About The Chinese Shar Pei

Types of Shar Pei

There are four main types of Shar Pei which you are likely to come across, howver only two are recognised by The Australian National Kennel Club (ANKC).

Horse-coat Shar Pei

These dogs have a harsh, ‘horse hair style’ coat. These dogs are very wrinkly as puppies, but as they get older the wrinkles largely disappear apart from around the face.

Brush-coat Shar Pei

These dogs retain their ‘puppy-ish look’ into adulthood and they tend to keep more of their wrinkles. They are normally a little less active than horse-coats.

Bear-coat Shar Pei

The Bear coat Shar Pei are fluffy little creatures with a top coat which is longer than 1 inch. These dogs are not currently recognised by the ANKC.


The flowered Shar-Pei refers to a distinctive coat pattern that appears as a stark white coat with splashes of spots and ticking. The Flowered Coat Pattern is currently not recognised in the ANKC. The flowered gene is recessive, so both the sire and dam must have the gene to pass it on.

In other breeds, this pattern is sometimes called piebald.

Shar Pei Temperament

The Shar Pei may have altered in appearance over the years, but thy have not lost their natural guard dog instincts.

The Shar Pei will be protective of their owner and they are often very loyal pets.

It is very important to socialise them as early as possible because they can be aggressive both towards strangers and other dogs.

The Shar Pei is independent and confident. You will need to give them lots of positive reinforcement and establish a mutually respectful relationship early on.

Shar Pei Training

It is refreshingly easy to house-train a Shar Pei because they are naturally clean animals and they are unlikely to relieve themselves in their home environment. In fact, they have been known to train themselves!

The Shar Pei is naturally independent and you will need to start training and socialising the dog as soon as possible. Make sure there are plenty of positive interactions with other dogs and humans. Practice positive reinforcement rather than punishment-based training.

Shar Pei Socialisation

A good way to ensure your Shar Pei grows into a well adjusted adult is to take them outside as much as possible. Ensure they can interact with other dogs of various shapes, sizes and breeds.

Try to enrol your Shar Pei in a training class where they will be around new dogs and new humans at the same time. Puppy classes are fantastic for sociaisation.

Shar Pei dogs should also be introduced to a variety of humans at an early age including men, women and children.

Have guests over regularly.

Shar Pei Exercise

The Shar Pei needs regular moderate exercise, but this involves a few brisk walks rather than hours of running around the park.

Due to their hunting instincts it’s not a great idea to let them run wild in the country.

Shar Pei Health

The Shar Pei, like most pedigree dogs, is prone to a wide variety of health problems.

Shar Pei Fever

Shar Pei fever is normally a short lived inflammatory condition which can cause high temperatures and aching joints.

This fever is not normally life threatening, but it can be the first step towards the dog developing amyloidosis, which refers to a build up in the dogs liver, kidneys, spleen and/or gastrointestinal tract, and this can prove fatal.

This condition is linked to the same gene which causes the Shar Pei’s wrinkles and so, whilst the correlation has not been confirmed, if you buy the less wrinkley ‘bone-mouth’ Shar Pei you may have less health concerns to worry about.

Shar Pei Eye Problems

The Shar Pei is known to suffer from a variety of eye problems. These include chemosis (which involves puffiness of the white area surrounding the eyeball), cherry eye (which results in the dog experiencing red and inflamed eyes),and entropion (where the dogs eyelids seem to roll into the eye for particularly painful and sometimes blinding results).

If your Shar Pei has difficulty opening their eyes then you may need to take them to the vet for a temporary ‘eye tacking’ procedure.

Shar Pei Wrinkles

The Shar Pei loose and wrinkly skin may be one of their biggest selling points, but it can also cause a multitude of problems.

They often suffer from a condition called demodetic mange which is caused by mites. All dogs have mites living in their skin and it is normally harmless, but if the dogs immune system because weak the demodetic mange can result in hair loss, itchy skin and sometimes even total baldness.

This is a treatable condition, although it can be hard to fully eradicate, and treatments involve shampoos, ointments, antibiotics and other forms of medication.

It is very important to clean and dry your Shar Pei’s skin very carefully, especially within the loose skin folds, because if regular grooming is neglected it can result in irritations, sores and even mould.

Shar Pei Ear Problems

The Shar Pei typically has narrow, folded-over ear laps and thick ear canals which limit air circulation and typically result in excessive wax and potential ear infections if neglected.

Shar Pei Breathing Difficulties

The Shar Pei typically has a small, squashed and tightly pinched nose which means that not only will they get out of breath easily but it may be hard for them to breath in general.
Shar Pei brachycephalic problems are not as extreme as the Pug or other breeds with smaller noses, but it is still a valid concern. Snoring is a distinct feature of many Pei.

Shar Pei Life Expectancy

Shar Pei dogs will generally live for around 8-11 years depending on their health, and many have lived much longer.

Shar Pei Size

The Chinese Shar Pei is a medium sized dog which is typically around 18-20 inches (45 to 50) cm tall. A Shar Pei weight will usually be around 21 to 28 kg (45-60 pounds).

The Shar Pei is a sturdy dog, but they are normally more stocky then fat.