The Chinese Shar-Pei, often just called the Shar-Pei is a large dog with wrinkled loose skin. "Shar-Pei" means sandy skin, and their coat is quite coarse and prickly. Their tongue is blue-black like the Chow Chow. The wrinkles tend to smooth out with maturity. There are many coat colors available.
The Chinese Shar-Pei was developed as a palace guard. The dogs were also used as farm dogs for many tasks. Their large muscular bodies, and prickly loose skin also made them difficult to bite in the dog fighting rings. The Shar-Pei population dwindled during the communist revolution but revived when they became popular in the U.S. after 200 dogs were smuggled in and a Chinese businessman made a plea for them in a dog magazine to save them from extinction during the 1970s.
The Shar-Pei needs a good amount of early socialization to counteract that suspicious nature they tend to have as they were bred to be guard dogs. They can be aloof with strangers but very devoted to their family. Trainable, but repetition may cause boredom. As a dominant, brave dog, this is not a dog for the first-time owner.
Breed Club Links: Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America
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Photo courtesy of Jasleen Kaur.