A medium sized dog having a pleasing appearance because of its wrinkled face, the Shar-Pei originated in China’s Canton region. The British spelling is a translation from the Cantonese word sā pèih meaning sand skin referring to its short and rough coat. The Times and Guinness World Records named these fighting dogs as the world’s rarest breeds.
Head: Well-proportioned, large, wrinkled.
Skull: Flat, broad, moderately defined.
Muzzle: Broad and full resembling that of a hippopotamus.
Ears: Small, thick, triangular-shaped, a little rounded to the tip and curved at the edge.
Eyes: Small, dark, almond-shaped, sunken
Tail: High set, round at its base, tapering to a point, being curled on any one side of its back.
Wrinkles: They are severely wrinkled as puppies which begin to reduce as they age.
|Other Names||Cantonese Shar-Pei|
|Coat||Horse coat brush coat, bear coat|
|Color||Black, brown, blue, cream, apricot dilute, blue dilute, cream dilute, chocolate dilute, fawn, cream sable, red fawn, red sable, brown sable, blue sable, white|
|Average life expectancy (How long do they live)||8 to 12 years|
|Size (How big do they get)||Medium|
|Height of a full grown Shar-Pei||Standard:18 to 22 inches
Mini:15 to 18 inches
Toy: under 15 inches
|Weight of a full grown Shar-Pei||45 to 60 lbs|
|Litter size||4 to 6 litters approximately|
|Behavioral characteristics||Loyal, calm, independent, devoted, strong-willed|
|Good with children||Preferably older kids|
|Barking tendency||Moderately low (only when it is anxious)|
|Climate compatibility||Not adaptable to humid and warm climate|
|Shedding (Do they shed)||Moderate, except for spring and fall|
|Are they Hypoallergenic||No|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/Information||FCI, ANKC, AKC, CKC, NZKC, KC(UK), UKC|
Varieties of Shar-Pei by Coat :
The history of the Shar-Pei can be traced about 2000 years ago, during the reign of the Han dynasty, where their usage pertained to fighting dogs, also emerging as the Chinese Emperors’ choicest pets. The traditional Shar-Pei was different in appearance in comparison to the modern kinds developed in the Western world. Because of their less wrinkled appearance, bony snout short hair and pointed tail, the older ones were called ‘bone-mouth’ Shar-Pei. On the other hand, the modern varieties were referred to as ‘meat-mouth’ since they had hefty muzzles, alongside longhair.
Later it also came to be used as the peasant’s dog, thus being versatile and employed by the farmers to do a host of duties like hunting, herding and guarding livestock. Their loose skin helped them to defend themselves against wild boars.
Their numbers declined during the Communist regime in China when many canines all over the country were brutally slaughtered. However, a handful of good varieties were taken to Taiwan and China, being preserved there.
Though it had made its entry into America in the middle part of the 1960s, it was only in 1973 that people out there started taking a specific interest in these dogs. The credit for this goes to Matgo Law, a Hong Kong-based breeder who had appealed to the dog fanciers of the United States through a particular magazine to ensure protection to these dogs from getting extinct.
The 200 Shar-Peis brought into America contributed to the breeds in the United States of the present times. The Chinese Shar-Pei gained the AKC’s acknowledgment in 1992 as its 134th breed.
They were used as fighting dogs in the past, developed in such a way that they could perform their job well. Their prickly coat and loose skin made the opponent find it challenging to hold on to it during a fight. Even if the other dog managed to get a grip, it did not last for a long span as the Shar-Pei could at once twist its wrinkled skin and turn to face their opponent. Though at present dog fighting is illegal, their inherent aggression could be a result of their ancient lineage.
Alert, independent and protective, they excel as affectionate family dogs, devoted and protective towards their loved ones. Because of this trait, they detest when left alone for extended durations and mostly love to be in the same room as their owners.
However, they have a reserved nature too, which is reflected when interacting with a stranger, keeping up to their reputation as efficient guard dogs, a job that their ancestors performed in the palaces of China.
It is mostly a silent breed that would rarely bark except when worried, agonized, stressed or engaged in play.
Though they are protective towards the children of the family, the Chinese Shar-Pei would be better suited for homes having kids above the age of 10 rather than younger ones who could be careless in their interaction with the dog.
Keeping in mind their fighting dog descent, they are known to be territorial and aggressive to other dogs especially of the same sex. They were used to guard livestock, and the chasing instinct is still inherent in them. This could make the dogs perceive cats and other smaller pets as prey and get after them.
They do not have high grooming requirements, with the brush and horse-coated types needing to combed once in a week. They are sensitive when it comes to their feet. Hence, you need to be careful while brushing the hair of its paws.
However, Shar-Peis are vulnerable to skin problems like flea, food or seasonal allergies, needing regular brushing and weekly bathing.
Take special care in wiping their skin folds and use a dry towel to lessen chances of accumulation of moisture. After a bath dry the folds well to avoid yeast or fungal infection.
Trim your Shar-Pei’s nails at least two times a month to prevent any wear or tear.
They have small ear canals that could get irritated and infected easily. Avoid using a cotton swab and make sure water does not enter the ears during bathing. Instead, go for a vet-approved ear cleanings solution.
Brushing its teeth on a routine basis and checking its eyes for any redness and infection are the other measures which are needed to be adapted.
Shar-Peis are known for their aggressive and hostile demeanor, hence training these dogs since the time they are puppies is essential to help them mend their undesirable behavior. However, they have a good level of intelligence and can take to training well if bestowed upon the hands of an efficient trainer.
The National Research Council of the National Academies says that adult and active Shar-Peis weighing about 50 pounds need 1312 calories a day. Besides giving your dog good quality dry dog food, you can also provide a homemade diet having a balanced amount of animal protein as well as other nutrients. These dogs tend to suffer from food allergies. Hence it is necessary to keep a watch on the food you give it. If you notice any symptoms of allergies in your Shar-Pei after the consumption of a particular food, stop it right away and talk to the veterinarian at once.
Of the several news of the Shar-Pei’s bite, a significant one was of a man, aged 52, bitten by his sister’s dog that he was looking after in her absence.