Chinese Shar-Pei originated in the southern provinces of China and has been known since 200 B.C. The communist government of the People’s Republic of China has on more than one occasion tried to eradicate dogs, and although these efforts have, at times, driven the Shar-Pei close to extinction, breeders in Hong Kong and Taiwan kept the breed alive prior to its introduction to the western world.
The Chinese Shar-Pei dog breed has a unique look. The head is large, the muzzle is padded (or meaty), the eyes are small, and the ears are small and folded against the head. The body is square, while the tail is set very high and curls over the back. Chinese Shar-Pei Puppies’ skin is loose and wrinkled, while adults keep wrinkles on the head, neck, and forequarters.
The Chinese Shar-Pei coat is harsh, short (up to 1 inch in length), and stands out from the skin. Solid colors are acceptable, with some shading down the back and on the ears. The Shar-Pei is easy to groom. Shar-Pei are clean dogs that require little more care than an occasional bath, regular ear cleaning, and toenail clipping. The Shar-Pei is usually quiet in the house but loves to run and play outside. Long, brisk walks morning and evening and a chance to play will keep this breed satisfied. Early socialization is important to this breed, as the Shar-Pei is wary of strangers. Training should also be started young.
This bright breed can be independent and stubborn; training can help the dog become more compliant. The breed was initially a peasant’s dog—versatile and hard-working, used for guard duty, hunting, and herding. The Chinese Shar-Pei needs an experienced dog owner who understands this breed’s temperament. The breed can be good with children who treat the dog with respect. The breed is not social with other dogs. Health concerns include cancer and immune system problems.