The Shar Pei dog originates from...

Recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1992, the true origins of the distinct Shar Pei dog is based on guessing, with some dating back to 200 BC in the Han Dynasty of China. Despite many theorising a much later origin, the claim is supported by illustrations of the breed found on pottery from 206 BC. Primarily bred as an all-purpose, working dog, the Shar Pei dog was commonly observed in herding, guarding, hunting, tracking, and as a pest control dog about farms. 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 numbers of the breed. Rescued from the brink of extinction by Chinese businessman, Matgo Law, the Shar Pei dog 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 dog has a blue-black tongue, leading many to question whether it is a descendent of the Chow-Chow, the only other breed with a similar characteristic. The Shar Pei further possesses a stocky build, with moderate-length legs, a straight top line, 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 Dalmatian, Akita, Bulldog, and Poodle.

The average Shar Pei...

Contrary to popular belief, the Shar Pei dog is not inherently aggressive, nor is it difficult to house train. 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 likely 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 18-25kg, with a life expectancy of roughly 10 years.


The Shar Pei dog is susceptible to various health complaints. These include orthopaedic problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia, 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 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.

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Our Shar-Pei owners' thoughts

Added on 20/10/2014
Joined 20/10/2014
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.

Added on 06/09/2015
Joined 24/08/2015
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.

Added on 08/07/2017
Joined 13/06/2017
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

Added on 08/07/2017
Joined 13/06/2017
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.

Added on 15/11/2017
Joined 25/04/2016
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

Added on 10/03/2019
Joined 21/12/2018
From Cheshire, United Kingdom

I have owned 2 shar-peis - both very different in everyway. My first George lived until he was 12 years old. Was relatively healthy until the last year of his life when he had a mass removed from his intestines. He suffered with his eyes and had 2 operations to correct them from rolling into his eyes, which in the end became very sore and he suffered with his sight. He was so lovable and always wanted to be close to the family. Wilson, is 5. He has perfect eyes, but smells really bad. He does now have Shar-pei fever which is really difficult watching him suffer when he has an episode, this can last for 2 days before hes back on his feet, and probably takes him a good week to recover fully. I have now adjusted his food that suits Renal and I must say hes been great so far and full of life again. Overall they are a lovely breed. You do need to be prepared for the slobber and smell!

Added on 10/09/2019
Joined 21/07/2019
From West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

I have been owned by Shar pei for over 25 yrs, they are very loyal, loving and protective of family, not aggressive but can be vocial, they are playful, clown like and funny, if breed correctly with care, you can have long lived healthy pei, ie, no eye problems, fevers are something we as breeders are working with the AHT to find a test for.I have never had a vet bill that i could not pay, i don't insure, i have a pet account that i pop money into for an emergency. my pei are my life, i have 5