50 Fun Facts About Shar Peis That Will Make You Love Their Wrinkly Faces

Shar Pei Looking Up Showing Chin

To me Shar-Peis have always been one of those dog breeds that was so strange looking it actually made them cuter.

From their bodies full of draping wrinkles, to their sweet little Hippo-like faces, these pups just scream cuddle buddy! Shar-Peis are also a surprisingly well rounded breed that is both intelligent and loyal, but fairly low-maintenance.

Check out this list of Shar-Pei facts and prepare to fall in love.

A photo posted by Luther-Grey (@luthergreypei) on

A Chinese Curiosity

1. Unfortunately, most of what is known about the Shar-Pei’s history is largely speculative due to the lack of documentation of dogs developed in China.

2. However, it is believed that the Shar-Pei is an ancient breed dating back to the Han Dynasty (200 B.C.) in the southern provinces of China due to statues found in tombs resembling the wrinkled pups.

3. There is another theory that claims Shar-Pei’s are not ancient at all, but were developed in Hong Kong in the 1960’s by crossing the Chinese Fighting Dog with the Boxer, Bulldog and Bloodhound.

4. The Shar-Pei was presumably bred to hunt, herd, guard livestock, and for dog fighting.

5. The Hong Kong Kennel Club stopped registering the breed in 1978 because their wrinkles were considered “ugly and undesirable,” explains Dr. Jeff Vidt. (pfft..shows how much they knew)

6. They came to their senses 20 years later in 1988 when a new dog registry was formed with Kowloon Kennel Association.

7. According to the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America, during the Communist Revolution the dog population of China was more or less eliminated and the Shar-Pei faced extinction. Thanks to a Chinese businessman named Matgo Law, a few hundred of them were exported to the United States where the breed was saved and revived.

8. A year after their popular arrival in the U.S., the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America was formed in 1974 and has worked diligently throughout the years to maintain and promote the breed standard.

9. In 1978, The Guinness Book of World Records deemed the Shar-Pei the rarest dog in the world with only 60 known to be alive according to Pet Wave.

10. The Shar-Pei was the 134th breed recognized by the AKC in 1988.

A photo posted by Sharpei (@topsharpei) on

Something Old, Something New, Something….Wrinkled?
11. The Shar-Pei is a medium sized dog that reaches up to 1 foot 6 inches in height and between 40-50 pounds in weight.

12. Their coat is short, bristly and stands straight up in the air.

13. There are three distinct coat lengths including the horse coat (shortest), bear coat (medium) and the brush coat (longest).

14. Coat color ranges from red, fawn, black, cream, sable, and even blue or lilac.

15. They can also exhibit something called “dilute coloring” in which their nose, leather and nails are all the same color as their coat.

16. Their most prominent characteristic is their extremely loose and wrinkly skin.

17. Another unique trait is their dark tongue, similar to that of the Chow.

18. They are described as having a “hippopotamus head” due to their square features and small triangular shaped ears.

19. All those wrinkles lead to the Shar-Pei having a permanent scowl despite his friendliness (even dogs can get resting jerk face).

20. If you plan on showing your Shar-Pei, the AKC requires his hind dew claws (the nail that sits a little higher up on the leg) to be removed.

A photo posted by Tonkey Bear (@bearcoat_tonkey) on

Looks AND Personality!

21. Vetstreet describes the Shar-Pei temperament as a little snobbish due to their extreme aloofness around strangers.

22. Shar-Peis are also calm and mostly quiet. They will typically only bark when playing or threatened.

23. They are independent and stubborn.

24. However, they are also extremely loyal and protective of their families and make great guard dogs.

25. Early socialization is key to keeping them from becoming aggressive towards other dogs.

26. This is important for all breeds, but especially dogs who have a lineage of fighting dogs like the Shar-Pei.

27. Their strong-willed nature makes them best suited for an owner who will be able to stand their ground and provide consistency in training.

28. Shar-Peis are one of many breeds of dog that prefers human companionship to that of another pooch. Check out this article to find out what some of the others are!

A photo posted by Aliss2pei (@aliss2pei) on

Shar-Pei Fever…Literally
29. The lifespan of the Shar-Pei is 8-12 years.

30. Their shorter snout makes them prone to overheating, so avoid extreme heat.

31. Shar-Peis can develop fungal infections between their skin folds if they aren’t dried well enough after baths.

32. Despite their size, they do not require much exercise and can maintain good health with at least a daily 20 minute walk.

33. Dogtime lists the recommended daily amount of food for your Shar-Pei as 1.5-2.5 cups of high quality food twice a day.

34. Some of the health conditions associated with this breed are hypothyroidism, elbow dysplasia, glaucoma, patellar luxation and bloat.

35. They are also prone to a breed specific condition known as Shar-Pei Fever or Swollen Hock Syndrome. This leads to a temporary swelling of the hock joints (equivalent to ankle joints in humans), lethargy, vomiting, and fevers as high as 107 degrees.

36. The condition is typically recurring and the bouts of fever last a little over 24 hours. Treatment depends on the underlying cause, but unfortunately there is no long-term cure and frequent episodes can lead to kidney and liver failure.

37. If you get your Shar-Pei through a breeder it is extremely important to make sure they are reputable and that they provide you with the appropriate health clearances.

A photo posted by Sharpei (@topsharpei) on

Ironing Out Those Wrinkles

38. Grooming the Shar-Pei is a cinch because of their short coats. They only shed minimally.

39. A thorough brushing with a grooming mit once a week is sufficient enough to keep them looking their best.

40. They are naturally clean animals with little odor and only need a bath once every 12 weeks or so.

41. Frequent bathing isn’t recommended because it can cause skin irritation.

42. When you do bathe your Shar-Pei make sure to dry his wrinkles and folds completely or he is almost guaranteed to get a skin infection.

43. Their small ears make them susceptible to ear infections due to a limited amount of air passing through the canal.

44. Dogtime recommends only cleaning the outside of the ear and making sure to inspect them for odors or redness regularly.

Mr. Sand-Skin, Bring Me A Dream

45. The Shar-Pei’s name translates to “sand skin” because of his bristly coat.

46. It is fairly common for new Shar-Pei owners to develop a mild skin sensitivity to the harshness of their coat—especially in the shorter horse coat variation. It will typically cause a rash on the forearms that disappears in a week according to Care Shar-Pei.

47. Shar-Peis have an intense dislike of water.

48. They also do not like having their feet touched, so trimming the nails can be a little difficult.

49. The Shar-Pei’s wrinkles are thought to be developed in the breed to aid in fighting, protecting them from damage and deterring attackers who get a mouthful of their rough fur.

50. The Shar-Pei can sometimes housebreak himself.

Bonus Fact: Ex Spice Girl, fashion designer, and wife of a devastatingly handsome soccer star, Victoria Beckham, welcomed a Shar-Pei to their pack in 2013 named Barnaby.


Dog Shedding and Sitting on a Red Rug

How to Control Dog Shedding

Does your dog shed? Learn how to control their shedding!

10 Adoption Stories Guaranteed to Put a Smile on Your Face

If you love dogs, chances are you love a good dog adoption story! These ten stories are ones that I experienced first hand while working at animal rescues and shelters over the last eight years. They may make you laugh, cry, smile or a little of each, but they are guaranteed to warm your heart!…

Long Haired Beauties, What’s the Best Long Haired Cat Breed?

Are you looking to add a long-haired cat to your family, but aren’t sure which breed is right for you? Look no further because I’ve got you covered, from the Brachycephalic Persian to the dainty Turkish Angora there is a long haired cat out there for every personality type. Persian: One of the oldest cat…

Pug Smiling at Dog Park

Here’s How to Find a “Good” Dog Park!

Learn the insider secrets of finding the best dog park possible!

Dogs Walking on Path

How to Spot the Signs of Discomfort and Stress in Dogs

Do you know when your dog is stressed out or in discomfort?

Two Turtles Sunbathing on a Rock

How to Choose the Turtle for You

Turtles come in all shapes and sizes, with different living environments and dietary needs that you will need to be prepared to accommodate.

Pitbull Laying Out on the Beach

How to Rent a Dog for a Day

Want a furry friend, but don’t know if you can make the commitment just yet ?

Dog From a Painting Chewing on a Page from a Book

BO-ZING! 8 Most Popular Dogs in Literary Fiction

Even though Spot was used in the early 1930s to teach kids the fundamentals of reading, he certainly isn’t the only canine to find his way into a good book.

Dog Drinking Water out of Fountain

How Much Water Should Your Dog Really Drink?

It’s important for us to know what is and what isn’t normal for our pets.

Neapolitan Mastiff Outside in the Yard Protective Dog Breed

The 10 Most Protective Dog Breeds

These 10 breeds are all known for their dedication to their owners and their willingness to protect them.

Dog Playing with Pink Toy on Bed

Is Your Dog Possessive Over their Toys?

It’s normal for young pups to be a bit possessive over their toys…

Pug with Wrinkles on Face by Seaside

How to Clean Your Dog’s Skin Folds

The wrinkly faces of the Pug, Bulldog, Shar Pei and other brachycephalic breeds are adorable, but they also require regular cleaning.

Cat Profile in Plane Looking out Window

How to Fly with Your Cat

You have to give yourself plenty of preparation before you and your cat are ready to go jet set off on a plane somewhere.

Pug with Flowers in His Face

10 Dangerous Things in Your Yard for Your Dog

Have you taken a good look at your yard to be sure that everything is safe for your furry friends?

Chow Chow Least Obedient Dog Cover

Watch Out! The 10 Least Obedient Dog Breeds

Every dog can be trained, but some are simply a little less motivated than others.

Two Greyhounds Laying in the Backyard

How Long Should You Leave Your Dog Alone?

There is no short answer to this question as many factors can affect it.

Black Cat in Litter Box Newspaper on Wall

Why Should You Clean the Litter Box so Frequently?

Keeping your cat’s litter box clean is extremely important to her psyche as well as her health.

Millennials Spoil their Pets Jack Russell Sleeping

How Millennials are Changing Pet Parenthood

Millennials are putting off big life events like getting married and having children.
Instead, they’re having fur babies.

What Size Dog Should You Choose Dog Reading Self Help Book

What Size Dog is Best for You?

One thing that you definitely need to consider is size.

Puppy in Training to be a Guide DogPuppy in Training to be a Guide Dog

How to Train Your Dog to Become a Guide Dog

Dogs have been helping humans for hundreds of years, so it’s no surprise that one common job for dogs is guiding the blind.

White Albino Labrador

How to Train a Deaf Dog—It’s Easy!

Luckily, training a deaf dog isn’t so different from a fully-abled dog.

White Great Dane Laying on the Couch

Why are White Coated Dogs Deaf?

Deafness affects white coated dogs, but not all white coated dogs are deaf.

Sheep Dog with Matted Fur in his Eyes

How to Get Mats out of Your Animals’ Fur

Mats in fur are an issue that many dogs face, especially shaggy ones.

Pitbull out in the Summer Sun

How to Prevent Your Dog From Overheating

It’s up to us. Our dogs don’t know when they’re overheating.

Three Greyhounds Sleeping in Dog Beds in Family Room

April is Adopt a Greyhound Month! 50 Amazing Facts about Greyhounds

The Greyhound, the professional sleeper.

Black Cat on Window Sill

7 Myths about the Black Cat and Why You Should Have One

Black cats are famous for “bad luck.”

Small Brussells Griffons Eating in Kitchen in a Line

What is Food Aggression and How Do You Stop It?

A useful response in the wild, but not so much in the home.

Yellow and Black Snake

How to Help Your Snake Shed his Skin

Shedding skin is a natural process for all reptiles.

German Shepherd Dog with Green Backpack on Back

The Top 10 Dog Traveling Gear Must Haves

Luckily, you don’t need to bring a ton of things.

Two Dogs Hike in Los Angeles

Love Traveling? Countries to NOT Travel With Your Dog To

Watch out for Belarus.

Dog Eating a Treat

Yum. Yum. Yum. Can Dogs Eat Sugar?

We love sweets, but can our dogs eat them, too?

Pitbull Looking up at the Camera

Going Out of Town? Best Pet Sitters in Atlanta

Going out of town and need someone to watch your dog?

Maine Coon Backlit by the Sunset

Feline Monsters: Norwegian Forest Cat vs. Siberian Cat vs. Maine Coon

Not only are these cats’ big, their personalities are larger than life, too.

Boston Terrier by Water

French Bulldog vs. the Boston Terrier: What’s the Difference?

To the untrained eye, French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers could be the same breed

Labradoodle Hybrid Dog with Tongue Out

Why Do People Want Hybrid Dogs?

They’re cute and they’re…healthier?

Two Cats on the Floor Bonding

5 Reasons Why You Should Adopt an Older Cat

Adopting an older cat is a great way to get an amazing cat without all the work of kittenhood.

Black Cat Outside on the Lawn

10 years? 15? How Old Do Cats Live?

Cat’s have nine lives, but how long are those lives?

Grey and White Cat with Green Eyes

How to Prevent Cat Bladder Infections

Bladder infections are the number one reason cats visit the vet.

Dog on Hillside in San Francisco, California

The Top Dog-Friendly Cities in the U.S.

How can you go wrong with a pub-crawl with your dog?

German Shepherd with Pointed Ears

What is Schutzhund and How Do You Train Your Dog for it?

This sport has withstood the test of time.

Dog International in England Shakespeare House

Your Introduction to Traveling Abroad with Your Dog

Going to a new country with your dog can be a great experience.

Brown Horse with Black Mane Trotting in Dirt

How to Manage Chronically Infected Wounds in Horses

This can be a scary thing, because infections can eventually lead to the horse’s death if left untreated for too long.

Alusky Hybrid Frozen in the Snow

The Alusky—the Hybrid of Two Great Arctic Breeds

One portmanteau that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves—the Alusky.

Two Dogs with Tongues out with Separation Anxiety

How to Beat Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a well-known problem for many pet parents.

Alaskan Malamute Standing in the Mud

65 Fun Facts About the Alaskan Malamute

They’ve lived alongside humans for thousands of years.

Egyptian Mau on Cat Tree

Where Do Different Cat Breeds Come From?

There are over 70 specific recognized breeds…that’s a lot of cats.

Alaskan Malamute Outside in the Snow

Your Go-To Guide to Snow Dog Breeds

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Girl Waving at Computer

10 Ways to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Dog

Not sure how to help your pooch feel more appreciated?

Siberian Cat Profile Outdoors

How to Read Cat Body Language

There are many tell-tale signs to indicate Kitty’s mood.

White American Eskimo by the Lake

What are the Top 10 Dog Breeds that Shed the Most?

Did you know that a dog’s coat serves three distinct purposes?