Shar Pei Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Overview and more

Shar Pei Dog Breed Information and Pictures

Breed Overview

Originally bred as versatile working dogs in China, this breed is known for its distinctive wrinkled skin and unique 'hippopotamus' head shape. Shar peis have a loyal, independent temperament and can be aloof with strangers. With proper socialization, they can be affectionate family companions. Their short, bristly coat requires minimal grooming, but regular wrinkle upkeep is crucial to prevent skin infections. Shar peis are relatively healthy but may be prone to certain genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia and skin issues. Due to their strong-willed nature, early training and consistent leadership are essential for a well-behaved shar pei.


Shar peis are known for their unique temperament, characterized by loyalty, independence, and aloofness towards strangers. They are devoted and protective of their families, making excellent guard dogs. Despite their strong-willed nature, shar peis can also be affectionate and loving companions. Early socialization is crucial to prevent potential aggression towards other dogs. This breed requires a confident and consistent owner to establish proper leadership and prevent stubborn behavior. Shar peis are generally calm and low-energy indoors, but they still benefit from regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being.

Size and Appearance

Shar peis are medium-sized dogs known for their distinctive wrinkled skin, especially prominent around the face and neck. They have a square, sturdy build with a broad head and small, sunken-in eyes. The breed's ears are small, thick, and set high on the head. Shar peis have a unique blue-black tongue, a feature shared only with a few other breeds. Their coat can be short and coarse or longer and smoother, coming in a variety of solid colors. Despite their rugged appearance, shar peis move with a distinctive rolling gait, giving them an endearing and somewhat comical quality.

Health and Lifespan

Shar Peis are prone to various health issues, including skin problems such as pyoderma and common allergies. Their wrinkled skin requires regular cleaning to prevent infections. Additionally, they are genetically predisposed to conditions like hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. To ensure a longer lifespan, regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and sufficient exercise are essential. On average, Shar Peis have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years, but with proper care, some individuals have been known to live into their mid-teens.

Family Compatibility

Shar Peis are known for their loyalty and strong bond with their families, making them excellent companions in a household setting. Their protective nature towards their loved ones can sometimes translate into wariness towards strangers, so early socialization is key. These dogs thrive on love and attention, forming deep connections with their human counterparts. While they may have a stubborn streak, consistent training and positive reinforcement can help ensure a harmonious family dynamic. Shar Peis are generally good with children when raised together, but supervision is always advised due to their strong guarding instincts.

Exercise Needs

Shar peis have moderate exercise needs, requiring daily walks and playtime to stay healthy and happy. Regular exercise is important to prevent obesity, as these dogs can have a tendency to gain weight if not sufficiently active. Engaging in interactive games and activities can also help stimulate their minds and prevent boredom. While they don't need intense physical activity, consistent exercise is key to maintaining their overall well-being.

Diet and Feeding

Shar Peis thrive on a high-quality diet to maintain their health and well-being. As a breed prone to food allergies, it's crucial to choose a diet specifically formulated for sensitive stomachs. Feed them a balanced diet rich in proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals to support their skin and coat health. Avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity, which can lead to health issues like joint problems. Provide fresh water at all times and consider consulting with a veterinarian to determine the best feeding schedule and portion sizes based on your Shar Pei's individual needs.
Shar Pei Dog Breed Information and Pictures

Living Environment

Shar peis thrive in a cozy indoor environment with their family, preferring to be close to their human companions. Despite their medium size, they are adaptable and can be happy in apartments as long as they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation. However, they are prone to overheating, so they should have access to shade and water, especially during hot weather. These dogs are known for their cleanliness and oftentimes groom themselves like a cat, making them suitable for owners who prefer a tidier living space. A calm and loving household is ideal for a shar pei to feel secure and content.


Due to their short, bristly coat and propensity for skin issues, regular grooming is essential for this dog breed. Weekly brushing helps manage shedding and prevents matting. Pay particular attention to the skin folds, cleaning and drying them thoroughly to prevent infections. Bathing should be done sparingly to avoid stripping the natural oils from their skin. Trim their nails regularly to prevent discomfort while walking. Cleaning their ears and teeth regularly is also crucial for their overall health and well-being. Regular grooming not only keeps them looking their best but also helps maintain their overall health and hygiene.

Training and Intelligence

Training and Intelligence:
Shar peis are known to be intelligent dogs with a strong will, which can sometimes make training a bit challenging. They respond best to positive reinforcement techniques and consistent, firm guidance. Early socialization and obedience training are crucial to help them become well-rounded companions. Patience is key when training a shar pei, as they may be independent and stubborn at times. Keeping training sessions short, engaging, and fun will help maintain their focus and motivation. With the right approach and dedication, shar peis can excel in various activities and commands, showcasing their intelligence and willingness to learn.

Exercise and Activity Requirements

Shar peis are a low-energy breed, needing only moderate exercise to stay healthy. Daily walks and playtime in a secure area are sufficient to meet their activity needs. Short bursts of activity are preferred over prolonged exercise sessions. Over-exercising can strain their muscles and joints due to their unique body structure. Mental stimulation is equally important, such as puzzle toys or training sessions to keep them engaged. Monitoring their activity in hot weather is crucial as they can overheat easily. Overall, providing a balanced routine of physical and mental stimulation will ensure a happy and healthy shar pei.


Early and consistent socialization is crucial for this breed to ensure they develop into well-rounded and confident individuals. Introduce them to various people, animals, and environments from a young age to prevent shyness or aggression later in life. Positive reinforcement training methods work best, as they respond well to praise and treats. Encourage calm and friendly interactions with other dogs to avoid potential reactivity. Regular exposure to new situations will help them feel comfortable and secure in different settings. Remember, a well-socialized Shar Pei will make a loyal and sociable companion.


The lifespan of this breed typically ranges from 8 to 12 years, with proper care. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine veterinary check-ups are key to ensuring a healthy and long life. Genetics can also play a role, as some Shar Peis may be prone to certain health issues that can affect their lifespan. Providing a loving and nurturing environment, along with early socialization and training, can contribute to a happy and fulfilling life for this unique breed.

Common Behavioral Issues

Common behavioral issues in this breed include stubbornness, aloofness with strangers, and territorial behaviors. Shar Peis can be independent and may be prone to guarding their possessions or space. Early socialization and consistent training are crucial to prevent these potential challenges from manifesting. It is important to establish firm leadership as they can be strong-willed dogs. Positive reinforcement techniques work well with Shar Peis, as harsh or heavy-handed methods can lead to defensive behaviors. Ensuring they receive enough mental and physical stimulation is key to a well-adjusted and happy Shar Pei.
Shar Pei Dog Breed Information and Pictures

Special Considerations

Special Considerations: Due to their wrinkles, Shar Peis require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent skin infections. Their sensitive skin can be prone to allergies, so a proper diet and grooming routine are crucial. Additionally, they are known for their strong-willed nature, requiring firm but gentle training methods. Socialization from an early age is key to prevent them from becoming overly protective or aggressive. Shar Peis are also prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia and entropion, so regular vet check-ups are essential to ensure their well-being.

Guardian Instincts

Shar Peis are known for their strong guardian instincts, making them loyal and protective companions. With a history of being bred as guard dogs, they exhibit a natural wariness towards strangers, making them excellent watchdogs. Their alert nature and territorial instincts make them quick to respond to any perceived threats, often standing their ground to protect their family and territory. While they may be aloof with strangers, Shar Peis are deeply devoted to their loved ones, forming strong bonds and displaying unwavering loyalty. Overall, their innate guardian instincts make them a reliable and trustworthy breed to have around.

Allergies and Shedding

Shar peis are known to be prone to allergies, particularly to certain food ingredients and environmental factors. Common symptoms of allergies in this breed include itching, scratching, skin irritation, and even hair loss. Regular grooming can help manage shedding, although shar peis do shed moderately year-round. Their short, bristly coat requires weekly brushing to reduce loose hair and maintain skin health. Proper nutrition and regular vet check-ups are crucial to identifying and managing any allergies that may arise, as well as maintaining a healthy coat.

Cost of Ownership

The cost of owning a Shar Pei can vary depending on factors such as breeder reputation, lineage, and location. Initial expenses include purchasing from a reputable breeder, which can range from $600 to $2,000. Yearly costs for food, grooming, toys, and vet visits can total $500 to $1,000. Health issues like skin conditions and hip dysplasia may result in additional veterinary expenses. Training classes also contribute to ownership costs, averaging $50 to $125 per session. Overall, the average annual cost of owning a Shar Pei can be between $1,000 to $3,000, excluding unforeseen medical emergencies.

Availability and Adoption

Shar Peis are often available for adoption through breed-specific rescues or shelters. Due to their unique needs, finding a reputable breeder is crucial to ensure the health and temperament of the dog. Potential owners should be prepared for the breed's specific care requirements, including regular grooming and socialization. When adopting a Shar Pei, it's important to consider any potential health issues that may be common in the breed, such as skin problems or hip dysplasia. Overall, individuals interested in adopting a Shar Pei should conduct thorough research and be ready to provide the love and attention these loyal dogs deserve.

Famous Examples

Some well-known examples of this unique breed include Matilda, a shar pei famous for her numerous wrinkles and charming personality, and Suki, who gained popularity for her role in a popular television series. Another notable shar pei is Sebastian, a beloved pet of a famous celebrity known for his loyalty and distinctive appearance. These famous examples showcase the shar pei's endearing traits and individuality, contributing to the breed's widespread recognition and popularity among dog lovers globally.
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