The Shar-Pei originated in the southern provinces of China and existed there for centuries.
They were used as multipurpose working dogs and their tasks included herding, hunting game and guarding their premises’. The Chinese aristocrats also used them for fighting.
The Chinese Shar-Pei was first recognised by the AKC in 1992.
This medium sized exotic looking dog is renowned for its deeply wrinkled skin, blue black tongue and its large ‘hippopotamus like’ head.
They have a short coat that can be seen in a variety of colours including fawn, red, sand, cream, black, lilac and blue even though the words"Shar-Pei" translate to sandy coat.
They are intelligent, playful, loyal dogs that can make excellent companions However, if poorly socialised or trained, they can become very territorial and aggressive. Hence, it is imperative that the Shar-Pei has a confident, experienced owner who will not let this breed exert its dominance.
Shar-Pei Health Issues
Average lifespan is 9 – 11 years.
Common Illnesses include;
- Atopic dermatitis – Hypersensitivity to environmental allergens causing intense pruritus and inflammation of the skin resulting in skin trauma and infection.
- Entropion – Excess eyelid tissue causing the eyelashes to turn inward and rub against the surface of the eye resulting in corneal ulceration.
- Ectropion –The lower eyelids turn outwards.
- Skin Fold Dermatitis - Many breed standards require that the dog have excessive and wrinkled skin. This excess skin leads to folding and subsequent irritation, inflammation and infection.
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia - Genetic conditions that cause abnormal development of the elbow and hip joints in young dogs. This can lead to early onset degenerative joint disease.
- Bloat (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, GDV) – Twisting of the stomach resulting in rapid swelling of the abdomen causing pain and eventual death if not treated.
- Familial Shar-Pei Fever (FSF) - Hereditary inflammatory disorder, an autosomal recessive condition which results in transient fever and swollen painful joints.
- Amyloidosis - A lhronic condition, that is most likely related to FSF, caused by unprocessed amyloid proteins depositing in the organs, most often in the kidneys or liver, leading eventually to renal failure.