(aka: Chinese Fighting Dog)
The Chinese Shar-Pei is a medium sized dog with a very sturdy build. His distinctive wrinkly skin on his body and face make him stand out from the crowd, and his expression is often one of sulkiness and crossness. In fact, he sometimes looks positively mournful - simply because of the way the skin on the face wrinkles. The coat of the Chinese Shar-Pei is short, straight, and close fitting, and the coloring includes chocolate, black, red, sable, silver, fawn, and cream. The height of the Chinese Shar-Pei is around 18-20 inches, and the weight of the Chinese Shar-Pei is around 40-65 pounds.
Chinese Shar-Pei Temperament
An easy going breed, the Chinese Shar-Pei is a dog that can be friendly when well socialized, but can also be fiercely independent and aloof. This is a serious and confident dog, and often keeps himself to himself. The Chinese Shar-Pei is a dog that commands respect, but will also give mutual respect when properly trained and socialized. Aggression with other dogs and animals can be a problem, and this dog was bred originally as a fighting dog, which is an instinct that he may still have if provoked. It is important to ensure that this breed receives early socialization if you want him to be around children and other pets.
You will find that training the Chinese Shar-Pei can sometimes be a challenge, as he can be very obstinate and stubborn when he wants to be, and this means that he is probably best suited to those with some level of experience in dog ownership. A determined dog with plenty of stamina, the Chinese Shar-Pei does need regular walks. The breed is a born hunter, and may see cats as prey as well as attacking livestock, so great care must be taken not to let him off the leash if you are out and about.
The grooming requirements for the Chinese Shar-Pei are low, and you simply need to brush the short coat to keep it looking good. However, you should take care to check and clean the folds of the skin as well as the ears for hygiene and health reasons.
The Chinese Shar-Pei can be traced back to the province of Kwung Tung. It has existed in the southern provinces of China for centuries. They were typically the dogs of peasants. They helped the peasants with herding cattle, guarding the family and the home, and are qualified hunters of mainly wild pigs. Shar-Pei translated actually means "sand skin" or "shark skin." This rough and prickly coat was excellent in the dog fighting pits because it allowed the dogs to wiggle out of their opponent's grasp. In China they are referred to as fighting dogs and in Canada and the United States are referred to as guard dogs. They both reflect the same idea that these dogs were used for protection.
There is a theory that the Shar-Pei shares a common origin with the Chow Chow, because of the blue black mouths and tongues, the Great Pyrenees because of the double dewclaws, and the Tibetan Mastiff. Consistent with this, it is speculated that the first Shar-Pei actually appeared as a mutation.
After the establishment of the People's Republic of China as a communist nation the dog population was virtually wiped out. Thanks to Matgo Law and his dedication to the breed, a small number of Shar-Pei's were brought over to the United States in the 1960's and 1970's.
Training for the Shar-Pei is very important from a young age. It is very important that they be socialized at an early age. They can be quite aggressive towards other dogs and therefore should get used to being around other animals from a young age to reduce this. They are typically playful with children but again will do better if they are socialized around children from a young age. Socialization is also important because the Shar-Pei is known to get attached to only one person. They will protect and defend this person if they feel there is a threat. They will adjust to being a family dog and be loyal to the whole family. Socialization can help to minimize their aggressive nature. If not socialized correctly, they can be aggressive towards other dogs and their standoffishness around strangers can turn into shyness or sometimes aggression.
The Shar-Pei can have a very dominant and stubborn nature and therefore training can be quite difficult. It is important for the handler to have a strong, direct, and consistent training. The Shar-Pei needs to have a handler who can be the "Top Dog" so to speak. If the handler is soft, inconsistent, or wavering in their commands and training, the Shar-Pei will take over and become the dominant one in the relationship. Therefore, firm handling is the best method for this dog. However, they can be defiant in a family setting because they may only respond to commands from one person. It is important that if the dog is in a family setting that the dog gets trained to respond to all members of the family in the same way. It can be frustrating for the family if the dog responds to one family member and then acts dominantly towards others. Despite the firm handling that is necessary, there is one thing that the Shar-Pei does not need extensive training on. The Shar-Pei is known to house break itself. So, that makes life a little easier for the owner when the dog is a puppy and being integrated into the home.
The life expectancy of the Chinese Shar-Pei is around 7-12 years, and there are a number of health issues and disorders that are linked to this breed. Some of these include entropion, HD, thyroid problems, bloat, autoimmune problems, allergies and skin conditions, sensitivity to chemicals and medications, and mal-absorption. The parents of the Chinese Shar-Pei should have OFA and CERF certificates.