You probably have already heard of the Shar Pei dog. His wrinkles and small shell-shaped ears are his main physical features. He is a strong-willed dog that needs consistent leadership and close family connection.
Personality of the Shar Pei dog
The Shar Pei usually radiates peacefulness and serenity. He is loyal and loving to his family and especially his caregiver, to whom he is closely connected. Although he is not playful, thanks to his stoic serenity, he gets along well in a family and with children.
On the other hand, he is less friendly towards other dogs or animals. For example, he sometimes exhibits dominant behavior. Early socialization as well as training will help. With the right training, the intelligent and proud Shar Pei learns to master himself and not to be provoked.
In addition, the Shar Pei is considered a reliable guard dog that protects his family attentively and confidently at all times. Although he initially treats strangers cautiously to reservedly, he is courageous and self-confident enough to defend his family with full commitment – if the situation so requires it.
It is not only the apparent contradictions in his character that make the Shar Pei a very special dog. From a purely external point of view, this pedigree dog is anything but ordinary. The Chinese standard puts this right: “Ears like mussels, the nose like a butterfly, the head big as a melon, grandmother’s face, the neck like a hippopotamus, the buttocks like a horse and the legs like a dragon.”
Particularly striking are his wrinkles on the head and back, which have earned him the nickname “Chinese folding dog”. However, the characteristic formation of wrinkles should by no means be bred “artificially”, as has often happened in the past.
How big will the Shar Pei be?
Shar Peis will grow up to 20 inches. Depending on the size, the weight of an adult Shar Peis should be between 30 and 50 lbs. Today’s pedigree dogs look a little more massive overall than their ancestors. This picture is reinforced by their large head.
Characteristic of the Shar Pei are also its curled tail and blue tongue, which suggests a relationship with the Chow Chow.
The Shar Pei is also versatile in terms of color. Except white, all fur colors are possible. It ranges from a black, to a muted gray or a bright reddish brown to a light sand and cream tone. The coat is short, rough and has no warming undercoat. The Shar Pei therefore cannot tolerate cold temperatures well.
The Shar Pei is one of the so-called “ancient breeds”, which are genetically strongly distinguished from other dog breeds. Dogs of its type existed 2000 years ago in southern provinces of China. Even if the exact origin has not been definitively clarified, the breed can be traced to the Han dynasty (206 BC) on the basis of illustrations and finds.
Unlike the pug with whom he has in common the country of origin China and a similarly long history, the home of the Shar Peis was not in the emperor’s palaces, but in the farms of poor farmers and fishermen. His jobs ranged from guarding the farm, to keeping the animals, to hunting small mice and rats. Even today, the versatile farm breed shows a certain hunting instinct, which requires appropriate caution from the owner, especially when running without a leash.
Caring for a Shar Pei dog
As with any other dog, the food for the Shar Pei should be balanced and of high quality. Above all, attention must be paid to the right amount of protein. Proteins are the most important source of energy for dogs and must not be missing in the food bowl. However, an excess of protein can lead to kidney and joint problems in Shar Pei, whose body cannot excrete too much protein. They should therefore resort to high-quality and easily digestible meat and fish as a source of protein and supplement them with a lot of vegetables.
What does the Shar Pei need?
The exact nutritional needs of your Shar Peis depend on its age, state of health, weight and level of activity. Thus, one food that is best for one Shar Pei can be considered insufficient for the other Shar Pei. If in doubt, get advice from your veterinarian, breeder or dog nutrition expert which nutrient mixture is right for your dog. Since Shar Peis are generally considered rather comfortable dogs without a great need for exercise, some representatives tend to be overweight, which can cause serious health problems. Therefore, feed your adult dog a maximum of twice a day and avoid “dog snacks” in between. Also make sure that he has enough fresh drinking water at his disposal.
The short, rough coat usually cleans itself and only needs contact with a cloth or brush from time to time. Contrary to popular belief, the skin wrinkles of the Shar Peis usually do not pose any problems. However, the prerequisite for this is that the wrinkles are not too pronounced as required by the standard and can only be recognized by the head and back. The excessive skin lobes of overbred shar peis, on the other hand, require constant control and cleaning, as inflammation can easily develop under the skin lobes.
The Shar Pei behaves as undemandingly as in terms of its care in terms of physical utilization. The cozy molosser rejects excessive effort and so you will rarely encounter a Shar Pei during dog sports. Nevertheless, you should give your dog the opportunity to exercise sufficiently every day – not least to avoid being overweight. If the daily rounds offer a little variety and you give him enough time to “sniff” the surroundings comfortably, Shar Peis can also be motivated to take long walks – unless it rains or snows too much, because these pedigree dogs do not like cold and water at all.