Shar Pei | Dog Breed Information & Facts – Pictures

Shar Pei
shar pei

Shar Pei are easily recognizable by the folds of skin on their body and their frown. They have a very square complexion and with a short distance between the front and rear legs. They offer a powerful appearance and a good bone.

With regards to the resemblance to a hippopotamus, the Shar Pei, due to the folded skin and the peculiar shape of the head, really resembles this animal. The sullen appearance and strict disposition make the dog an excellent guard. It will be difficult for novice dog breeders to cope with the wayward temperament of the Shar Pei, therefore this breed is suitable for strong-willed people who have experience with dogs.

Dog sheet Shar Pei

Shar Pei photos

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Physical characteristics

The Shar Pei are easily recognized by the loosely hanging folds of skin on the body and the “frowning” muzzle. They are square shaped dogs with a short loin. They look powerful, with good bones. They have a short, spiky coat that is rough to the touch and comes in a variety of colors.

The height of an adult Shar Pei is 46-51 cm, and the weight is about 18-25 kg.


Distinctive features

  • Head: The head is “brick” shaped, flattened, quite large in relation to the body. The skull is broad and flat. The muzzle is the same width the entire length without tapering towards the nose.
  • Jaws: The teeth are strong and powerful. Bite “scissors”.
  • Ears: The ears are relatively small, V-shaped with slightly curved tips.
  • Eyes: The eyes are small, almond-shaped, deeply set. The color of the iris is brown. A light tint is found in dogs with a dilute coat color.
  • Body: The body is square, strong, athletic. The neck is strong, of moderate length, seems short. The suspension is clearly indicated. The back is flat without arching, strong and spacious with a wide and short loin. Chest of pronounced depth and breadth. The belly is slightly upturned.
  • Limbs: The legs are straight, parallel, muscular and stocky.
  • Coat: The root of the hairs is hard, manifesting itself in two versions – brush (1-2.5 cm) and horse (up to 1 cm). The undercoat is missing. The coat colors are black, fawn, red, cream, sand, blue, isabelle, chocolate, apricot and lilac. All variations of the diluted color are acceptable except pure white.

Character and behavior

In the standard, the Shar Pei character is described in several words: independent, calm, devoted to the family. Behind this miserly characteristic hides a full-fledged, very capricious personality.

The Shar Pei dog is above all the guardian of his family. With their relatives, they are incredibly open and sociable, they are distinguished by great friendliness and kindness. However, with strangers they are usually withdrawn and not very communicative. In addition, if the dog is not sufficiently socialized, he may consider all strangers who approach the owner, for example while walking in the street, as potentially dangerous.

With the children

This breed perfectly perceives children, likes to spend time with them, play, walk. Shar Pei adapts well to the role of nanny and her highly developed intellect helps her to realize her own responsibility towards her little master.

With other animals

Shar Peis generally get along poorly with other animals. Dogs are seen as adversaries and the rest of the pets, by virtue of their instincts, are treated as prey. An exception may be cats if they grow up together.


Cynologists classify Sharpei as breeds 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 breeders, who, in the wake of the outbreak of popularity of Shap Pei dogs in the 80s and 90s of the last century, were chasing commercial gain to the detriment of animal welfare.

Most often, Shar Pei suffer from the following diseases:

  • Entropion is the turn of the century.
  • Demodectic mange is a skin disease caused by a tick.
  • Food allergy is a negative reaction of the skin to food.
  • Primary seborrhea – defined by an unpleasant odor, flaking of the skin and excess sebum on the skin.
  • Fever is a hereditary disease. Symptoms: vomiting, disruption of the gastrointestinal tract, high temperature. Correct treatment leads to complete recovery.
  • Bloating – occurs due to improper diet and poor quality foods.
  • Dysplasia – joint problems. In a severe stage, it leads to immobility.
  • Inflammation of the ears – may be due to water getting into the ears and poor-quality cleaning.
  • Fungal diseases – occur due to a violation of the hygiene of the skin folds.
  • Many diseases can be avoided with regular veterinary checkups and routine vaccinations.

Life expectancy

With the proper care, the Shar Pei can live for 9 to 12 years.


The Shar Pei dog has a short coat, which practically does not need to be combed – once a week will be enough. However, you will need to clean the folds regularly throughout the day to remove harmful bacteria that can lead to skin irritation.

Also keep in mind that due to sagging skin around the eyes, dust and stains can accumulate there during walks, so always keep your eyes and ears clean.

The nails are usually cut 3 times a month, the dog is bathed once a month. More frequent baths are not recommended as they can dry out the skin folds, so if you want to bathe your Shar Pei more often, choose the right shampoo with the correct pH.


Shar Pei is sensitive to the sun and overheating.


Although it is an active breed, Shar Pei will do the exercise offered as long as they can play freely. As a recommendation, an adult dog should enjoy an hour of daily exercise, although he will gladly accept more exercise time if offered.

Fun Facts

  • Scientists believe that Shar Pei, Tibetan Mastiffs and Chow Chow have common ancestors.
  • Shar Pei is one of the oldest dog breeds of Chinese origin.
  • In tombs dating from the 3rd century BC, found the remains of dogs resembling modern Shar Pei.
  • In ancient China, Shar Pei dogs were called “dogs that licked the sky” because of their dark tongue. It was believed that with its help, animals can scare away evil spirits.
  • In 1978, the Shar Pei was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the rarest breed in the world.
  • The coat of these dogs often causes allergies. Therefore, it is advisable that all family members communicate with the puppy before buying.

History of the breed

It is believed that the breed originated in the southern provinces of China more than 2 thousand years ago. The first mention of such dogs, as the favorites of the emperors, dates back to 220 BC. e. The further history of the breed could be called tragic if not for a happy ending. The breed has developed among all segments of the population with varying success. During periods of war and famine, it was forgotten, and then again taken for breeding.

The communists who came to power in the 20th century decided that pets were a luxury and taxed the owners. Naturally, this caused colossal damage to the breed. In the 50s. only a few litters of Shar Pei were known in Macau and Taiwan.

The Shar Pei breed was restored by American breeders headed by Herman Smith, who brought the first Shar Pei to the United States in 1965. In 1971, Dogs magazine published an article about Shar Pei as a rare, almost extinct breed. She was seen by the breeder Matgo Lowe, after which he turned to American fellow dog owners with a request for help and provided a plan for the revival of the breed. Over the next few years, enthusiasts tracked down and ransomed the surviving dogs, and then transported them to Hong Kong. These few individuals became the founders of the breed. Unfortunately, breeders had to constantly resort to closely related crossbreeding, which could not but affect the health of the breed.

In 1971, the American Kennel Association registered the Shar Pei as the “Chinese Fighting Dog”. After 5 years, the breed was recognized by the International Cynological Federation. In 1979, it was decided to change the official name to “Chinese Shar Pei”.


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