Shar Pei

Shar Pei

Cute dog breed with wrinkled face


The Shar Pei dog breed is also known as the Chinese Shar Pei because it originated in China in 206 BC. The Shar Pei is said to be a descendant of the Chow Chow, however their only resemblance is the blue-black tongue.

Shar Pei means sandy fur. The Chinese believed that the Shar Pei's wrinkles and black mouth could scare off evil spirits. They used the Shar Pei to hunt, track, herd and kill vermin. The breed is happy to work.

The number of Shar Pei dwindled during the communist revolution. A businessman from Hong Kong got a pair of them to save the breed. He used an American magazine to market them, after which the population increased, making them one of the popular breeds in the United States. It was first recognized as a breed in 1992 by the American Kennel Club (AKC).


Shar Pei is a large dog breed with wrinkled skin. Another striking feature is its blue-black tongue. The Shar Pei has small triangle-shaped ears with a thick tail root that ends in a high, fine tip. The muzzle is wide and somewhat resembles that of a hippopotamus.

Shar Pei puppies are more wrinkled than adults. As they age, they slowly lose wrinkles. The fur varies from horse fur, brush fur to the rarer bear fur. The latter coat is not recognized as it has an undercoat and topcoat that exceeds 2.54cm, and is more like the Chow Chow dog breed.

The Shar Pei's unusual horse coat is rough and prickly. The brush-fur variant has longer, smoother hair. Coat colors can be black, blue, cream, light brown, red, sable, apricot, chocolate and Isabella.

An adult Shar Pei can mature to 46-51 cm and between 18 to 27 kg. The lifespan of a Shar Pei is 10 years.


The Shar Pei is an intelligent dog, but can be stubborn and territorial. Because of this last trait, the Shar Pei is suspicious of strangers. Despite this, the dog is extremely loyal and devoted. He is outgoing and a well socialized Shar Pei makes a wonderful family dog.

This dog is independent, protective and loving. Shar Pei is active and playful. If he is introduced early to other animals and children, he will have no problems with them.

He is intelligent and trainable, but needs a safe owner. A soft or too gentle approach can make the Shar Pei take over as the dominant personality. A firm and gentle owner can ensure that his stubborn and straightforward nature learns to accept commands from his human handler.

Although easy to keep in the house, the Shar Pei does not like water and will do anything to avoid it.

Grooming and fur care

Shar Pei usually shed twice a year. He should be brushed regularly and it is worth noting that the periods of shedding can make the coat look very messy. The rough horse fur can irritate people with dog allergies.

A bath once a week is more than sufficient for the Shar Pei.

The Shar Pei can live comfortably in any type of home, apartment or one with a yard. He needs sufficient regular exercise. The wrinkles make the dog sensitive to heat and hot weather. It is best to keep him in the shade on hot days and keep the water bowl full at all times.

Clean your Shar Pei's ears and eyes regularly. Pay special attention to the folds under the skin. Get a dog toothbrush and toothpaste to start brushing early and regularly. Do this to avoid tartar and plaque build-up.

Trim your Shar Pei's nails occasionally. Be careful not to cut too much as this can cause bleeding and pain. This is also a process that should start early, as your Shar Pei does not like his feet being touched or held. Do it when he is calm and comfortable.

We think you'll like this