- Recent DNA studies indicate that the shar-pei is among the 14 most ancient breeds recognized by the AKC.
- Because it and the chow chow share a country of origin, are both ancient breeds and both have blue or black tongues, the two breeds probably share a similar origin.
- Some records indicate it was present in the southern provinces of China by 200 B.C., and even stronger evidence indicates that it was known by the 1200s.
- Much of the history of the breed has been lost. However, by the early 1900s the dogs were used by farmers as guard dogs, wild boar hunters, and for dog fighting.
- In 1968, the Hong Kong Kennel Club recognized them as a breed.
- In 1973, an article appearing in the American press named the shar-pei as the world's rarest dog. This sparked a flood of interest as western fanciers began efforts to save the breed.
- The AKC recognized the Chinese shar-pei in 1991.
- It is one of the most recognizable breeds in the world because of its abundant loose skin.
Chinese Shar-Pei Behavior Concerns
- Makes a devoted and protective family member.
- Generally tolerant of children, but may not be playful enough for them.
- Not overly demonstrative.
- Reserved toward, and even wary of, strangers.
- Not friendly towards strange dogs.
- Usually good with small family pets, but may chase livestock and other animals.
- Tends to be independent and stubborn. Rebels against forceful methods.
- Does best with a firm owner who can combine reward-based training with good control and leadership.
Chinese Shar-Pei Suggested Exercises
- Makes a calm and alert housedog.
- Requires daily exercise in the form of a leisurely walk, short jog, or quick game. It is not physically suited to overly vigorous exercise.
- Enjoys cold weather.
- Becomes overheated fairly easily.
- Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.
Chinese Shar-Pei Grooming
- The shar-pei comes in two acceptable two coat types (horse and brush), and an additional coat type (bear) that is not acceptable. The horse coat is made up of short bristly hair, while the brush coat is slightly longer and softer. Both types should be harsh and stand off the skin. The bear coat is longer still.
- The wrinkles the breed is known for are most apparent in puppyhood. Some adult dogs continue to have loose skin all over their body into adulthood, whereas others retain it only on their head.
- The coat needs brushing every week to remove dead hair.
- Wrinkles should be examined regularly and if needed, cleaned, to prevent irritation.
- Shedding is average.
Suggested Chinese Shar-Pei Nutritional Needs
- Shar-peis tend to stay in good weight or to be slightly overweight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Puppies should be fed a large-breed growth food, which slows their growing rate but not final size. This may decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia in adults.