There are some animals that, when you look deeply into their eyes, you realize that the animal is looking back with similar depth and intensity. It can be a very disconcerting experience! That level of intelligence and acute awareness is clearly evident in the eyes of the Shar-Pei. He is a thinking dog, active and alert, fully confident that equal is viewing equal.
The Shar-Pei is a surprising dog in many ways. His enchanting puppy hood, full of wrinkles and folds, makes him one of the most unique members of the dog world. As an adult, the pup’s baggy, oversized costume becomes a well-tailored suit, appropriate for this calm and dignified animal. The transformation from charming to classy is the part of the mystery that surrounds this breed.
Shar-Pei can be source of joy and pride for the family that challenges his mind, encourages his obedience, and nourishes his emotional needs. His ancestors should always be remembered however, for underneath the charm is a powerful animal, as there still lingers the assertiveness and bravado that ensured his survival in less “civilized” world.
The Chinese word Shar-Pei loosely translates as “sand skin,” which is a descriptive standard of their harsh coat, and our American breeders have proven their lineage connections are more closely related to the Mastiff family. For generations, this breed portrayed an image of undying loyalty, perseverance, and bravery, which has created the Shar-Pei into a valuable family companion and guardian today. They are a generally a very socially structured animal, integrating closely with their individual family order. It is imperative that humans establish “alpha” position as “pack” leaders.
The Chinese Shar-Pei is not the right breed for everyone. The recurring recommendation from breeders throughout the country was for a buyer to take his time in choosing! Researching the local breeders, going to shows to see a number of dogs, and thinking carefully about the selection a specific puppy are all strongly encouraged. The prospective owner must be realistic about his ability not only to afford a good quality dog, but to be able to provide for his physical, emotional, and training needs.
Above all, regardless of the breed’s newfound American popularity, the dog must ultimately be happy in the home and the home happy with the dog. While not a rare problem for many highly popular breeds, rescue is a major concern to breed fanciers and welfare volunteers, as hundreds of Shar-Pei are passed on for rehoming each year due to careless planning and/or lack of research. Please take the needed time to not only educate yourself properly, but also to wait for the right dog and personality that is best for your family and home. Responsible pet ownership is not a temporary fix to meet current emotional needs, but a lifetime of commitment and dedication to comfortably sharing your life with your dog. CLICK HERE for our Shar-pei FAQ Helpline for other important links.