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Chinese Shar Pei

Country/Date of Origin: China/1500s

The Shar Pei is an ancient Chinese fighting dog. But like many a fighter it found itself down on its luck. In 1978 it was called the rarest breed in the world. Now, it seems about to break the records for a comeback. From a handful of the wrinkled warriors that remained in Hong Kong, the breed has spread around the world. In 1988, when the Shar Pei was accepted into the American Kennel Club Miscellaneous class, there were almost thirty thousand dogs registered in the US alone. In 1992 it was given full membership in the AKC and it has already hit the top twenty breeds in popularity.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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The Wrinkly Dog

AKC Group: Non-Sporting

Breed Club: Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America, Inc.

Rescue Club: Chair, CSPCA Rescue Organization and Central Region Contact: Deborah Cooper, (219)-395-9019, [email protected]

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Body Type:

  • Known for the folds of loose skin coverings its body, especially its head, giving it a permanent frown
  • Height: 18-20 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 35-45 pounds
  • The high-set, thick tail curls over the back or to either side of the back and is not altered
  • The small folded ears are never altered


  • The Shar Pei has an oriental nature. It is regal and aloof
  • This dog does not fawn and beg for attention
  • A good watchdog


  • Two types of coat are found in this breed. The horse coat is short
  • The brush coat is harsh and about an inch long
  • Permissible colors are solid cream, fawn, red, black, and chocolate.
  • In a twist, the Shar Pei has more wrinkles when it is a baby than when it is older. However, there must be wrinkles at all ages
  • A great deal of care must be taken to ensure that the folds are kept free of fungal or bacterial infections

Health Concerns:

  • Skin disorders
  • Eye irritations
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Shar Pei means "sandy coat" and it refers to the gritty feel of the stiff bristly hair
  • The tongue is always blue-black, a characteristic found in only two other breeds, the Chow Chow and Thai Ridgeback, indicating that perhaps these three are closely related

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