The Chinese Shar-pei!

The Chinese Shar-pei is automatically noticed for its loose, droopy, and wrinkly skin and corresponding stern, mournful expression. They are an intelligent, alert breed that was originally bred for fighting but now serves as an excellent family dog. They have a wide “hippo” face and legs that are stubby and short. The Chinese Shar-pei has three coat varieties, the horse coat, the brush coat, and the rare bear coat (this is not recognized by the American Kennel Club). Coat colors range from solids to sables.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
8-11 years

Energy Level:
Below average. Stubborn.

Living Conditions:
Flexible. Sensitive to heat.


Exercise Needs:
Do not exercise puppies. Adults: 30 minute daily walk.

Breed Group:


18 – 20 inches

45-60 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Sable, other solid colors

National breed club:
The Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America

Chinese Shar-pei Skills

The Chinese Shar-pei can be traced back to the ancient Han dynasty in China and in its southern provinces. They were known then as fighting dogs although they were also used to shepherd, hunt, and guard the farm and the family. It nearly became an extinct breed (it was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for world’s rarest dog) but for a timely appeal for help in the 1970s and has grown to more than 70,000 dogs today in the US alone.

Chinese Shar-pei Personality

The Chinese Shar-pei is an intelligent dog that will give its loyalty and affection to a handler, master, or owner who has earned its respect. It will not blindly follow orders but can also be playful and dominant. The Chinese Shar-pei can bond easily with its family and remain aloof and distant from strangers. It can adapt with other household pets if it has been socialized well from a young age. They can become stubborn but that can be overcome with gentle and firm training.

Exercise Needs

Daily 30 minute walks should suffice. However, it is not advisable to exercise the Chow Chow when they’re still a young puppy, as that can make them susceptible to joint problems.

Living Conditions

The Chinese Shar-pei will be fine with apartment living so long as it gets enough exercise. It does move around indoors and does not really require a yard. The Chinese Shar-pei is sensitive to heat, though, and will need shade from the sun.

Grooming Requirements

As a breed, the Chinese Shar-pei can be somewhat high maintenance. Because its coat has many folds, owners must pay attention that there is no irritation hiding inside. To keep the coat looking beautiful, it must be brushed regularly with a bristle brush.

Health Issues

The Chinese Shar-pei is known to have constant skin problems and eye issues such as entropion and other such allergies.

If you liked this dog…

...try looking at the Shiba Inu, a member of the same breed group with origins from Japan. The Shiba Inu is known to be independent, spirited, and bold; like the Chinese Shar-pei, it will give its loyalty and affection to someone who demonstrates leadership and who has earned its respect.


Chinese Shar-pei


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