A large, grey, short haired dog, with folds of skin around the head, eyes and muzzle sits on the grass. The dog has a small grey, button nose, wide set, sunken eyes and teeny, triangular, flopped over ears.

Shar Pei

18 July 2023

Let’s talk about… Shar Pei: what are they?

  • Shar Peis are a unique and ancient breed that originated in China.
  • They were originally bred for various purposes, including hunting, herding, and guarding.
  • They are known for their distinctive wrinkled skin, which sets them apart from other breeds.
  • They also have a blue-black tongue, which is also seen in Chow Chows, although there are no known genetic links of the breeds.
  • Shar Peis have a compact and muscular build, with a square-shaped head and small, sunken eyes.
  • On average, males can reach a height of 46-51 cm and females can reach a height of 46-51 cm.
  • They typically weigh between 18-29 kg.
  • The life expectancy of a Shar Pei is usually between 9-11 years.
Shar Pei  Exercise Needs 3/5 Grooming Ease 4/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Shar Peis like?

  • Shar Peis have a strong and independent temperament.
  • They are known for being loyal, protective, and reserved with strangers.
  • While they form strong bonds with their family, they can be aloof and wary of new people and unfamiliar situations.
  • Early socialisation and training are crucial to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded dogs.
  • Shar Peis can be calm and dignified, but they require a confident and consistent owner.
Buddy, the Shar Pei

How much exercise do Shar Peis need?

  • Shar Peis have moderate exercise needs and require around 1 hour of exercise each day.
  • They enjoy daily walks, play sessions in a securely fenced area, and interactive games.
  • It's important to provide mental stimulation along with physical exercise to keep their minds engaged.
  • Shar Peis also benefit from obedience training and activities that challenge their intelligence.
  • However, it's important to avoid overexertion in hot weather due to their short muzzle, which can make them prone to overheating.
  • Puppies have different exercise requirements compared to adult Shar Peis.
  • While they are growing and developing, their exercise should be age-appropriate and not excessive.
  • Shar Pei puppies can have short play sessions several times a day to help them burn off energy and socialise with other dogs and people.
  • However, it's important to avoid strenuous exercise or long walks that could put stress on their growing joints and bones.
  • Your vet can advise on the exercise requirements of your individual pooch.
Moose, the Shar Pei

Do Shar Peis need a lot of grooming?

  • Shar Peis have a short and dense coat that requires regular grooming to maintain its health and appearance.
  • Their wrinkles need special attention to prevent infections and keep them clean and dry.
  • Regular brushing with a soft bristle brush or grooming mitt will help remove loose hair and prevent matting.
  • Shar Peis are moderate shedders and may experience heavier shedding during seasonal changes.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.

Are Shar Peis easy to train?

  • Shar Peis are intelligent and can be independent thinkers, which can make training a bit challenging.
  • They have a strong will and may be stubborn at times.
  • However, with positive reinforcement techniques, consistency, and patience, they can be trained effectively.
  • Early socialisation is essential to expose them to different people, animals, and environments.
  • It's important to establish clear boundaries and provide them with positive motivation.
Zola, the Shar Pei

What do Shar Peis eat?

  • A high-quality dog food that is suitable for their age, size, and activity level is recommended for Shar Peis.
  • The amount of food they need depends on factors such as their metabolism, weight, and overall health.
  • Most do well being fed twice daily.
  • It's important to monitor their weight and adjust their portions accordingly to prevent obesity, as Shar Peis can be prone to weight gain.
  • Puppies should be fed a specially formulated puppy food to support their growth and development.
  • Puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day until 6 months old, when they can reduce to twice daily.
  • At around 12-18 months of age, they can transition to adult dog food.
  • Your vet can advise on the best food and feeding regime for your Shar Pei.

Are Shar Peis healthy?

Shar Peis are generally a healthy breed, but they can be prone to certain health conditions. Some common health concerns in Shar Peis include:

Bones and Joints

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis
  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye
  • Dry eye - an ongoing condition where the tear glands in the eyes don’t produce enough protective tear film, which can lead to discomfort, infections and damage of the eye
  • Ectropion - with this condition the eyelid rolls out, which can expose the eye to dryness
  • Entropion - this is where the eyelids roll in, causing eyelashes to rub onto the surface of the eye
  • Glaucoma - the pressure of the eye becomes too high which can damage the eye


  • Atopy - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and results in skin irritation
  • Skin fold dermatitis - inflammation, and possible infection of the skin between two skin folds

This list is by no means comprehensive, so if you have any concerns about the health of your Shar Pei or if you want to discuss further if a Shar Pei is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Shar Peis

BorrowMyDoggy has 1488 Shar Pei members.

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

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