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Chinese Shar-pei Standard

Please refer to the AKC or CSPCA profile pages for a complete standard illustration, but here are the basic breed facts:

Adult Standard Highlights:

  • HEIGHT: 18-20 inches tall at the withers
  • WEIGHT: 45-60 pounds
  • COAT: rough in texture, like brush bristles, varying from the horsecoat [1/8 inch], to the brushcoat [1 inch] in length
  • COLOR: generally found in solid cream, fawn, red, blue, black, brown (chocolate), both standard black nose and dilute self-colored nose varieties. Shading of the same base color is permitted, but two or more colors is considered a disqualification, except in the sable, where black overlaces a standard color.Please visit the Coat Colors page to identify new colors.

Other Breed Features:

  • EARS: small triangular ears, facing towards the eyes
    ( large triangles that drop to the side of the head, ears that do not lay on head, and/or pricked ears are a potential sign of mixed breed or disqualified dog )
  • PIGMENT: darkened blue-black tongue, gums, and body pigment
    ( spotted or pink tongue is a potential sign of mixed breeding )
  • TAIL SET: tail curling over the back, usually pig tail style
    ( at minimum, tail should be up and turned forward, otherwise may be a potential sign of mixed breeding )
  • WRINKLES: minimal wrinkles on head, neck, shoulders
    ( puppies generally have more wrinkles than adults )
  • FACE: meatmouth – large padded lips, or bonemouth – no padding
    ( a long, narrow, or pointed face is a potential sign of mixed breeding )

Major Faults:

  • Deviation from a Scissors Bite
  • Spotted Tongue
  • A soft coat, a wavy coat, a coat in excess of 1″ in length at the withers or a coat that has been trimmed.


  • Pricked ears
  • Solid pink tongue
  • Absence of a complete tail
  • Albino; not a solid color, i.e.: Brindle; Parti-colored; Spotted; Patterned in any combination of colors

Examples of standard faulted or disqualified Shar-Pei:

For each of the defaulted coats / smaller sizes to be assumed purebreds, the dog must clearly follow or match the rest of the standard requirements for Chinese Shar-Pei.

Chinese Shar-pei History:

Similar Breeds Commonly Mistaken for Pei / Pei Mixes:

(Larger than Standard Size)

(Same or Smaller than Standard Size)

(Mixed Shar-pei recognized by American Canine Hybrid Club)


If want to know more about showing your Shar-pei, see my article on Judging a Shar-pei. Unfortunately, some breeders choose to breed faulted dogs, disqualified colors and patterns, or long coats called bear coats. They may be “rare” or “unusual” but they are still faulted, which means they are not accepted into competitions or for breeding AKC registered dogs. Click here for more breeding details.

NOTE: when adopting or buying a Shar-Pei for a pet, the Pei prospect may exhibit an array of standard faults or structural differences. This does not necessarily mean the dog is not a purebred, just that is genetics were not correctly designed for removing the unwanted breed deviations from their bloodline. We usually encourage pet buyers to focus on looking for preferable strengths in health and temperament, rather than be worried so much with the correct physical attributes of the dog.



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