Chinese Shar-Pei

Home > Dog Breeds > Chinese Shar-Pei
45-60 lbs
Chinese fighting dog

The Chinese Shar-Pei is a large dog marked by its wrinkled head and face. The Chinese Shar-Pei weighs an average of fifty pounds and stands at about eighteen inches high. The Chinese Shar-Pei may be a descendant of the Chow-Chow; both dogs have a blue-black tongue. Some people often confuse the two breeds. We do know the Chinese Shar-Pei was a farm dog used by the Chinese for hunting, tracking, herding, protecting stock, and as a guard dog. Unfortunately, some owners used the Chinese Shar-Pei in dogfighting as it was believed that that wrinkly skin and prickly coat made the dog harder for the other dog to grab on to. The breed almost became extinct during the Communist Revolution; however, with the help of a Hong Kong businessman, Americans became interested in the breed. The American Kennel Club accepted the Chinese Shar-Pei as a recognized breed in 1992, and now the Chinese Shar-Pei is one of the most recognized breeds in the United States.

multipurpose working farm dog
Date of Origin
206 BC
chow chow

Chinese Shar-Pei Health

Average Size
Height: 18-20 inches Weight: 45-60 lbs
Height: 18-20 inches Weight: 45-60 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Entropion
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Kidney Problems
  • Chinese Shar-Pei Fever
  • Mast Cell Tumors
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Demodectic Mange
  • Skin Problems
  • Heat Sensitivity
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Elbow
  • Blood
  • Knee
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination

Chinese Shar-Pei Breed History

Believed to be a descendant of the Chow-Chow because of their blue-black tongue, the Chinese Shar-Pei is found pictured on pottery dating back to 206 B.C. Shar-Peis were used in hunting, guarding the family, herding livestock, and as ratters. Chinese Shar-Peis had great endurance and could work all day alongside their masters. The Chinese believed that the Shar-Pei’s wrinkles and dark mouth warded off evil spirits. Once near extinction, the Chinese Shar-Pei (meaning of name sandy coat) was accepted by the American Kennel Club as a recognized breed in 1992, an event which helped spur the proliferation of the breed. There are now over 70,000 dogs registered with the AKC as foundation stock. Shar-Peis are extremely loyal; they are great watchdogs. Human handlers must establish that they are in control; if a Chinese Shar-Pei views the handler as “soft” or “inconsistent,” he will try to become “the boss.” It is of the utmost importance that the handler establishes a consistent leadership role. Chinese Shar-Peis are actually easy to housebreak, and are prone to slobbering. Chinese Shar-Peis do best when bathed weekly and brushed daily.

Chinese Shar-Pei Breed Appearance

The Chinese Shar-Pei is characterized as having a large body, a large, square head, and wide muzzle. Chinese Shar-Peis have a blue-black tongue and a scissors bite. Its eyes are small and sunken in a sea of wrinkles. The Shar-Pei has high-set, triangular ears which are small and rounded at the tips. Puppies of this breed tend to have more wrinkles than the adult dogs. Chinese Shar-Peis have three coat variations: horse-coat, brush-coat, and bear-coat. The bear-coat is rare, and is thought to be related to the Chow-Chow ancestry. The bear-coat is not recognized by the AKC as the standard for the breed, and so the rarity is not something show dogs should have. The horse-coat is also unusual, rough to the touch, and extremely prickly and off-standing. The brush-coat has longer hair and a smoother feel. The coat on all varieties is up to one inch in length, and all solid coat colors and sables are standard for Shar-Peis.

Eye Color Possibilities
Nose Color Possibilities
Coat Color Possibilities
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Chinese Shar-Pei Breed Maintenance

Because Chinese Shar-Peis are prone to skin infections and skin issues, ideally this breed should be brushed daily and washed weekly. Care should be taken when cleaning and drying the many folds characteristic to this breed; dirt and moisture can build up within the folds, providing a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. Chinese Shar-Peis are sensitive to heat and should be kept cool at all times. The wrinkles on their heads serve as insulators. If the dog is outside, shade should always be provided. They require daily exercise, but handlers should be careful not to over-exercise the dog. Exercise is welcome though, the Chinese Shar-Pei will love backyard time and especially enjoy human companionship which should always be the case when a pet is outside. Leash walks and dog park socialization are additional activities that should be a regular part of the Shar-Pei's day.

Brushes for Chinese Shar-Pei
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Chinese Shar-Pei Temperament

Chinese Shar-Peis are intelligent, playful, active, and courageous, but they are also quite dominant. Handlers should work to establish a consistent leadership early on in a relationship with a Chinese Shar-Pei. These canines are easygoing and calm. They are also good watchdogs because they are so devoted to their masters. They may or may not take commands from other family members (other than their primary handler) if the family member appears to be too uncertain, soft, or mild in the opinion of the dog. Masters or handlers must be extremely consistent and firm with a Chinese Shar-Pei. Because they tend to be dominant, they will try to “take over” if they feel the human handler is not authoritative enough. Fortunately, the Chinese Shar-Pei is one of the easier breeds to housebreak; however, they are not fond of water. Raised with cats and children, this dog will accept them into his family group with no problems. Chinese Shar-Peis must be socialized with other dogs from an early age; they tend to be dominant in dog relationships.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
8 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Chinese Shar-Pei Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.2 - $1.4
Monthly Cost
$34 - $45

Chinese Shar-Pei Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 24 lbs
Height: 16 inches Weight: 24 lbs
12 Months
Height: 19 inches Weight: 42 lbs
Height: 19 inches Weight: 42 lbs
18 Months
Height: 19 inches Weight: 52 lbs
Height: 19 inches Weight: 52 lbs

Top Chinese Shar-Pei Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Chinese Shar-Pei breeders of 2017.
Laurens Chinese Shar-pei
Palm Beach, Florida
Margem Hills Chinese Shar Pei
Tualatin, Oregon
Brekkukots Chinese Shar Pei
Santa Clarita, California
Tuck N Roll Acres Chinese Shar Pei
Tualatin, Oregon
Royal Chinese Shar Pei
Provo, Utah
Blessings Shar Pei
Spokane, Washington
China Skye Shar Pei
Apache Junction, Arizona
Luther, Oklahoma
Waltmans Wrinkles and Wrinkles
Wichita, Kansas
Destiny Chinese Shar Pei
Rochester, Minnesota

Chinese Shar-Pei Owner Experiences