The Shar Pei Dog - The Right Dog for You? - Pooche Supplies

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The Shar Pei Dog - The Right Dog for You?

January 26, 2020 5 min read

Shar Pei Dog sitting on the grass with the back to the camera, looking over its shoulder.

If you have ever thought about owning a Shar Pei, then read on. The following article will discuss all about the Shar Pei. Topics covered with include, the dog’s history, hygiene and care as well as grooming and exercise needs.


The Shar Pei dog in short




Moderate, twice yearly shedding occurs


 Non-sporting group

 Bark behaviour

Without early training can tend to bark at strangers and other dogs

Life range

8-12 years

Drool behaviour



Female 46-51 cm (18-20 in)

Male 46-51cm (18-20 in)

Social needs

Early socialization needed to prevent aggressive behaviour


Female 18-25 kg (39-55 lbs)

Male 25-30 kg (55-66 lbs)

Required exercise

Around one hour of moderate daily exercise. Caution needed in the heat


Rough & Prickly

Bear coat- longer coat with a smoother feel



















Inner City Dwellers


Origin and History


The Shar Pei is an ancient breed of dog and it is believed to have originated in China in around 200bc.



The Shar Pei first became known in the USA in the mid-1960s but gained popularity in the early 1970s.



It wasn’t until 1981 that the first Shar Pei was registered in Australia with the first litter being born in 1985.


United Kingdom

The first recorded Shar Pei in the United Kingdom was in 1775.


Bear coat Shar Pei 

Any Shar Pei with fur that is longer than 2.5 cm (1 in) at the withers, middle of shoulder blades is known as a bear coat Shar Pei.

 Bear Coat Shar Pei Dog sitting on the street

Nature and personality

The Shar Pei is an intelligent and somewhat stubborn dog. Naturally clean and easy to house train, the Shar Pei requires early socialization to prevent from becoming overly aggressive towards strangers.

The Shar Pei can also be aggressive with other dogs and is often predatory towards cats.

It is not a dog that is recommended to be kept with livestock.


Responsibilities and caretaking

Training and exercise

The Shar Pei is a strong-willed dog and without a firm hand and early training can become unruly and hard to control.  It is recommended that training start from at around ten weeks of age. Teach your dog the verbal commands of, sit, stay, leave it. Early training and socialization with other dogs and also people are important as the Shar Pei has a tendency to be wary of people and other dogs.


The Shar Pei is a moderate-sized dog and it is recommended that they have around one hour exercise each day, for example, a half-hour brisk walk and some lively, energetic games.


The Shar Pei is a dog that does not do well in the heat, especially as their wrinkles trap the heat. Exercise should be done with caution during the hot weather and if at all possible should mostly be done indoors.

Shar Pei Dog laying outside on tiles next to a flower bed 

Feeding requirements

It is recommended that you feed your Shar Pei twice a day, this helps to limit begging behaviour and may help to stop bloating.


High-quality food is best and the prominent ingredient should be meat. Crude protein levels in food should be between 17-20% and crude fat in food should be at no more than 20%.  A Shar Pei does not require more than 20% of protein.


It is not recommended that a Shar Pei is free fed, where you leave your dog continuous access to food as it can lead to your Shar Pei gaining weight.

Feeding your Shar Pei puppy three meals a day until aged six months is best.


Precautions in feeding

Do not feed table scraps as the Shar Pei is prone to gain weight and all of those extra bits add up.

No pork, chicken, turkey or steak bones as the pork, chicken and turkey bones are known bacteria carriers. Bones from either leftover cooked or raw steak are too fine and brittle and can break causing broken teeth or even a perforated stomach.

Puppy Shar Pei Dog staying on the grass

Feeding technicalities

It is best to avoid changing a Shar Pei dogs’ diet too often. If a change to their diet has to be made it is best to do so gradually. This is because the Shar Pei is known to have a sensitive digestive system and a rapid feeding change or changing feeding too often can cause a problem with digestion.


Grooming and teeth

The coat of the Shar Pei requires regular bathing to keep it in good condition. Before bathing it is a good idea to go over his or her coat with a dryer to help remove any dirt or loose hair.


When bathing it is important to pay careful attention to your dog’s wrinkles and skin folds as these can contain odour and bacteria.

For a bear coat, Shar Pei, as well as the above twice weekly brushing, is recommended.



The Shar Pei usually has good teeth and twice weekly brushing is recommended to keep them in good condition.



Your Shar Pei requires early socialization in order for them to become used to other people and animals. Without this early training, they can have a tendency to be aggressive and territorial.

 Light brown, brown and dark brown Shar Pei dogs sitting in a basket.

Common health problems

The Shar Pei can develop quite a few health problems and as an owner, it is likely that you will need to call on your vet on a regular basis.  Health problems for the Shar Pei include,


Bone problems

Hip and elbow dysplasia 

Luxating patellar



Potential eye problems for your Shar Pei include,


Eye entropion or rolled in eyelids


Breathing issues

Often the nostrils of a Shar Pei are close together causing a problem where the cartilage of the nose is too soft and can be prone to collapsing. 

Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome or BOAS is a condition where the nose and upper jaw are shorter, but the soft tissue of both the nose and upper jaw remain unchanged therefore causing breathing problems.



It is common for the Shar Pei to suffer from a skin allergy called atopy which causes skin itching. His or her feet, tummy, ears and skin folds are most affected.


Other health issues

The Shar Pei because of its skin folds is also prone to skin issues caused by a build-up of dirt and bacteria within these folds of skin.


In conclusion

If you are after a dog that is a distinguished ancient breed, loyal and protective and who is confident then the Shar Pei just might be the dog for you.

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