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Meet the Shar Pei: a wrinkly skin dog

Meet the Shar Pei: a wrinkly skin dog

If you are looking for a unique dog that is just a little different than all of the rest then the Chinese Shar Pei is the perfect pet for you! This dog exudes confidence and is a loyal family protector. Read on to learn more about the Chinese Shar Pei.

Breed Snapshot

  • Size Medium to large dog (20-27kg): 45 – 50cm height
  • Coat Low shedding short coat with lots of loose skin
  • Energy Should be walked daily for at least 30 minutes
  • Lifespan 8 – 12 years
  • Country of origin China
  • Breed type Intelligent tracking dog that is fiercely protective of his or her human family. This dog is affectionate and is in the non-working dog group
  • Other names “Sand skin” is the English translation for Shar Pei
  • Great breed for: Home with a yard or apartment living, Families with kids, Meet the Shar Pei

Seemingly part pug, part hippopotamus, and part hound, the mold was broken when this dog was created. The Shar Pei breed originated in China and its history dates back more than 2,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. The Shar Pei is a loyal dog that is fiercely protective of its human family.

The Chinese used to breed this dog to look after farms and keep predators away from the cattle, and they were first imported to Australia during the 1980s. The Shar Pei is a true show dog and is favored among those who want a breed that is just a little different. This dog is great with kids and loves to live an active lifestyle but can adapt to living in the city.


What Does a Shar Pei Look Like?

Easily identified by is loose wrinkly skin, the Shar Pei is a medium to large size dog that resembles both a pug and a hippopotamus. This dog has a short and rough thin coat and the name Shar Pei literally translates to “sand skin” in English. Its jowls are floppy and partially split, giving it the hippopotamus resemblance.  The colouring of the Shar Pei ranges from chocolate brown, apricot, cream, blue, to black, and the most desired dogs have a single solid colour although you can find dogs with patches and brindle patterns.

Shar Peis are muscular dogs that stand at 45 – 50cm in height and weigh 20 – 27kg. Males are slightly larger than female dogs. The Shar Pei stands its ground and can be intimidating to strangers.

The Shar Pei is also only one of two dogs that has a black tongue, making it even more of a unique breed.


How Do I Train My Shar Pei?

The Shar Pei is a guard dog by nature and should be trained in obedience at an early age or they can become very territorial when they reach adulthood. Unless you have experience training this breed, you should sign your dog up for professional training when he or she is still a puppy. Ped Cloud has several dog trainers and you can reserve weekly lessons through the website.

Shar Peis are very intelligent dogs that benefit from positive reinforcement training in which they receive a reward for obeying commands. They should be socialised early on so that they are not aggressive with kids or strangers later on in life.


How Do I Groom My Shar Pei?

If you are looking for a dog that is easy to groom, the Shar Pei is an excellent choice. They have short and rough coat that does not hold in oils or dirt, so you will only need to give your pet a doggy bath about once a month. Shar Peis do not enjoy getting wet so it is best to wash them outside where the whole family can pitch in to help keep your dog calm.

This breed has short floppy ears that need to be cleaned approximately once a week. The best way to clean their ears is with a specific dog ear cleaning solution or a diluted mix of hydrogen peroxide. Debris should be “floated” out of the ears as opposed to being swabbed.

Be sure to trim your dog’s nails weekly as they get long and can snag on furniture and carpeting.


Is a Shar Pei the Right Breed for Me?

The Shar Pei is one of the most versatile dogs around and he or she can adapt to just about any living situation. This dog is one of the few that can be left home alone all day while you are at work and will not suffer too much from separation anxiety. Be sure to leave plenty of chew toys out so that your dog can stay occupied while you are gone.

Shar Peis were originally bred to roam around farms but adapt well to the urban lifestyle so they don’t mind living in an apartment. If you have a small dwelling, you will need to walk your dog more frequently.

This dog breed is loving and affectionate and does well with kids, but it is important to train this dog to be social or it can act aggressively toward strangers.


How Can I Get a Shar Pei

Since the 1980s, the Shar Pei has been bred locally in Australia so you do not need to import one from another country. It is important to only purchase a Shar Pei from a responsible breeder as they can develop bad behavioral issues in a poor living environment. RSCPA has plenty of resources to help you find a responsible breeder.


Shar Pei FAQs

Do Shar Peis drool a lot?

Yes! The Sha Pei makes the list for one of the top 10 drooling dogs. This usually happens when they have had a good work out or they are hot and are trying to cool down.


Are they diggers?

Shar Peis can take to digging if they sniff out something interesting underground or they are bored. Be sure to play with them a lot outdoors to keep their minds occupied.


Do Shar Peis bark a lot?

Your Shar Pei is a loyal guard dog and will bark if they feel that their domain is being threatened. They will also let out a few friendly barks if they want to play or get your attention.


Can Shar Peis be around other pets in my home?

Shar Peis have an innate need to hunt and can be aggressive around other pets, so it is not a good idea to bring this dog into a multiple pet home.



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