Chinese fighting dog

Even if the Shar-Peï does not require any particular maintenance, one must still be ready to invest a little time on monitoring his particular skin, before proceeding to purchasing such a dog. Skin infections can result from parasites, or irritations, and can lead to serious skin disease issues. His particular look that creates his charm requires minimum involvement of his owner. The Shar-Peï must be appreciated for his good character and beautiful qualities, even if his many fans love his exceptional look. Faithful, affectionate, gentle, quiet, but slightly sulky from time to time, this dog offers wonderful qualities that make him an excellent everyday companion, pleasant to live with, as well as to look at.

Height 44 to 51 cm
Weight 20 to 25 kg
Life expectancy 9 to 11 years
Home country China

Quick Overview of the Shar-Peï


  • Very sweet and gentle
  • Not aggressive at all
  • Excellent family dog
  • Rather reserved


  • Very special look
  • Compact and short silhouette
  • Unique dress
  • Looks like a mini wrinkled hippopotamus


  • Skin problems
  • No particular pathology

Temperament of the Shar-Peï

This gentle dog with such a special gait is endowed with a very gentle character. Not at all aggressive, the Shar-Peï is an excellent family dog.

Although he was originally used for guarding, hunting and fighting, he was quickly dethroned by his more aggressive acolytes. This dog is intelligent and makes an outstanding guard dog, as he has a highly developed sense of ownership.

Even if he is not aggressive, he is rather reserved towards strangers, and he will tend to defend his own and their property. Very sociable with his fellow dogs, he can cohabit with other dog breeds without issue.

He does not seek a fight, however he will not avoid one if provoked by another dog.

Loyal and very faithful, he gets depressed if left alone. Sometimes sulky, but very obedient, he is easy to train, and he knows how to assume his role in the house without any problem.

Breed Appearance


This medium size dog has a very remarkable gait. His silhouette is compact and rather short, and the Shar-Peï seems to carry a skin three times larger than his body.

This superb dog has a unique coat and silhouette, making him look like a mini wrinkled hippopotamus.


Between 44 and 51 cm (17.32 to 20.08 inches) for the male
Between 44 and 51 cm (17.32 to 20.08 inches) for the female


Between 20 and 25 kg (44.09 to 55.12 pounds) for the male
Between 20 and 25 kg (44.09 to 55.12 pounds) for the female


His coat is generally uniform; black, cream, tan, beige or brown.


His coat is divided into two types, the "horse coat", which is short and prickly or the "brush coat", which is longer, shaggy and thorny. This breed is not considered to be hypoallergenic.


His eyes are sunken. His small ears are carried high, and seem tiny compared to his head.

His nose is dark, and often surrounded by a mask. His tail is not very hairy, but short, well curved and set very high.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 2, section 2 and is #309

Tips About this breed

Rather quiet and reserved, the Shar-Peï makes an excellent life companion.

He will be loyal, faithful and very loving, as long as he is not left alone.

Since his ancestors were fighters, his quiet and gentle temperament can sometimes reveal a rougher side of his personality.

He is not dangerous to humans because he loves them, but can be dangerous to other dogs in case of conflict.

He will not seek a fight, but since he is brave and will stop at nothing, he won't avoid an inevitable fight.

It should never be forgotten that he was selected for combat because of his great resistance. His socialization must therefore be very early, especially if he has to live with other dogs.

He loves children and their games, and he is very patient with them. He can be part of just about any family, with or without children.

The Shar-Peï can satisfy all owners, whether city dwellers or country people.

His size allows him to live just about anywhere, in all conditions. However, it is preferable for him to live indoors to avoid skin problems.

Health of the Shar-Peï

The breed is not affected by any particular pathology, but skin problems are present in the breed.

The American model, being more wrinkled than the Chinese one, has too many wrinkles, which sometimes cause irritation, infection or parasite invasion.

It is necessary to check the abundant folds of his skin daily to avoid problems. Demodecia (skin disease caused by a mite) is a risk that should be avoided as much as possible.

Like the majority of breeds where the head is large compared to the rest of the body, giving birth is sometimes difficult for females. The life expectancy of the breed is not very long, but it is still considerable.


His dress does not require any particular maintenance, however his wrinkled skin can cause infections. Skin folds should be monitored, checked and maintained.

History of this breed

With more than 2000 years of history, the breed still has unofficial origins. Probably originating from the province of Guangdon, near the Guangzhou canton in China, the breed has been around for several hundred of years.

Some statuettes representing the Shar-Peï are from the Han period, and would have been found in excavations, thus attesting the long existence of the breed.

His name, which means "sand skin" in English, sticks to the skin. By no means a luxury dog, he was used a lot for hunting and guarding by the peasant class at the time.

Unfortunately, the Shar-Peï was also very popular in dog fights. Whether in working-class neighborhoods or in the countryside, fighting was very popular, and so was the Shar-Pei. His skin, very resistant to combat, was a great asset for the owners who loved this sport at the time.

It was at the same time that Mastiffs and Bulldogs made their appearance in fighting arenas. Next to these molossuses, the Shar-Peï lost his popularity as a fighting dog, and the breed almost disappeared in the following years.

Some local breeders, passionate about the breed, decided to do their utmost to save it from total extinction. They therefore alerted the Americans so that they could take in the few remaining specimens. Following a diligent press campaign focused on the threat of extinction of this breed, the first Shar-Peï babies appeared in the United States.

After a certain infatuation for the breed, Germany welcomed his first Shar-Peï in 1979 and France in 1981.

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