The Chinese Shar-Pei is one of two breeds known for having a solid blue-black tongue (the other being the Chow Chow), but not all Shar-Peis have a solid blue-black tongue, gums, flies, or roof of the mouth. Exceptions can be found in dogs with thin coat colors associated with solid lavender pigment on the tongue. Tongue colors should be consistent with the dog’s general pigmentation and in dogs with diluted pigmentation there should be no black pigmentation – the chosen nose is self-coloured.
We have read that when Shar-Pei owners say their dog is «thin», they are referring to nose color, not coat color (any nose other than black in the breed is considered thin). To our knowledge, geneticists still do not know which gene causes black tongue. We always defer to breed experts and welcome feedback on this. We would especially appreciate photographs of the lavender tongue pigment.
Shar-Pei Grooming Basics
Grooming needs depend on the individual Shar-Pei. Weekly brushing can meet the needs of both the «horse-coated» (short-haired) breed and the «brush-coated» breed (slightly longer), but some Shar-Pei of either breed can be prone to skin problems. A Shar Pei with skin problems may need a weekly bath and daily brushing. All Shar-Pei need regular anti-wrinkle treatment. Wipe the wrinkles with a damp cloth and then dry well to prevent infection. Do not lubricate the skin. Shar-Pei’s have small, narrow, triangular ears that predispose them to chronic ear problems because there is not enough air circulating in the narrow ear canals. While cleaning a Shar-Pei’s ears is not as easy as it is for most breeds, regular cleaning should be done to prevent recurring yeast or bacterial infections. Bathe your Shar-Pei as often as you like or only when it gets dirty. With the mild dog shampoos available now, you can bathe your Shar-Pei weekly if you want without damaging his coat. The rest is basic care. Trim your nails as needed, usually every few weeks. Brush your teeth for good health and fresh breath.
Main characteristics of the Shar-Pei
The appearance of the Chinese Shar-Pei is unmistakable. Head and body shape, deep wrinkles and darkened nose and muzzle are characteristic features of this ancient breed.
The coat can be any color or sable. The coarse, short coat is the source of the Shar-Pei name, which means «sandskin» or «sandpaper» coat.