Shar Peis: Independent Family Guards

Shar-Pei is one of those breeds that cannot be overlooked at any dog ​​show or just on a walk. The unusual shape of the head and, of course, strong folds distinguish them from their relatives, and the blue-black tongue completes the picture – among hundreds of modern breeds, only the Chow Chow can boast of this. But no less famous among breeders and their independent disposition.

Brief Information

  • Breed name: Shar Pei
  • Country of origin: China
  • Time of origin of the breed:  202 BC e.
  • Weight: 18-35 kg
  • Height (height at the withers): 40-51 cm
  • Life span: 10-12 years

Key Facts

  • The Shar-Pei is originally from China and is believed to have common roots with the Tibetan Mastiffs and Chow Chow.
  • Geneticists have established that the age of the breed can reach 3 thousand years.
  • Unusual Shar-Pei wool is a strong allergen, therefore, before buying, all family members should talk closely with the dog in order to identify a possible reaction of the body.
  • Contrary to the “toy” appearance of puppies and adult animals, their character is not plush at all.
  • Shar-pei needs an experienced and strong owner who can maintain his authority in the eyes of the pet.
  • The dog is not recommended for families with babies, but it gets along well with older children and teenagers.
  • Taking care of your pet won’t be too much of a hassle.
  • Doesn’t need constant physical activity.
  • Preferably kept in the house.
  • Early socialization is needed (perhaps with the help of a dog handler) to avoid aggression towards other animals and strangers.
  • Unfortunately, Shar-Pei is not long-lived, the average life expectancy is 8-12 years.

Shar-Pei Breed History

Despite the fact that some modern researchers doubt that the Shar-Pei breed of dogs originated more than 2,000 years ago, the statues are 200 years old BC. e. confirm this. Shar-Pei originated in the southern provinces of China, and from there spread throughout the country. In fact, the statues only confirm that in the 200th year BC. e. The Shar-Pei was already a mature breed, which means that it can be assumed that this dog arose somewhat earlier.

The inhabitants of China used this breed for completely different purposes – for guarding and grazing livestock, for guarding homes, as a nanny, and in battles. Until the revolution and civil war, which led to the creation of the People’s Republic of China, these dogs faithfully served people of different social strata.

However, during the years of the so-called “Great Leap Forward”, when the country was gripped by an incredible famine, which led to the death of more than 40 million people, the Shar-Pei was practically destroyed. To be more precise, people just ate dogs – people survived as best they could. As barbaric as it may seem to us.

A small number of dogs were saved by transportation to Hong Kong, to Down-Homes kennel – this was done by dog ​​enthusiast Matgo Lowe. In 1973, several dogs were brought to the United States. A year later, the dog owners organized the “China Shar-Pei Club of America”, and in 1978 the first national specialized exhibition was held. In 1991, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed and gave it the status of a member of a sports group.


The Shar-Pei breed is a medium-sized dog with a large number of folds of skin not only on the face, but also throughout the body (usually there are much more of them on the face, and the body can sometimes be completely devoid of folds if the dog does not overheat and has a sufficient amount of physical activity ). The build is strong, the limbs are of medium length, the tail is also of medium length. The ears are small, bent forward, the hair is short.


Shar-Pei can be any solid color except white: “red deer” (red, classic), black, chocolate, apricot or cream dilute, blue, isabella, lavender, and others. Spots are not allowed, but darker (along with the spine and on the ears) and lighter (tail and back of the thighs) areas of the coat are possible.


Shar-Pei will definitely disappoint people who dream of a cheerful and playful pet. These are independent, withdrawn, and not particularly mobile “philosophers”. If the owner gives slack in their upbringing, they will not hesitate to take advantage of the slip in order to take a dominant position in the “pack” and dictate their terms to the household. However, an experienced owner who will be able to establish his authority without the use of physical force and screaming, with the help of a professional’s advice, will raise a well-mannered and obedient dog.

The protective functions that have been assigned to the breed for many generations leave their mark on the character. Shar-Pei will be wary of strangers and in general everyone who is not in a close social circle and may openly demonstrate unfriendly intentions.

These dogs have never been good-natured nannies who patiently endure the unintentional rudeness of young children. Leaving them alone with the unintelligent crumbs is strongly discouraged. It is also worth remembering that due to physiological characteristics, Shar Pei’s field of vision is severely limited, he perceives sudden movements as a potential threat and reacts accordingly.

Shar-Pei usually gets along poorly with other animals. Dogs are perceived as opponents, and by virtue of instincts, they treat other pets as prey. An exception may be cats if they grow up together.

However, do not rush to be disappointed in the breed and refuse to purchase a puppy! Properly trained and socialized on time, Shar-Pei is an excellent companion. They are calm, intelligent, noble, loyal to the family, not prone to fuss, and loud barking.


These “giants” are independent and stubborn. In the process of training, patience and firmness are urgently needed, since teaching commands actually becomes a clash between the will of the owner and the dog. If your pet does not meet certain requirements, the problem is not at all a lack of mutual understanding – he does not keep his intellect, and the desire to dominate a person leads to disobedience.

It is important from the first days of the puppy’s appearance in a new family to demonstrate his authority without aggression, clearly delineating the boundaries of what is permitted. The main mistake at this stage can be indulging the desires of the “cute baby”, so similar to a stuffed toy. It will be very, very difficult to regain discipline after you show weakness!

In addition to executing standard commands, the ability to behave in the presence of strangers and other pets should become a mandatory part of teaching “good manners”. Any unmotivated manifestations of aggression are unacceptable here, although one cannot demand from a Shar-Pei an uncharacteristic delight at the sight of any guest. A low-key response is ideal.

Conditions of Detention

Due to their rather calm and quiet nature, Shar-Pei is well suited for living in an apartment. Moreover, it is preferable, since short hair does not protect against low temperatures, and overheating is bad for the health of the animal due to the peculiarities of the structure of the skin and respiratory tract.


These dogs do not need expensive professional grooming or frequent bathing. Note, however, that during bath procedures (once every 2-3 months, if nothing extraordinary happens), it is imperative to use special shampoos that do not cause irritation and thorough drying with a hairdryer. In short-haired dogs, even seasonal molting is almost imperceptible, it is enough to iron them once a week with a mitten for combing wool purchased from a pet store, and pets with long fur need more careful grooming twice a year using rubber brushes.

What you need to do regularly and diligently is to take care of your dog’s skin. Sweat and fat, dirt, food particles accumulate in the folds, which can lead to dermatitis. You should also pay attention to the ears to avoid inflammatory processes in the shells and the ear canal.

To maintain normal physical shape, Shar-Pei needs only an hour of walks a day. The structure of the skull makes them similar to the brachycephalic type dogs (Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs), so intense exercise such as jogging and overcoming obstacle courses is contraindicated due to breathing problems.


Feeding recommendations do not differ from the standard for all pedigree animals. Quality premium or super-premium ready-to-eat foods, or a carefully formulated regular food diet that balances nutrients. The serving size is individual and depends on the age, size, and physical activity of each animal. It is imperative to provide round-the-clock access to fresh drinking water.


Cynologists classify Shar-Pei as a breed with poor health. The number of possible hereditary and acquired diseases during life is such that some organizations generally raise the question of the advisability of further breeding. The reason for this is largely due to the dishonesty of the breeders, who, in the wake of the outbreak of popularity of these dogs in the 80-the 90s of the last century, were chasing commercial gain to the detriment of animal welfare.

Today, breeders, in close cooperation with veterinarians, are trying to cut off genetically undesirable breed lines, but even in good kennels, puppies with various diseases are born.

  • Shar-Pei fever (also known as swollen hock syndrome) manifests itself in swelling of the hock joint or even two against the background of an inexplicable increase in temperature to 39-42 ° C, accompanied by abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea. Presumably hereditary, it usually occurs at 18 months of age and may bother the dog in the future. There is no effective treatment; during attacks, they fight the symptoms, medication lowering the temperature and pain.
  • Hypothyroidism is a lack of thyroid hormones, which provokes the development of epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma (purulent inflammation of the skin), and other dermatological problems, and in especially severe cases – lethargy. It is treated with medicines and diet.
  • Dysplasia of the elbow or hip joint is a degenerative disease that results in a weak joint in the growing animal, which can lead to arthritis and lameness.
  • Demodicosis – the appearance of areas of reddened, flaky skin, hair loss caused by infection with skin parasites. The tick can be transmitted from mother to puppies in the first days of life and not manifest itself until the period of reduced immunity. Man and other animals cannot become infected by contact with a dog.
  • Pyoderma is a bacterial infection that leads to accumulations of pus in the outer layers of the skin and near the hair follicles.
  • Seborrhea – dermatitis in the form of peeling of keratinized skin, most often is the result of allergic, infectious, and parasitic diseases, problems with the immune system, the endocrine system, or metabolism.
  • Cutaneous mucinosis – Excessive production of mucin by epithelial cells leads to mucus-filled blisters and is generally considered a cosmetic problem, but sometimes the oropharynx is affected, causing breathing problems. Treated with corticosteroids.
  • Dislocation of the patella (patella) – congenital or acquired displacement of the patella relative to its normal position, is episodic or permanent. In severe cases, it is almost impossible to put it into the block of the femur, and the animal loses the ability to lean on the diseased limb.
  • Osteochondrosis is an abnormal growth of cartilage in a pouch that causes painful stiffness of the joint.
  • Gastric volvulus is a dangerous condition associated with the stretching of the stomach with air trapped in as a result of eating too much food too quickly. Leads to the disruption of normal blood flow, a sharp decrease in pressure. Immediate veterinary assistance required! Disturbing symptoms include restless behavior, bloating, excessive salivation, and unsuccessful vomiting.
  • Glaucoma is increased intraocular pressure resulting in optic atrophy and loss of vision.
  • Entropion is an abnormal position of the eyelids, in which the free edge of the lower (less often the upper eyelid) turns to the eyeball and constantly injures its surface, provoking inflammation of the cornea and loss of vision.

How to Choose a Puppy

It is worth noting: newborn Shar-Pei do not have folds at all, but by the 6th week of life they accumulate so much that they become like a rubber man Bibendum – a recognizable symbol of one of the car tire manufacturers. As they grow older, the dogs seem to “grow” to a too large skin, only the head and scruff remain covered with large wrinkles. To understand how strongly the folding will be in the future pet and what type of coat is, you need to look closely at its parents.

The health of the baby largely depends on them, so do not hesitate to ask the breeder for medical documents. At the time of purchase, the puppy itself must have marks on the age-appropriate vaccination in the veterinary passport at the time of purchase.

An important indicator is the living conditions of mothers and puppies. A dark, cramped, not protected from the wind, and all the more dirty aviary, is not in favor of the breeder. Adequate nutrition in the womb and in the first months of life lays the foundation for life, be sure to pay attention to the contents of the bowls!

If the Shar-Peis of the chosen kennel do not participate at all in exhibitions, this is an alarming signal – they have problems either with health and physical indicators or with behavior. It is better to refuse to buy a pet in such a place.

The main thing is that the puppy is easy to make contact with, is not afraid of a person and does not show aggression, and is not suspiciously apathetic.


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