Dog Breeds 101: Shar Pei

Dog Breeds 101 - Shar Pei - WP
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Originally from China, the Shar Pei is an ancient dog breed best known for its black and blue tongue and its wrinkles. This dog can be traced back to the Chow Chow; however, there is no clear linkage between the two apart from their similar tongues.

In 1978, the Shar Pei was declared as the rarest dog breed by the Guinness Book of World Records and TIME magazine. In fact, the American Kennel Club did not recognize the Shar Pei until 1991. However, over time this dog has become extremely popular.

The Shar Pei is born with many wrinkles that will remain all over its body for the rest of its life. These wrinkles are mostly located on their face, shoulders, and legs. Their skin continues to loosen as the dogs grow older. Thier coats can be found in a variety of colors such as cream, red fawn, chocolate, apricot, sable, black, blue, or fawn.

Also, the Shar Pei is considered to be an intelligent and unique breed of dog that was originally bred by the Chinese to be a hunting and farm dog. Eventually, they became fighting dogs. Their breeding for diverse tasks on the farm is what makes this breed excel in tracking, herding, and catching. [1]

This breed needs to be socialized at an early age. Like other breeds of intelligent fighting dogs, Shar Peis may become willful, stubborn, and territorial. Nonetheless, these behaviors may be controlled with adequate training. These dogs love to play but are also extremely dominant and will display bravery at all costs. [2]

Given their history as a guard dog, it is not a surprise that the Chinese Shar Pei is independent and reserved. Also, they can be suspicious of strangers causing them to become aloof and standoffish toward them. Yet, with proper introduction and socialization the Shar Pei can overcome these tendencies.

Many owners of the Shar Pei claim their dog is devoted and loyal to their family. These active and playful dogs are also known for their very affectionate nature. Furthermore, they make excellent companions and watchdogs.

Shar Peis can thrive living in apartments without backyards. Of course, they still do need adequate daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. It is also important for potential Shar Pei owners to keep in mind that these dogs do not adapt well to warm climates. This breed prefers cooler and more moderate temperatures.

The Chinese Shar Pei must be brushed regularly, but never trimmed because they do not have undercoats. Healthy Shar Peis can live up to ten years.



[2] Vince Stead, Training and Understanding Your Chinese Shar-Pei Dog and Puppies Behavior (vince stead, 2011).

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