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Is a Shar Pei a Good Guard Dog?

Written by: Zyra Capalac
Zyra is a Special Project Coordinator of HomeLife Media and a writer for She has 3 dogs namely Skye, Luna, and one of them is a rescue, named Tesla.Read more
| Published on October 26, 2023

Shar Peis, with their distinctive wrinkled skin and unique appearance, have garnered a reputation for being excellent guard dogs. This breed’s history traces back to ancient China, where they were originally bred for various purposes, including guarding and hunting. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the characteristics that make the Shar Pei a potential contender as a guard dog. We’ll explore their temperament, physical attributes, and training requirements to determine if the Shar Pei is indeed a good guard dog.

The Shar Pei’s Heritage as Guard Dogs

To understand whether Shar Peis make good guard dogs, it’s crucial to appreciate their historical role in guarding. This breed’s lineage can be traced back over 2,000 years to ancient China. Shar Peis were originally bred to protect their owners, livestock, and property. They were known for their loyalty and unwavering dedication to their human families.

Shar Peis possess a natural instinct to protect, making them inherently suited for guard duty. This instinct is deeply ingrained in their genetic makeup, which is why they are often considered natural protectors.

Physical Attributes of the Shar Pei

One of the first things that make Shar Peis stand out as potential guard dogs is their physical appearance. Their distinctive wrinkled skin and muscular build give them an imposing presence. Here are some key physical attributes that contribute to their suitability as guard dogs:

  1. Muscular Build: Shar Peis are medium-sized dogs with a strong and muscular physique. Their sturdy build allows them to confront potential threats effectively.
  2. Wrinkled Skin: The loose, wrinkled skin not only gives Shar Peis their unique look but also provides an advantage in a guard dog role. Intruders may be intimidated by their formidable appearance.
  3. Stout Frame: Shar Peis have a stocky frame and a broad head, which adds to their overall imposing appearance.

Temperament and Behavioral Traits

While physical attributes are important, temperament and behavior are equally crucial factors in determining whether a Shar Pei is a good guard dog. Here are some temperament traits that contribute to their potential as guard dogs:

  1. Loyalty: Shar Peis are known for their unwavering loyalty to their owners. They form strong bonds with their families and are protective of them.
  2. Alertness: These dogs are naturally alert and attentive. They are quick to detect unusual sounds or movements, making them excellent at alerting their owners to potential threats.
  3. Independence: Shar Peis have an independent streak, which means they are not overly reliant on constant attention. This trait can be advantageous in a guard dog, as they are self-sufficient and don’t require constant supervision.
  4. Territorial Instinct: Shar Peis have a strong territorial instinct, and they will defend their home and family if they perceive a threat. This protective nature is an essential characteristic of a good guard dog.
  5. Reserved with Strangers: While Shar Peis can be friendly with those they know, they tend to be reserved and cautious around strangers. This wariness can make them effective at guarding their territory.

Training and Socialization

Training and socialization play a crucial role in harnessing the Shar Pei’s potential as a guard dog. It’s important to note that while they have natural protective instincts, they still require proper training to be effective and well-behaved guard dogs. Here are some training considerations:

  1. Obedience Training: Shar Peis can be strong-willed, so early obedience training is essential. Basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come” are important for control and discipline.
  2. Socialization: To ensure that Shar Peis are not overly aggressive or fearful, early socialization with various people and situations is crucial. This helps them distinguish between genuine threats and non-threats.
  3. Guard Dog Training: If you intend to use a Shar Pei as a guard dog, consider specialized guard dog training programs. These programs can help enhance their protective instincts and teach them to respond appropriately to security threats.

Considerations for Families

While Shar Peis have the potential to be excellent guard dogs, they may not be the best fit for every family. Here are some important considerations:

  1. Families with Children: Shar Peis can be great family dogs, but their protective nature means they may be cautious around unfamiliar children. Early socialization with children is important.
  2. Allergies: Some individuals may be allergic to dogs, and Shar Peis have a unique coat that can trigger allergies in sensitive individuals.
  3. Space Requirements: Shar Peis need adequate space to move around comfortably, so they may not be well-suited for apartment living.
  4. Exercise Needs: These dogs require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Daily walks and playtime are important to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.


In conclusion, Shar Peis have a strong historical background as guard dogs and possess several key characteristics that make them suitable for this role. Their loyalty, alertness, independence, and territorial instincts contribute to their potential as effective protectors of their home and family. However, it’s important to note that proper training and socialization are essential to maximize their guard dog capabilities.

Ultimately, whether a Shar Pei is a good guard dog for your family depends on your specific needs, living situation, and commitment to training and socialization. With the right care and training, a Shar Pei can be a loyal and protective addition to your family, helping to provide security and peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions about Shar Peis As Guard Dogs

Frequently Asked Questions about Shar Peis As Guard Dogs

1. Are Shar Peis good guard dogs by nature?

  • Yes, Shar Peis have a natural instinct to protect their owners and territory, making them potentially good guard dogs.

2. Do Shar Peis get along with other pets in the household?

  • Shar Peis can be territorial, so early socialization is important to help them coexist peacefully with other pets.

3. Can Shar Peis be aggressive towards strangers?

  • Shar Peis are often reserved around strangers, and their protective nature can lead to caution, but proper training can help manage their behavior.

4. Do Shar Peis require specialized guard dog training?

  • While they have protective instincts, specialized guard dog training can enhance their abilities and teach them how to respond to security threats effectively.

5. Are Shar Peis suitable for families with children?

  • Yes, but early socialization with children is crucial to ensure they are comfortable and well-behaved around them.

6. Do Shar Peis have any specific health concerns that affect their suitability as guard dogs?

  • Skin issues are common in Shar Peis due to their wrinkled skin, but these issues typically do not impact their effectiveness as guard dogs.

7. Do Shar Peis bark a lot, making them good at alerting to intruders?

  • They can be vocal when they sense a threat, making them good at alerting their owners, but excessive barking can be managed with training.

8. How much exercise do Shar Peis need to be effective guard dogs?

  • Shar Peis require daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and focused on their guard dog duties.

9. Can Shar Peis live in apartments, or do they need a house with a yard?

  • While they can adapt to apartment living with enough exercise, a house with a yard is generally more suitable for their needs.

10. Are Shar Peis hypoallergenic for individuals with allergies? – No, Shar Peis are not considered hypoallergenic due to their unique coat, which can trigger allergies in some individuals.

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