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Chinese Shar-Pei

A unique and intelligent dog that most often is recognized for its wrinkles, the Chinese Shar-Pei initially was developed as an all-purpose Chinese farm dog: a medium sized, square and compact dog, close coupled with a large yet handsome head. The Chinese Shar-Pei has a unique look all their own, wrinkled loose skin — with a short bristled coat — that covers the body and head, small ears, a “hippopotamus” muzzle, and a high set tail. The dog’s wrinkles are more pronounced in a puppy than in an adult. Shar-Pei commonly have two coat types, either “horse,” short; or “brush,” up to an inch long. A third rare coat-type, which is not recognized by the AKC, is the “bear” that is longer than one-inch. The large head has dark, small, sunken, almond-shaped eyes that lend a scowling expression; the extremely small ears lie flat on the skull and are set high and forward; the muzzle sports a large and wide nose, and a blue-black tongue. The coat can be of any solid color, and is absolutely straight and off-standing on the main trunk of the body but generally lies flat on the limbs.

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Fast Facts

9 - 10 years
50 - 60 lb
45 - 50 lb
19 - 20"
18 - 19"
Chineese Shar-Pei, Chinese Sharpay or Chinese Shar-pay.
Chinese Fighting Dog

Chinese Shar-Pei Photos

Chinese Shar-Pei Temperament

The Chinese Shar-Pei takes itself seriously, and demands that others do likewise....

The dog’s ever present scowl is indicative of its attitude toward strangers or anything else it sees as a threat to its family, including other dogs. This is not to say the dog cannot be socialized – quite the contrary, in fact – but its first instinct toward outsiders is definitely suspicion. Once the newcomer has been brought into the fold, however, he will have a proud, loyal and devoted friend. The Shar-Pei’s independent nature can make training a chore, as the dog is unlikely to obey anyone it sees as weak or not in control. Though not a particularly playful breed, the Shar-Pei gets along well with children and other pets. Take care when training your Shar-Pei that it does not become antisocial or too much of an “alpha dog.”

Caring For a Chinese Shar-Pei

Training a Shar-Pei requires a firm hand and plenty of patience....

Establish dominance over the dog, and do not let it display aggressive behavior in front of strangers, pets or children. Make sure the dog is thoroughly socialized as a puppy with other dogs to avoid problems in adulthood. As a working breed, the Chinese Shar-Pei needs plenty of exercise, and should have an opportunity every day to go on a long walk or play off the leash in a dog-friendly park. The most common health conditions seen in the breed are fever, amyloidosis, canine hip dysplasia and eye entropion; other concerns include patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, allergies and skin fold pyodermas.

Chinese Shar-Pei History

A Brief History of the Chinese Shar-Pei

An old and distinctive breed, the Chinese Shar-Pei is believed to have existed in southern Chinese provinces since at least 200 BC, during the Han Dynasty....

Evidence for this claim can be seen in statues from the period resembling the Shar-Pei. The breed’s early ancestors are a mystery, but it is likely the dog is related to the Chow Chow, since both have a blue-black tongue, unique in the canine world. By the 13th century, writings describing the dog’s appearance and uses shed further light on the breed’s history. The name “Shar-Pei” literally means “sand-skin,” and refers to the dog’s rough, short coat. This coat was perhaps the most prized characteristic of the dog since it provided good protection in the dog’s principal employment as guard dog, hunter and dog fighter; the coat was especially helpful in dog fighting, as it prevented other dogs from gripping Shar-Pei with their jaws. As China turned to communism, the Chinese Shar-Pei was nearly wiped out along with the rest of China’s dog population. Luckily, the breed had by that time made it to Hong Kong, where it continued to be bred. In 1968, the Hong Kong Kennel Club recognized the Shar-Pei and spread the word of the dog’s dire situation. During the 1970s the Shar-Pei was brought to America, where its rarity and exotic looks made it an instant must have item for dog fanciers. The dog’s numbers quickly resurged, and the Chinese Shar-Pei was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the Non-Sporting Group in 1992. Just a few decades after the breed’s near extinction, it has become one of the most popular dogs in the United States.