Breed Group: Non-Sporting
Height: 18 to 20 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 45 to 60 pounds
Life Span: 10 years
The quiet and confident Chinese Shar-Pei is intelligent, stubborn, and devoted to his family. He needs an experienced, assertive owner who can train him without letting him get bored. This powerhouse watchdog housetrains easily and early, and only barks when worrying or playing.
Did You Know the Chinese Shar-Pei is a One-Person Dog ?
After teetering on the brink of extinction, the Chinese Shar-Pei made a comback: in 1983, the Neiman Marcus catalog chose the dog as its his-and-hers fantasy gift, offering a pair of Shar-Pei puppies for $2,000 each.
The Shar-Pei stands out for his wrinkled face and body, which give him the appearance of wearing an ill-fitting suit, and his blue-black tongue and mouth, shared only by his compatriot the Chow Chow. He was probably developed in southern China, where he was used to guard property and to hunt. Some Shar-Pei were fighting dogs. The Shar-Pei is a medium-size dog, weighing 45 to 60 pounds. He has a broad, full muzzle that is described as resembling that of a hippopotamus, small triangular ears that lie flat, and a rough coat that feels like sandpaper.
There are few animals cuter than a Shar-Pei puppy, but that cuteness belies the breed’s proud, independent nature. The Shar-Pei is a one-man dog, although he will extend his protection to the entire family, including other pets. Highly territorial, he is distrustful of strangers and may be aggressive toward dogs he doesn’t know. Anyone who has not been approved by the Shar-Pei’s owner will be warned off with a deep growl and perhaps something a little more physical if they don’t take the hint.
All too often, Chinese Shar-Pei have a reputation for being aggressive toward people, which is not acceptable. Early and frequent socialization is essential to helping them develop the confidence and discrimination they need to recognize what is a threat and what is normal. Buy a Shar-Pei only from a breeder who raises puppies in the home and has exposed them to many different people, sounds and experiences before they go to their new homes.
When he comes from such a background and continues to be socialized after going to his new home, a Shar-Pei can be a good family dog, ideally with older children who understand how to treat him with respect. Keep in mind, too, that children may be disappointed in the Shar-Pei’s complete lack of interest in cuddling or being hugged.
The Chinese Shar-Pei has a low to moderate activity level and can live happily in any home, including an apartment or condo. A 20-minute walk daily will satisfy his exercise needs.
This intelligent but sometimes stubborn dog can be a challenge to train. He responds well to clicker training and positive reinforcement techniques such as play, praise and food rewards, but he also likes to do things his own way. To be successful, you must be patient and you must be willing to try many different methods to see what works. Find a trainer who has an extensive bag of tricks and is experienced with spitz breeds. Keep training sessions short and fun so the Chinese Shar-Pei doesn’t get bored.
Last but not least, the Chinese Shar-Pei needs to live in the house. It’s an unhappy Chinese Shar-Pei who is relegated to the backyard with little or no human companionship.
Other Quick Facts About the Chinese Shar-Pei
The name Shar-Pei means “sand-skin” but translated more as “sand-paper-like coat.” No other breed shares the short, rough coat of the Shar-Pei.
A Shar-Pei is a poor choice for a novice dog owner.
A Shar-Pei housetrains earlier than most breeds because of his natural cleanliness and ease of training.
The Shar-Pei enjoys and does well in obedience, agility, herding and tracking. He would rather be with people than other dogs.
Those famous wrinkles need to be looked after carefully to prevent skin infections. They should be wiped out with a damp cloth and dried well to prevent infection.
Like other flat-faced breeds, the Shar-Pei can easily overheat.