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Shar Peis Health Problems, Lifespan, Temperament & Maintenance

| Published on November 10, 2017

Average Size of Female: 39.68 pound (18 kg) – 55.12 pound (25 kg)
Height: 18.11 inch (46 cm) – 22.05 inch (56 cm)
Major concerns: Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, prone to tearing/rupturing the cruciate ligament, bloat, atopic dermatitis, allergies
Minor concerns: Familial Shar-pei Fever, tumors and cancers, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease
Average Size of Male: 55.12 pound (25 kg) – 63.93 pound (29 kg)
Life span: 8-10 years

Brief History on Shar Pei Origin

The Shar Pei has been identified as a basal breed that predates the emergence of the modern breeds in the 19th century. According to historical documents and artifacts, they have existed in China since ancient times, and their likeness was often used to decorate various objects, especially during the Han Dynasty. During this period, they were used as fighting dogs, and gradually became favorite pets of Chinese emperors. They continue to be trained as fighting dogs in modern-day Tibet. The Shar Pei’s loose skin and extremely prickly coat were originally developed to help the dogs fend off wild boar, as they were used to hunt. Later down the line, when the breed was used for dog fighting; these enhanced traits made the Shar Pei difficult for its opponent to grab and hold onto, and so that if it did manage to hold on, the Shar Pei would still have room to maneuver and defend itself.

Shar Pei Breed Appearance

Small, triangle ears, and a high-set tail also give the Shar Pei a unique look. For show standard, the tail must be thick and round at the base, tapering to a fine point. As puppies, Shar pei are a lot more wrinkly than adults and, although some adults can be wrinklier than their puppy self, an adult pei should have wrinkles mostly on the face, a few on their shoulder and at the base of the tail. Horse-coat, rough to the touch, extremely prickly and off-standing, soft in one direction and harsh in the other. Brush-coat, with longer hair and a smoother feel; and Bear-coat (rare, and not recognized by the AKC; Bearcoats are due to the addition of other breeds).

Shar Pei Breed Temperament

All Shar-Pei puppies need early socialization with children, strangers, and other animals. Some people may experience a sensitivity to the harshness of the coat of either length. This is a mild, short-lived rash that can develop on the skin that has been in contact with the coat, most commonly on the forearms.
The Shar Pei is often suspicious of strangers, which pertains to their origin as a guard dog. It is a very independent and reserved breed. Nevertheless, the Shar Pei is extremely devoted, loyal and affectionate to its family and is amenable to accepting strangers given time and proper introduction at a young age. If poorly socialized or trained, it can become especially territorial and aggressive. Even friendly and well-socialized individuals will retain the breed’s watch dog proclivities, such as barking at strangers. Although this breed is not known to bark excessively.

Shar Pei Breed Maintenance

Your short-haired dog only needs weekly brushings and occasional baths, if he’s truly dirty. However, if he has skin issues, there’s more to do. He’ll need more frequent brushing, but the frequency of special, medicated baths depends on the particular skin problem and your vet’s instructions. Wipe your Shar Pei’s wrinkles frequently with a damp cloth. Then thoroughly dry them with a dry, soft cloth. This will help avoid a condition called “moldy wrinkle disease.” Keep the wrinkles clean and dry are a must, refrain from using oils because it will only make matters worse.

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