chinese shar pei puppy laying down looking at viewer isolated on white background

Chinese Shar-Pei

Breed Characteristics

Loving to his family but reserved with strangers. The Shar-Pei is generally not fond of water and often tries to avoid it. Has low tolerance to heat.

Is the Chinese Shar-Pei approved as a pet in a Singapore HDB flat?



China (Han Dynasty), 1200s. Pictures on pottery suggest the breed had existed as far back as 206 BC. By the 13th century, the Shar Pei's existence is evident though literatures that described a wrinkled dog. Its origins cannot be determined because it and the Chow Chow have blue-black tongues, and both come from China, therefore it is likely that they share similar ancestry. During the Communist Revolution the Shar-Pei population shrank towards the point of extinction. The turning point occurred with a 1973 study that warned American enthusiasts to the breed's predicament. Then touted as one of the world's rarest dog, enthusiasts grappled to obtain the few available Shar-Peis. The breed has since been brought from critically endangered to the height of popularity.

Original Purpose

Hunting wild boar; dog fighting; ratter; herder; protector of livestock and homes.

Behaviour and Temperament

Independent, calm, self-assured, alert, regal, friendly.

What are some Physical Features of the Chinese Shar-Pei?

45.5 to 51 cm; 20.5 to 27 kg. The tongue is blue-black (like Chow Chows). The original Chinese description of the Shar-Pei included a head like a “melon-shaped pear,” ears like clamshells, a nose like a butterfly, a back like a shrimp, and a neck like a water buffalo. Solid colours include black, cream, fawn, or red.

Coat Type and Recommended Grooming

A distinctive feature of the breed: short, harsh and sandy coat. The coat is straight and offstanding on the body, but generally flatter on the limbs. No undercoat. The coat may vary in length from 1 cm to 2.5 cm. Never trimmed. Low maintenance; once-a-week brushing. Special care needed for folds of the skin. Moderate shedding.

Life Expectancy of the Chinese Shar-Pei

9 to 10 years.

Have a Chinese Shar-Pei?

Health Concerns

Skin allergies, orthopaedic problems (OCD, elbow dysplasia), eye problems (entropion). The breed is vulnerable to kidney failure (amolydosis), causing fevers, often occurring with swollen hocks.

Exercise Needs

Moderate. The Shar-Pei’s demand for exercise is considerable. Daily walks are necessary, but refrain from exercising them in the heat, to which they have low tolerance.


Can adapt to any living situation. Can be suited for apartment living if sufficiently exercised. Shades should be provided in the yard and water made available at all times.


If not socialised, not good with children. Reserved toward strangers. Not good with other dogs but usually gets along fine with other pets if socialised early. Show lines tend to be less dog-aggressive.


Low to average; this independent breed needs firm and patient training, however, this breed is very clean and one of the easier breeds to housebreak.

Recommended Activities

Companion, obedience.