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The Shar-Pei originates from...

Recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1992, the true origins of the distinct Shar-Pei are subject to conjecture, with some dating its early development to 200 BC in the Han Dynasty of China. Despite many theorising a much later origin, the claim is supported by depictions of the breed found on pottery from 206 BC. Primarily bred as an all-purpose, working dog, the Shar-Pei was commonly observed in herding, guarding, hunting, tracking, and as a pest control dog about the farmstead. In its early days, the Shar-Pei was employed as a fighting dog, with its loose, coarse skin serving to protect it from opponent bites. Following the Communist Revolution, many Shar-Peis were slaughtered due to their negative association with the aristocracy and a decadent past, something which led to large decline in breed prevalence. Rescued from the brink of extinction by Chinese businessman, Matgo Law, the Shar-Pei is now a highly sought companion dog in countries across the globe.

The Shar-Pei is characterised by...

It is unlikely that a Shar-Pei would ever be mistaken for another breed due to its unique structure and appearance. The Chinese believed that such an appearance would deter evil spirits, which is why many were kept as pets. Besides the obvious distinction of its loose folds of skin, the Shar-Pei has a blue-black tongue, prompting many to question whether it is a descendent of the Chow-Chow, the only other breed to boast a similar characteristic. The Shar-Pei further possesses a stocky build, with moderate-length legs, a straight topline, small, triangular ears and a wrinkled muzzle, often likened to that of a hippopotamus. Falling within the Kennel Club's 'utility' breed group, the Shar-Pei shares its classification with the Dalmation, Akita, Bulldog and Poodle.

The average Shar-Pei...

Contrary to popular belief, the Shar-Pei is not inherently aggressive, nor is it resistant to being house trained. Providing it has been shown firm but fair leadership, early socialisation and consistent training from puppyhood, a Shar-Pei is capable of adapting well to relaxed domestic living. Primarily bred to guard and protect, the Shar-Pei is pre-disposed to displaying stubborn, dominant and independent behaviours, although when trained, a Shar-Pei has an enormous capacity for love, loyalty and affection towards its master and family. On average, a healthy adult Shar-Pei will weigh 18-25 kg, with a life expectancy of roughly 10 years.

Because no breed is without its weakness...

The Shar-Pei is susceptible to various health complaints. These include orthopedic problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as cases of kidney failure, hypothyroidism, allergies, optical disorders, and mast-cell tumours. Skin complaints are prevalent in the breed, partly due to the characteristic skin folds, and partly due to a hereditary condition resulting from poor breeding. As with most flat-faced breeds, breathing difficulties can often occur. The Shar-Pei is also prone to easy weigh gain so feeding human foods is not encouraged for this reason.

Our Shar-Pei owners have uploaded 58 photos

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Our Shar-Pei owners' thoughts

20th Oct 2014
Katie Gillard
  • VioVet Customer Since: October 2014
  • From: Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

Hi have a Shar pei and totally in love with the breed. Extremely loyal, loving and protective. Both my peis really have the hunting instinct and are playful and real family dogs. Having lost one to renal failure due to Shar pei fever, I recommend anyone who is thinking about getting a Shar pei to really read up about the breed and the possible health problems. I've never had one with skin problems but again if you do, make sure the food is right and you are using the right creams. It's pot luck I'm afraid as mine came from an excellent family and my second is absolutely fine with no health issues. I also recommend making sure you train from an early age as they are stubborn :) and each dog has it's own personality (mine are very cheeky!)
I will always have Shar peis as everyone finds the right dog for them.

6th Sep 2015
Emma J Reece
  • VioVet Customer Since: August 2015
  • From: Greater Manchester, United Kingdom

I've always owned Chow-Chow's first got one in 2001 and she passed away in 2013 to bloat in-between got a male and also had a litter of puppies kept one and also re-homed a Chow in 09. I got my Sharpei by adopting from dog's home in 2013 aged 6-7, she is very loyal loving and suspicious of other's, quite grumpy and had a few skin issues. She also does not like closed doors and if I'm in the house want's to be less then a few feet/paws away is blue/grey in colour.

8th Jul 2017
Paula Roberts
  • VioVet Customer Since: June 2017
  • From: Hampshire, United Kingdom

Hi, l rescued William aka Yoshi two years ago from 5 years of abuse. He was withdrawn and stunk!!! Lol. After just reading the description of the breed I couldn't stop laughing when I read the bit about sharpei s warding off evil spirits with there looks they ward off everybody with there stench! Lol not to mention their detritus in the shoe lace dribble that accumulates and then is promptly flicked everywhere ( neighbour included on first meeting him who promptly stated I don't like him already lmfao

8th Jul 2017
Paula Roberts
  • VioVet Customer Since: June 2017
  • From: Hampshire, United Kingdom

His good points definitely outweigh his bad points though and I would not be without him he is my baby! His jelly jowls are my favorite part of him! If you are thinking of getting a sharpei you maybe very lucky and get one with no health problems (rare from my experience). His skin will need treatment for the rest of his life, his eyes are rolling in again so do I risk putting him under anaesthesia again or risk him loosing his sight? He has a very delicate stomach and has to stick rigidly to it.
He is very laid back and just happy to be alive now. If you are considering getting one they are not for the faint hearted dog lover you have to bear in mind the astronomical vets bills, possibly the smell and the drool then you may get yourself the perfect companion whoosestinky wrinkly (stinkles) makes you laugh every morning then what are you waiting for? Ps William is a horse coat sharpei to this day I have never seen another one except in a rescue mag so please get in touch if you have one.

15th Nov 2017
Kathleen Biggam
  • VioVet Customer Since: July 2017
  • From: West Lothian, United Kingdom

The best thing we ever done was getting our shar -pei but not for the faint hearted ,expensive vet bills and nobody will insure them fully .But the most loving loyal breed .She is a horse coat which brings me out in a rash but doesn't stop me from getting cuddles .If you do your homework you couldn't get a more loving breed

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