The Shar-Pei originated in China and has a history dating back 2000 years. Although the exact place of origin is unclear, statues indicate they came from somewhere in southern China, Tibet or Dah-Lel. The name Shar-Pei literally translates to mean sand skin. This is from the breed’s characteristic harsh coat. Shar-Pei’s were used as general utility dogs for herding and guarding.
The Shar Pei is easily recognisable by the loose folds of skin on its head and shoulders. As puppies they have rolls all over, but these should disappear as they grow into adulthood. They are a medium sized dog, squarely built and athletic. Shar Pei can be energetic and agile and can adapt to many activities and living conditions. Their coat is also a distinctive feature of the breed: it is short and bristly and harsh to the touch; like “Needles in cotton”.
Grooming and Physical Needs
- Grooming Needs: A Shar Pei will benefit from regular brushing with a soft bristly brush. They should also be washed frequently with a quality mild shampoo and always conditioned.
- Coat Type: Short and bristly. The Shar Pei has two coat types –a very short and harsh coat called “Horse Coat” and a slightly longer and softer coat called “Brush coat”. On occasion a longer coat, called “Bear Coat” pup will appear in a litter but, although cute they are incorrect and should not be bred from.
- Moulting: Shar Pei’s, particularly females will moult during the change of seasons.
- Exercise Needs: Daily physical and mental stimulation are important for the Shar-Pei. This can be easily accomplished by taking it on a long walk or by setting up active play sessions for the dog throughout the day. Shar Pei will adapt easily to various levels of activity.
- Average Life Span: 10 to 12 years.
- Family: Makes a superb family dog who is devoted to their owners and children.
- Temperament: Devoted, Reserved, Affectionate, Loving, Loyal.
- Trainability: Whilst highly intelligent, this breed does need consistent training and a confident handler. It will reverse roles if you are too soft, too uncertain or too inconsistent.
- Sociability (Other Pets): As with all dogs, early socialisation with other animals is important for this breed.
- Barking: Medium tendency. Shar Pei will always bark when people approach their property, but quickly settle once recognised or introduced.
Competes successfully in high level obedience, scent detection, lure coursing and agility.
They are easy to look after and contrary to common misperceptions they do not require special maintenance of their wrinkles. A well-bred Shar Pei should also not need eye surgery. Shar Pei’s make great indoor dogs as they are naturally clean in the house and generally not destructive.