I originate from China where I was used for a variety of tasks, including guarding, hunting and herding. Shar Pei roughly translates as “sand skin”. Some people see a bit of mastiff in me, which may well be true. I’ve been the victim of a bit of experimentation on the breeding front which has given rise to a number of conditions, particularly affecting my legs and eyes. However I’m pleased to say that nowadays I’m a much more versatile and healthy dog. Time magazine voted us as one of the world’s rarest dog breeds in 1978 – although they probably hadn’t surveyed China so we were most likely one of the world’s most popular breeds!
What do I look like?
I’m the victim of some cruel taunts at the vets and in parks from other dogs let me tell you. “Oi Grandad!” refers to my wrinkles. “Whose skin are you in?” is another. Hilarious, not! Jack Russell’s are the worst – it’s always the short little runts. Wrinkles aside, I’m a pretty regular mid-sized kinda dog – nice little ears, muscular legs and kind eyes. What’s not to like? Yes, there’s my over-sized muzzle and jowels. We think it makes us hunky – it’s the Bruce Willis look!
What do I need from you?
If you say “a good ironing” or “therapy” I won’t be laughing. I’ve seen those sumo wrestlers you all watch on TV so stones and glass houses and all that? Truth is I’m just a lovely active dog with plenty of love to give. Ask Shar Pei owners – they think we’re great.
What I will give in return
If you have trouble striking up a conversation with strangers then take me out for a walk. I can guarantee you’ll be striking up conversations left right and centre. Once the novelty value dies down I’ll give you lots of affection and a whole lotta love. If you’re nice to me I may even let you stretch all my rolls.
How big will I get?
I’ll grow to around 18in-20in (46cm-51cm) and weigh in at between 36lb–44lb (16kg-20kg).
How big is our litter?
4 to 6 Shar Pei pups is about normal.
What's my health like?
We are prone to more than our fair share of ailments. As a potential owner you may need to be aware of the following:
Allergy-induced skin infections.
Familial Shar Pei fever (FSF) is a serious congenital disease that causes short fevers lasting up to 24 hours, usually accompanied by accumulation of fluid around the ankles (called Swollen Hock Syndrome). There is no early test for FSF, but as it is congenital, we are either born with it or without it, and if one attack occurs (usually brought on by excessive emotional or physical stress), we will always be susceptible to another. With proper care, a Shar-Pei with FSF can live a completely normal and long life.
Another common problem is a painful eye condition, entropion, in which the eyelashes curl inward, irritating the eye. Untreated, it can cause blindness.
We are also prone to chronic yeast infections in our ears.
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Disclaimer: the views expressed on this page and any comments below are only a guide to typical traits and views on the breed. Individual circumstance and traits will always vary so we can be in no way responsible for any of the information provided.