Shar Pei – The Wrinkled Dog

The Shar-Pei originated as a guard dog in China. The wrinkled dog was also kept by the poor – mostly farmers or fishermen – as a hunting dog against small game and rats. Around 1950 there were only about 150 of its kind left worldwide, but it was saved from extinction in time. The genetic origins of the Shar-Pei lie in the Chinese gray wolf.

History and Origin of the Shar-Pei

In ancient China, the Shar-Pei was primarily kept by farmers and fishermen as a guard dog for poor people. Not much is transmitted from that time since the owners could barely read and write. Most signs of the population at that time can be found in coastal areas of the South China Sea.

When the Republic of China was founded in 1949, the fate of the wrinkled dog was hanging in the balance. Because the authorities forbade their population to keep private pets, which meant that at that time only about 150 copies existed worldwide. By 1971, according to the breed’s savior, breeder Matgo Law, there was only a good dozen left. In the meantime, the Shar-Pei was one of the rarest dog breeds in the world.

Essence & Character of the Shar-Pei

A peaceful one-man dog, your Shar-Pei feels at home in the midst of your family. He will appear rather distant towards strangers, which is probably due to the fact that this dog used to be kept as a guard dog. Confident as the Shar-Pei is, he never gets hectic. He always exudes calmness and will subordinate himself to you unconditionally without ever submitting if he is raised well. The wrinkled dog is not at all suitable for being kept alone or even in a kennel. On the contrary: He would like to have a place in the middle of the family and be able to be present everywhere.

The Physique of the Wrinkled Dog

With a height of 51 centimeters at the withers, the wrinkled dog is not considered a dwarf, although it looks smaller compared to other Molossians. Its name, which comes from China, means “sand-skin dog”, which is probably due to the fact that this special conspecific has folded after folds and, above all, the fur itself feels extremely straw-like and therefore rough. The pretty animal is not hindered by its wrinkles, which only form up to the 16th week of life, as the dog grows into its fur.

Another special feature that the Shar-Pei has in common with the Chow-Chow, for example, is the blue tongue. The entire palate area is blue to black, instead of the delicate pink color that is usually found in dogs. The mastiff-like dog retains its body folds as pronounced only until adulthood. In the head and neck area, however, the wrinkles remain.

Your wrinkled four-legged friend should weigh between 18 and 28 kilos, depending on gender. His coat does not require any explicit grooming as it is short and smooth and normal, regular brushing is sufficient. However, you should of course always keep an eye on the pronounced wrinkles on your Shar-Pei. Its fur color varies from cream to fawn and red to black.

Genetic Vulnerabilities

  • The wrinkled dog has fewer weak points than the many-body waves would suggest.
    From time to time there are problems with invagination of the eyelids.
  • In addition, this breed suffers from idiopathic mucinosis and amyloidosis relatively frequently.
    Idiopathic mucinosis is manifested by itching on the stomach of your dog and eczema on the inner thighs. Moth-eaten fur also indicates this. In this case, the mucous or dermis are inflamed. Symptoms of this are greasy fur and foul vapors. Pimples of pus can form in the affected areas, where bacteria settle and the clinical picture thus progresses. A change of feed can often help here. A cortisone-free ointment should be applied to the scratched, proteinaceous blisters.

Amyloidosis is a digestive disorder. The dog’s organism cannot split any protein here, so the protein remains in the blood instead of being excreted. So the protein is deposited where it doesn’t belong and disrupts the supply to other cells. This can result in organ damage. The only way to know if your dog is suffering is to notice diffuse swelling of his tongue. This disease can be accompanied by liver swelling and protein in the urine. You should also pay attention to swelling in the joints and fever can also be an indication. If your wrinkled dog is between 39.4 and 41.7 °C, this is definitely a case for the vet. Colchicine would be your dog’s lifelong therapy, dosed according to the animal’s body weight.

If you have decided in favor of a calm, family-loving, and lovingly agile dog like the Shar-Pei, it will accompany you faithfully for around 9 to 11 years.

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