A complete guide to Chinese Shar Pei dogs

The Chinese Shar Pei is one of the most recognizable dog breeds, primarily due to its trademark wrinkles. The origin of the breed is unknown, but it is believed to date back to southern China in the year 200 B.C. (and quite possibly earlier). The name translates to "sand skin."


Height: These dogs typically measure in at 18 inches to 20 inches at the withers. Miniature Shar Pei dogs are, unsurprisingly, shorter in height.

Weight: Typical weight is 45 pounds to 60 pounds.

Coat: There are three different varieties of coat found in Shar Pei dogs: horse coat, brush coat and the much more rare bear coat. The horse coat is coarse and prickly. The brush coat is longer and much smoother. Coats come in many different colors and spotting is not particularly unusual.

Ears and Eyes: Ears are very small, high-set and triangular in shape. Eyes are small, sunken and almond-shaped.

Tail: The tail is set very high, making it one of this breed's most notable characteristics. The tail is thick at the base and tapers as it extends from the body. It is often curled forward over the body.


This breed is very loyal, in addition to being quite playful. It can be stubborn, so it is important for Shar Pei dogs to receive early and effective training. Additionally, these dogs can be aloof around strangers.

AKC Group: Non-sporting

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Training: It is important that these dogs receive firm and confident obedience training, in order to establish dominance. If a Shar Pei lacks and authority figure, it is far more likely to display behavioral problems.

Ideal Environment: Provided they are given ample exercise time outdoors, Shar Pei dogs are suitable for life in an apartment or condo. They are not ideal dogs for homes with young children, as they do not always respond positively to rough play.

Health and Care

Feeding: It is recommended that owners feed their dogs two small meals a day, rather than one large meal. This can help reduce begging behaviors and decrease the chance of bloat.

Grooming: Typically these dogs are very clean and require only minimal grooming. Regular brushing, along with an occasional bath and nail clipping, should do the trick.

Exercise: Daily exercise is essential, as they can misbehave if they become bored or restless.

Health Problems: This breed is often prone to kidney failure. Skin issues are also common, although it is a misconception that they are caused by wrinkled skin (in actuality, they are hereditary and have nothing to do with wrinkles).

Average Lifespan: A typical Shar Pei will live for up to 10 years.

Buying a Shar Pei Puppy

Our advice is to avoid puppy mills when shopping for Shar Pei puppies. Mills don't usually practice ethical breeding and this can lead to health problems for the animals they sell. We recommend looking for a reputable dog breeder in your local area. Expect to pay about $800 for a Shar Pei puppy from a certified breeder.