VCA Charles E. London Animal Hospital

Chinese Shar-Pei

Chinese Shar-Pei

Basic Chinese Shar-Pei Information

  • Lifespan: 8 - 10 years
  • Height: 18 - 20 inches
  • Weight: 45 - 60 pounds

Medical Conditions Seen in Chinese Shar-Peis

Chinese Shar-Pei Traits

  • Joggin Partner
  • Lap Dog
  • Good with Children
  • Warm Weather
  • Cold Weather
  • Grooming Requirements
  • Shedding
  • Barking
  • Ease of Training

Chinese Shar-Pei History

  • Recent DNA studies indicate that the shar-pei is among the 14 most ancient breeds recognized by the AKC.
  • Because it and the chow chow share a country of origin, are both ancient breeds and both have blue or black tongues, the two breeds probably share a similar origin.
  • Some records indicate it was present in the southern provinces of China by 200 B.C., and even stronger evidence indicates that it was known by the 1200s.
  • Much of the history of the breed has been lost. However, by the early 1900s the dogs were used by farmers as guard dogs, wild boar hunters, and for dog fighting.
  • In 1968, the Hong Kong Kennel Club recognized them as a breed.
  • In 1973, an article appearing in the American press named the shar-pei as the world's rarest dog. This sparked a flood of interest as western fanciers began efforts to save the breed.
  • The AKC recognized the Chinese shar-pei in 1991.
  • It is one of the most recognizable breeds in the world because of its abundant loose skin.

Chinese Shar-Pei Behavior Concerns

  • Makes a devoted and protective family member.
  • Generally tolerant of children, but may not be playful enough for them.
  • Not overly demonstrative.
  • Reserved toward, and even wary of, strangers.
  • Not friendly towards strange dogs.
  • Usually good with small family pets, but may chase livestock and other animals.
  • Tends to be independent and stubborn. Rebels against forceful methods.
  • Does best with a firm owner who can combine reward-based training with good control and leadership.

Chinese Shar-Pei Suggested Exercises

  • Makes a calm and alert housedog.
  • Requires daily exercise in the form of a leisurely walk, short jog, or quick game. It is not physically suited to overly vigorous exercise.
  • Enjoys cold weather.
  • Becomes overheated fairly easily.
  • Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.

Chinese Shar-Pei Grooming

  • The shar-pei comes in two acceptable two coat types (horse and brush), and an additional coat type (bear) that is not acceptable. The horse coat is made up of short bristly hair, while the brush coat is slightly longer and softer. Both types should be harsh and stand off the skin. The bear coat is longer still.
  • The wrinkles the breed is known for are most apparent in puppyhood. Some adult dogs continue to have loose skin all over their body into adulthood, whereas others retain it only on their head.
  • The coat needs brushing every week to remove dead hair.
  • Wrinkles should be examined regularly and if needed, cleaned, to prevent irritation.
  • Shedding is average.

Suggested Chinese Shar-Pei Nutritional Needs

  • Shar-peis tend to stay in good weight or to be slightly overweight.
  • Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
  • Puppies should be fed a large-breed growth food, which slows their growing rate but not final size. This may decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia in adults.

Did you know?

  • Grapes and raisins are harmful to dogs.
  • Some dog parasites are transferable to humans.
  • Many common pet ailments may be detected early and prevented by visiting your veterinarian twice yearly - saving both time, money, and most importantly, ensuring the best quality of life for your dog.

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Have unanswered pet health questions? Dr.Donna Spector, with 10+ years of hands-on Internal Medicine experience, is here with your answers every Friday.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

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Emergency Care

During office hours, critical emergencies will be handled immediately. Minor emergencies are prioritized on the basis of their severity. Please call ahead before you leave to make sure a doctor is available to care for your pet's emergency, and our staff can prepare for your pet's needs. After hours, emergency services are available for current-active clients by calling our office number. Your call will be screened by our answering service, and if necessary, forwarded to a doctor. If the doctors are not immediately available, you will be informed of the options.