Chinese Shar-Pei Dog Breed information: Facts, Traits, Pictures & More

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Last Updated on September 20, 2023

. The Chinese Shar-Pei is the oldest breed of dog in the .. It’s also safe to say that he’s one of the most unusual breeds. He is soft and cuddly due to his adorable hippopotamus facial combination with his rolypoly body.

Don’t be deceived! This guy is an tough Chinese Cookie and is not suitable for inexperienced dog owners. Potential owners of this breed have a lot to learn, and they aren’t the right fit for every family.

This breed guide will tell you everything you need about this legendary dog. From his unfair reputation , to his personality, you’ll find out about his past. You will also find out about his training and grooming needs, as well as his health and costs. You and this puppy with sandy skin are meant to be together. Let’s get into the details.

Chinese Shar-Pei Dog


The Han Dynasty was in China .. Which, for those of us who aren’t au fait with Chinese history, was about 2,000 years ago. This fact was discovered by the discovery of statues that resemble Shar-Peis, and manuscripts about ‘wrinkled dog’.

It is believed that the Shar Pei was a peasant dogs used to protect, hunt, and herd. The breed was not like the flat faced Pug and the charming Shih Tzu ,.

He remained at his position as top farm dog and family protector for many centuries. That was until the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949. The Communist regime frowned on dog ownership , and killed as many dogs as possible.

This led to the almost extinction of the Shar-Pei, many other dog breeds in China .. The rise in dog meat and dogfighting also contributed to this. There were good Shar-Pei specimens in neighbouring Hong Kong and Taiwan.

It is believed the breed first made its way to America in the 1960s. But it wasn’t until 1973 that the general public took an interest in the breed. An American breeder of Shar-Pei called on Shar-Pei enthusiasts in America to save the breed. Fifteen individuals set up the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America in 1974, and the breed was ultimately saved.

His near extinction is why this ancient breed wasn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 1992. The Shar-Pei, a relatively uncommon dog breed in America, is still today. According to the AKC, he regularly ranks between the 60th and 70th most popular dog breed. Paddington, the Shar-Pei , is an Instagram star and one of the most photographed pups in the entire world.


The Shar-Pei is a sweet, loving dog. This squishy hippo has never been far from his humans because of his total devotion. Most of his friends will form a deep, intuitive connection with them . because he spends so many hours with them. This means they can be very clingy to their favourite people.

This devotion makes him a reliable guard dog. He can be very aloof around strangers and won’t like living with families that invite outsiders into their homes. He is a strong protector of his pack and will not back down in times of danger. This breed is the best if you’re looking for a guardian dog. He is not a brute looking to fight. He is a calm, regal canine who stays relaxed most of the day.

His protective nature and aloofness make it seem like he is a bit of an eccentric. It’s not true. He is a very playful and dopey . with his family. He enjoys interactive play and will do anything for anyone in his family who is willing to let him. He will have moments when he needs to be alone, which you should respect. The pup does not like being pampered or smothered. This independent personality is loved by some people, while others dislike it.

The Shar-Pei, a dominant breed of Shar-Pei, requires an experienced owner He is a tough dog, which can make it difficult for some to live with him. He thinks he is smarter than anyone, even well-trained dogs. He needs a strict but fair master who is committed to his training. This guide will cover this more in detail.

Some Shar-Peis don’t like other dogs ., which is something many families have difficulty accepting. Even with early socialization, some will display aggressive tendencies towards other dogs. You might find it difficult to have fun at the local dog park. Although all dogs are unique, this guy is not compatible with other dogs.

Size & Appearance

The Shar-Pei is a medium to a large-sized dog who typically weighs between 45 and 60 pounds. Males are generally larger and more stocky than females. His head is generally square and compact. You will need to conform to to allow your Shar-Pei to be shown in the conformation rings.

The breed’s distinctively shaped muzzle is what is most famous about it. It is always , compared to the of a hippopotamus . His ears are small and point towards his dark eyes.

Another distinctive characteristic is his tongue, and his inside are bluish black. Except for dilute-colored dogs, which should have a lavender color. This is a very important characteristic in the breed. Any pinky tongue will result in disqualification in the show ring.

Their tail is an important characteristic of the breed. It should be high and thick at the base. The tail should taper to the end. It can curl to the side or over the back. Last but not least, his wrinkly wrinkled skin folds throughout his entire body . These folds are more noticeable when he is young and he will do his best to get them under control.

Coat & Colors

The name “Shar-Pei” translates into “Sandy-Skin”. His skin is sandy with a coarse texture .. His straight hair stands out from his body, but his hair tends to be closer to his limbs. Although his hair isn’t shiny, it should always look healthy.

There are many lengths of the coat, but it should not exceed one inch in show ring. A ‘horse’ coat is a very short one, while a longer coat is called a “brush coat “.

Some Shar-Pei’s have a longer coat than 1 inch. Some have soft or wavy coats . Similar to a fluffy English Mastiff , fluffy Shar-Peis is much more rare than the standard coat. This longer and softer coat might be a premium to some breeders. It does not alter his personality.

These pups, like purebred dogs have many different coat colors. There are many options: black, blue, brown and chocolate. These colors can be bold, dilute or with different patterns. All Shar-Peis must be one solid color and not a mix of colors. Fawn is the most popular color, with many wearing a black mask on their faces.

Exercise Requirements

The Shar-Pei is sometimes considered a low-energy dog breed, which is a huge appeal for many families. But he still needs between 30 to 45 minutes of outdoor exercise a day. He will get bored and restless if you don’t provide this. He will become destructive and potentially behaviorally problematic. He will be grateful for the leg stretch. He should also be able to communicate with the outside world in order to avoid becoming too protective.

he is more relaxed than many other dogs and doesn’t require constant mental stimulation . He loves to relax and enjoy the rest of his day. Many people love his laid back attitude in the house. We recommend that he has some toys for his entertainment when he is feeling a bit more energetic or frustrated.

This is a brachycephalic breed of dog that struggles with his breathing while exercising. We recommend that you use a harness to exercise your dog, rather than attaching the collar to it. And because some Shar-Peis are known to be aggressive towards other dogs, a harness with a handle can give you more control should something happen.

Living Conditions

The Shar-Pei is a large breed that is happy to live in apartments. He is an top choice for city dwellers who prefer larger puppies . His low energy and laid-back nature makes him a top choice. He is happy to live in bigger homes. He will only live in a secure, escape-proof yard. He will chase any animals that enter his yard, and he will protect it. It’s for his safety and that of everyone else.

No dog should be left alone between 9 AM and 5 PM. This dog can be left alone for longer periods of time than other dogs. His laid back attitude and low energy are all part of this. You need to be careful when hiring a dog walker. Shar-Peis need an experienced handler ,. He will only accept someone he trusts.

The Shar-Pei must be accompanied by a family experienced and able to handle dominant dog breeds . Families can be of any size or shape as long as they have had experience. They can live happily together with children but they will only be happy with older children who know how to treat dogs with respect. He will not tolerate young children smothering him. This is something you should consider if your goal is to start a family.

A well-socialized puppy might be able to get along with other dogs or animals. Paddington, the Instagram star who is famous for his love of feline and canine siblings, is a similar story. This is not always possible. Shar-Peis can be a difficult dog to live with in multi-pet households. If you have multiple pets, Shar-Peis are not the best breed to choose.


The Shar-Pei is intelligent and one of the most stubborn dog breeds

in the world. This can make training challenging. He should be trained by an experienced dog owner.

Unfortunately, many people adopt this little guy because of his cute appearance and cuddly face but then surrender him to rescue shelters as they are unable to handle the pup. Don’t make this error and be honest about your abilities!

*) Those who are experienced and comfortable will still find it challenging, but he is possible to manage. training must begin from the first .. Make sure everyone is aware of the rules. Be consistent, second. If you give up, it will be a struggle. This guy must work hard for everything. Otherwise, he will become a spoilt, annoying pup. This guy can only be trained by positive reinforcement training. He won’t do it again if he doesn’t get rewarded for his good behaviour. If you’re too harsh with him, he may ignore you or react negatively to you. Many Shar-Peis are motivated by food ,, so make sure you have treats on hand to encourage good behavior. All dogs are different so it is important to find out what works best for your dog.

Socialization is crucial for the potentially aggressive Shar-Pei, and the optimum window for socialization is 3 to 12 weeks. It’s crucial to partner with responsible breeders who will initiate the process and you’ll need to maintain it.

Socializing your dog and reminding him of his manners is a lifetime commitment. You can make him more polite and docile as an adult by introducing him to as many animals, people, and environments as you can.


The Shar-Pei’s health rate is lower than that of the average dog breed. But he still enjoys a lifespan of 8 to 12 years. He is susceptible to some health issues, as with all dogs. A reputable breeder will make sure your pups are healthy. Regular exercise and health checks are important.

Below are the most common health issues that affect this breed. Although this is not an exhaustive list, it will help you get started in your research. Learn about the symptoms of , and how to treat them if they do occur.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Joint Dysplasias is a common problem in large and medium-sized dog breeds. It is when the bones and sockets don’t meet correctly, leading to r educed mobility and pain. This can either be passed down from parents or a result of rapid growing as a puppy. It is important to find a breeder that tests for joint health. Exercise intolerance can lead to difficulty standing, lying down, and climbing stairs.

Eye Conditions

The Shar-Pei can suffer from a variety of eye problems. These include progressive retinal atrophy (entropion), glaucoma and sudden acquired retinal damage (SARDS). It is important to monitor his eyesight .. A thorough evaluation by an ophthalmologist should be done on all breeding dogs.

Patella Luxation

This is a different joint condition that affects the kneecap. The kneecap is not properly positioned and floats around. This can cause pain and interfere with normal mobility. It’s important to take your dog to the vet if he is unable to walk properly on his leg or kicks it out in discomfort.


This disorder affects the thyroid gland and causes an imbalance in hormone production . This can lead to other health problems. The symptoms include hair loss, weight gain and lethargy. Sometimes, seizures can also occur. It can be treated with daily medication once it is diagnosed.

Shar-Pei Fever

This is also called swollen-hock syndrome. It causes swelling of the hock joints. It can sometimes affect the muzzle. It causes swelling that renders the body susceptible to a fever ,. Some dogs are unable to move until this fever passes. Scientists do not know what causes it, and it usually lasts 24 to 36 hours. It usually starts from 18 months old, and your pup will need pain management.

Skin Conditions

This wrinkled dog is susceptible to various skin conditions. Pyoderma and demodectic mange are the most prevalent skin conditions to watch out for. Any hair loss, sore, itchy or inflamed skin, severe lice, dandruff or a strong smell will require your dog to be seen by a vet.

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome

This is also known as BOAS. It affects flat-faced breeds. This can lead to problems in their airways , and may cause them heat up quickly. Although the breed is not as affected as completely flat-faced ones, it is important to be aware. Avoid using a collar and a harness, and exercise your dog only when it is hot.


The average Shar-Pei consumes two cups . of kibble per day. This will vary from one dog to the next. It will vary depending on your dog’s age, size, energy level, and what brand of kibble you give him. You should also avoid feeding them too much as they are prone to weight gain. This hungry hippo should not be fed free of charge!

It is recommended that your Shar-Pei be fed a kibble designed specifically for large breeds . These kibbles can help stabilize bone growth and reduce the likelihood of him getting such conditions. High-quality kibble can provide a balanced diet and satisfy his discerning taste buds.

The breed is susceptible to gastric torsion. Bloat is another life-threatening condition. Your Shar-Pei should be fed a variety of meals . Never feed your Shar-Pei immediately after or before exercise. You should immediately seek veterinary help if you notice excessive drooling or restlessness, a swollen stomach, rapid heart beat, or fainting.


The grooming of the Chinese Shar-Pei can be both simple and complex. You need to be ready for both. They are considered to be clean and are meticulous when it comes time to grooming .. He is very clean and doesn’t smell.

He sheds very little. To remove dirt and hair, he only requires brushing once or twice per week. It will also encourage blood circulation which will improve his skin’s condition.

That’s the easy part! His many folds are the problem. You’ll have to clean each fold at least once a week . if he is extremely wrinkled. Infections can result from skin folds that are a breeding ground of bacteria. Use a special doggy skinfold cleaner to clean each fold.

Bathing and cleaning is another problem that the breed faces. He only needs to bathe once in three months (unless your vet advises otherwise). Based on his skin history, you may have to use a medicated shampoo to soothe him.

It is extremely important that he dry completely after every bath. This means in between! It can become sore and cause infections.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

This is a rarer breed, so you may have to travel far depending upon where you live. It’s important to work closely with a trustworthy breeder ! This is especially important for dominant breeds like this one, which are also susceptible to health problems. You risk raising a puppy with serious health issues and missing out on vital socialization. A great place to start your puppy search is with the AKC’s Chinese Shar-Pei breeders page.

The average puppy price ranges anywhere between $1,200 and $2,000. You can get a puppy for a little less or a lot more. It all depends upon the reputation of the breeder and the location. Good breeders will welcome you to visit their home and meet the pups. They will be able to provide health certificates and have extensive experience breeding Shar-Peis.

Unfortunately, many breeders who are not responsible will sacrifice puppy health for profit. Because they are less expensive to buy and ‘run’, they will breed sick dogs and not provide any support or health checks for their puppies. These breeders not love and socialize , their pups , which can lead to dangerous and unruly dogs. Please avoid them!

You also need to consider ongoing costs associated with dog ownership . All the necessary items for a puppy’s well-being, as well as any extras you wish to give him, must be purchased. You should also consider insurance and medical expenses. These are often more expensive than average dogs due to his poorer health.

Rescues & Shelters

Some families may prefer to rescue a Shar-Pei over buying a new puppy. There are many reasons. Not least because it is an incredible act ! to rescue a pet.

As you may have guessed, many people adopt this dog on without doing much research , and only to discover that they are not compatible. This means that there are many dogs who are looking for their forever homes.

Check out your local rescue shelter. Talk to staff if you are unable to see a Shar Pei. They might have one at a nearby shelter. They can also help you navigate the rescue process. There are also rescue groups who are focused on rehoming this particular breed. The Chinese Shar-Pei Rescue Trust has details of breed dedicated rescues.

As Family Pets

  • The Shar-Pei is a medium to large-sized dog breed.
  • They can live in small apartments and larger homes.
  • This is a dominant dog breed that needs a strict and experienced owner.
  • Without proper leadership, this breed can become challenging to own.
  • He is a low-energy dog breed who only needs around 30 to 45 minutes of exercise every day.
  • The breed makes a brilliant watchdog and guard dog.
  • He’ll protect his family in the face of danger without any worries.
  • He is independent and happy to relax in his own company.
  • This breed enjoys having its own space to be independent.
  • He is very aloof with strangers and is known to display aggressive tendencies towards other dogs.
  • This means he’s recommended in single pet households.
  • With his family, he is fun, affectionate, and a little bit goofy.
  • The Shar-Pei does much better in a family with older children who will respect his boundaries.
  • His training is a lifelong commitment.

Final Thoughts

The Chinese Shar-Pei is a unique looking dog . He is also very unique in his personality. He is said to be more cat than dog because he doesn’t need anything and enjoys being alone.

He is a dominant breed and needs an equally strong willed and experienced master in order to get the best from him. If you can manage the beast in him, this beautiful hippopotamus dog will be your friend for life.

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