Shar Pei - Information and NZ Breed Standards

Membership ID

Shar Pei

General Information - Shar Pei

Non sporting


8-10 years



very low

Watchdog ability:
very high

Protection ability:

Area of Origin:

Date of Origin:

Other Names:
Chinese, Shar Pei, Chinese fighting dog

Original Function:
Dog fighting, herding, hunting, guardian


Despite the fact that it may well be one of the oldest breeds in the world, until recent years the Shar Pei (which means sand-paper coat in Chinese) was also considered one of the rarest. The breed has existed in China for over 2000 years and fanciers believe the breed was originally used as a fighting dog. This rare breed almost became extinct during China's politically charged years in the 1970's. Fanciers in Hong Kong and Taiwan appealed to American dog-enthusiasts for help in saving and perpetuating the breed. Several of the dogs were exported to the States, where breeders began programs to help bring back the breed. Now the Shar Pei is extremely popular and is no longer in danger of disappearing. This unusual dog has a blue-black tongue, similar to the Chow Chow; it also has extra saggy wrinkles as a pup which he tries to fill out as he grows up. The loose skin is said to have made him less vulnerable in a dog fight. The name Shar Pei means sandy coat, referring to the gritty sandpaper texture of the coat. When rubbed backward, the prickly coat can be uncomfortable, and even cause welts on the skin of an occasional sensitive person.


The Shar Pei is at first wary of strangers and is intensely loyal, devoted to and protective of his family. He is also smart and charming, which wins him admirers everywhere.


The Shar Pei needs daily mental and physical stimulation, but its needs can be met with lively games throughout the day or a good long walk. It is not generally amenable to exclusive outdoor living, but it can divide its time between house and yard. The coat needs only weekly brushing, but wrinkles need regular attention to ensure that no irritations develop within the skin folds.

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