Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about the Chinese Shar-Pei

1). "How do you spell Shar-Pei?"

A: It depends on whom you ask.  The following spellings have all been used.

  • Shar-Pei
  • Shar-pei
  • Shar Pei
  • Shar pei
  • Sharpei
  • SharPei
  • Sharpay
  • Shar Pai
  • sharpai
  • Shar pay
  • Charpei
  • Char Pei
  • Charpay
  • Char pay
  • Sharpie
  • Shar pie
  • Sharpey
  • shar pey
  • char pay
  • charpay

There's no help anywhere on the plural form, so use whatever seems appropriate.

The AKC shows Shar-Pei.


2). "Do shar-pei wrinkles get infected?"

Not really.  There were some early genetic problems associated with the wrinkles such as allergies, but 50 years of breeding has pretty much solved those concerns. Our puppies have no history of FSF (Familial Shar-Pei Fever).

The question of why they get wrinkles was tackled in the article from the BBC.

On a lighter note, here's that Audi advertisement that featured a wrinkle free Shar-Pei. 

To make sure we get a soft healthy coat or to relieve itchy coats, we have had great success with Halo's Dream Coat.

  • Provides the finest balance of full spectrum essential fatty acids missing from commercial, cooked or processed pet foods.
  • Six natural, cold-pressed oils are proven to be the perfect complement for quickly achieving a glorious, glowing new coat and healthier skin.
  • Also elevates their immune system with Garlic and Evening Primrose Oil.


3). "Why is its tongue black? What other breeds also have black tongues?"

The Shar-Pei shares this distinctive characteristic with the Chow-Chow.  There may be a common ancestor in these breeds.  The tongue can also be bluish-black or lavendar.

4). "Do they shed much?"

No, a Shar-Pei will usually shed briefly once a year in preparation for Summer.

5). "What About That Eye Thing?"

That "eye thing" that you asked about is probably Entropion and does not occur frequently.

The Shar-Pei are 1 of 14 breeds that can have this condition. It is a condition that good breeders avoid by not allowing afflicted dogs to mate.

This is a condition where the eyelid rolls in towards the eye.  The eyelid and eyelashes may rub against the cornea, irritating this sensitive structure. Symptoms include watery eyes, infection or even a corneal ulcer. Surgical correction is required.

6). "What Should I Feed My Shar-Pei?"

Modern American dog food leaves much to be desired.  Food allergies may cause skin and stomach diseases and a number of allergies.feed sharpeis

This breed should have a well balanced, preservative free diet and one that is relatively low in protein, somewhere in the neighborhood of 16-21%.  

Avoid table scraps because we as humans tend to dress up our veggies with butter, margarine, salt, sugar, and/ or gravy. Anything with soya or beef, dyes, or chemical preservatives liked BHA, BHT, or Exthoxyquin should be avoided.

Instead look for foods that are preserved with vitamins A, C, or E. A chemical-free food and foods that are derived from whole meats and real grain, as opposed to offal processing,  is often enough to make a huge difference in a dog's health.

Also, make sure that your dog is not stressed by its environment.  A sparse area, in the heat, with no way to change things can lead to a dog that scratches just to have something to do. Playmates and toys do make a difference. Shar-Peis are really just kids in better clothing.


7). "How Should I Groom My Shar-Pei?"

Your Shar-Pei will not require a lot of maintenance. Brushing with a good bristle brush every other day keeps the coat in good condition. An occasional bath using warm water and a good shampoo recommended by a vet is enough. If you are trying to control an odor problem with your Shar-Pei, try changing the food before you fall into the trap of over-bathing the dog. 

Constant bathing may lead to dry skin and increased itching.  It can also cause the coat to look dull and attrack more dirt and pests because you have removed the dog's natural oils. Only bathe the dog with a vet recommend shampoo for general bathing needs. Shar-Pei nails grow quickly, so frequent clipping can help avoid in-grown nails and excessive bleeding.

Always touch your puppy's paws and the puppy all over to get them used to grooming.

Frequent ear cleaning is important.  Consider cleaning once every week to two weeks, depending on the individual dog. Use cotton swabs or make-up pads with an ear solution from your vet. Do not use Q-tips as these may push the waxy build-up further down the ear canal.