it rises slightly over the loin. The head of the Shar-Pei is large in size, proudly carried, and covered with profuse wrinkles. These facial wrinkles start at the dog’s forehead and continue into side wrinkles that frame the dog’s face. The skull is broad and flat, and the stop is comparatively pronounced. The Shar-Pei’s muzzle is one of the most distinctive physical characteristics of the breed. It is broad, full, and “hippopotamus”-shaped. Their nose is large, wide, and darkly pigmented, and their strong teeth close in a scissors bite. Eyes of this breed are small, almond-shaped, and dark. Dogs with diluted coats may have eyes that are lighter in color. Their very small ears are thick, triangular, and slightly rounded at the tips. The coat of the Shar-Pei is very harsh, absolutely straight and off-standing across the dog’s body, and generally flat over the dog’s limbs. The coat does not appear glossy or lustrous, but it looks healthy. It is less than 1” in length. While the Shar-Pei’s coat is solid or sable in color, shading may exist down the dog’s back and over the dog’s ears.

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The Shar-Pei is playful, courageous, dominant, and energetic. By nature, they are very loyal to their owner. They are an intelligent breed that does not respond to commands slavishly. If properly trained and socialized from an early age, they generally get along well with cats, children, and strangers. Despite the breed’s frowning expression, they are easy-going, calm, and devoted. They are great watchdogs and companions. Because they are stubborn and bold, they need firm, consistent training from an assured owner. This breed usually despises water, and they will do anything they can to stay away from it. They are clean and often housebreak themselves. Because they have been so over-bred, there are significant differences in personality and health. The temperament of these dogs will vary according to their lineage. Well-bred Shar-Pei lines will get along quite well with other dogs.

Most males, and several females, are very possessive and over-protective of their families. This was bred into them in Ancient China. They were used as bodyguards. It's best to socialize this breed from birth to make sure it blends with other dogs and humans. They adapt easily to one's lifestyle and they can vary from highly energetic and agile to sluggish and sleepy heads.

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18 – 20 inches
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40 – 55 pounds
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General Health

The Shar-Pei is susceptible to hereditary skin problems. It is important for potential owners of this breed to find a reputable breeder. Dogs exhibiting fevers of unknown origin or swollen hocks may be in the early stages of kidney failure. This breed has an average life expectancy of up to 10 years.

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The exact origin of the Shar-Pei is unknown. Many believe the breed is a descendant of the Chow Chow, however, the only clear link between these two breeds is the purple-colored tongue. There are pictures on pottery that suggest the Shar-Pei was in existence throughout the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.). For many years, the Shar-Pei was utilized as an all-purpose farm dog in the Chinese countryside. The scowling face, intelligence, and strength of the Shar-Pei made it a perfect choice for hunting, protecting stock, and guarding the family and home. Later, the Shar-Pei was used in dog fighting. Because of their loose skin and prickly coat, opponents had a difficult time grabbing and holding on to them. Throughout the Communist Revolution, the Shar-Pei was in danger of becoming extinct. Several of these dogs were rescued by a Hong Kong business man named Matgo Law. This man captured the attention of Americans in 1973 through a dog magazine that promoted the concept of rescuing the Shar-Pei. From the specimens Matgo Law managed to rescue, the Shar-Pei was saved. The breed’s popularity has grown immensely over the past few decades.

They were used to guard Chinese Royalty and Samurai Warriors.

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The short-haired coat of the Shar-Pei should be brushed on a regular basis. During the shedding period, bathing once per week and brushing on a daily basis will help to remove dead hair and promote new hair growth.

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Ideal Environment

The Shar Pei is content to live in a small household or apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. They are a comparatively active breed indoors, and they do not require a yard. This breed is sensitive to hot weather. As long as they receive daily physical activity, they will be very peaceful indoors.

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Dog Training!

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Shar Pei Q&A

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whats good to use for their itchy skin??

Special flea spray...maybe wait for it to clear up? Ask your veterinarian for advice


how hard are they to take care of? I've heard there realy hard because of all there medical problems

If you feed them a diet without any wheat, it seems to help prevent some of the skin problems. If you have a good breeder and an excellent vet who has experience with the breed many problems can be avoided. Please, please, please take care of any eye problems asap. Even a well bred pei might need help with eye care and not so well breed ones need to be evaluated and may need to have entroption surgery. As a breed rescue-er, I have seen too many dumped shar peis who just need their eyes done!


is the pei good with kids

Yes. But a little lazy. So if you want a dog for the kids to play with, you should find another breed.


Would they get along with a maltese?

Yes! they have to be properly introduced, but if the maltese was there first, and you get a young dog, it should be no problem. I've had 3 shar peis over the years, and 2 maltese, and they loved eachother.


i have 2 peis, 1 is male 16 months old and a female 7 months old, both from different breeders. they are best friends but over the past few weeks she has changed and is very aggressive towards him, and only him. she snarles in his face, he is concerned why she is doing this and goes to her, resulting in a fight, that he wins by pinning her down. its becoming upsetting to us and our male pei. Is she coming on heat?

Are you sure they're just not playing? I have 2 Shar Pei's as well - they've been together for over 10 years now - and love to wrestle. It may look like they're fighting - and there have been occational bites - but they are playing. They always seem to go back for more. :)


I have a 2 year old Shar pei with skin problem I have eliminated red meat from the diet which has worked really well but want to know if there is other foods that may be harmful to his diet?? Someone mentioned wheat maybe a problem??

YES, YES, & YES with the wheat. I've had 4 Pei's so far (love the breed) I always have great luck STICKING to the proper diet. Pei's are proan to show problems when you change their diet even a little......all mine have exsisted just fine since they could eat solid food. Find an inexspencive piece of meat daily. I cook up about 1/2 lb. of meat, mixed with either rice or patatoe & her kibble (oupernuper) excuse the wrong spelling ! for supper, breakfast was canned lamb & rice....Excluding wheat is hard to do, but even a little will cause your Pei to chew it's legs if thats where the distress lies. Even their treats can hurt them. But you can find lamb & rice treats also. Same thing with the can food. The wrong shampoo can cause the same affect. There's only one soap I swear by, anything else causes me problems. If you have a Pei that has skin problems, this will be a constant issue for you, but you can see the inprovement with MALASEB shampoo. It also comes in a medacated type. But you can't use this all the time. It's exspensive aprox. 28.00. BUT IT WORKS !!!!! You really must straighten out this problem, it's affecting more things that you can't see. Even the attitude, obedience, happyness etc. This can really stress out any dog, but watch the difference in your Pei once you have it under control. don't give up...........


Just wondering, would you recommend a Shar Pei for people who work durning the daytime? Obviously its not ideal but with some breeds being better than others on seperation anxiety etc.. would the Shar pei be one of the better breeds to choose? I am stuck between Shar Pei and Shiba Inu....

The Shar-Pei is a dog breed that is jjust fine to be left at home while the owner works as long as the owner spends an adequate amount of time with their dog. It is important to pay atention to the dog, as the Shar-Pei is generally independent and might try to run the house-hold. We currently have a Shar-Pei of four years and are gone nine-eleven hours straight every day, it's not a problem at all as the breed tends to sleep a lot when the owner isn't home.


My shar pei has lost a lot of weight over the last yr, he has been to the vets 4 times, although he cannot find anything wrong with him, and I cant seem to get him to put any weight on??

I've had 4 Pei's so far, and I've found that I know more than most Vet's with this breed....... You really didn't give enough info. to zero in with a comfortable ans. " BUT" My last Pei ASHLEY (was the best of the best) I could never have another to fit her shoes in all manners. On Christmas eve of 08 she passed away suddenly with BLOAT. When I look back several months prior, I remember her having day's of distress, and eating little, or not at alll. Then bouncing back, to a normal state, so it left me confused to zeroing on the problem. I hate to even bring this up, as bloat for the most part is a death sentence. It's a terriable painful way to loose one's beloved pet. Read up on Bloat if you can. I found little info. after the fact. Mostly speaks of getting to the Vet IMMEDIATE ! And it cost about 5,000 for major operration, which at best is a 50, 50 chance of survival. They don't know what causes it, some think it may be from gulping their food to fast, which causes stomach to twist, huge swelling cut's of blood flow to rear body organs..... I ( THINK ) the kibble I mix with her steak, rice or patatoes supper was the culprit. I feel when the dog drinks water right after, the kibble blows up to 3-4 times it's size, causing a log jam, to start off the rest of the procedure for the bloat to start !!!!Just my unprofeshional theroy.....Hope I'm wrong, my Ashley was 0nly 8, & in fantastic shape.... Try feeding him just lamb & rice, & cook up some meat to mix in. It cost me aprox.1.00-1.50 daily, But ever since she could eat solid food it has been that way. And she was in excel. shape and looked like a champion Pei should look like. I'll pray for you & your guy.........The power of prayer can be some strong medicine


Hi! My partner and I are getting two shar-pei puppies from the same litter (both male, nine weeks old). I have heard pros and cons to raising two puppies simultaneously but I was wondering what opinions people had as to shar-pei specifically? I have a lot of time at home to spend socialising and training the pups so this wouldn't be a problem. has anyone had experience with this?

I raised 2 Shar Peis about 18 years ago. It was the best decision to have 2 of them. They are so social and really enjoy one another when you are gone. Three years ago my husband got me another and a year later we decided we really should have gotten 2 so we found our other baby Max at a Shar Pei rescue. Having 2 is always best.


I have 2 male sharpei 18 months old and i am finding it hard to keep them cool in this hot weather were having, apart from keeping them inside all day i dont know what to do??

You can give them what I call "ice-baths." You can buy a small kiddie pool from K-Mart/Wal-Mart, etc. After you have it in the yard you fill it with ice and let them play in it. It's like taking a dip in a pool for them.

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