Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported, which means we earn commissions from some links on Pet Chao. Commissions do not affect our editorial evaluations or opinions.

The Ultimate Guide to the Chinese Shar Pei Dog Breed

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 04:18 pm

When you see the Chinese Shar Pei dog breed, you can’t help but notice their striking features, from their wrinkled skin to their distinctive “hippopotamus” snouts and blue-black tongues. But these pups have much more than just a pretty face. Intelligent, independent, and fiercely loyal, Shar Peis make for excellent companions and protectors of their families. With a rich history dating back to ancient China, this unique and once-rare dog breed has a fascinating story to tell.

If you’re interested in learning about the Shar Pei, you’ve come to the right place! This post will give you the lowdown on this adorable pup. So sit tight and get ready to discover everything you need to know!


Asian origin:China
Height:18-20 inches
Weight:45-60 pounds
Lifespan:8-12 years
Coat type:Smooth, short
Colors:Apricot dilute, black, blue dilute, lilac dilute, cream, cream dilute, brown, chocolate, dilute, red, five point red dilute, red fawn, fawn, isabella dilute, black sable, cream, sable, fawn sable, red sable, blue, white, blue sable, brown sable
Temperament:Independent, loyal, calm
Suitable for:Homes with adults and old children, cooler weather areas, apartment living, experienced owners



Energy level:


Tendency to bark:

Shedding amount:


The Chinese Shar Pei dog breed originated in China over 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty. People initially used them for hunting, herding, and guarding. The breed almost disappeared because the Communist regime in China banned dog ownership and killed many purebred canines. Fortunately, a few good specimens were preserved in Hong Kong and Taiwan. They were brought to the U.S. in the mid-1960s, and AKC recognized them in 1992.


chinese shar pei dog breed

The Shar Pei is a medium-sized, alert dog that is well-proportioned with a square profile. They have a unique appearance with a short, harsh coat, loose skin on the head and body, small ears, a “hippopotamus” muzzle shape, and a high-set tail. In puppies, the loose skin and wrinkles cover the head, neck, and body superabundantly, but these features may be limited to the head, neck, and withers when they grow.


The Chinese Shar Pei is known for their regal appearance, alertness, and intelligence. They tend to be independent and reserved around strangers but devoted to their families. When standing, they exude a calm and confident presence. Overall, they have a dignified and somewhat snobbish demeanor.


The Chinese Shar Pei is a low-maintenance breed that requires minimal grooming. They only need a bath once a month or so. To keep their nails in good shape, trim them once a week using a grinder. In addition, it’s best to get your pup used to having their ears cleaned regularly from a young age. Avoid using cotton swabs or hydrogen peroxide. The recommended way to clean their ear canal is to use an ear-cleaning solution that “floats” debris out of the canal.


Chinese Shar Pei dogs are versatile, so they can adapt to different lifestyles, whether with an active owner who walks them daily or in an apartment with short walks. They engage their minds and bodies by participating in obedience, tracking, agility, rallies, and other activities that can be enjoyed both by the dog and their owner.


chinese shar pei dog breed

If you’re considering getting a Chinese Shar Pei, keep in mind that starting with basic obedience training early on is very important. These dogs are intelligent and eager to please, but they can also be stubborn and try to do things their own way. It’s also recommended to socialize them early and enroll them in puppy training classes to ensure they grow up to be a well-behaved and well-adjusted family member. 

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs


Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.


Chinese Shar Pei dogs have some specific health concerns that are worth noting. One of the major issues is with their eyes. The breed is known to have eye disorders such as glaucoma, entropion, retinal dysplasia, and SARDS. Other health problems that can occur include respiratory, cardiovascular, immune-mediated, musculoskeletal, skin, and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as certain cancers.


Most dog owners love to spoil their furry friends with treats and table scraps, but giving too much of it to your Chinese Shar Pei can cause obesity and other health issues. That’s why choosing a high-quality food appropriate for your dog’s age is vital. A well-balanced diet will provide all the nutrients your Shar Pei needs to stay healthy and happy. Additionally, you can still use treats to train your pet! Just remember to give them in moderation. And if you’re unsure what human foods are safe for them, don’t hesitate to ask your vet for advice.

Living Condition

chinese shar pei dog breed

Shar Pei dogs are generally calm and low-energy, making them a good choice for seniors or apartment dwellers. However, they still need to be taken for walks at least once or twice a day. Adult Shar Peis are typically better suited for homes with adults who respect their independence and children who are old enough to understand and respect their boundaries without pulling on their wrinkles. Plus, you should be mindful of hot weather when taking your Shar Pei outside, as their short noses and tongues make them more susceptible to the heat. 

3 Little-Known Facts About the Chinese Shar Pei Dog Breed

1. The Chinese Shar Pei Was Once the Rarest Breed in the World

This breed was nearly extinct due to China’s political situation. In the late 1960s and 1970s, “The Guinness Book of World Records” recognized the Shar Pei as the rarest dog breed in the world.

2. Life Magazine Saved the Chinese Shar Pei From Extinction

During the most difficult times for the Shar Pei, a breeder named Matgo Law, living in Hong Kong, reached out to the world and asked for help to save the breed. Life Magazine responded to Law’s request in 1979 by featuring a Shar Pei on the cover. This publication led to a surge in Chinese Shar Pei puppy sales in the United States.

3. These Dogs Have Blue-Black Tongues

The Chinese Shar Pei and the Chow Chow are the only two dog breeds known to have a blue-black colored tongue. Despite this similarity, there is no genetic link between the two breeds. This trait was believed to make these guard dogs look more fierce, while some thought their tongue’s color helped ward off evil spirits when they barked.

Chinese Shar Pei Puppies for Sale

chinese shar pei dog breed

This breed can have health and temperament issues, so you should choose a breeder who has taken appropriate health checks and keeps both mother and pups in a nurturing home environment. A champion bloodline puppy can cost between $1,000 and $2,500.

Most Shar Peis aren’t suitable for inexperienced owners, which unfortunately means they might end up in rescue. You can check with breed-specific rescues or your local shelter to offer a forever home to a rescue Chinese Shar Pei.

Becoming a dog parent is one of the most memorable moments of life. But before bringing your new best friend home, it’s vital to have all the right things to make sure the adoption is really smooth and makes them feel right. You may feel overwhelmed by tons of puppy products on sale and not sure what items your puppy actually needs. That’s why I’ve compiled this minimalist puppy checklist to help you get started.


The Chinese Shar Pei is a fascinating and challenging breed of ancient pedigree. This medium-sized dog has unique physical characteristics, including a broad ‘hippopotamus’ muzzle, a blue-black tongue, small sunken eyes, tiny triangular ears, and abundant folds of loose skin. These dogs are known for their strength, regal appearance, and independent nature, making them excellent guardians. They are also famous for their intelligence and loyalty, which makes them a great companion for anyone looking for a faithful and devoted furry friend.


Are Chinese Shar Pei Good Family Dogs?

Chinese Shar Pei can make great pets for families, but they must be socialized and trained early to be their best. They are best suited for families with older children who can respect their boundaries.

Are Chinese Shar Pei Rare?

Chinese Shar Pei are not rare dogs. However, they are not as commonly seen as some other breeds like Labrador Retriever, French Bulldog, Bulldog, or Golden Retriever.

Are Shar Pei Hypoallergenic?

Some people may wonder if Shar Pei dogs are hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, they are not. These dogs shed moderately and can produce dander that may cause allergies in some individuals.

Are Shar Pei Puppies Hyper?

Shar Pei puppies can be hyper, but they are also relatively mellow dogs.

Can Shar Pei Be Left Alone?

Shar Pei can be left alone for a short time, not long periods. They may engage in destructive behavior if they feel bored or anxious.

Can Shar Peis Handle the Cold?

Shar Pei dogs are sensitive to the cold because they don’t have an undercoat. So, you need to provide them a warm place to sleep and avoid leaving them outdoors for extended periods in cold weather.

Do Chinese Shar Peis Bark a Lot?

Chinese Shar Pei dogs may bark to alert their owners of potential dangers, but they are not known to bark excessively.

Do Chinese Shar Peis Like to Cuddle?

Shar Peis are typically not known for being overly affectionate like some other dog breeds. However, they do express their love through reserved cuddling.

Do Shar Pei Have Skin Problems?

Shar Pei dogs have sensitive skin and coat. Their wrinkles can also contribute to skin issues. However, these problems can be managed with medication and proper grooming.

Do Shar Peis Get Aggressive?

If the Chinese Shar Pei dog breed is not socialized and trained correctly, they may display aggression, especially same-sex dogs.

Do Shar Peis Get Bored Fast?

Shar Peis can become bored fast if they don’t receive enough mental and physical stimulation. To keep them happy and healthy, they require regular exercise, training, and plenty of toys and activities to keep them occupied.

Do Shar Peis Have Bad Eyesight?

Degenerative eye disease is a major genetic weakness in Shar Peis. Your dog may be at risk of losing sight permanently due to sudden acquired retinal degeneration (SARD) or progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). 

Do Shar Peis Have Separation Anxiety?

One common cause of anxiety in Shar Peis is separation anxiety, which is the fear of being away from their owner. This can lead to behaviors like pacing, drooling, biting, or destructive behavior when you’re not around.

Does Shar Pei Drool?

Shar Pei dogs do not usually drool excessively. However, they still drool a little when they are excited or eating.

How Big Will a Shar Pei Lab Mix Get?

The size of a Shar Pei Lab mix can vary depending on the size of the Shar Pei and the Lab. Typically, they are medium-sized dogs, weighing between 40 and 60 pounds and standing between 18 and 24 inches tall at the shoulder.

How Intelligent Are Shar Pei?

Shar Peis are intelligent, but they can also be stubborn and independent. This can make training them a challenge, but they are capable of learning a great deal if motivated.

How Much Do Chinese Shar Peis Cost?

Chinese Shar Pei dogs can cost between $1,000 and $2,500 depending on the breeder, the dog’s lineage, and location. You can expect to pay within this price range if you’re interested in a champion bloodline.

How Much Exercise Does a Shar Pei Need?

Shar Peis are not typically high-energy dogs but need some physical activity to maintain their health and happiness. They require moderate exercise, such as a few daily walks. 

What Are the Cons About Shar Pei?

Shar Peis can be difficult to train as they are stubborn and independent. They are also prone to various health issues related to skin and eyes. Furthermore, they can exhibit aggression towards other dogs.

What Food Is Good for Shar Pei With Ear Problems?

Including omega-3 in your Shar Pei’s diet may help prevent ear infections caused by allergies. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and promote healing. You can find omega-3 in cold-water fish, flaxseed, and specially formulated-dog foods. 

What Is a Chinese Shar Pei Lifespan?

The lifespan of a Chinese Shar Pei is typically between 10 and 12 years.

What Is Shar Pei Fever Syndrome?

Shar Pei recurrent fever syndrome is a genetic condition that affects almost one in four Shar Peis. Dogs with this condition suffer from recurring episodes of fever and inflammation without any known underlying cause. This makes them feel unwell and uncomfortable.

Why Do Shar Pei Shake?

Shar Peis may shake for various reasons, like excitement, anxiety, or cold. They may also shake if they are in pain or discomfort.

Why Does My Shar Pei Puppy Bite So Much?

Chinese Shar Pei puppies tend to bite for different reasons, such as teething, playing, exploring their surroundings, or feeling scared or threatened.

Why Does My Shar Pei Stare at Me?

Dogs stare at their owners for different reasons. One reason is to communicate and understand us better. Another is manipulating their owners, like begging for food or wanting to go outside. 

Why Is My Shar Pei Throwing Up so Much?

If your Shar Pei is throwing up frequently, it could be due to eating something inappropriate, eating too quickly, or having a gastrointestinal infection. Take your Shar Pei to a vet to ensure that there are no serious underlying medical issues.

Why Is Shar Pei Difficult?

Owning a Chinese Shar Pei can be challenging as they can be stubborn, independent, and sometimes aggressive towards other dogs. They need a lot of socialization and training. However, if you are the right owner, they can also be loyal, affectionate, and rewarding companions.


  • https://images.akc.org/pdf/breeds/standards/ChineseSharPei.pdf
  • https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/7-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-chinese-shar-pei/
  • https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/chinese-shar-pei/
  • https://www.thesprucepets.com/shar-pei-dog-breed-profile-4689505
  • https://pets.thenest.com/blindness-sharpeis-5577.html#google_vignette 
  • https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/shar-pei-recurrent-fever-syndrome 
About us: Pet Chao is a community for Asian dog breed enthusiasts. Our goal is to keep you and your four-legged friend healthy and happy by providing valuable resources and fostering a like-minded community.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *