Information on the Shar-pei
The Shar-pei originated in China and has a history dating back some 2000 years. Although the exact place of origin is unclear, statues indicate they came from somewhere in Southern China, Tibet or Dah-lel.
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 the discovery in ancient tombs of 2000 years old statues bearing their likeness.
When China became a communist country, a tax was brought in that made the keeping of dogs a luxury and basically out of reach of the average farmer. In 1947 the tax was increased and breeding banned. This led to the Shar-pei becoming an endangered breed and it was listed with the Guinness Book of Records in 1978 as the world's rarest dog. The first registered Shar-pei were imported into Australia in 1981 with the first litter whelped in 1985.
When considering a dog please realise you are taking it on for its lifetime. The average lifespan for a Shar-pei is 10-12 years.
AVERAGE SIZE & WEIGHT
Height at shoulder:
46-51cms (18-20 inches) at the withers.
Dogs being larger than bitches.
The average Shar-pei adult weight is 20kgs.
BREED PERSONALITY / CHARACTERISTICS / TEMPERAMENT
Shar-pei are intelligent dogs needing little training. Although they are somewhat aloof, snobbish 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. They are a natural household guard and are easily housebroken as a puppy.
COMPATIBILITY WITH OTHER PETS
The Shar-pei is primarily a working dog, although it is placed in the non-sporting classification. Socialisation with other animals is important, as they can be aggressive with other dogs of the same sex. Personality and temperament is an individual thing. Some Shar-pei will live quite happily around smaller animals and livestock whilst others may exhibit the natural instinct to hunt.
Generally, Shar-pei are very good with children and other pets when they are reared with them, taking to them in protective manner as a guardian.
Shar-pei are very easy to look after. Weighing around 20kg they are an ideal size for walking, bathing and general maintenance.
Contrary to common misperceptions they do not require special maintenance of their abundant wrinkles. Normal dog management, vaccinating, worming, de-fleaing, bathing and general welfare will ensure you a healthy dog. They are not a smelly dog and the length of the coat means no brushing is required. Attention needs to be paid to the ears as they can get dirty due to the lack of air circulation.
Shar-pei are a people dog. They need to be in social contact with their owner/s on a daily basis. They are adaptable to most lifestyles providing they are treated as part of the family and given love and attention. They are energetic and enjoy playing with people and other dogs but are quite content to sit at their owner's feet or travel around in the car.
Dietary requirements are a simple well-balanced dog diet with special attention paid to avoiding artificial colours, preservatives and red meat. Other ingredients to be avoided are corn and soy products. These can lead to allergic reactions in this breed which has evolved on a very simple diet from the peasant farmers to whom we owe great thanks for their survival.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE
Being an exceptionally intelligent dog makes the Shar-pei an ideal companion. Whether your intention is to exhibit at conformation shows, participate in obedience trials or just to own a loving, loyal pet, the Shar-pei is sure to bring great satisfaction. They are not noisy dogs and an alarmed reaction is usually worth investigating on the owners' behalf. They enjoy both the open spaces of a country lifestyle and the suburban neighbourhood life, and are equally happy indoors or 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 who will savagely seek out disputes with other animals. They will however retaliate with fervour should they be aggravated. Shar-pei make excellent guard dogs with a bark, which sounds deceptively, like a much larger dog.
Shar-pei are a one person dog, although living in a family situation they will love everyone. They will always have their own person and it may not be the one you choose but the one they choose to bond with. The ideal owner will appreciate the loyalty this breed exhibits and also respect its need for space with new situations. They need exercise, socialisation, love and attention to be a happy, well-balanced pet. All the effort put into a Shar-pei is rewarded with years of a loving loyal companion that is sure to steal your heart.