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25 Things to Love About Shar Peis

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on April 21, 2024

The Shar Pei, instantly recognizable by its deep wrinkles and blue-black tongue, is a breed that embodies both rarity and allure. Originating from China, these dogs are thought to have ancient roots, appearing in various Chinese artifacts throughout the centuries. Traditionally used for hunting and guarding, Shar Peis are known for their loyalty and independent nature. Their distinctive appearance, including a short, bristly coat, and somewhat solemn expression, makes them unique among dog breeds. Despite their somewhat standoffish demeanor, Shar Peis can be affectionate and devoted family members. They require a confident owner who understands their need for socialization and firm training. With their moderate size and quiet disposition, Shar Peis make excellent urban pets, and their calmness indoors is a bonus for apartment dwellers. Here are 25 reasons why the Shar Pei might just be the perfect addition to your family.

1. Unique Appearance

The Shar Pei stands out with its unique physical traits, most notably the extensive wrinkles that cover its body and the padded, “hippopotamus” face. This distinctive look not only makes the Shar Pei one of the most recognizable breeds but also contributes to its charm. The breed’s skin folds require specific care to maintain health, adding a special bond between the dog and its owner through routine grooming.

2. Loyal Nature

Shar Peis are known for their loyalty to their family. They tend to form a close bond with one person in particular but will be protective and affectionate towards all household members. This loyalty makes them excellent companions who are deeply committed to their families.

3. Independent Spirit

Renowned for their independent spirit, Shar Peis don’t require constant attention and are quite content to occupy themselves. This makes them well-suited for owners who appreciate a dog with a more self-sufficient personality, though they still enjoy being part of family activities.

4. Natural Guard Dogs

With their heritage as farm and hunting dogs, Shar Peis have strong protective instincts. They are naturally wary of strangers and excellent guard dogs, often serving as a deterrent just by their presence. However, they are not overly aggressive and can be trained to be sociable.

5. Minimal Shedding

The Shar Pei’s short, harsh coat sheds very little, making them an excellent choice for those who prefer a home with minimal dog hair. Their grooming needs are fairly simple, requiring only regular brushing to help manage shedding and keep their coat healthy.

6. Generally Healthy

Though Shar Peis can be predisposed to certain genetic conditions, they are generally a healthy breed when properly cared for. With regular veterinary care and a healthy lifestyle, Shar Peis can enjoy a long and active life as part of the family.

7. Adaptable to Various Living Environments

Shar Peis are quite adaptable and can thrive in both urban and rural settings. They are generally calm indoors and do not require a large yard, making them suitable for apartment living as long as they receive adequate daily exercise.

8. Quiet Demeanor

Shar Peis are not known to be excessive barkers. They typically only vocalize when necessary, which is appreciated by those who prefer a quieter household. Their calm and composed nature makes them pleasant companions in a home environment.

9. Excellent for Experienced Owners

For experienced dog owners who understand how to handle a breed with a strong personality, Shar Peis can be a rewarding challenge. Their intelligence and independent nature require an owner who can provide firm, consistent training and socialization.

10. Distinctive Coat Varieties

Shar Peis come in a variety of coat colors and textures, including horse, brush, and bear coat types. This variety allows potential owners to choose a pet that not only fits their personality but also their aesthetic preferences.

11. Moderate Exercise Needs

Shar Peis require only moderate exercise, making them suitable for families or individuals who enjoy daily walks but do not engage in more intense physical activities. They enjoy playtime and walks but are typically not hyperactive, fitting well into a more relaxed lifestyle.

12. Good With Older Children

While they may not be the best choice for families with very young children, Shar Peis can be excellent companions for families with older children. They appreciate the playfulness and can form strong bonds with younger family members, given proper introduction and mutual respect.

13. Compact Size

Shar Peis are a medium-sized breed, typically weighing between 45 and 60 pounds. Their compact size makes them large enough to be robust and playful, yet small enough to manage easily, fitting well into most family environments.

14. Trainable With the Right Approach

Though known for their stubbornness, Shar Peis can be quite trainable with the right approach. Positive reinforcement techniques work well, and when they’re engaged mentally and treated with respect, they can learn a wide variety of commands and tricks.

15. Low Grooming Needs

Aside from their need for regular cleaning of the wrinkles to prevent skin issues, Shar Peis have low grooming needs. Their short coat doesn’t require frequent baths, and they are generally clean dogs, making them relatively low maintenance compared to other breeds.

16. Strong Watchdog Instincts

Shar Peis have strong watchdog instincts, often alerting their families to anything unusual in their environment. They are vigilant without being overtly aggressive, providing a good balance between being alert and not overly reactive.

17. Long Lifespan

Shar Peis often enjoy a long lifespan, typically living between 9 and 11 years. Some can live even longer with good care, providing their families with many years of companionship.

18. Sociable With Proper Training

While they are naturally reserved, Shar Peis can be sociable dogs with proper training and socialization from a young age. They can enjoy the company of other dogs and humans outside their family circle when introduced correctly and positively.

19. Intriguing History

The history of the Shar Pei is intriguing, originating from ancient China where they were all-purpose farm dogs. This rich history adds an element of cultural significance and exotic charm to owning a Shar Pei.

20. Ideal for a Calm Household

Shar Peis are ideal for a calm household as they reflect the energy around them. In a peaceful home environment, they show their best qualities—loyalty, affection, and a protective nature without unnecessary stress or agitation.

21. Requires Minimal Outdoor Space

Because of their moderate exercise needs, Shar Peis do not require a large outdoor space. A small yard or regular walks in a park are sufficient for them to get their physical activity, making them adaptable to various living conditions.

22. Allergy Friendly

Due to their minimal shedding and grooming needs, Shar Peis can be considered relatively allergy-friendly compared to other breeds. Their cleanliness and low dander production make them suitable for people with mild allergies.

23. Dignified Presence

A Shar Pei’s presence is dignified and noble. They carry themselves with a composed and confident air that commands respect. This demeanor is complemented by their physical appearance, which is both unique and striking.

24. Protective but Not Aggressive

Shar Peis are protective of their families, a trait that makes them excellent guardians. However, they are not unnecessarily aggressive and tend to assess situations before reacting, which is a valuable trait in any family dog.

25. Rewarding to Train

Training a Shar Pei can be a rewarding experience. Because of their intelligence and independent nature, achieving success in training them can be particularly satisfying. They respond well to challenges and enjoy mental stimulation, which can strengthen the bond between the dog and its owner.

The Shar Pei is a breed full of contradictions—wrinkled yet regal, independent yet loyal, reserved yet affectionate. These dogs offer a unique blend of characteristics that can make them ideal pets for the right owner. Understanding and appreciating their needs and traits can lead to a rewarding relationship filled with mutual respect and affection. With their striking appearance and strong personalities, Shar Peis are not just pets but true companions that enrich the lives of those around them.

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