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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Shar Pei

Group: Non Sporting (Group 7)
Club: Non Sporting Dog Club of Victoria Inc (Group 7)
Contact: Paula Semmel
Phone: 03 9387 6918

Brief History

The Shar Pei originated in China 2000 years ago. The name Shar Pei literally translates to mean sand skin. This is from the breed's characteristic harsh coat. Shar Pei were used as general utility dogs for herding and guarding. They were also known as tomb dogs, relating to their discovery in ancient tombs with 2000-year-old statues bearing their likeness. When China became a communist country, a tax was brought in that made the keeping of dogs a luxury. In 1947 the tax was increased and breeding banned. 

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime. The average life span is 9 to 10 years.


Shar Pei are intelligent dogs needing little training. Although they are somewhat aloof and reserved in the presence of strangers, they are extremely loyal and devoted to their family. Essentially, they are an independent, regal, alert, dignified, animal with a calm and confident stature. Being an exceptionally intelligent dog makes the Shar Pei an ideal companion. 

General Breed Description

Alert, active, compact, short coupled, squarely built. Dogs larger and more powerful than bitches. He has relatively loose skin, a frowning expression and a harsh bristly coat. The Shar Pei comes in all solid colours except white.

Coat and Care requirements

They are easy to look after and a thoughtfully bred Shar Pei should have few health issues, however they can be prone to skin conditions. The Shar Pei requires minimal maintenance. Brushing with a good bristle brush every other day keeps its unique coat in excellent condition. Bathing Is recommended once a month or when you feel your Shar Pei needs a bath and only bath the dog if they smell or are dirty. The nails of a Shar Pei grow fast, so frequent clipping is in order. The Shar Pei have tiny ears and frequent cleaning is a must. 


Height: Males & Females 46 to 51cms (18 to 20ins). 


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders in is recommended you enquire about breed health and what health testing the breeder does. The Shar Pei is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include Entropion is where the eyelid rolls in towards the eye, rubbing against the cornea and irritating this sensitive structure. Watery eyes, infection and even a corneal ulcer can occur. Surgical correction may be required. Shar Pei fever is the term commonly used to refer to the Swollen Hock Syndrome, which is a congenital condition that is prevalent across the breed. This condition involves a high fever for up to 24 hours at a time, accompanied by a build-up of fluid around the feet and ankles, giving them a swollen appearance. 


They enjoy both the open spaces of a country life and the suburban neighbourhood life. They are equally happy indoors as out. They excel at obedience work and delight in pleasing their owners, which makes them a pleasure to train. Shar Pei have been called the Chinese Fighting dog, this is a misnomer of sorts as they are not a dog that will actively seek out disputes with other animals, they will, however, retaliate with fervour should they be aggravated.

In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders