The Shar-Pei is a Chinese breed known for its deep wrinkles and blue-black tongue. As puppies Shar-Pei’s have huge wrinkles but grow into their skin through adulthood. They are a fairly new addition to the American Kennel Club, entering in 1991.
Shar-Pei’s were originally bred for helping southern Chinese peasants herding cattle, guarding property and hunting wild game such as pigs. Chinese nobility starting using this breed for dog fighting because their lose skin made it easy for them to slip out of their opponents grip. Recent studies have shown that the Shar-Pei is one of the most ancient breeds. The Chinese believed that the dark tongue of the Shar-Pei shown when barking would ward off evil spirits.
The Shar-Pei belongs to the non sporting group which includes Bulldogs and Chow Chows. Shar-Pei’s have a very unique look to them. They have small, flat triangular ears, a muzzle resembling a hippopotamus and a curled tail. Shar-Pei’s are about 18-20 inches tall and weigh between 40-60 pounds on average. There are many color variations allowed by the AKC such as fawn, red, sand, cream, black, chocolate, lilac and blue. There are 3 coat lengths including horse, bear and brush. The horse coat is very rough and prickly to the touch. The brush coat is slightly longer and softer to the touch while the bear coat is a very heavy soft coat. Shar-Pei’s are very light shedders and only require minimal grooming. Some individuals are very irritated by the harsh coat of this breed.
It is important to socialize this bred starting at a very young age because they can be very wary of strangers, stubborn and territorial. This is a very reserved and independent breed but does bond very closely with its owners. Shar-Pei’s are excellent guard dogs because of their distrust of strangers and only bark when it is necessary. This breed is extremely clean and is one of the easiest breeds to house train which can be a major plus.
Famous names who have owned Shar-Pei’s
- Ray Liotta (owns 3)
- Steve Wozniak (Co founder of Apple)
- Jonathan Knight from New Kids on the Block
- Burt Reynolds
- William Shatner
- Yul Brynner
- Wayne Newton
- Andy Gibb
- Joanna Carson
- The King of Morrocco
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