The Shar Pei is friendly, independent, quiet and affectionate. Shar Pei's need confident handlers that are consistent and firm or these dogs will perceive themselves as the boss and become overly dominant. Because Shar Pei's have natural fighting instincts they may not accept other dogs, but this can depend on their social upbringing. They get along with children and strangers but do need early socialization with other household pets to prevent any problems. The Shar Pei bonds closely with it's family and makes an excellent guard dog.
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The coat can be brushed with a soft brush and the folds of skin need to be checked regularly and kept clean and dry. Some Shar Pei's have tails lying very close to the body and these also need to be inspected and cleaned to prevent infection. The folds of skin are more prominent when these dogs are young and therefore more attention is necessary during this period.
Shar Pei's need an average amount of exercise and if their exercise needs are met, they will be calm when indoors.
It is presumed that the Shar Pei evolved from the same Asian Mastiff family as the Chow Chow, as they have similar blue/black tongues. They were used by the Chinese for protection against wild animals and bandits. In the 14th century, Marco Polo found them to be excellent hunters and later they became known as the Chinese Fighting Dogs and also as a source of food. It was in 1947 when the Communist regime came into power, and many dogs were destroyed as they were a drain on food resources. A dog lover in Hong Kong made appeals to kennel clubs around the world, which fortunately for this breed prevented them from becoming extinct.
General Appearance: Squarely-built, wrinkled and bold.
Color: Black, fawn, red, cream, dark brown and smoky. White markings are undesirable.
Coat: Short, bristly and harsh.
Tail: Set high and carried in a curl over the back.
Ears: Small, triangular, thick and lying flat against the head.
Body: The body is compact and muscular with relatively loose skin. The chest is broad and deep with a short, strong back.
- Shar Pei's have become well known with their unusual appearance of wrinkly skin and a frowning expression.
- Shar Pei's are prone to hereditary eye problems that are caused by inturned eyelids (entropion), causing irritation and tear stains. Skin problems can also arise with their wrinkly skin. It is very important with this breed that puppies are bought from reputable breeders, especially in countries where there is a small pool of breeding stock.