With dogs gaining popularity in every homestead, every person is looking for that one breed that has the best qualities and behavior. This clearly means that there are different breeds of dogs common to many people, but the Shar-Pei is a rare breed we’d love to discuss today. Chinese Shar-Pei commonly referred to as Shar-Pei has an interesting history. Shar-Pei is indeed an old breed of dog that traces his ancestry back in the 200 B.C. They originated from Southern China where they were bred as herders, hunters, guard dogs, workers, and companions for farmers. From other sources, Shar-Pei was bred for fighting which is otherwise known as ‘entertainment,’ as he has loose skin that prevented their opponents from gaining a tight grasp, which also helped the dog from injury.
With time, it became impossible for Shar-Pei to compete in the fights because the ‘entertainment’ organizers started to import more vicious and larger dogs from Europe. Also, the People’s Republic of China was against ownership of dogs in China, thus making it even more difficult for this breed’s survival. The killing of the dogs was so barbaric that only a few survived, thanks to breeders from Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Hong Kong Kennel Club recognized Shar-Pei in the early 1960s, but the registration was discontinued later in 1968. Twenty years later, the Kowloon Kennel Association and the Hong Kong launched a new dog registry which saw the registration of Shar-Pei.
Few were imported to the U.S., and the American Dog Breeders’ Association registered them in 1970, and later in 1988, the breed was accepted into the America Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous class. In 1978, only 60 Shar-Pei were believed to be alive, something that made the breed to go down in history in the Guinness Book of Records as the rarest breed in the world. However, breeders saved Shar-Pei from extinction and today, the breed is well established in the U.S. You may be surprised by this fascinating history, but still, there are a lot more you can never know about Shar-Pei, and that’s why we have collected 20 things only Shar-Pei owners would understand.
The breed’s characteristics
Dogs are very common in the society. If you don’t have in your home, you will find it in the neighborhood. Many dog owners recognize different breeds by the outward appearance. However, you may be surprised to realize that you can never define this breed unless you are the owner. Shar-Pei is a unique breed. Shar-Pei means ‘sand skin’ that makes the dog to have a sandpaper-like skin. A Shar-Pei owner will identify him from a distance because of his strange wrinkle appearance. Besides, they have solid blue-black tongue which is even quite strange to many people, and unless you adopt one, you can never understand that the only other breed with this characteristic is the Chow Chow.
It goes without saying that food is one of the most important things for survival. Just like the way human beings cannot survive without food, so are dogs. Many people believe that the only dog food is meat, but that’s not the case. Even though they are carnivores, they need proteins but not the only thing. That’s why unless you are a Shar-Pei owner, you can never understand how to feed him. You should feed him with 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality food a day and plenty of fresh water. The food should be divided into two meals. This tells you that you should never leave the food on the compound as this can encourage your dog to eat a lot thus becoming overweight or obese. However, the amount of food depends on your dog’s size, metabolism, age, and activity level.
They are family oriented
One of the major reasons for adopting a dog is to have a companion. However, many people are afraid of owning a dog because they are not sure on which breed to go for. While some of the breeds are friendly to the people, others are not. Shar-Pei has a scary appearance which makes many people assume that it is unfriendly to the people. That’s why it’s only the Shar-Pei owner who understands how good the breed is to people. He is devoted to his family and always wants to be around you, to cuddle and kiss you. They also have an intuitive understanding of the family members and tend to understand when one of you is stressed up or happy. If you are the kind of a person who doesn’t like having dogs around, a Shar-Pei owner will tell you not to even think about this breed.
They are friendly to children
Many people prefer adopting dogs as toys for their children. Dogs can be nice to children especially when parents are busy cooking, cleaning or doing other house chores. Sources have it that some dogs are very unfriendly and aggressive to children, and can injure them when they get the chance to. Given that all dog breeds are not the same, it takes a Shar-Pei owner to know that this breed is friendly and accommodative to the children. They extend their devotion to small kids and enjoy their companionship. You’ll be surprised to see him playing around with your children in and outside the house. However, it goes without saying that dogs can be dangerous to children. Therefore, never leave your child in your dog’s care as he can harm him/her.
The objective of every person is to remain as healthy as possible. Similarly, this is the same desire that dogs have. But contrary to human beings, dogs cannot go to a healthcare center for a health checkup, unless taken by their owners. Some people assume that dogs don’t get sick, but they do. Thus, unless you are a Shar-Pei owner, you can never understand that this breed is prone to certain health conditions. In addition to the skin condition that mostly affects this breed, Shar-Pei owners will also tell you that they are prone to the following illnesses; Shar-Pei fever, Hypothyroidism, cancer, Elbow Dysplasia, Demodectic Mange, Seborrhea, Pyoderma, Patellar Luxation, Hip Dysplasia, Gastric Torsion, Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), Cutaneous Mucinosis, Glaucoma, and Entropion. It’s important to note that not all Shar-Pei will suffer from all of these diseases, but having an idea is better as it prepares you to take care of your dog in case your dog has signs of any disease.
Some people have a strong desire to adopt a dog, but they are afraid that the apartment they live in might not be enough for them and their dog. It’s through the notion that dogs require a big house with a backyard. This makes most of them give up on the love they have for dogs waiting for a time they will move into a bigger house. However, unless you are a Shar-Pei owner, you can hardly understand that this breed is very adaptable. He is very comfortable to live in the city or country. He does not mind about the space, as he can do well in a limited space such as condo or apartment, as long as he gets daily exercise. As stated earlier, Shar-Pei is a family dog; all he desires is to hang out with his owner whether in or outside. With this, therefore, you don’t have to mind about your space, all you need is to get Shar-Pei and achieve your dreams of being happy with the best pet.
Potential animal aggression
If you are the kind of people that love all small animals, you have a reason to worry when it comes to adopting a dog. Dogs are naturally carnivores and tend to hunt small animals for food. This is why a Shar-Pei owner will tell you that this breed is no different. Dating back to his ancestry, the breed was bred for hunting, meaning that they still have this characteristic. They tend to be aggressive to other animals especially dogs of the same sex. They have a strong instinct to chase and seize fleeing creatures as well as cats. This tells you that he is not the perfect breed to keep with other animals because it can injure or even kill them.
Shar-Pei is easy to keep
If you are the kind of person who leaves the house early and returns late in the evening while trying to make ends meet, you have a reason to worry when it comes to adopting a dog. This is due to the fear that you may not have time to keep him clean every day. That’s why it’s only a Haer-Pei owner who understands how easy it is to adopt this breed. Shar-Pei has three varieties of the coat, the horse coat is short, the brush coat is thicker, and the bear coat is heavy, all of which shed. Shar-Pei is naturally clean but requires little grooming. Brushing can be done once in a week to remove dirt and dead hair. You don’t need to bathe him every day, but once in three months if he has not been rolling in the mud. If you wash him frequently, you irritate his skin. The Shar-Pei owner will also tell you how easy grooming and bathing are, but difficult to dry him. Shar-Pei must be dried well after bath especially on the folds and wrinkles because failure encourages fungal or yeast infection. All you need to do is to use a dry towel and wipe thoroughly between the folds. Again, brush his teeth once or twice in a week for a fresh breath as well as removing tartar buildup and preventing gum diseases. Trimming of his nails is recommended once or twice a month. From this, it’s clear that Shar-Pei is among the easiest breeds to keep regardless of how busy your schedule is.
Today, the dog has become too dear to people that he shares almost everything with them from dining to sleeping. Some people love them to the extent of sleeping with them on the couch or even in the bed. If you are that kind of a person, a Shar-Pei owner will warn you against sleeping with this breed. Shar-Pei grunts, snorts and snores loudly. Sleeping with him is quite a challenge because he might wake you up in the middle of the night with his nerve-wracking sounds. If you are the kind of a person that loves sleeping soundly, Shar-Pei is definitely not your type.
Potential aggression towards strangers
Many people fear to adopt dogs because of the uncertainty that the dog may not be as friendly as they want. It’s a good thing to have such worries especially if you love visitors. This is why a Shar-Pei owner will tell you that the breed is not too friendly to strangers. He is friendly but aggressive to new faces. When you are not at home, your dog can become aggressive to visitors, chase after and even injure them. However, all you need to do is to train your dogs to socialize with different people, buy taking him to the busy park and walking him to the neighborhood. By so doing, he will be friendly to everyone.
Unless you are a Shar-Pei owner, you can never understand the right exercise that your dog requires. As stated, Shar-Pei was initially bred for hunting, which means that they need exercise to remain fit. You should take him for a walk every day, and you must lead as he follows. It’s also important to remember that Shar-Pei has a pushed in snouts which is lovable, but cause health problems. It makes it difficult for the dogs to breath, meaning that you cannot make him run for long distances as when he snores, he gets overheated easily.
They have a long life expectancy
It goes without saying that everyone wants to have a long relationship with people that matter to them. This is the same case as all of you would love a dog that lives forever. When human beings form a bond with pets, they become so passionate about each other that they want to remain that way forever. Even if it’s not possible for them to live eternally, no one would love to part ways with a dog after establishing a cordial relationship. That explains why many people are looking for a dog with high life expectancy. Therefore, unless you are a Shar-Pei owner, you can never understand that this breed is a perfect match for everyone. It has a life expectancy that ranges from 8 to 12 years, which is gives you a chance to enjoy with him.
At this time and age, training a dog has become one of the vital requirements that every dog owner is looking for. Before buying a dog, some people want to know if it has been trained. When you buy a puppy, the first thing you wish to do is to train him or take him to the experts for training. While other dog breeds are easy to train, a Shar-Pei owner will tell you that it’s not the same case with this breed. Shar-Pei is a challenge to train, and without patience, you cannot succeed in training him. Shar-Pei is the kind of dog that doesn’t want to be told what to do because they assume they are naturally in charge. Thus, all you need for him to respond is lots of treats, positive reinforcement, and consistency. House training is even more difficult, but they tend to house train themselves. This tells you not to yell at him and don’t force him to do anything, be patient and he will eventually respond.
Not suited to outdoor living
One of the main reasons why many people adopt dogs is for security purposes. Shar-Pei is big in size and independent, thus good to guard you and your properties. However, a Shar-Pei owner will tell that he is not the kind of breed to leave in the backyard. He is family oriented and always wants to be around family members. If left alone for a long time, they become moody and aggressive even to the family members. This tells you that when you intend to go out for a long time, ensure that he has someone to keep his company.
They are prone to ear infection
When checking for dog’s wellness, many people for all other parts but the ears. That’s why unless you are a Shar-Pei owner, you can never understand the importance of taking care of your dog’s ears. Shar-Pei has a small ear canal which is prone to infection and irritation. Shar-Pei owners advise anybody adopting this breed not to use a swab in cleaning the dog’s ears and not to get water in their ears when bathing. Most importantly, you should not insert anything into the ear canal, as the only part you need to clean is the outer ear. Shar-Pei owners understand ear infection through yeast-like odor.
They bark with a reason
Many people adopt dogs for different reasons, but the major one is to have a guard dog in the family. However, some people fear to keep dogs because they have small children who may be disturbed by the excess barking associated with dogs. In addition, excess barking is not only destructive but also nerve-wracking, because you can never know when he is barking for a good reason and when barking for pleasure. But unless you are a Shar-Pei owner, you can never know that this breed is the best to adopt if you have small children who deserve nothing but a silent environment. Shar-Pei doesn’t bark unnecessarily; it barks for a good reason. When you hear him bark, move out of your bed and check out. There could be strange animals in your compound or even an intruder.
It goes without saying that dogs have become so common in every homestead to the extent that other people are forced to adopt them due to the pressure from their children or neighbors. If you are one of these people, you could easily find yourself adopting a dog you know nothing about. Having a glimpse of the dog’s coat or height is not enough to define the dog you want. That’s why a Shar-Pei owner understands the physical traits of this breed. They will be quick to tell you that the breed stands 18 to 20 inches at the withers which is a perfect for a family with small kids. In addition, they will tell you that the breed weighs between 45 to 60 pounds with the female being slightly lighter.
Unless you are a Shar-Pei owner, you can never understand that this breed may be targeted for banning in various areas, or even refusal of homeowners insurance policies. Dating back to 200 B.C., Shar-Pei was bred for hunting and fighting purposes, and this put the breed in trouble because many people believe that he still possesses those qualities. Today, the legal liability of adopting a dog breed that can become intimidating to the people is taken seriously. If your dog does anything questionable to the people around, you can be sued, and given that Shar-Pei is aggressive to strangers, you may find yourself in a hot soup.
Besides teeth brushing, a Shar-Pei owner will tell you the importance of taking your dog to a professional vet at least once in a year to have their teeth examined and cleaned. Also, you can promote your dog’s healthy teeth and gums by providing safe chewing toys and bones. Providing something to chew does not only keep your dog’s teeth intact but also prevents him from destroying your furniture and other precious stuff around him.
Enrolling him in a dog’s class is a good start
Unless you are a Shar-Pei owner, you cannot understand the importance of enrolling your dog in a dog’s class. It’s advisable for you to take your puppy in a kindergarten class where he can learn to socialize with other dogs and people as well. Doing this creates a good foundation for your dog to be friendly and accommodative to different animals and people. If you want to see your dog welcome visitors in your home, or play with strangers around your neighborhood, ensure he passes through a puppy kindergarten class.