Shar Pei

Shar Pei

Quick Glance

Group: Utility Group



Grooming:   Sheds? Yes



Photo: © Jill Terry. Ch Forgevalley Pause And Pose For Chequerpei owned by Susan Butterfield

Shar-Pei (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)
Shar-Pei (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)
List Price: £7.99
Sale Price: £2.51
Used From: £2.68
Shar-pei (Pet love)
Shar-pei (Pet love)
List Price: £17.99
Sale Price: £7.20
Used From: £3.86
Shar-Pei 2012 Calendar
Shar-Pei 2012 Calendar
Sale Price: £1.99
Used From: £27.32

Shar Pei Breeders, Advisors & Breed Clubs


A relative newcomer to the Western world the Shar Pei (which translates as 'sand-skin' in reference to the harsh coat) has existed in southern China for more than 2,000 years. Its original function was to hunt wild boar, herd and protect livestock, and to guard the home of its owner. Some were also bred and trained for dogfighting which gave rise to the other name by which the breed was known - Chinese Fighting Dog. When the Communists came to power in the mid 20th century the government first levied a heavy tax on all dogs followed by a total ban on breeding. Dogs were then outlawed on the mainland which led to thousands being destroyed. Fortunately for the Shar Pei a few were resident in Hong Kong and from these the fancier, Matgo Law, was able to re-establish the almost extinct breed. It was only in the latter part of the 20th century that Shar Pei numbers increased to any great degree. As late as 1980 the breed was described in the Guinness Book of Records as the rarest dog in the world. As their popularity increased, due in no small measure to their unique appearance, there was a rush by unscrupulous breeders to meet demand, resulting in ill-considered breeding practices which produced many dogs of poor temperament. This problem has now largely been solved by careful and responsible breeders.


Height: 46-51 cms (18-20 ins) at withers.

Shar Peis are medium sized, square dog. Their chest is deep and broad, while their topline dips slightly behind their withers, then rises over a short, broad loin. As adults their skin is moderately wrinkled over the shoulders and base of tail and they have fine wrinkles on their forehead and cheeks. Their muzzle is a distinctive feature of breed. It is broad and full and the lips and top of the muzzle are padded, causing a slight bulge at the base of nose. Their tongue is bluish-black. Shar Peis come in all Solid colours except white. They often have a lighter colour shaded on their tail and the back of their thighs.


The well-bred Shar Pei is a calm, loyal and affectionate dog who, in the right hands, makes an outstanding family companion. His life revolves around his owner and he is finely tuned to moods and emotions. He gives unconditional love and in return asks only to be close by and to be included in as many activities as possible. If relegated to the backyard and excluded from family life he will not only be miserable but may also exhibit behavioural problems. He is an intelligent, strong-minded and independent dog and from the start will need to be kindly and firmly shown his position in the household if he is not to take over as "top dog". He is a good watchdog and has a strong protective instinct. He will not rush into indiscriminate friendships, preferring to stand back and assess unknown visitors before approaching them to be petted. Cleanliness would seem to be second nature to the Shar Pei, not only is he a neat eater but he is also easy to house-train. Care must be taken when introducing him to other dogs as they are not well tolerated by many Shar Pei. It should be noted that the abundant loose skin and wrinkles of the puppy will disappear in adulthood as he grows into his skin and the folds will be confined to the head, neck and withers. The self-willed, self-confident, sometimes stubborn nature of the Shar Pei means that he is not recommended for novice owners.

Breed Health

A common problem is a painful eye condition, entropion, in which the eyelashes curl inward, irritating the eye. Untreated, it can cause blindness. This condition can be fixed by surgery ("tacking" the eyelids up so they will not roll onto the eyeball for puppies or surgically removing extra skin in adolescent and older Shar Pei). Allergy-induced skin infections can also be a problem in this breed.


The exercise requirements of the Shar Pei are moderate and he will almost exercise himself if a large garden is available to him. It is important however that he has a daily walk on-lead, both for his enjoyment and to keep him in shape physically. Walking will also provide interesting sights and smells to stimulate him mentally. As Shar Pei are sensitive to heat exercise should be undertaken in the cooler parts of the day and shade and fresh water should be available at all times.


As with all dogs basic obedience training is essential in order to make the Shar Pei a good family companion and a well-mannered, and therefore acceptable, member of the community. He is a clever dog and learns quickly what is required provided that training is carried out with kindness, firmness, fairness and consistency. To bring out the best in him reward-based positive methods should be used. Harshness and manhandling will achieve little but loss of respect, loss of trust and confusion. Shar Pei have competed successfully in high level obedience but, being smart, they bore easily when required to repeat exercises they already know. The key is to keep sessions short, fun and as varied as possible. Socialization should be started early with the puppy and should be an on-going activity. Introducing the dog to as many varied situations and people as possible will provide him with the skills he needs to cope in the human world and should prevent any tendency to be overly suspicious of strangers or over-protective, thus ensuring that he matures into a calm, temperamentally stable and confident adult.

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Listings: 2
Last listing added:
      21 Mar, 2008