A blue tongue and wrinkles galore, the Chinese Shar-Pei has a unique look and a charming personality. The Chinese Shar-Pei loves their pet owners, so make sure you're willing to return the favor before committing to your new pooch!
The Chinese Shar-Pei originates from a small village in China (Guangdong Province) and dates back to 200 B.C. It was almost extinct in the 1970's, but a Chinese businessman revived the breed with the help of American dog enthusiasts. The Shar-Pei was used as a working dog to heard, guard, hung, and fight. Today, the Shar-Pei is regarded as a companion dog.
Shar-Pei means "sand skin", and they are often said to have a "sandy coat" or "rough, sandpaper-like coat."
The Chinese Shar-Pei is known for their distinctive wrinkle-overloaded coat. The wrinkles trap heat, which can make this breed suffer from heat exhaustion very quickly, so it's important to make sure they aren't overly exercised and are kept indoors during hot weather.
Active, Intelligent, and Loyal
The Chinese Shar-Pei is an active breed that will require daily exercise. They make fantastic walking and hiking partners, although, because of their wrinkles, they aren't a great candidate for wearing a doggy backpack. Also, ticks like to hide in the wrinkles, so they'll need to be checked thoroughly.
This breed is intelligent, which makes training easy. They will benefit from early socialization and obedience training, as an untrained Shar-Pei can become extremely dominant.
They enjoy being around calm and considerate children. The Shar-Pei is playful, but does not enjoy rough-housing.
Watch Dog in the Works
The Chinese Shar-Pei is loyal and protective of their family. They'll definitely alert you to visitors, as they're a little leery of strangers. They love their family and prefer to be with humans over dogs (who they're known to respond to poorly.) They'd prefer to be the only dog in the household, but if raised with another dog from a young age, they should do just fine.
Skin Allergies Common
The Shar-Pei's coat comes in three different varieties: horse, brush, and bear. When petting the Shar-Pei with a horse coat, you can feel a prickly texture. The brush coat is longer and smoother. The bear coat is overly long and considered an undesirable trait.
The Shar-Pei's wrinkles need extra care. The wrinkles should be gently wiped down in-between the folds daily to help prevent yeast and other skin infections. This breed is known for possessing skin allergies, not because of their wrinkles, but due to over-breeding by unscrupulous breeders in the 1980s when they made a comeback.
The Shar-Pei's coat needs a daily brushing, as their coat sheds heavily and even "molts." During the molting stage, the Shar-Pei should be bathed to help slough off the dead coat and help the new coat grow in nicely. Regular nail trimmings are important too.
The Chinese Shar-Pei has some health issues including a congenital disease (Familiar Shar-Pei Fever), Amyloidosis (kidney failure), cancer, immune system issues, and skin allergies. Their average lifespan is about 10 years.
Consider looking for a Chinese Shar-Pei through rescue organizations first. Every year, there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe