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Shar Peis Colors: 7 Stunning Variations with Pictures

Written by: Ejay Camposano
A college graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ejay has a diverse background that combines technical expertise with a passion for pets and is now one of the content writers at IHD. Read more
| Published on May 3, 2024

The Shar Pei is a breed recognized not just for its distinctive wrinkles but also for its rich tapestry of coat colors. Originating from China, this breed possesses a short, bristly coat that comes in an array of colors that can significantly alter the appearance of each individual dog. What makes the Shar Pei’s coloration particularly interesting is how these colors interact with the breed’s unique physical characteristics, such as their deep set eyes and hippopotamus-shaped head. This article explores seven stunning color variations found in the Shar Pei, each bringing its own unique flair and aesthetic to this already charismatic breed.

1. Cream

Cream Shar Peis are a vision of softness and subtlety. Their light, almost white coats give them a regal yet understated appearance. This color can range from a pale, ivory-like shade to a more pronounced beige. Cream Shar Peis often have lighter noses and sometimes lighter-colored eyes, which can give them an almost ethereal look. The contrast between their soft coat color and the deep wrinkles creates a fascinating texture and depth, making them a favorite among dog enthusiasts who prefer a more muted canine color palette.

2. Fawn

Fawn-colored Shar Peis are among the most commonly seen. This warm, yellowish-tan color highlights the breed’s wrinkles beautifully, casting shadows that emphasize their distinctive skin folds. Fawn Shar Peis can vary in shade from light to dark, and they often have a matching fawn or darker muzzle. This color suits the protective nature of the Shar Pei, as it blends well in natural settings, a nod to their historical role as estate guardians and hunters.

3. Blue

Blue Shar Peis are a testament to the breed’s exotic range of colors. Not a true blue, their coat is a cool, dark gray that can appear blueish in certain lights. This rare and striking color is made even more unique with a bluish tint to their skin and sometimes their tongues. Blue Shar Peis are particularly stunning because of the way their color highlights the glossy sheen of their coat, which, combined with their regal wrinkles, creates a mesmerizing and statuesque appearance.

4. Black

Black Shar Peis exude an air of mystery and elegance. Their deep, rich black coats contrast dramatically with the lighter color of their wrinkles, making these natural features pop visually. A black Shar Pei’s coat can have a high gloss, which further enhances their sleek, imposing look. This color variation is not just visually striking but also quite practical, as it hides dirt and debris well, which was advantageous when these dogs roamed the rural landscapes of ancient China.

5. Chocolate

The chocolate Shar Pei is as delightful as it sounds. Their deep, warm brown coats can range from a lighter milky chocolate to a dark, rich cocoa. Like their black counterparts, chocolate Shar Peis can also exhibit a striking sheen on their fur, which accentuates their luxurious color. This coat color works beautifully with the Shar Pei’s blue-black tongue, creating a beautiful contrast that is both eye-catching and heartwarming.

6. Isabella

Isabella is a unique and relatively rare color in Shar Peis, consisting of a diluted chocolate that appears as a washed-out light brown or taupe. This color variation is particularly striking due to its rarity and the subtle beauty it brings to the breed. Isabella Shar Peis may have lighter eyes and a lighter nose, which can give them a somewhat mystical appearance, further enhanced by their profound wrinkle patterns.

7. Sable

Sable refers to Shar Peis that exhibit a coat color with distinct black tipping on a base of another color, often fawn or red. This results in a dynamic, multi-dimensional look that adds depth and complexity to their appearance. Sable Shar Peis are particularly striking because the black tips on the edges of their fur enhance the texture created by their wrinkles, giving them a rugged and robust appearance that is both unique and visually appealing.

The Shar Pei’s range of coat colors adds to the breed’s appeal, making each dog distinctly individual while still showcasing the breed’s famous physical traits. From the subtle creams to the dramatic blacks, each color variation not only enhances the Shar Pei’s aesthetic but also celebrates the rich history and diversity of this fascinating breed. Whether you prefer a dog that blends into natural settings or one that stands out in a crowd, there’s a Shar Pei color that’s perfect for every preference and lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shar Pei Colors

1. What are the most common colors of Shar Peis?

Shar Peis are known for a variety of coat colors, but the most common include fawn, cream, and black. Fawn ranges from light tan to deep golden, often enhancing the visibility of the breed’s distinctive wrinkles. Cream Shar Peis possess a light, nearly white coat that gives them a soft appearance. Black Shar Peis, on the other hand, feature a deep, rich black color that provides a stunning contrast with their lighter-colored wrinkles, emphasizing their unique texture.

2. Can Shar Peis have blue coats?

Yes, Shar Peis can indeed have blue coats. This color is actually a dark gray that can appear blueish, especially under certain lighting conditions. The blue coat is less common than other colors and is highly sought after for its striking and exotic look. Blue Shar Peis may also have a blueish tint to their skin and tongue, enhancing their unique appearance even further.

3. Are there any coat colors considered rare for Shar Peis?

While Shar Peis come in many colors, some are considered rarer than others. Isabella and lilac are among the rarest coat colors. Isabella is a pale, diluted chocolate, and lilac has a similar dilution but with a more purplish hue. These colors are not only rare but also highly prized for their unusual beauty and the distinctive look they give to the Shar Pei.

4. What is a sable coat in Shar Peis?

A sable coat in Shar Peis refers to fur that has black-tipped hairs on a lighter-colored background, which can be fawn, red, or any lighter shade. This results in a multi-dimensional and textured appearance, adding depth and an enhanced ruggedness to the dog’s overall look. The sable coloration highlights the Shar Pei’s wrinkles and adds a dynamic visual appeal to their coat.

5. Do Shar Peis change color as they mature?

Yes, Shar Peis can change color as they mature. Puppies often darken or lighten as they grow into adulthood. For example, a blue Shar Pei puppy might start with a lighter blue coat that deepens over time. Similarly, cream or lighter-colored puppies may develop a more pronounced shade as they age. This change is generally subtle and stabilizes once they reach maturity.

6. How does the brush coat and horse coat affect the appearance of color in Shar Peis?

Shar Peis can have either a brush coat or a horse coat, and each type affects the appearance of their color differently. The horse coat is very short and stiff, often making the dog’s color appear more vivid and intense. The brush coat is slightly longer and can sometimes soften the color, giving it a more muted appearance. Both coat types can influence how light reflects off the fur, which can subtly change the perceived shade of the dog.

7. Are there any health concerns associated with certain Shar Pei colors?

There are no direct health issues associated specifically with the different colors of Shar Peis. However, like in many other breeds, dogs with lighter coats, such as creams or blues, might be more prone to skin allergies or sunburn. Owners of lighter-colored Shar Peis should take extra precautions to protect their pets from excessive sun exposure.

8. Is there a genetic explanation for the variety of colors in Shar Peis?

The variety of colors in Shar Peis is the result of complex genetic interactions. Several genes influence coat color, including those controlling pigmentation distribution and intensity. The presence of dilute genes, which lighten the base color, can produce shades like blue and Isabella. Breeding practices also play a role in perpetuating certain colors, especially those that are rare or particularly desirable.

9. Can the color of a Shar Pei affect its temperament?

No, the color of a Shar Pei does not affect its temperament. Temperament is influenced by genetics, breeding, and the environment in which the dog is raised, rather than by coat color. Shar Peis are generally known for their loyal, independent, and sometimes aloof nature, regardless of their coat color.

10. How should I care for my Shar Pei’s coat to maintain its color and health?

To maintain the color and health of your Shar Pei’s coat, regular grooming is essential. This includes frequent brushing to remove dirt and loose fur, especially for brush-coat varieties, which shed more than horse-coat types. Bathing should be done with a gentle shampoo to preserve the natural oils in the skin and fur, which help protect the color and maintain its vibrancy. Additionally, a healthy diet rich in omega fatty acids can promote a glossy, healthy coat. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can also ensure any skin issues are addressed early, which can affect coat quality and color.