General Questions

  • What is the meaning of „Shar Pei“?

    Shar Pei, or in Chinese Sha Pi (沙皮), literally translated means sand skin. It actually describes the special texture of the Shar Pei's fur, which is very short and harsh and causes tingling on more sensitive areas of human skin.

  • Why do Shar Pei have black tongues?

    Like the Chow Chow, the Shar Pei also has a black tongue. The color varies between purple and deep dark gray blue that looks almost black. In both breeds it is part of the breeds standard. Blue tongues can also be found in other South Chinese breeds, but not as standardized as in the Shar Pei and Chow Chow. Why the dogs have a black tongue has not yet been clarified.

    Pigment spots on the tongue, however, occur in many breeds and do not mean that they are mixed breeds.

  • What is the average life expectancy of the Shar Pei?

    The Shar Pei in China has an average life expectancy of 14 years, its western relative an average of 10 years.

  • What is the average weight of a Shar Pei?

    The Chinese Shar Pei weighs between 16 and 23 kg, depending on its size.

    The western Shar Pei weighs between 18 and 30 kg, depending on its size.

  • What are the coat colors of the Shar Pei?

    Only three basic colors are known in China. Fawn, black and cream, with the color fawn strongly dominating with over 90%. Dilute colors are unknown and also not desired. Historically a normal evolutionary process , as dark pigments also protect the dog better against UV radiation and thus against skin cancer and skin inflammation.

    The western Shar Pei are now available in all possible domestication colors, since colors do no longer correspond to their original purpose, but to our human imagination.

  • Why do some Shar Pei have a lot of wrinkles, but others have few?

    The more hyaluronic acid is formed, the more wrinkles the Shar Pei has.

    All SharPeis are based on a mutation of a regulatory gene of HAS2 (hyaluronic acid synthetase 2) on chromosome 13. This mutation is known as CNV (Copy Number Variation), which means that the number of mutations in each individual varies. In all Shar Peis it is present at least twice, but it can also be present in higher numbers. The more copies there are, the higher the activity of HAS2 and the more hyaluronic acid is formed and incorporated into the tissue as a basic substance. The skin becomes looser, thicker, contains more water and more wrinkles and a characteristic thick pout are formed.

  • Are Shar Pei Fighting Dogs?

    No, the Shar Pei has historically always been a farm dog. South Chinese farmers have also liked to train and use the Shar Pei (like other local breeds) as a hunting dog when it showed a good hunting instinct.

    Even if the general local dog population decreased significantly in times of severe famine during the Cultural Revolution, many farmers and hunters took care of their dogs as well as they could during this period because these dogs secured part of their income.

    But: As in other Asian countries, the Shar Pei and other local breeds were used in dog fights. Even today there are unfortunately still such dog fights, even if the number of followers of this "sport" are declining and the dog is now seen by the general population as a friend of the people in China.

  • Are Shar Pei “clean” dogs?

    The Shar Pei is basically a very clean dog. He avoids dirt and grime, hardly a Shar Pei will wallow in carrion or willingly walk on muddy ground.

  • Do Shar Pei shed a lot?

    During the change of fur, and since the Shar Pei has such short fur, it is reminiscent of a trickling Christmas tree. But normally, the Shar Pei only loses coat moderately.

  • Is the Shar Pei intelligent?

    Yes, even if intelligence isn't his strongest trait.

  • Can the Shar Pei move its tail?

    Even if the Shar Pei prefers to carry his tail high, he can move it in all directions without any problems.

  • Can Shar Pei take a hot Summer?

    With its very short fur and dark pigmentation, the Shar Pei is well protected against strong sun rays and the average Shar Pei can cope with high temperatures very well.

  • Can a Shar Pei be kept in an apartment?

    Yes, but like any other dog, the Shar Pei also needs regular exercise.

  • Can Shar Pei tolerate a cold winter?

    Many Shar Pei are somewhat sensitive to the cold because they have no undercoat. For dogs that are more sensitive to the cold, wearing a dog coat in very cold temperatures is recommended .

  • Is the Shar Pei a good guard dog?

    Yes, but he doesn't bark much. But a Shar Pei likes to keep an eye on his home and his people nearby.

  • How often do you have to shower a Shar Pei?

    The Shar Pei is generally a very clean dog and avoids dirt. A healthy Shar Pei doesn't even need to be showered.

  • Are Shar Pei suitable for agility?

    Depending on personal abilities, socialization and personal training effort, yes.

  • Is the Shar Pei suitable for children?

    Basically yes. Here too, of course, his socialization with the breeder and his first few weeks with the new owner are very important.

  • How much does a Shar Pei eat?

    Like any other dog, the dog is fed according to its weight, although more active dogs have a higher need for food than less active ones.

  • Is the Shar Pei afraid of water or does he like to swim?

    Most Shar Pei are rather shy of water, and many do not even want to leave the house when it rains. But there are also exceptions and Shar Peis who like to swim. If a young puppy gets used to water at an early age, he will tolerate it better later.

  • Are Shar Pei athletic dogs?

    The Chinese Shar Pei is a very agile dog who prefers to run around than to lie on the sofa. However, he is very frugal and is also happy if he can walk around in his home to guard it.

  • How much does a Shar Pei puppy cost?

    It is very different. In China there are no fixed prices, they are set individually based on the quality of the dog. The most expensive dog ever sold in China cost its owner an entire annual salary in 1988.

    The western Shar Pei also has a very large price range, up to several thousand euros for a puppy from show champions.

  • Does the Shar Pei need a lot of exercise?

    The Chinese Shar Pei is a very active dog that is always happy to be outside, but it is also very frugal and does not need extreme exercise like some other breeds. But he likes to be busy. Many Shar Peis like to observe their surroundings and just watch out.

  • Does the Shar Pei have a good nose?

    Definitely compared to humans. Compared to other dog breeds, it is on average good, with exceptions in every direction.

  • Do “Meat Mouth” Shar Pei exist in China?

    Yes, for two reasons.

    On the one hand, because the double mutation of a regulatory gene, which is typical for the breed, is also mutating sometimes in Chinese dogs, albeit very rarely, and thus far more hyaluron is produced, which leads to a thickening of the snout and more wrinkles. These dogs are never used by serious breeders for further breeding, because there is also known that this can promote diseases and, above all, these dogs do not correspond to the classic breed standard.

    On the other hand, various meatmouth Shar Pei have found their way, mainly from Hong Kong to China, since the mid-1990s. At that time there was no real lobby for the Chinese Shar Pei and the meatmouth dogs were also advertised in such a way that there was a small boom in China in the late 1990s.

  • What questions should one ask a breeder?

    • Can we see the puppy's parents?
    • Why do you breed? What are your breeding goals?
    • How long have you been breeding?
    • Do they show your dogs?
    • What criteria do you use to choose your breeding animals?
    • What health tests were done with the parents?
    • Are you a member of FCI (AKC, KC, CKC)?
    • Do the puppies get a microchip, are vaccinated and dewormed?
    • How are the puppies socialized?
    • What do you feed your dogs and why?
    • What are the parents' strengths and weaknesses?
    • Do you take the dog back in case of an emergency?
    • Is it possible to contact you after the purchase if there are problems?
    • What does the sales contract look like?
    • How old are the puppies when they are handed over to their new owners?
    • How old are the parents of the litter?
    • How old are the grandparents and great-grandparents and if so, what did they die of?
    • Which diseases have occurred in previous litters?
    • Where and how are the puppies raised?
    • Why was this mating carried out exactly, with what aim?
    • How are the puppies prepared for their new home?
    • How do you validate a future puppy owner?
    • Do you have a questionnaire?
    • Do you give guarantees?


  • What are the typical breed diseases of the Shar Pei?

    The Chinese Shar Pei is susceptible to ear mites. Most of the other diseases that Chinese veterinarians observe in the Chinese Shar Pei are often due to malnutrition.

    The western Shar Pei has developed a number of breed-typical diseases in the course of its short history. This includes:

    • Shar Pei Autoinflammatory Disease (SPAID), an autoinflammatory disease that occurs in flares and affects the dog very much during this time.
    • Amyloidosis, due to the above mentioned autoinflammatory processes, protein fragments are deposited, which damage the organs and often lead to kidney failure.
    • Increased occurrence of mast cell tumors, inflammation of the skin and allergies (due to changes in mast cell metabolism)
    • Allergies also often occur due to an immunoglobulin A deficiency.
    • There is often a vitamin B12 deficiency.
    • Hypothyroidism, which can manifest itself in skin and coat changes, ear infections, edema, lethargy and weight gain.
    • Entropion, a common companion of the Western Shar Pei
    • Glaucoma and primary lens dislocation
    • Sebhorric or atopic dermatitis
    • Neutrophilic vasculitis, a severe inflammation of the skin with the formation of necrosis, also occurs less frequently
    • Cutaneous mucinosis, or mucin vesicles, which are more of a cosmetic than a medical "problem".
  • What is Shar Pei fever?

    SPAID, often simply called "SharPei fever" in common parlance, is probably the most frequently mentioned and feared health disorder of the Shar Pei. This is an auto-inflammatory disease.

    Dogs affected by SPAID suffer from attacks of increased inflammatory activity with a high fever that can last a few hours to days (on average 12 to 36 hours). Activation of inflammatory mediators often occurs simultaneously with joint and limb pain with swelling of the joints (often the ankle) and the muzzle. Abdominal pain, painful breathing and slight nausea and diarrhea can also exist. A Shar Pei with a fever attack is usually clearly ill and often not even able to get up. Symptoms often develop very suddenly and quickly, within less than an hour. The first fever attacks usually occur before the age of 18 months, but in individual cases they can also be observed for the first time in old dogs. The frequency and intensity of the fever attacks varies greatly. While some dogs with only a single episode in their life or even very brief, fleeting bouts of fever lasting only a few hours remain quite inconspicuous, others can very often suffer from these bouts with a strong feeling of illness.

  • Do Shar Pei have a lot of allergies?

    As with many pedigree dogs, genetic diseases have increased in the Shar Pei since the 1980s. Allergies are also very common. In addition to the Shar Pei's specific CNV situation, there are other reasons for this general deterioration. The main reason is considered by scientists to be the pure breed dogma in modern pedigree dog breeding. Especially with regard to the fact that the genetic variance in the western Shar Pei is very low, since the modern western Shar Pei breed already started in a very narrow genetic bottleneck situation. The population could be increased from a very small number of animals to many thousands today, but the genetic variance can never be increased in this way.

    In the Chinese Shar Pei, allergies are unknown, although there will of course be dogs that have an allergy. The causes may be due to the fact that the genetic variance of the Shar Pei population in China is much greater than it is in the west, and also because breeders there like to look for dogs in the countryside with which the gene pool can be expanded. And even if pure breeding is very important in China, there are more new genetic variances.

  • What is amyloidosis?

    Aided by inflammatory processes, protein fragments (amyloid of type AA) are deposited in the extracellular space (between the cells), the so-called amyloidosis. The storage of the amyloid in the internal organs results in organ dysfunction up to and including organ failure. This mainly affects the kidneys, and less often the liver. Many shar-peis who are sick die relatively early as a result of kidney failure, less often liver failure.

  • What is mucinosis?

    In Western Shar Pei, the accumulation of hyaluronic acid can cause blisters to form on the skin. There are numerous small vesicles (so-called mucin vesicles), especially on the chest and legs, filled with a water-white, stringy liquid called mucin. Occasionally, these blisters can cause itching or rupture, and scratching / soiling can sometimes cause inflammation. The mucin vesicles do not in themselves cause the dog any discomfort and are predominantly a cosmetic problem.

  • How should one take care of the skin folds of the Shar Pei?

    In a healthy Shar Pei, there is no need to look after the skin folds.

  • Do the Shar Pei's skin folds often get inflamed?

    Inflamed skin folds are unknown in the Chinese Shar Pei, which is also due to the fact that the Chinese Shar Pei has very few wrinkles when it is fully grown.

    In the western Shar Pei, inflammation can occur; this is almost always a symptom of one of the diseases typical of the breed.

  • Do Shar Pei need special food?

    The Chinese Shar Pei does not need any special food and can be fed like any other healthy dog.

    For the Western Shar Pei, more specific feeding can be of great help, especially if he suffers from one or more breed-typical diseases. The attending veterinarian will answer questions more precisely and individually.


  • What is the character of the Shar Pei?

    The Shar Pei is a very independent, sovereign and self-confident dog. Often with a pronounced dominant streak without being aggressive. They are very proud dogs with a good deal of stubbornness. The Shar Pei is very loyal to those around him, and tends to be aloof to strangers. The Shar Pei seldom barks, but likes to express itself by grunting and snorting.

  • Do Shar Pei get along with other dogs?

    The Shar Pei gets along well with other dogs. However, here too there are many factors that have an influence on the dog's appearance. The early socialization with the breeder or the first few weeks with the dog owner have a decisive influence on the dog's behavior. But the selection of the breeding animals also determines a part of the dog's character traits. Several studies have also shown that a negative environment in which a pregnant bitch is stressed has a negative effect on the puppies.

  • Are Shar Pei aggressive?

    Aggression is not a normal trait of the Chinese Shar Pei. He can be very dominant and also offensive, aggressive behavior almost always stems from poor socialization, incorrect upbringing and incorrect selection of breeding animals.

  • Is the Shar Pei kind to strangers?

    The basic attitude of a Shar Pei towards strangers is rather distant. But depending on socialization and character traits, Shar Pei can also be great human friends. In general, however, he is rather distant.

  • How to raise a Shar Pei?

    With a lot of love, patience and consistency.

  • How long does it take for Shar Pei to become house trained?

    Most Shar Pei puppies are house trained by 6-8 weeks of age.


  • Was the Shar Pei really almost extinct in China?

    Extinct is when an evolutionary lineage no longer exists due to the death of all offspring.

    The Shar Pei was never extinct in China, although the population declined sharply in the middle of the last century due to various economic, political and social developments in China. Even if the Shar Pei is and was present in all southern Chinese provinces, today we find the largest population in Guangdong.

  • How many original Shar Pei are there currently in China?

    We don't have any exact numbers for the whole of China, but there are currently only around 200 Shar Pei living in the Gunagdong province.

  • What was the Shar Pei used for in the past, what were its tasks?

    Basically, the Shar Pei was a house and yard dog and as such he guarded the house and yard. If a dog showed a more pronounced hunting instinct, it was also trained to hunt.

    Unfortunately some were also used for dog fights, with some high betting bonuses.

  • Was the Shar Pei a working dog or a status symbol?

    The Shar Pei has always been a working dog that has lived in the countryside.

  • Where does the Shar Pei come from?

    There is no reliable genetic data on this yet, but what is certain is that the Shar Pei comes from China and is and was native to all southern Chinese provinces, in different population sizes.

  • How old is the Shar Pei breed?

    Unfortunately, exact scientific data is not yet available. However, if you look at genetic studies of other southern Chinese breeds and compare them with the close genetic relationship between the Shar Pei and the wolf, you can estimate the breed to be around 2000 years old. But this is just an estimation.


  • What molecular genetic testing methods are there for the Shar Pei?

    1. The "SPAID" test, developed by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo), tests for a missense mutation in the MTBP gene on chromosome 13. This mutation causes a protein that plays a role in inflammatory metabolism to have a "malfunction". The affected dogs often develop a disease with increased inflammatory activity (SPAID = Shar Pei Autoinflammatory Disease).
    2. The "CNV" test, developed by the University of Agriculture in Uppsala, Sweden (SLU), tests for a mutation of a regulatory gene of HAS2 (hyaluronic acid synthetase 2) also on chromosome 13. This mutation is known as CNV (Copy Number Variation), which means that the number in which the mutation is present varies in the individual individual. For all Shar Peis it is available at least twice, but it can also be present in higher numbers. The more copies there are, the higher the activity of HAS2 and the more hyaluronic acid is formed and incorporated into the tissue as a basic substance.
    3. The PAOG / Pll test. Another mutation can cause primary wide-angle glaucoma and lens dislocation. The test shows whether the dog is a carrier of this mutation.
  • What other genetic testing methods are important in modern breeding?

    Three other tests are very important in modern breeding.

    1. Genomic coefficient of inbreeding (gCOI). Modern laboratories are able to calculate this GIK over 3, 6, 12, 25 or 50 generations. Specific regions in the dog's DNA are used for the calculation. The length of these ranges is related to the number of generations considered when calculating the genomic coefficient of inbreeding.
    2. Heterozygosity. Heterozygosity indicates the percentage of different genetic markers inherited from a dog's parents. Homozygous means that both alleles of a gene are the same. Heterozygous means that both alleles of a gene are different. Thus, for high genetic diversity, a high percentage of heterozygosity is desirable. Molecularly, genetically, this percentage can now be easily determined by comparing many thousands of markers from the tested dog to determine whether they are homozygous or heterozygous. The result then represents the percentage of heterozygosity.
    3. DLA haplotypes. The DLA (Dog Leukocyte Antigen) are a group of genes from the area of ​​the MHC genes. These genes encode proteins that are responsible for the immune system. Both the functionality and disorders of the immune system depend on the MHC. These disorders are expressed in autoimmune diseases, which means that one's own cells are interpreted as foreign and attacked.

    These three tests are so important in modern dog breeding because matings can be tested virtually using this data and the breeder knows in advance whether the mating he wants is genetically sensible or whether unfortunate combinations could cause further health problems.