Chinese Shar-Pei


Chinese Shar-Pei

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Breed Notes

The name Shar-Pei roughly translates to mean " sandpaper skin" which describes one of the most recognized aspects of the breed. Also known as the Chinese Fighting Dog, the Chinese Shar-Pei is a cross between the mastiff and Nordic breeds, including the Chow-Chow as is evident with the blue tongue that both breeds have in common. From Northern China, they have been used by peasants for hunting, herding and protection. They have also been used to fight other dogs for sport. When the outlawing of pets were outlawed on the mainland China, the breed almost disappeared but the breed was rescued by Matgo Law, a Hong Kong breeder. Although a centuries old breed, they did not make an appearance in the United States until the 1970s. They were recognized by the AKC in 1991.
The Shar-Pei is an intelligent sober breed. They tend to be aloof and independent. The Shar-Pei tends to be a one-person dog and many make good guard dogs. Because of their strong personalities, they need firm training and socialization. They do not adapt well as kennel-dogs and are much better off in the company of people.
They have a wide blunt muzzle with a bulge at the base of the nose. The bite is scissors. The eyes are dark, almond shaped and set forward on the face. Their ears are small, and triangular, dropping close to the head which is large for the size of body. The body is medium-sized and powerful. They are squarely built with a slightly concave top line. They have straight muscular legs and a broad deep chest. The excessive skin forms dewlaps along the neck. The feet are compact. The movement should be free and balanced . The tail may be carried in a tight curl, loose curl or arched. Average height of the Shar Pei is between sixteen and twenty inches while the average weight is between 35 and 45 pounds. As a puppy, they have an oversized skin which wrinkles greatly. They do grow into this coat as an adult. This coat needs extra care however because the wrinkles are prone to skin disease. The coat which should not exceed one inch in length at the withers is generally solid colored in fawn, chocolate, cream red or black. Although parti-colored and saddle patterns exist, they are disqualifications in the show ring.


goryampage@yahoo.com of Ohio writes:

Who could ask for anything more?
I received my female Shar-Pei as a Christmas present in 1997. The best present ever. I didn't know anything about the breed except I loved the way they look. She was practically housebroken at eight weeks. She never chewed anything wrong as a puppy and was very mellow and even-tempered. What a companion I have had over the last six years. Health problems are minimal. I bath her about once a month alternating between oatmeal shampoo and Selsen Blue. Just make sure you clean their ears frequently to avoid infection. I use a rinse from the store, and then wipe the insides with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar. This keeps them clean and dries quickly. The Shar-Pei is a highly intelligent dog and constantly uses their paws. When we moved out on our own, she developed separation anxiety and I recently adopted another dog, a terrier mix as a companion and that cured her anxiety immediately. She was just not used to being alone, and I think that has nothing to do with her breed. They make excellent watch/guard dogs and she ALWAYS knows where I am in the house and usually places herself between myself and the door. These dogs are the greatest!


Missjackie3@yahoo.com of Chillicothe, OH writes:

A devoted, loyal friend.
I had a Shar-Pei for over 13 years. He was very loyal and loving. He was aloof with people outside the family, but never aggressive. I always felt he knew exactly what I was thinking, and wanted to please me at all times. I have had several different breeds in my life, but never one quite as special as the Shar-Pei. The only drawback to this breed is the health problems. My dog was on various medications throughout his life for skin issues. The vets never were able to find out what caused his problems, except that he was extremely wrinkled. I would recommend a Shar-Pei to anyone who has the money and time to spend on this unique breed. Another note: it has been said that Shar-Pei do not do well with other animals. My other three dogs and two cats would beg to differ. He loved them all!


cooperam@comcast.net of Michigan writes:

She's our baby.
We have a ten-month-old blue Shar-Pei. She was housebroken when I bought her at eight weeks old. She is a very loyal dog, and shy towards strangers. Once she gets to know a person though, she loves them to death and won't leave them alone. She likes to be with her people ALL the time, BOTH of them. She isn't a really hyper dog, which is good, because we are busy and can't spend hours exercising her. We also have a cat that she loves to chase around the house and lounge around with. She does stink sometimes, and really hates all parts of grooming. She's happy AFTER a bath but during it's a real pain. When she eats, she makes quite a mess, drooling all over the place. In spite of that, we couldn't imagine being without her


uscmsmc1@aol.com of Hollywood, CA writes

Good one-person/family defender and friend.
I have a one-year-old Chinese Shar-Pei male, they are very independent, intelligent, and playful, but at times are aloof, not unlike cats. They enjoy playing with you, living for you, but like to do their own thing too. They are protective of their owners and property, but may be aggressive with other male dogs. Females are docile, but tend to throw tantrums, meaning they pout if you don't let them do something. Males are not so fussy, and are content to do something else if not allowed to do one activity. Very playful at times, even to a fault. They love sniffing, and will track and trail scents for hours. Not easily distracted, they stick to one activity, i.e., playing with a ball, eating, sleeping, and they do it with gusto. Gets along well with cats, although likes to chase them, but would never intentionally hurt them, even defends them against other strange dogs. Loves children, but despite his size is very strong, and can sometimes play roughly but with a sense of humor, loves retrieving and playing hide-and-seek! If you are a woman, the Shar-Pei will defend you and purposely put itself between you and a stranger or strange dog, loyal, and dedicated to his master, a big couch potato and bed buddy, prefering to hog the sheets if allowed, or will sleep on the floor next to you guarding you until the dawn's early light. A friend who grows with you and loves you until the end.


Name withheld by request of Massachusetts:

Adorable, loving companions.
I owned a black female Shar-Pei and have never had a more loving, cute (and smart) dog. I think the important thing here is to strongly recommend that you get a Shar-Pei ONLY from a good breeder. They take care to breed good temperment and health. A pet store Shar-Pei can be unhealthy and have bad temperment. Shar-Pei rescues are another good source of healthy, sweet dogs. I raised mine with a cat; they got along great. Obedience training (i.e. dog school) is needed but they will outperform other dogs. These are housedogs (don't leave them outside, except for walks together, of course). My Shar-Pei loved visitors, cats and children. She also loved the Chow Chow and Bernese Mountain Dogs across the street. She did not like other dogs that tried to jump on her. I had only minor health problems with her (allergic to lamb fat). I highly recommend these dogs, but only from a good breeder!


Charlessue@aol.com writes on 9/9/00:

Skin problems.
We own a black female ShaPei;8 months old.We have spent alot of money on her for skin problems(scratching;losing hair)and nothing seems to work. The vet. has her on pills twice a day now;which makes her sleep alot. I think it is just a tranqulizer. We love her so much. She is just like our child.


Mosy2@yahoo.com of Michigan writes on 1/10/00:

Great family pets. Protectors, playmates, and companions.
We have had three Shar-Pei now. We have only had a problem with one of our dogs. We will just never buy another dog from that breeder. We have bought two from a different breeder and have not even had as much as an ear infection from either of them. As with any breed, even people, some are more prone to certain things. We don't do anything special as far as care with our dogs other than feed them a low protein diet. With this type of diet, they have less of an odor and have better coat. We have had to take one of our puppies that we bred back. When we first received her, she had very patchy fur. Within a month of the lower protein dog food, her coat was almost to where it should be. Then we found another loving home for her. She continues to do well after 3 months. Also, this breed only needs to be bathed once a month, which is great for time consumption. Shar-peis are very easy to take care of. As with any breed, you have to know what to look for and how to treat it and possibly prevent it. When you buy any breed, you should be able to get a contract from the breeder. This protects you, the puppy, and the breeder to ensure a good home for the puppy. That should be the ultimate goal of any breeder.


purplepal@cs.com writes on 12/29/99:

Great companion dogs.
I own a Shar-Pei who is two years old. Although I have often read that they can be aloof pets, I have found the opposite to be true of my dog. He is a great protector, but loves to sit with me while I do dishes or other tasks around the house. He will watch TV, take rides in the car, or his personal favorite go on long walks with me. He enjoys the company of others, but is fine if left alone in the house. He house trained within a few days, and has never had problems chewing items he isn't supposed to. The only concern I have with the dog is that he is a bit offstandish with men he does not know and he behaves awful at the vet. I would definately reccommend this breed to others, especially people who want a companion.


mystic@wmol.com writes on 10/2/99:

They are a "money pit" dog.
Shar-Pei are very goofy dogs. They.snore alot. Some are protective,some are aggressive. They do tend to have health problems - eye, skin, cancer,a malyoid (which is not cureable). They are a "money pit" dog. I have owned two of them and own one now. I love the breed but I just would not get another one. Do homework on the breed.and also better have alot of extra money for health problems. .


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