Know about Breed: Shar-Pei
- Coat: Short, harsh & bristly
- Life expectancy: 9 - 11 years
- Origin: China
- Temperament: Suspicious, Affectionate, Devoted, Reserved, Independent, Loving
- Height: Female: 46-51 cm, Male: 46-51 cm
- Colors: Black, Fawn, Cream, Sand, Red, Lilac
- The Shar-Pei stands out for his wrinkled face and body, which give him the appearance of wearing an ill-fitting suit, and his blue-black tongue and mouth, shared only by his compatriot the Chow Chow. He was probably developed in southern China, where he was used to guarding property and hunting. Some Shar-Pei were fighting dogs. The Shar-Pei is a medium-size dog, weighing 45 to 60 pounds. He has a broad, full muzzle that is described as resembling that of a hippopotamus, small triangular ears that lie flat, and a rough coat that feels like sandpaper.
- There are few animals cuter than a Shar-Pei puppy, but that cuteness belies the breed's proud, independent nature. The Shar-Pei is a one-man dog, although he will extend his protection to the entire family, including other pets. Highly territorial, he is distrustful of strangers and may be aggressive toward dogs he doesn't know. Anyone who has not been approved by the Shar-Pei's owner will be warned off with a deep growl and perhaps something a little more physical if they don't take the hint.
- All too often, Chinese Shar-Pei has a reputation for being aggressive toward people, which is not acceptable. Early and frequent socialization is essential to helping them develop the confidence and discrimination they need to recognize what is a threat and what is normal. Buy a Shar-Pei only from a breeder who raises puppies in the home and has exposed them to many different people, sounds, and experiences before they go to their new homes.
- When he comes from such a background and continues to be socialized after going to his new home, a Shar-Pei can be a good family dog, ideally with older children who understand how to treat him with respect. Keep in mind, too, that children may be disappointed in Shar-Pei's complete lack of interest in cuddling or being hugged.
- The Chinese Shar-Pei has a low to moderate activity level and can live happily in any home, including an apartment or condo. A 20-minute walk daily will satisfy his exercise needs.
- The Shar-Pei is a bit of a snob. He is naturally reserved around people he doesn't know and remains aloof once they are introduced. Extensive socialization at an early age is necessary to prevent him from becoming too territorial or aggressive. Only family members receive the overwhelming devotion of this independent, alert and intelligent dog who watches the world go by in a calm and dignified manner.
- A Shar-Pei is quiet in the house. He is a remarkably good watchdog and rarely barks unless in play. If you hear him, it would behoove you to go see what has caught his attention. A short, brisk walk satisfies his exercise needs.
- This is a strong, confident dog who learns quickly, so don't put off training. The Shar-Pei is independent and strong-willed. Be firm but never harsh or physical with him. Teach him early on to accept grooming procedures such as nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing. You never want your Shar-Pei to learn that he can physically intimidate you into stopping those procedures.
- Like most dogs, Shar-Pei dislikes having their feet touched and dislikes having their nails trimmed. That applies to other procedures, too.
- The Shar-Pei is a guard dog who has hunted and fought other dogs. Most Shar-Pei don't care for the company of other dogs, and they are easily aroused to aggression. A securely fenced yard will prevent him from engaging in conflicts with other dogs or trying to expand his territory to include the whole block.
- All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
- The Shar-Pei has many health issues, and Shar-Pei owners may develop a close relationship with their veterinarian. Concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia; patellar luxation; hypothyroidism; eye problems such as entropion, retinal dysplasia and glaucoma, allergies; and skin fold infections.
- A singular problem is an illness called Shar-Pei fever, a condition in which the dog experiences periodic fevers and his hock joints become swollen. Accompanying signs may include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and shallow breathing. The dog's body temperature can rise to 107F (the upper range of normal for a dog's temperature is 99.5 to 102.5F). One of the possible treatments can be expensive, but at least one manufacturer allows qualifying Shar-Pei owners to participate in their patient assistance program."
- Grooming requirements depend on the individual Shar-Pei. Weekly brushing can meet the needs of both the horse-coated (shorthaired) variety and the brush-coated type (slightly longer), but some Shar-Pei of either type can be prone to skin problems. Shar-Pei with skin problems may need weekly bathing and daily brushing.
- All Shar-Pei need regular wrinkle care. The wrinkles must be wiped out with a damp cloth and then dried thoroughly to prevent infection. Do not oil the skin.
- Shar-Pei has small, tight, triangular ears that predispose them to chronic ear problems because there isn't enough air circulating in the narrow ear canal. Although it is not as easy to clean the ears of a Shar-Pei as it is for most breeds, regular cleaning should be done to help prevent recurrent yeast or bacterial infections.
- Bathe the Shar-Pei as you desire or only when he gets dirty. With the gentle dog shampoos available now, you can bathe a Shar-Pei weekly if you want without harming his coat.
- The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every few weeks. Brush the teeth for overall good health and fresh breath.
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