The Chinese Shar-Pei: All You Need To Know About This Dog Breed

Chinese Shar Pei dog adult and puppy in front of a white background

You may think the Chow Chow is the only dog famous for its blue-black tongue, but that's not actually true.

The Chinese Shar-Pei is another dog who looks like she got into the blueberry patch and spent the day eating her way out!

And oh, is she squishy! You could just love up a Chinese Shar-Pei's rolls for days…

The Chinese Shar-Pei is an interesting dog. Not only is she interesting to look at, but she also has an interesting history: she was not officially recognized as a breed by the AKC until 1991.


Temperament of a Chinese Shar-Pei

As her hoity-toity name might suggest, the Chinese Shar-Pei can be a bit snooty.

If she doesn't know you, she'll ignore you. And once she knows who you are, that doesn't make it much better. She may continue to ignore you if you're not a part of her normal “pack.”

Only her family will see the true side of a Shar-Pei. It's their reward for giving her everything she wants and needs to survive.

She's quiet and reserved, which actually makes for an amazing watchdog. That's because she doesn't bark for no reason. When she's barking, you should probably check it out – unless, of course, she's playing.

Shar-Peis are not exactly known for their friendliness with other dogs. Though this may be something you can train out of her, you have to do it when she's little, or it will be nearly impossible to change later.

Grooming a Chinese Shar-Pei

Like many other breeds, a Shar-Pei hates having her feet touched. This can make trimming her nails rather difficult.

Don't let her win on this one, or she'll think she can always get out of having her nails trimmed.

As for brushing her, weekly brushings should be sufficient. This goes for both short-haired and slightly longer-haired Shar-Peis.

However, if your Shar-Pei is one who suffers from the skin issues that tend to plague the breed, then you may need to create a schedule consisting of weekly baths and daily brushing.

Shar-Pei's are also prone to ear issues because their ears are small and floppy, which doesn't allow for them to air out.

You should clean your Shar-Peis ears regularly to prevent any yeast or bacterial infections from developing.

Training a Chinese Shar-Pei

While it is true of any dog that the earlier you train them, the better never is this truer than with a Chinese Shar-Pei.

Two sharpei puppies lying together in the garden

This is because if you don't nip her overprotective ways in the bud when she's little, she can grow up to become rather territorial.

If a Shar-Pei is not socialized early in life with other dogs, then she is more likely to be aggressive with them later on.

Then, you won't be able to take her to the dog park, or anywhere else where you might run into another dog, for that matter.

If you are interested in adopting or buying an older Shar-Pei who was not trained out of this early enough, then you may want to invest in a sturdy security fence to keep her fenced in and away from other dogs.

Health of a Chinese Shar-Pei

The Shar-Pei is especially vulnerable to skin conditions, like seborrhea, pyoderma, and mange, though not every Shar-Pei will develop them.

There are a number of additional conditions that can affect a Shar-Pei, so it is important to be aware of them in advance before buying or adopting one.

In particular, you will need to watch out for something called “Shar-Pei fever,” which affects the dog's hock joints, making them swell. Some dogs can have an accompanying fever ranging from 103 to 107 degrees.

This condition can happen when the dog is an adult, but it more commonly affects Shar-Peis when they are around 18 months old.

So long as immediate treatment is sought, Shar-Pei fever typically subsides within 24 to 36 hours.

Dog Love – Two Chinese Shar-Pei cuddling each other

Other conditions that can affect the Shar-Pei include:

  • Cancer
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Elbow or hip dysplasia
  • Dislocation of the kneecaps (patellar luxation)
  • Bloat (gastric torsion)
  • Abnormal cartilage growth (Osteochondrosis Dissecans)
  • Eye issues, like glaucoma or entropion (inward rolling of the eyelid, affects puppies)

Many Shar-Peis will go through life as incredibly healthy dogs. Their life expectancy is average for a larger dog and ranges from 8 to 12 years old.

And, as with all dogs, it is important that you feed your Shar-Pei as recommended by your veterinarian.

Obesity is one of those few problems that you have complete control over, so it is important to do everything you can to prevent it.

This means being stingy with treats, too. Maybe one or two for a job well done, but not every time.

A Final Word about the Chinese Shar-Pei

The Chinese Shar-Pei is a lovable snob. She'll give you her loyalty and devotion, but she may snub anyone new that enters the home – perhaps permanently.

She's easy to groom, though you will have to be more vigilant if she suffers from one of the skin conditions that are known to affect this breed.

There are a lot of health issues that a Shar-Pei can succumb to, including her very own “Shar-Pei fever.”

It is important to be aware of these conditions so that you can take her in for treatment at the first sign of infection.

All in, the Shar-Pei is a reserved and loving dog who will guard your home with her life. Just don't let her get too close to other dogs, as she may instinctually be ready for a fight.

She can't help it – it's in her blood.

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