The Shar-Pei is self-assured, serious, independent, stubborn and very much self-possessed. Although not particularly demonstrative, he is devoted and very protective of his family. He can be reserved, even suspicious, toward strangers. The Shar-Pei may chase livestock and other animals, although he is generally good with other family pets. The Shar-Pei needs daily mental and physical stimulation, but his needs can be met with lively games throughout the day or a good long walk. He is not generally amenable to exclusive outdoor living, but can divide his time between house and yard. The coat needs only weekly brushing, but wrinkles need regular attention to ensure that no irritations develop within the skin folds.
Chinese Shar-Pei Dog Care
The name Shar-Pei means sandy coat, referring to the gritty sandpaper texture of the coat. When rubbed backward, the prickly coat can be uncomfortable, and even cause welts on the skin of an occasional sensitive person.
Chinese Shar-Pei Dog Health
Major concerns: entropion, CHD
Minor concerns: patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia, demodectic mange
Occasionally seen: ciliary dyskinesia, renal amoidosis
Suggested tests: hip, knee, elbow, (eye)
Life span: 8-10 year
Note: The breed is susceptible to fevers of unknown origin, often
occurring with swollen hocks.
Interested in the history of the Chinese Shar-Pei dog breed?
The Chinese Shar-Pei may have existed in the southern provinces of China since the Han Dynasty (around 200 B.C.). Certainly by the 13th century strong evidence in the form of writings describing a wrinkled dog point to the breed's existence. His origins are unknown, but because only he and the chow chow have blue-black tongues, and both come from China, it is likely that they share some common ancestry. The Shar-Pei's history is difficult to trace because most records relating to his past were lost when China became communist. At this time Shar-Peis were the working breed of peasant farmers, fulfilling roles of guard dog, wild boar hunter and dog fighter. After the nation became communist, most of China's dogs were eliminated, with only a few remaining outside of the cities. A few Shar-Peis were bred in British Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the Hong Kong Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1968. Around this same time, a few specimens came to America, but the turning point occurred with a 1973 article alerting American fanciers to the breed's perilously low numbers. Touted as the world's rarest dog, fanciers vied to obtain the few available Shar-Peis. The breed has since been brought from the brink of extinction to the height of popularity, and is one of the most recognizable breeds in America. Though known for his loose skin and profuse wrinkles, which are superabundant in puppies, the wrinkles of adults may be limited only to the head, neck and shoulders.