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Chinese Shar-Pei: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Chinese Shar-Pei temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Chinese Shar-Pei dog breed

Chinese Shar-Pei Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Chinese Shar-pei Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2016

This sober, dignified dog with the wrinkled skin, "hippopotamus" head, and scowling expression stands firmly on the ground with a calm, confident stature.

Naturally clean and easy to housebreak, quiet and mannerly in the home, the Chinese Shar-Pei is an impressive companion if you can establish a relationship of mutual respect, i.e., admiring his independent character while consistently enforcing household rules so that he respects you as well. This can be a challenge, though, as this breed is dominant and obstinate -- definitely not the choice for a first-time dog owner.

Chinese Shar-Pei need only moderate exercise (several brisk daily walks), so they do quite well in the city or suburbs. In fact, unless they are securely fenced, they are not the best choice for a farm or rural setting, for they have strong hunting instincts and may run deer or molest livestock if they get loose.

Aloof with strangers, Chinese Shar-Pei must be accustomed to people at an early age so that their natural territorial instincts are properly discriminatory.

Though he usually minds his own business unless provoked, some Chinese Shar-Pei are aggressive with other dogs, and some individuals are predatory with cats.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is medium-sized and sturdily-built
  • Has an unusual appearance
  • Has a calm, confident nature
  • Is naturally clean and easy to housebreak
  • Doesn't bark much
  • Needs only moderate exercise
  • Is very loyal to his family

A Chinese Shar-Pei may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Potential aggression toward people when not socialized properly
  • Potential aggression toward other animals
  • Snoring and snorting sounds
  • A high price tag
  • Serious (often chronic) health problems and expensive vet bills
  • Legal liabilities (public perception, future breed bans, insurance problems, increased chance of lawsuits)

A Chinese Shar-Pei may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

More traits and characteristics of the Chinese Shar-Pei

If I was considering a Chinese Shar-pei, I would be most concerned about...

  1. The strong temperament. Chinese Shar Pei have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Many Chinese Sharpeis are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Shar-pei to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Chinese Shar Pei Training Page discusses the program you need.

  2. Potential aggression toward strangers. Many Chinese Shar Peis have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone.

    If you have young children, I do not recommend a Chinese Shar Pei. There are just too many individuals who won't tolerate any nonsense.

  3. Animal aggression. Many Chinese Shar Peis are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs, especially of the same sex. Many have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures. This is not a good breed to keep with livestock. If anything goes wrong in the breeding, socializing, training, handling, or management of this breed, it is capable of seriously injuring or killing other animals.

  4. Shedding and harsh coat. Chinese Shar-peis come in three coat varieties. The "horse" coat is very short and prickly, and can irritate the skin of sensitive people. The "brush" coat is thicker and about one inch long. The "bear" coat is very heavy, like that of a Chow. All three coats shed, with the brush and bear coats shedding the most.

  5. Shar-Pei sounds. Many Chinese Sharpeis snort, grunt, and snore loudly. The sounds are endearing to some people; nerve-wracking to others.

  6. High prices. Though this breed is common, many breeders are still charging $1000 or more.

  7. Serious health problems. It's been said that if you feel like supporting your vet with great chunks of money, get a Chinese Sharpei. They are prone to a plethora of eye problems, skin diseases, kidney disease, and more.

    To keep this breed healthy, I strongly recommend following all of the advice on my Chinese Shar Pei Health Page.

  8. Legal liabilities. Chinese Shar Pei may be targeted for "banning" in certain areas, or refusal of homeowner insurance policies. In this day and age, the legal liabilities of owning any breed that looks intimidating and has a history as a fighting dog should be seriously considered. People are quicker to sue if such a dog does anything even remotely questionable.

    Frankly, most Chinese Shar Peis are just "too much dog" for the average household. Very few people really have the knowledge or skills necessary to manage this breed.

book cover To learn more about training Chinese Shar-Pei to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book,
Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Chinese Shar-Pei the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Chinese Shar-Pei puppy. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.

If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Chinese Shar-Pei might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.

book cover Once you have your Chinese Shar-Pei home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.

Please consider adopting an ADULT Chinese Shar-Pei...

When you're acquiring a Chinese Shar-Pei PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Chinese Shar-Pei who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter