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Shar-Pei

ChineseSharpei

A Regal & Independent Watchdog

Independent, aloof, calm

Shar-Peis are devoted, protective, and generally quiet, medium-sized dogs. These protective dogs can be stubborn and standoffish around strangers, and typically won’t get along with unknown dogs. Although they enjoy chasing other animals, they are generally friendly with other household pets. Ideal human companions for these dogs are singles, families, and experienced dog handlers. Shar-Peis enjoy lively games and require daily exercise.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

The Shar-Pei in the photo is not yet fully grown.

Breed Details

Height:18-20 in. Weight:40-55 lb Lifespan:11-12 years

Size
3

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
2

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
1

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
1

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
1

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: Chinese Shar-Pei's deep wrinkles need to be cleaned and dried often to prevent infections. They were bred for fighting and may not get along with other dogs. They can be sensitive to warm weather; avoid any prolonged exposure and be very alert to the signs of heat stress.

Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly. 

Dental: Chinese Shar-Peis generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week! 

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how! 

The Shar-Pei is a protective and devoted companion that needs a strong leader and early socialization. They are good watchdogs, but are often territorial; a securely fenced yard is a must.

Positive Traits:

  • Quiet—not much of a barker 
  • Confident and self-reliant 
  • Protective of family; good watch dog 
  • Docile and devoted 
  • Loyal to those they trust  
  • Intelligent and easy to train

Negative Traits:

  • Can be independent and strong-willed 
  • Makes a lot of snorting, snuffling, and wheezing noises, and may snore 
  • May be territorial when it comes to cats and other dogs 
  • Overprotective of family and territory if not socialized properly 
  • Willful and stubborn if you don’t show strong leadership 
  • Standoffish toward strangers

Whether you are considering adding a new Chinese Shar-Pei to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Chinese Shar-Pei will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Chinese Shar-Pei you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

Some health issues a Chinese Shar-Pei could encounter:

  • Bloat
  • Eye Problems
  • Eyelid Abnormality
  • Knee Problems
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Mange
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome
  • Skin Cancer

The Chinese Shar-Pei is an ancient breed originating in China and bred for farm work, guarding, and fighting. They are known for their deep wrinkles and blue-black tongue. The Shar-Pei is a clean, calm, and dignified dog with low grooming needs. They are devoted to family but are not overly affectionate. The average life span of the Chinese Shar-Pei is 11-12 years. They are known to suffer from some common conditions such as allergies, eye problems, and knee problems. Early detection is the key to a long and happy life, so be sure to schedule routine checkups.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Shar Pei shows signs of the following:

  • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen
  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing
  • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes
  • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye
  • Red blob at the corner of the eye
  • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting
  • General reluctance to run or play
  • New or changing lumps or bumps, itchy or not
  • Tubular vomit, undigested food
  • Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws
  • Loud breathing, tires easily at exercise
  • Dry, flaky or greasy, oily skin
  • Slowly growing puppy with a poor appetite
  • Care

    Routine Care: Chinese Shar-Pei's deep wrinkles need to be cleaned and dried often to prevent infections. They were bred for fighting and may not get along with other dogs. They can be sensitive to warm weather; avoid any prolonged exposure and be very alert to the signs of heat stress.

    Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly. 

    Dental: Chinese Shar-Peis generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week! 

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how! 

  • Characteristics

    The Shar-Pei is a protective and devoted companion that needs a strong leader and early socialization. They are good watchdogs, but are often territorial; a securely fenced yard is a must.

    Positive Traits:

    • Quiet—not much of a barker 
    • Confident and self-reliant 
    • Protective of family; good watch dog 
    • Docile and devoted 
    • Loyal to those they trust  
    • Intelligent and easy to train

    Negative Traits:

    • Can be independent and strong-willed 
    • Makes a lot of snorting, snuffling, and wheezing noises, and may snore 
    • May be territorial when it comes to cats and other dogs 
    • Overprotective of family and territory if not socialized properly 
    • Willful and stubborn if you don’t show strong leadership 
    • Standoffish toward strangers
  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Chinese Shar-Pei to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Chinese Shar-Pei will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Chinese Shar-Pei you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues a Chinese Shar-Pei could encounter:

    • Bloat
    • Eye Problems
    • Eyelid Abnormality
    • Knee Problems
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    • Mange
    • Respiratory Distress Syndrome
    • Skin Cancer
  • History

    The Chinese Shar-Pei is an ancient breed originating in China and bred for farm work, guarding, and fighting. They are known for their deep wrinkles and blue-black tongue. The Shar-Pei is a clean, calm, and dignified dog with low grooming needs. They are devoted to family but are not overly affectionate. The average life span of the Chinese Shar-Pei is 11-12 years. They are known to suffer from some common conditions such as allergies, eye problems, and knee problems. Early detection is the key to a long and happy life, so be sure to schedule routine checkups.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Shar Pei shows signs of the following:

    • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen
    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing
    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes
    • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye
    • Red blob at the corner of the eye
    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting
    • General reluctance to run or play
    • New or changing lumps or bumps, itchy or not
    • Tubular vomit, undigested food
    • Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
    • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws
    • Loud breathing, tires easily at exercise
    • Dry, flaky or greasy, oily skin
    • Slowly growing puppy with a poor appetite

Shar-Pei Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Shar-Pei breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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