The Shar Pei has a curious appearance but one that is easily recognisable worldwide due to its heavily wrinkled skin & very rough coat. The words, Shar Pei, actually translate as ‘sand skin’. The average height of an adult, fully grown Shar Pei is between 46 – 51 centimetres, 18 – 20 inches. The average weight of an adult is between 18 – 27 kilograms, 40 – 60 pounds.
An unusual feature with the Shar Pei breed is their blue-black tongue this is a trait they share with the Chow Chow breed. Other breeds occasionally have blue-black spots or freckles on their pink tongues but the Shar Pei tongue is completely blue-black, no pink in sight! There is a slight resemblance between the Shar Pei & the Chow Chow breeds, their stance is very similar.
Shar Pei are classed as a medium sized breed of dog, they are a powerful, squarely built dog & are what is referred to as short-coupled, (meaning the distance from their last rib to the beginning of their hindquarters or loin is fairly short) they possess a wide muzzle with small ears that fold down & forward. They are very well balanced dogs.
The tail of a Shar Pei is reminiscent to that of a piglet in the way that it is formed, with the base of the tail being very high-set & the body being either tightly or loosely curled & carried up over the dog’s back. The end of the tail should narrow off to a fine point.
Shar Pei have medium sized, almond shaped eyes that should be a rich brown colour. They wear an expression that has been likened to frowning due to the skin wrinkles on their face.
They have three coat varieties, the rough ‘horse-coat’, the much smoother ‘brush-coat’ & the long ‘bear-coat’. Colours available range from the traditional sandy colour right through to black,they are generally just the one solid colour but can be, on the odd occasion, what is termed as ‘flowered’ meaning that they have patches caused by different coloured hair.
The Shar Pei character is quite an aloof, almost regal, one. They are a very dignified breed of dog & fairly stand-offish especially to strangers, however this said, some Shar Pei just naturally love everyone!
In general the Shar Pei seems to have proven itself to be a friendly, very loving & devoted to its family dog. It has been stated that they appear to prefer human companionship than that of other dogs.
Often a Shar Pei is to be discovered by the side of its owner, they are a breed of dog that does seem to be ‘tuned’ into their owner’s thoughts & feelings, almost seeming to read their minds. An endearing quality but one that can also be turned quite easily; Shar Pei are renowned for their manipulation skills so to own one you need to be more intelligent than it to be able to outsmart it.