This wrinkly, iconic dog is actually one of the oldest dog breeds in the world! The history of the Shar-Pei can be traced back 2,000 years to the Han Dynasty in China, where farmers were believed to have bred them for hunting, herding and guarding livestock. The name means «sandskin» or «sandskin», referring to the dog’s wrinkled, sandpaper-like coat. Shar-pei have another unique feature – their blue-black tongue! They share this trait with one other breed, the chow chow.
- Note: the plural for this breed’s name is actually shar-pei!
What You Need to Know About Shar-Pei Health
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a certain disease . Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who doesn’t offer a puppy health guarantee, who tells you the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you her puppies are isolated from the rest of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health issues in the breed and their incidence in their lines. The Shar-Pei has many health problems, and Shar-Pei owners may develop a close relationship with their veterinarian. Concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia; luxation in the patella; hypothyroidism; eye problems such as entropion, retinal dysplasia and glaucoma, allergies; and skin fold infections. A unique problem is a condition known as Shar-Pei fever, a condition in which the dog experiences a periodic fever and swelling of the throat. Accompanying symptoms may include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and shallow breathing. The dog’s body temperature can rise to 107°F (the upper normal range for a dog’s temperature is 99.5 to 102.5°F). One possible treatment may be expensive, but at least one breeder allows qualified Shar-Pei owners to participate in the «Patient Care Program.» Not all of these conditions can be diagnosed in a growing puppy, and it’s impossible to predict whether an animal be free of these ailments, therefore you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the dog’s parents (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for common defects and deemed fit for breeding. That’s where health records come in. The Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America participates in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC). For a Shar-Pei to achieve CHIC certification, he must have an OFA assessment of hips, elbows, patella (knees) and thyroid along with an eye clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation. Breeders must agree to the publication of all test results, positive or negative. ish in the CHIC database. A dog does not need to get a good or even positive score in an evaluation to get a CHIC number, so CHIC registration alone is not proof of health or the absence of disease, but all test results are published on the CHIC website and can be accessed by anyone wants to check the health of the puppy’s parents. If the breeder tells you that she does not need to do these tests because she has never had problems in her lines and her dogs have been «vet checked», then you should go find a breeder who is more strict about genetic testing. Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic diseases and breed only the healthiest and best looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live a good life. If you are getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and why they died. Remember that after you bring a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping your Shar-Pei at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend its life. Use your preventative skills to ensure a healthier dog for life.
The Shar-Pei is a curious fusion of unusual physical characteristics.
As if the broad «hippo» head, small sunken eyes, blue-black tongue, and playful expression weren’t unique enough, this dog’s sandpaper-like skin covers it in folds that fit like bulky fur.
Will A Shar Pei Protect Me?
A Shar Pei will undoubtedly protect its owner if the owner has earned the love, respect and trust of this dog.
This breed is independent and alert and often makes excellent watchdogs. Many are kept for this very reason and purpose.
We’ll forgive you for thinking of your pet as your child if you own a Shar-Pei. They are dominant, strong-willed and constantly need to be taught right from wrong. But they’re cute as a button and failsafe. What more could you want from a dog?
Stubborn and strong-willed and independent, this breed is not for shy or gentle owners. Shar-Pei are playful, affectionate and loyal to a fault – they are worth the time and training at the end of the day.
Shar-Peis have naturally wrinkled skin that makes them look like they are constantly bridging. They are protective of their family and although they will not be hostile or aggressive, they will not happily tolerate strangers. They make good watchdogs and rarely bark, so neighbors will love them too. Shar-Peis are good with older children and pets if socialized well and early (even cats). Be firm, determined and confident when training them or you will end up with an aggressive and territorial Shar-Pei.