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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Chinese Shar Pei

Chinese Shar-Pei

Origin: China

AKC Group: Non-sporting

Height: 18 inches (Male)

Weight: 45 pounds (Male)

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The Chinese Shar-Pei is a non-sporting dog. Shar-Peis are dignified dogs that are very clean. They adapt well to city life if walked daily. Some are unaffectionate, but others are lovable. They're suspicious of strangers and aggressive with other animals. Shar-Peis are usually good with children.

Male height: 
18 inches
Male weight: 
45 pounds
Harsh, straight coat can range from very short "horse coat" to slightly longer "brush coat."
Solid colors and sable.
Special considerations: 
This breed has been exploited. If you buy a Shar-Pei from a poor bloodline, it might be aggressive.

The exact origin of this ancient, unique breed from southern China is unknown, although it is believed that the Chow Chow and the Mastiff are among its ancestors. Pictures of dogs resembling the Shar-Pei have been found on pottery dating back more than 2,000 years. For many centuries, this willing and versatile worker was used for hunting, herding and protection. He was also made to fight other dogs in events that were considered "entertainment." The breed was nearing obscurity in China and Hong Kong when the first breeding stock was sent to the United States in the 1970s. The Shar-Pei's rarity and unusual features quickly drew attention, and the breed rose in popularity.

One look at a Shar-Pei puppy, with his hippopotamus-like face, tiny ears, and abundant wrinkles, is usually all it takes to fall in love with this breed. Prospective owners must keep the guard-dog component of his heritage in mind, however, and properly socialize him. Calm, steady, and dignified but alert, the breed's first instinct toward outsiders is suspicion, so it may be somewhat reserved with strangers. Although he is independent and aloof by nature, the Shar-Pei is very devoted and loyal to family members once he has learned to trust and respect them.
At home: 
The Shar-Pei is extremely adaptable to all types of homes, doing equally well in apartments or on farms. No matter where he lives, he cannot be an "outdoor" dog, as his lack of protective undercoat makes him much more susceptible to extremes in weather. This sensitivity to heat also means that he should never be allowed to overexercise in the summer. He is naturally protective and makes a good guard dog, but like any powerful guarding breed, needs proper training and handling. Because of its unusual bristly texture, some people have allergic reactions to contact with the Shar-Pei coat.
A brisk walk at least once daily will provide not only adequate exercise for the Shar-Pei but also important bonding with you.
The Shar-Pei requires a high-quality, age-appropriate diet. Beware of possessiveness around the food bowl, and feed him from your hand on occasion.
A firm but gentle hand is necessary with the Shar-Pei. He tends to have a stubborn streak, so training must be made fun to keep him interested for any length of time. Intelligent and possessed of a willing nature, he must learn to respect his trainer from the beginning or he can easily get the upper hand. Early socialization and training are necessary. This breed is usually quite easy to housetrain.
Shar-Peis are usually very patient and protective of children. They can get along with other household pets but may be aggressive toward other dogs.
The average life span of the Shar-Pei is nine to ten years. Breed health concerns may include cherry eye; hip dysplasia; hypothyroidism; patellar luxation; pyoderma; Shar-Pei fever; and skin problems.
Fun fact: 

In ancient China, the blue-black tongue of the Shar-Pei, which was exposed when he barked, was thought to ward off evil spirits.

Grooming blurb: 
Although he is shorthaired, the Shar-Pei still needs some gentle brushing a few times a week with a rubber brush. His coat should never be trimmed. The skin folds must be kept free of moisture so that they don't become irritated - this is usually easy to do because Shar-Peis absolutely hate getting wet!
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.