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Chinese Shar Pei Dogs Information


Affectionately known as the "wrinkle dog" this medium size, study dog is unmistakable for the folds of skin over his or her face, head and neck. The Shar Pei can have one of three distinct types of coats, the horse-coat, very dense short hair that is rough to the touch, the brush-coat which is slightly longer and somewhat softer, and the bear-coat, which is longer like the coat of the Chow-Chow. The bear coat is not acceptable in many registries. The breed is very muscular and solid looking, very square and compact in build. They have smaller, deep set eyes and a broad skull and muzzle. Often Shar Pei dogs appear to be frowning or scowling, but they can be very expressive with their eyes and face. They can be of any solid color and sable however there are some patterned coated Shar Pei's that are purebred, but cannot be shown. The ears are very small and close to the head and the tail is carried high and curled over the back. The Shar Pei, like the Chow has a black or purple colored tongue.


A very intelligent dog, the Shar Pei tends to be somewhat independent and does not need constant attention by family and owners. They tend to be rather reserved, although when raised with kids they love to play and romp. Some of the breed is somewhat aggressive towards other dogs, pets and even livestock, probably due to their historical breeding as hunting dogs. Proper socialization will allow them to remain and excellent companion dog. Shar Pei are not problematic barkers, but will bark to alert their owners of strangers. The Shar Pei requires consistent handling and training, and is often somewhat stubborn in behavior. One of the amazing features of the Shar Pei is that they are almost natural housetrained, provided they are given opportunities to go outside on a regular basis.

Grooming & Shedding

The horse coat varieties need a simple rub down with a grooming mitt or a damp cloth, and longer haired varieties need regular twice weekly grooming with a pin brush or stiff bristle brush. Care must be taken in the twice yearly shedding to keep dead hair out of the folds of skin to prevent infections. The breed tolerates bathing when needed. The folds of skin should be carefully monitored for any infections or hot spots that could signal infections.


Believed to have been originally bred in the southern part of China during the Han Dynasty in 200 B.C, the breed was almost completely eliminated during the Communist Revolution. A few purebred dogs in Taiwan and British Hong Cong are the stock of most of the current purebred lines. Originally the Shar Pei was used for hunting, managing livestock and guarding family homes and property. The breed became popular again in 1973, due to a Chinese businessman Matgo Law writing an article in a dog magazine, encouraging dog owners to consider saving this ancient breed. It is now one of the most popular of the ancient breeds in many countries.

Health Issues

  • Major Concerns: CHD (canine hip dysplasia), entropion, fevers and swollen hocks
  • Minor Concerns: demondectic mange, patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia
  • Occasionally seen: ciliary dyskinesia, renal amoidosis
  • Suggested tests: hips, eyes, elbows



18-20 inches (46-51 cm)


45-60 pounds (18-23 kg)


10 years


Medium – avoid exercising in the heat


Yes – with regular walks



Young Children


Need exercise space

Yes - moderate

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