Chinese Shar-Pei Dog Breed at a Glance
The Chinese Shar-Pei dog breed, also known as the Chinese Fighting Dog, though not a hypoallergenic breed, is a dog that sheds very little. Basically quiet, loving, and protective, this dog is best for owners with previous dog ownership experience and is not recommended for families with children. However, if raised with kids and has had many pleasurable experiences with them, the Chinese Shar-Pei can be an acceptable breed. A natural guard dog that’s loyal, the breed can quite aggressive and territorial without proper socializing early on. This dog is low maintenance, independent, and a natural guard dog.
Group: Non-Sporting Group
History of the Chinese Shar-Pei Dog Breed
In the early 1970s, the Chinese Shar-Pei was on the brink of extinction and was considered one of the rarest breeds. However, with the strong efforts of a Hong Kong Shar-Pei lover, and with help from Americans, the breed was saved and now there are over 35,000 in North America. This is one of the oldest dog breeds worldwide. Used hunting and farming in China, the breed was later used for dog fighting, it was originally bred to guard palaces.
These are one-person dogs with a natural guarding instinct and can be aggressive toward people and animals. Chinese Shar-Peis are calm and independent dogs that are not very good with kids but are cat friendly dogs. This breed loves being in the company of its family. While they can be mouthy, which can be corrected with chewtoy training, they rarely bark, unless necessary. Stubborn at times, they can be trained with persistence. Never train a Shar-Pei or any other dog for that matter with cruel or negative treatment. Early training and socializing is a must, as their guarding instinct continues to be strong. As pups, Shar-Pei are adorably cute, but they’ll soon grow into extremely strong and powerful adults that could challenge their family.
The Chinese Shar-Pei is responsible for 6 human attacks, all of which were reported as attacks on children resulting in maimings. These reports date back to 1982 and place this dog breed among the top 30% of dog attacks. Fortunately, no deaths are attributed to the Shar-Pei, so it is highly unlikely for one to cause death to humans.
Physical Appearance of the Shar-Pei Dog Breed
This medium-size dog, like the Chow Chow, has a blue-black tongue–a distinct feature of only these two dog breeds. Its compact body with its large head, deep-set eyes, small, triangular, and tightly folded ears, and a muzzle reminiscent of a hippopotamus give the Shar-Pei its unique appearance. In addition to these features, this dog breed is most easily recognizable with its abundant wrinkles. Its loose skin as a puppy generally “fits” the Shar-Pei when it grows, except for around the neck, head, and shoulders (withers). Its coat is short, harsh and rough and may be one of the following types: horse-coat, brush-coat, or bear-coat. The bear-coat of the Shar-Pei, where its hair is longer than 1 inch, is not considered breed standard.
Note: Individuals have experienced a sensitivity resulting from the harshness of the Shar-Pei’s coat. People could develop a short-lived rash on their arms, typically.
The common colors of the Shar-Pei include 18 colors accepted by the American Kennel Club, but they must be a solid color. The acceptable breed standard colors include red, sable, cream, fawn, blue, black, and chocolate, to name a few. A Shar-Pei with a black mask, or without, is also acceptable.
Shedding is minimal with this dog breed, though it is NOT a hypoallergenic dog. However, it sheds twice yearly–in spring and in fall.
The life expectancy of the Shar-Pei is between 8 and 10 years which is much shorter than the average lifespan of other medium-sized dogs, likely a result of rushed breeding in the USA in the 1970s. 
Health and Care of Chinese Shar-Pei
All dogs are susceptible to some disease. The Chinese Shar-Pei dog breed is at risk of developing the following:
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Fold Dermatitis
- Demodectic Mange
- Hip Dysplasia
- Patellar Luxation
- IgA Deficiency
This dog needs regular exercise to avoid weight gain, as it has a high tendency to gain weight.
Always feed your dog a high-quality dry dog food to ensure optimum health and longevity. It makes a difference! With the Shar-Pei, feed it between 2 1/2 and 3 cups of kibble daily.
The grooming needs of a Shar Pei are low and it is considered a very clean breed. It requires some brushing and the occasional bath to keep its coat clean. However, ensure its folds are cleaned regularly to avoid dermatitis. Clean its ears frequently to avoid an infection from developing due to debris or wax buildup. The Chinese Shar Pei is also susceptible to chronic ear yeast infections due to its tightly wrapped ears.
The Chinese Shar-Pei dog breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1992.