Chinese Shar-Pei: An Overview of the Breed Standard

Chinese Shar-Pei: An Overview of the Breed Standard

Are you considering adding a Chinese Shar-Pei to your family, or are you simply curious about this unique breed? In this article, we will provide an in-depth look at the breed standard of the Chinese Shar-Pei. From their distinctive wrinkled skin to their loyal and independent personality, you will learn everything you need to know about this ancient and fascinating breed. So, whether you are a seasoned Shar-Pei owner or a potential new pet parent, read on to discover more about the Chinese Shar-Pei breed standard.

History of the Chinese Shar-Pei

Origins of the breed

The Chinese Shar-Pei is an ancient breed that originated in China, with a history that dates back over 2,000 years. They were originally bred for various purposes, such as hunting, herding, and guarding. The breed is known for its distinctive wrinkles and unique appearance, which sets it apart from other dog breeds.

Evolution of the Shar-Pei in China

Over the years, the Chinese Shar-Pei has evolved and adapted to its environment in China. They were primarily used as working dogs on farms and in rural areas, where they excelled in tasks such as herding livestock and guarding property. The breed’s strong and muscular build, combined with their loyal and protective nature, made them valuable assets to their owners.

As the breed gained popularity, they began to be recognized for their unique appearance and temperament. They were eventually bred for their wrinkles, which became a defining characteristic of the breed. Today, the Chinese Shar-Pei is known for being a loyal and affectionate companion, as well as a formidable guard dog.

Overall, the history of the Chinese Shar-Pei is a testament to the breed’s resilience and adaptability, as they have continued to thrive and prosper in both China and around the world.

Physical Characteristics

Distinctive Features

The Chinese Shar-Pei is easily recognizable by its unique wrinkled skin, especially around the face and neck. These wrinkles are a defining characteristic of the breed and give the Shar-Pei a distinct appearance. In addition to their wrinkles, Shar-Peis have a blue-black tongue, which is another distinguishing feature that sets them apart from other breeds.

Coat Types and Colors

Chinese Shar-Peis have a short, bristly coat that can come in a variety of colors, including cream, fawn, red, black, and blue. Some Shar-Peis also have a "horse coat," which is shorter and rougher than the standard brush coat. The coat of a Shar-Pei requires minimal grooming, making them a low-maintenance breed in terms of grooming needs.

Body Structure

The Chinese Shar-Pei is a medium-sized breed with a sturdy and muscular build. They have a square-shaped body, with a broad head and strong jaws. Shar-Peis have a slightly arched back and a high-set tail that curls over their back. Overall, the Shar-Pei is a well-balanced and compact dog with a confident and dignified demeanor.

Temperament and Behavior

The Chinese Shar-Pei is known for their independent and aloof nature. They are a confident breed that can be quite reserved with strangers, but are extremely loyal and protective of their family. Despite their wrinkled appearance, they are not a particularly wrinkly breed when it comes to their personality.

Personality traits

Chinese Shar-Peis are known to be strong-willed and stubborn at times. They are a breed that requires a firm and consistent hand when it comes to training and handling. However, with proper socialization and training, they can be very loving and affectionate towards their family members. They are also known to be quite playful and have a good sense of humor.

Suitability as a family pet

While Chinese Shar-Peis can be loyal and loving towards their family, they may not be the best choice for families with small children. Their independent nature can sometimes make them less tolerant of rough handling or loud noises. They also have a strong protective instinct, which can lead to aggression towards strangers if not properly socialized.

Training and socialization

Training and socialization are crucial for Chinese Shar-Peis from a young age. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques and consistency in training. Early socialization is important to help them become well-rounded and confident dogs. It is also important to establish yourself as the pack leader to prevent any potential behavior issues down the line.

Health Considerations

When considering getting a Chinese Shar-Pei, it’s important to be aware of the potential health issues that are common in this breed. By understanding these health considerations, you can better care for your Shar-Pei and ensure they lead a happy and healthy life.

Common health issues

Chinese Shar-Peis are known to be prone to certain health issues, including:

  1. Skin problems: Shar-Peis have unique wrinkled skin which can lead to skin infections and irritations if not properly cared for.

  2. Entropion: This is a condition where the eyelids roll inward, causing irritation to the eye. Regular eye checks are necessary for Shar-Peis.

  3. Hip dysplasia: This is a common issue in many dog breeds, including the Shar-Pei. It can cause pain and mobility issues in the hips.

  4. Familial Shar-Pei fever: This is a hereditary condition that causes fevers and joint pain in Shar-Peis.

By being aware of these common health issues, you can work with your veterinarian to create a proactive healthcare plan for your Chinese Shar-Pei.

Exercise and diet recommendations

To help maintain the health of your Chinese Shar-Pei, it’s important to provide them with regular exercise and a balanced diet. Shar-Peis are a medium-sized breed with moderate exercise needs. Daily walks and playtime in a fenced yard are recommended to keep them healthy and happy.

In terms of diet, it’s important to feed your Shar-Pei a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age and activity level. Avoid overfeeding, as Shar-Peis are prone to obesity which can exacerbate health issues such as hip dysplasia.

Grooming needs

The unique wrinkled skin of the Chinese Shar-Pei requires regular grooming to prevent skin infections. It’s important to clean in between the wrinkles regularly and keep the skin dry to avoid irritation. Regular baths and brushings are also necessary to keep their coat healthy and clean.

In addition to skincare, Shar-Peis also require regular nail trims, dental care, and ear cleanings to maintain their overall health and wellbeing.

By understanding and addressing the health considerations of the Chinese Shar-Pei breed, you can ensure that your furry friend lives a long and healthy life.

Breed Standard and Recognition

Official breed standards

The Chinese Shar-Pei is a unique and distinctive breed that is recognized by various kennel clubs around the world. The official breed standards for the Chinese Shar-Pei outline the specific physical and temperamental characteristics that define the breed. These standards typically include details on the breed’s size, coat color and texture, head shape, ear shape, and tail carriage. Additionally, the standards may also specify the breed’s temperament traits, such as loyalty, independence, and protectiveness.

Recognition by major kennel clubs

The Chinese Shar-Pei is recognized by major kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom. These organizations have established breed standards for the Chinese Shar-Pei and include the breed in their official registries. Recognition by these major kennel clubs is important for breeders and owners who wish to participate in conformation shows and other competitive events.

Breed-specific competitions

In addition to standard conformation shows, there are also breed-specific competitions and events that cater specifically to Chinese Shar-Pei owners and enthusiasts. These events may include specialized conformation classes, agility trials, obedience competitions, and more. Participating in breed-specific competitions can be a great way for Chinese Shar-Pei owners to showcase their dogs’ unique qualities and abilities, as well as to connect with other breed enthusiasts.


In conclusion, the Chinese Shar-Pei is a unique and ancient breed with a distinctive wrinkled appearance and a strong, independent personality. Their history as a versatile working dog in China has influenced their breed standard, which emphasizes their protective nature, loyalty, and moderate size. For potential owners considering welcoming a Chinese Shar-Pei into their home, it is important to understand and appreciate the characteristics outlined in the breed standard to ensure a harmonious relationship with this special canine companion.