Breed Group: Non-Sporting Group
Shoulder Height: 18-22 in.
Weight: 40-65 lb.
Life Span: 10 years
Colors: Apricot, black, sable, blue, brown, chocolate, cream, fawn, red, Isabella, lilac, white
- The Chinese Shar-Pei, or simply Shar-Pei, is one of the oldest breeds in the world, but was not recognized by the AKC until 1992. Their ancestry remains a mystery, however they were thought to have developed in South China around the time of the Han Dynasty (200 BC).
- Numbers of Shar-Pei declined dramatically during the social upheaval associated with the creation of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
- The name Shar-Pei means "sand skin", referring to their short stiff coat.
- Their characteristic skin wrinkles are caused by a genetic condition called mucinosis.
A compact, sturdy dog, the Shar-Pei has been a popular breed in China for thousands of years. It was not until they were finally recognized in the nineties, however, that Western attention began to grow. Today, they are one of the best-known breeds in the world, with families everywhere falling in love with their comical face, blue tongue and skin wrinkles.
Individual members of this breed adore their humans as soon as they are brought into their homes. They are loyal to a fault, having a tendency to be overprotective without proper social training. They do not like being away from their humans for extended periods of time. Shar-Peis are normally standoffish and reserved with strangers as well as with other dogs, but can get along fine with those whom they are in consistent contact with. This is largely due to their origins as a guard dog.
The breed does not bark very often and exercise is necessary to keep the animal happy. With solid training and quick socialization, the Shar-Pei can be a wonderful addition to your family.
The Shar-Pei has several health issues that prospective owners must be aware of.
- The breed can suffer from various skin allergies as a result of their wrinkles.
- Some individuals have a serious congenital disease called Familial Shar-Pei Fever, or FSF. This illness results in short fevers that only last a day or two, but it can develop into a condition called amyloidosis, which can lead to kidney failure and death. Prompt treatment of fever episodes is needed to manage this condition.
- Entropion is a painful eye condition that causes the Shar-Pei's eyelashes to curl inward. It may lead to blindness, but can be corrected with surgery.
- These dogs can suffer from luxating patellas, or loose kneecaps, which can lead to arthritis.
- The mascot for Purex toilet paper is a Shar-Pei.
- Lao-Tzu is the name of Martin Prince's Shar-Pei on The Simpsons.
- Jonathan Knight, a member of New Kids on the Block, kept a Shar-Pei named Nikko that accompanied him on tour.
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