Shar Pei Dogs: Your Ultimate Guide to This Unique Breed

Ever caught yourself pondering what makes Shar Pei dogs stand out from the crowd? With their charmingly deep folds and unwavering loyalty, these dogs have won over hearts all around the globe. Originating from China, the history of shar pei dogs is as fascinating as their appearance. But it's not just looks; these dogs come with unique care needs and personality traits that make them stand out in the canine world. From understanding their health concerns like hip dysplasia to diving into training techniques tailored for their stubborn streak, getting to know this breed is an adventure for pet parents.

shar pei dogs

Table Of Contents:

Understanding the Unique Traits of Shar Pei Dogs

Shar Pei Dogs are a one-of-a-kind breed with a fascinating history and distinctive features that set them apart. Let's explore what makes these wrinkly wonders so special.

The Origin and History of Shar Pei Dogs

Chinese Shar Pei dogs is an ancient breed with a rich history dating back over 2,000 years. Originating in southern China, these dogs were bred as general utility dogs, used for hunting, herding, and guarding.

Shar Peis faced near extinction in the 20th century but were saved by a Hong Kong breeder named Matgo Law. Thanks to his efforts and the breed's subsequent introduction to the United States, Shar Peis have made a remarkable comeback.

Physical Characteristics: From Wrinkled Skin to Blue-Black Tongues

The Shar-Pei dog breed's most distinctive feature is undoubtedly their wrinkled skin. These folds of loose skin cover their head, neck, and shoulders, giving them a unique appearance. According to PetMD, the Shar Pei's wrinkles were originally bred into the dog to help protect them during dog fights.

Another striking characteristic of Shar-Pei dogs is their blue-black tongue, a trait shared only with the Chow Chow. This unusual pigmentation is a defining feature of the breed.

Distinctive Coat Types: Horse, Brush, and Bear

Shar Pei dogs come in three distinct coat types: horse, brush, and bear. The horse coat is short, rough, and prickly to the touch, while the brush coat is slightly longer with a smoother texture. The bear coat, the rarest of the three, is longer and softer than the brush coat.

No matter the coat type, Shar Pei dogs are relatively low maintenance in terms of grooming. Their short, harsh coats require minimal brushing and they are naturally clean dogs.

shar pei dogs

Caring for Your Shar Pei: Health and Nutrition Needs

While Shar Pei dogs make loyal and loving companions, they do have some specific health and nutritional needs that owners should be aware of.

Common Health Concerns in Shar Pei Dogs: From Hip Dysplasia to Skin Fold Dermatitis

Like many breeds, Shar Pei dogs are prone to certain health issues. Hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn't develop properly, is one concern. Regular hip evaluations and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage this.

Skin fold dermatitis is another common issue due to the Shar Pei dog breeds wrinkly skin. It's important to clean and dry between the folds regularly to prevent infection. The PDSA recommends checking your Shar Pei's skin folds daily.

Nutritional Requirements for Healthy Shar Pei Dogs

To keep your Shar Pei dog breed happy and healthy, it's super important to feed them the best food you can find. Look for a dog food that is high in protein to maintain their muscular build, and low in fillers like corn and wheat.

Shar Peis are also prone to food allergies, so opting for a limited ingredient diet or one with novel protein sources may be beneficial. As always, consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your individual dog.

shar pei dogs

Shar Pei Behavioural Traits and Training Tips

Shar Pei dogs are known for their independent and aloof nature, but with proper training and socialisation, they can be well-mannered and loyal companions.

Understanding the Temperament of Shar Pei Dogs

Shar Pei dogs were originally bred as guard dogs, so they have a natural instinct to protect their family and territory. They can be wary of strangers and may require careful introductions to new people and dogs.

While they are not typically aggressive, Shar Peis do have a strong-willed and independent streak. They require a confident owner who can provide firm, consistent leadership.

Training Your Shar Pei: Obedience Trials and Consistent Training

Early socialisation and training are crucial for Shar Pei dogs. Taking your puppy to classes is a fantastic way for them to pick up essential skills while also warming up to new faces and places.

Shar Peis can excel in obedience trials with proper training. They are intelligent dogs who learn quickly, but they can also be stubborn at times. Consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience are key when training a Shar-Pei.

shar pei dogs

Choosing the Right Shar Pei: From Puppies to Adults

Whether you're looking for a puppy or an adult dog, it's important to do your research and choose a reputable source for your new Shar Pei.

How to Choose a Shar Pei Breeder

When looking for a Shar Pei breeder, seek out one who is registered with a recognized breed club or kennel club. Reputable breeders will health test their breeding dogs, provide health guarantees, and allow you to visit and meet the puppies and parents.

Avoid breeders who always have puppies available, sell puppies very young, or cannot provide health clearances. A good breeder will ask you questions to ensure their puppies are going to suitable homes.

What to Look for in a Shar Pei Puppy

When choosing a Shar Pei puppy, look for one that is confident, curious, and friendly. Puppies should have clear eyes, clean ears, and healthy skin with no signs of infection in their wrinkles.

Observe how the puppy interacts with their littermates and people. A puppy that is very shy or aggressive may require more socialization and training. Trust your instincts and choose a puppy that you feel a connection with.

shar pei dogs

Living with a Shar Pei: Compatibility and Lifestyle Considerations

Before bringing a Shar Pei into your home, it's important to consider if they are the right fit for your lifestyle and family.

Is a Shar Pei a Good Family Dog?

Shar Pei dogs can make wonderful family dogs in the right household. They stand by their families with unwavering loyalty, offer protection like no other, and aren't shy about showing their affection. However, they may not tolerate rough handling from young children who don't understand their boundaries.

As with any breed, it's important to supervise interactions between dogs and children. Teach children how to respectfully interact with dogs and never leave them unsupervised.

Exercise Needs of Shar Pei Dogs

Despite their somewhat lazy appearance, Shar Peis do require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Daily walks and playtime in a securely fenced yard can help meet their physical and mental needs.

Shar Peis are not high-energy dogs and can adapt well to apartment living as long as they get enough exercise. They are also sensitive to heat due to their short snouts, so be mindful of hot weather and provide plenty of water and shade.

Key Takeaway: 

Shar Peis are unique, with their wrinkled skin and blue-black tongues setting them apart. They need specific care but make loyal pets. Early socialization and training help manage their protective nature. Choose a reputable breeder for a healthy pup that fits your lifestyle.

shar pei dogs


In our journey through the world of shar pei dogs, we've peeled back layers (wrinkles if you will) revealing much more than meets the eye. These aren't just any pets; they're bundles of history, loyalty, and character wrapped in sandpaper-like coats. They ask for patience but give back tenfold in companionship and protection - a fair trade by any measure. Whether it’s deciphering health cues or mastering the art of consistent training sans frustration – embracing life with a shar-pei means signing up for an enriching chapter filled with growth on both ends of the leash.