20-25 kg (approx)
10-12 years (approx)
The Chinese Shar-Pei is a large dog with wrinkled skin. It has a square profile with a broad, flat head. The muzzle is wide, padded, and full. Like the Chow Chow, these dogs have a blue-black tongue. The small, sunken, almond-shaped eyes are dark, but maybe lighter in dogs with a dilute coloured coat. The high set, triangular ears are very small, and slightly rounded at the tips. The tail is thick at the base tapering to a fine point and set extremely high. Both heavily wrinkled dogs with large heads and smaller-headed dogs with tighter-looking skins occur in this breed. Puppies have more wrinkles than adults. Shar-Pei slowly loses their wrinkles as they get older. Coat colours include all solid colours and sables.
The ancestry of the Shar-Pei is uncertain. Pictures on pottery suggest the breed had existed even as far back as 206 BC. It may be a descendant of the Chow Chow, however, the only clear link between the two breeds is the purple tongue. The name "Shar-Pei" means sandy coat. The dogs were used as multipurpose working farm dogs for the Chinese, hunting, tracking, as a ratter, herding, protecting stock, and guarding the home and family. The dogs happily worked all day long. It was also used in dogfighting events where the loose skin and extremely prickly coat made it hard for the other dog to grab onto. The Chinese believed that the image of the wrinkles and black pigmented mouth would scare off any evil spirits.
Shar-Pei is very loyal to their handler. Intelligent playful, active, dominant, and brave. They bond with their family but are not unfriendly toward strangers. If the dog meets cats and children while they are still young, they usually will not have a problem with them. The Chinese Shar-Pei is easy-going, calm, independent, and devoted. They make a delightful companion and good watchdogs.
The Chinese Shar-Pei has a considerable need for exercise. Do not over-exercise them in the heat, as they are sensitive to it. The Shar-Pei should be brushed regularly. Their coat is never trimmed. This breed does not have an undercoat.