When I was a young boy, just starting senior school, I stood in front of the mirror and looked at myself. My trousers were too long, my shirt and blazer were too big and I looked baggy, saggy and wrinkly. When I complained my mom always said I would grow into it. I’m always reminded of that time whenever I see a Shar Pei. They look like they need to grow into their skin, especially when they are puppies. As I got older I did indeed grow into my uniform (however, after using the blazer as a goal post every day I regularly needed a new one) and the same happens with Shar Peis although they still have a bit of loose skin and a gorgeous wrinkled face.
Shar Peis originally come from China and their name means sand skin. This refers to the texture of its short, rough coat. There are 3 types of Shar Pei coats:
Horse coat – It is rough to the touch and extremely prickly. When you stroke them you will notice their fur is soft in one direction and harsh in the other.
Brush coat – They will have a longer coat and they will have a smoother feel to them
Bear coat – This coat length resembles that on a breed of dog called a Chow Chow. This type isn’t very common
Generally, Shar Peis are naturally clean so they do not need a lot of bathing. All they will require is regularly grooming. However, due to the wrinkles it’s best to check them for trapped moisture or little bits caught in them as this could lead on to skin problems and infections. Use a damp cloth to wipe them and make sure they are dried well.
Shar peis are loyal, loving and intelligent dogs. They are also stubborn and strong willed. These types of dogs are not ideal for first time owners. They are not untrainable, far from it, but they need training and socialising from an early age. It will need to be firm and consistent.
Shar Peis need a moderate amount of exercise and plenty of physical and mental stimulation to stop them from getting bored. Playing games and walks in the park are ideal. It’s best to keep them on a lead. They have strong hunting instincts so could end up chasing other animals if they are loose. One thing to be aware of is they are sensitive to heat. This is a problem all short nosed dogs have (pugs, bulldogs, boxers etc). If its a warm day make sure you take water with you so they can drink. Also, due to the folds in on their face, it traps heat so they need to be kept cool. If it’s a hot day make sure there is somewhere they can get shade.
As with many breeds Shar Peis have potential health issues such as: (link appropriate blogs)
Shar Pei Fever
Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD)
You may have a dog that doesn’t have any issues and has a long, happy and healthy life but when researching the breed you should always be aware of the potential problems. If you are looking to get a Shar Pei always go to a reputable breeder. You can ask them lots of questions and they will be able to give you all the information you need. They can also show you certificates regarding health checks on the parents and puppies have had.
As always, if you have any questions about your dog’s health please call us at the clinic if it is urgent or leave a comment on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you.