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Shar Pei Tongue: Everything You Need to Know

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.

Other Fast Facts

  • The name Shar-Pei means «sand skin» but translated more as «sandpaper-like fur». No other breed shares the short, coarse coat of the Shar-Pei.
  • The Shar-Pei is a poor choice for the novice dog owner.
  • Shar-Pei house training earlier than most breeds due to their natural cleanliness and ease of training.
  • Shar-Pei enjoys and does well in obedience, agility, herding and tracking. He prefers to be with people rather than other dogs.
  • These famous wrinkles need to be taken care of to prevent skin infections. Wipe them off with a damp cloth and dry them well to prevent infection.
  • Like other flat-faced breeds, the Shar-Pei can easily overheat.

Exercise and Grooming

Your puppy will need regular exercise but keep him on a leash while walking him. You may also want to consider a puppy school to help with training. Shar Pei are sensitive to heat so make sure there is plenty of water and shade. Shar Pei are fairly low maintenance so they only need to be brushed once a week or so, the exception being in hot weather when they shed. Get your ears cleaned regularly and your nails trimmed and that’s about it.

They are great dogs and a lot of fun, but like all puppies you need to take good care of them.

How friendly is the Shar-Pei?

Shar-Peis can be wary of strangers but are not unfriendly, and they are usually devoted to their human companions. When they are properly socialized with children and other animals, they get along very well.

These active, intelligent dogs are easy to house train but require constant training.