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Shar Pei Breed Profile

Shar Pei
The Shar Pei is one of the world’s most ancient breed of dogs. Statuettes depicting the breed have been found which place the dog in the Han dynasty of China, 206BC-220AD. In Chinese its name means ‘Sandpaper’ or ‘Sharks Skin’.

Other Names:
Chinese Shar Pei, The Barker, Chinese fighting dog

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Origin: China

Breed Purpose: Originally bred to herd and guard livestock and used for hunting wild boar. Later used for fighting.

Kennel Club Dog Group: Utility

Height: Both 46-51cm.

Weight: Both 18-25kg.

Lifespan: 9-10 years

Exercise Needs: The Shar Pei needs at least one good walk a day. They are sensitive to heat and should not be exercised when the sun is at its highest. They love to run with their owners and enjoy playing games.

Feeding Needs: The Shar Pei needs a well balanced diet that is low in protein. Too much protein in the diet causes skin complaints. Beef should not be given as this also has a detrimental effect on the skin. Quantities should relate to the amount of exercise the dog is given. Avoid overfeeding which can lead to obesity.

Common Ailments: Generally the Shar Pei is said to have an iron constitution. They can suffer with Entropian (eyelids rolling inwards) but this can be corrected with minor surgery. They also suffer from various skin complaints due to the wrinkled folds and genetics. They are prone to wet eczema and skin parasites.

Physical Description: The overall appearance of the Shar Pei is one of a sturdy, compact, solid dog that has a unique feature of excessive skin folds. The head is flat with a wide skull. The face is covered with an abundance of wrinkles. The muzzle is well padded and broad and is also covered with wrinkled skin. The eyes are small and have a frowning expression. The ears are small, triangular shaped and are set close to the skull. The Shar Pei has strong jaws with a regular scissor bite. Another unique feature of this dog is its blue/black tongue. The Shar Pei has a strong neck that is heavy with folds of skin. The body is wide with a deep chest and a short back that dips slightly in the middle of the topline. Excessive folds of skin cover the body especially at the front end. Puppies have more folds than adults. The legs are strong and muscular and the tail is thick and rounded at the base, tapering to a fine point. The tail is carried curled over the back. The coat is short and is bristly and rough to touch. The coat colours are black, tan, dark brown, beige and cream. All in all this is a strong, compact dog with a distinctive appearance and one that looks slightly aloof and mysterious.

Shar Pei K9 Obedience Dog Breed Summary:

The Shar Pei was bred to herd and hunt and then to fight but because the dog did not have an aggressive nature it had to be drugged before it would perform. The Shar Pei today is a calm and well balanced dog. It is playful, energetic, loyal and will guard its family from danger. This is a breed that thrives on human companionship, becoming so devoted to its family that it cannot be left alone for long periods and greatly dislikes being in kennels. It can become seriously distressed and will refuse food. The Shar Pei is very friendly with children but does not like rough play and should be supervised at all times. They do well in town or country as they are very adaptable to whatever exercise is given. They can also live in apartments as they have a knack of curling up in a small space and contentedly watching the family wander around. Whilst it is true that this dog is highly adaptable it still needs plenty of exercise to keep fit and healthy. This dog used to be quite aggressive with other dogs but selective breeding has largely controlled this characteristic and the Shar Pei of today is more placid and sociable. They still prefer to be the only dog in the family. Training is vital as the Shar Pei has a dominant nature. The owner must be confident and well versed in dog training methods. Any displays of violence or force and this dog will immediately lose confidence and respect for its owner. Consistency and firmness, patience and commitment will motivate this dog that learns what is required quickly and never forgets. Possibly the Shar Pei is not suitable for the elderly due to its exercise needs and grooming issues. All in all the Shar Pei is a quiet and well behaved companion that suits most families given correct training and exercise.
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