Shar Pei dog breed

The Shar Pei is a medium-sized dog breed with a short coat that feels sandy to the touch, hence their name which means sandy coat. They shed very little and are not known to be barkers, they are also very devoted and loving to their family. These traits make the Shar Pei popular family dogs, but they can be quite reserved and suspicious of strangers, and even aggressive towards other dogs due to their hunting nature. They are not the easiest dogs to train, inexperienced dog owners may find it a challenge. A firm hand and consistent training are required with the Shar Pei. Keep reading below to learn more about this dog breed

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Shar Pei
Breed height

M: 46 - 51 cm / 18 - 20 inches
F: 46 - 51 cm / 18 - 20 inches

Breed weight

M: 20 - 27 kg / 45 - 60 lbs
F: 20 - 27 kg / 45 - 60 lbs

Breed lifespan

Healthy dogs of this breed lives average between 8 to 10 years

Breed group

Non-sporting: Dogs whose main purpose now is to serve as pets

Breed size
Shar Peis are medium-sized dogs. Adult dogs weigh up to 27 kg / 60 lbs and has a height of up to 51 cm / 20 inches to the shoulders
Coat size
Shar Peis has 2 recognized coat types. The horse coat is very short, while the brush should not exceed 2.5 centimer / 1 inch
Shedding
Shar Peis shed very little. Brushing the coat weekly is enough to keep the shedding at bay. They blow their coat twice a year though
Trainability
Shar Peis are very intelligent dogs with strong independence. This dog breed can be quite hard to train for inexperienced owners
Breed health
Shar Peis are not of the healthiest dog breeds. They have some health issues that can be of concern, such as hip and elbow dysplasia
Socialization
Shar Peis are not the most social and friendly of dog breeds when it comes to encountering strangers and other dogs on their strolls
Energy
Shar Peis are quite energetic dogs, two walks a day with at least one hour of exercise total is sufficient to keep this dog breed satisfied
Barking
Shar Peis are not known to be barkers. If they have something to tell you, it's most likely very important, at least according to them

Shar Pei breed general information

The Shar Pei is an ancient breed that dates back to the era of the Han Dynasty in China, around the year 200 BC. Originally working dogs for peasants, bred to fulfill roles as guard dogs, wild boar hunters, and dog fighters. Due to Chinas elimination of dogs when the country became communist, the Shar Pei was on the brink of extinction. Its rise from being the rarest dog breed to become a popular companion came after a newspaper article in the USA in 1973. American dog fanciers obtained what they could of this rare oriental breed and saved it from extinction. Only a few specimens remained outside the cities. As their original hunting and fighting purposes are obsolete, the Shar Pei today is a Non-sporting dog that is mainly used as a pet. Their protectiveness and devotion to their owners makes them great family dogs

Breed appearance

The Shar Pei is a medium-sized dog, bordering to large with its average weight of 23 kg / 52 lbs and a maximum weight of 27 kg / 60 lbs. Their height range from 46 to 51 cm / 18 – 20 inches from the floor to the shoulders, with males and females having the same size, both weight and height-wise. They have a short coat with a sandy feel, which is what their name actually means, sandy coat. The Shar Pei is well-known for its unique wrinkly look, but these wrinkles smoothen out as the dog matures. Wrinkles on adult dogs may be limited to only the head, neck, and shoulders. Their ears are small and V-shaped, and they are one of only two dogs that have a fully blue tongue, with the other being the Chow Chows, both of these dogs originating from China

Breed temperament

The Shar Pei is a serious, self-possessed, and independent breed that can be quite stubborn at times. Although not very demonstrative dogs, they are very devoted and protective of their families. When it comes to strangers, they can be reserved and suspicious. They can be aggressive towards other dogs, and may feel the need to chase livestock if they encounter any. In other words, their true purpose still lingers in their genes. As with all dog breeds, not just Shar Peis, socialization with humans and other dogs should start at an early age to teach the dog how to behave when encountering strangers and other dogs. Signing up for a puppy class is the first step along the way to get a companion that reacts to the world around it in a healthy well-behaved way

Shar Pei health information

Shar Peis are unfortunately not the healthiest of breeds. Major concerns are entropion and hip dysplasia. Minor concerns are patellar luxation, otitis externa, lip and skin fold pyodermas, hypothyroidism, and amyloidosis. As with all dog breeds, they are also prone to developing common diseases. Buying a Shar Pei from a reputable serious breeder with good bloodlines is a must for this breed, stay clear of puppy mills and backyard breeders. Regular wellness checkups at the vet should be done at least once a year to track the dog’s development and catch any potential health issues early on, which improves the chances of successful treatment. If you suspect that your dog is having issues, or have changed its behavior radically, you must contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment for a checkup as soon as possible

Shedding and grooming

Shar Pei dogs are low-shedding dogs that only needs brushing once a week to get rid of lose and dead hair. Their sandy short coat is easy to groom, but they should however get some extra attention around the wrinkles to make sure no irritations develop between the flaps. During spring and autumn, they blow their coats, but other than that, dog hair should not be a problem with this breed. Keeping the dog on meat-rich dog foods also helps reduce the shedding amount and prevents dry skin. Meat is digested and absorbed quickly, promoting better overall health in your beloved companion. If your dog is subject to excessive shedding, contact your local veterinarian and ask for guidance and maybe schedule a checkup, just to be on the safe side

Breed barking level

Shar Peis are not known to be barkers, they are a quite silent breed that only barks when they have something important to tell you. Instead of barking at anything and anyone, they will evaluate the situation and decide if it needs barking or not. Common reasons for dogs barking are protection, alerting, being bored, fear, seeking attention, separation anxiety, or just saying hello. You can read more about barking at WebMD Pets: Understanding why dogs bark. All dog breeds can be trained to reduce barking, another thing that should be focused on learning from an early age. There are plenty of books and online resources where you can learn how to reduce barking, like YouTube, online courses, and various websites that you can find by Googling

Shar Pei training

Shar Peis can be quite challenging to train. They are very intelligent dogs that are also independent. Reward-based training from an early age is a must with this breed, a lot of patience is also required. Shar Peis doesn’t really like to be told what to do, as they consider themself to be in charge. Teaching your dog new commands and tricks should be done in a distraction-free area after a walk when the dog has burned off energy. The first step on the road is signing up for a puppy class, here you will learn the basics about dog care and training, most classes also have supervised playtime among the puppies for socialization. You can also watch free dog training videos from professional dog trainers, attend online dog training courses, or maybe get yourself a dog training book or two

Exercise requirements

Shar Peis should have at least 1 hour of exercise every day, split into a couple of walks. Even though they don’t seem very active, they have a decent energy level they need to drain in order to remain happy and healthy. In addition to physical exercise, they should also get mental stimulation in form of various games, this applies to all dog breeds. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise may become depressed, bored, and destructive as a result of being bored. They are also prone to becoming overweight. A fun way to exercise your dog is to play good old fashioned fetch, either with a stick or a ball. For mental stimulation, hiding treats around the home is a fun and rewarding game for the dog. Another popular game is “guess the hand”, hide a treat in one of your hands and let the dog guess which one. This can also be done with multiple cups

Caring for dogs

Grooming is not the only maintenance your dog requires throughout its life. Complete examinations at the vet should be done at least once a year for adult dogs. Puppies should come in every 3 or 4 weeks until they are around four months old. Contact your vet and they will set you up with schedules.
Trimming the claws should be done whenever they touch the ground when the dog is standing up, or make it a frequent routine to keep them short
Brushing the teeth should be done on a daily basis to prevent gum diseases. Chew bones and toys will also help strengthen your dog’s teeth and gums
Cleaning the ears to prevent ear infections is also another important part of the dog’s routine maintenance. You can have your vet show you how to do it

Socializing dogs

No matter what kind of dog breed you have, socializing it from an early age is the most important thing you can do in order to get a well-behaving buddy that reacts to the world around it in a healthy way. Until your puppy is around 16 weeks old, it should encounter different kinds of people, situations, and locations, learning that the world is a wonderful place to live. Puppies have a short developmental window in which their experiences will form their future selves. Puppies should however not be forced into situations they might feel uncomfortable with, as bad experiences may imprint and stay with the dog for the rest of the life. You can watch free videos from professional dog trainers on how to socialize your new puppy and learn how to do so the correct way

Shar Pei dogs on Instagram

Here are some pictures of the gorgeous Shar Pei breed on Instagram. See even more pictures of this dog breed by exploring #SharPei or at Google Image Search

Video of the Shar Pei dog breed

Here is a quite long video about the Shar Pei dog from YouTube, going through all its traits and features. Worth watching if you are interested in learning more

Frequently asked questions

Are Shar Peis good family dogs?

Shar Peis are loving and devoted to their owners, a trait that makes them excellent family dogs

Are Shar Peis hypoallergenic?

There are no dogs that are hypoallergenic, some breeds can however cause fewer allergic reactions than other breeds. The proteins that dogs produce are what causes the allergic reactions. These proteins are found in the hair, saliva, dander, and urine. Some individuals may have an irritant response to the actual dog hair, the solution for that is getting a dog with a low level of shedding. You can continue reading about allergies and reactions at HealthLine

Do Shar Peis shed much?

Shar Peis are low-shedding dogs. They blow their coat twice a year though, but other than that, brushing the coat once a week is sufficient to keep the shedding at bay

Are Shar Peis intelligent?

Yes. Shar Peis are very intelligent dogs. They are quick to learn, but due to their strong independence, they can be challenging for inexperienced owners

Are Shar Peis good for apartments?

Shar Peis are good candidates for apartment living, even though they are quite large dogs. Giving them enough exercise outdoors is required for apartment living

Can Shar Peis be left alone?

Shar Peis handles alone time better than most other dog breeds, thanks to their strong independence, but like all dogs, they prefer to be with their loved ones

Are Shar Peis aggressive?

Shar Peis can be reserved and suspicious of strangers, even aggressive towards other dogs. The Shar Pei should be socialized from an early age to learn it how to react in a healthy way to the world around it

References and resources

You can absorb more knowledge about this dog breed from the resources below. Websites, books, and social media sites where you can ask dog owners questions

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