Is a Chinese Shar-Pei a good pet?

You might recognize the wrinkled, puffy face of a Chinese Shar-Pei from pictures you’ve seen on the internet. But have you ever wondered, “What are they like as pets?” As someone who has shared a home with a Shar-Pei, let me spill the beans: They are nothing short of unique.

The Chinese Shar-Pei has a history that’s almost like a superhero’s backstory. This breed, home to China from over 2,000 years ago, dodged extinction in the 20th century by making an exciting journey to the U.S. in the 1970s. With just a few hundred left, the Shar Pei wasn’t merely a rare breed, it was named the world’s rarest dog breed by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1978! Today, these dogs are hugely popular around the globe, and once you get to know them, it’s easy to see why.

The immediate visual hallmark of the Chinese Shar-Pei is its incredibly wrinkly skin. As a puppy, these canines sport a super-abundance of skin which they eventually “grow into” as they mature, although they retain wrinkles on the face. If you’re anything like me, these adorable wrinkles are their selling point. After all, what other pooch sports a face that’s reminiscent of something you’d iron?

Yet, the Shar-Pei is much more than cute wrinkles. Beneath that charming dough-boy exterior, lays a personality that’s equally impressive. These dogs are known for their intelligence and independent spirit which, coupled with their wariness of strangers, made them excellent guard dogs in their homeland. If you’re looking for a shop-lifter deterrent at your business or a watchful eye over your home, the Shar-Pei will fit right in.

The loyalty of the Shar-Pei extends far beyond the borders of their guard duties. While they can show a cold shoulder to strangers, Shar-Peis are known to be incredibly devoted to their family members. If you want a companion that will be by your side come hell or high water, it’s hard to find a breed more loyal than a Shar-Pei.

Let’s move on to a topic that’s crucial to anyone considering a pet: Trainability. Here, the Shar-Pei is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Shar-Peis are quick learners eager to pick up new commands. On the other hand, their strong-willed and independent nature can make them stubborn at times. So, this calls for an owner who can balance patience with firmness while training. These dogs need an assertive leader who can show them the ropes while respecting their intelligence.

So far, you might get the impression that the Shar-Pei is a serious and no-nonsense type. Now, although they might give off a slightly aloof air, don’t be fooled entirely. These dogs also have a playful, clownish side. There will almost surely be times when your Shar-Pei will make you laugh out loud with their goofy antics, especially during their puppy and young dog years. A Shar-Pei can certainly liven up your household with their amusing pastimes.

When it comes to grooming, the Shar-Pei is a good fit for those who don’t want to spend much time on maintenance. But remember, those unique wrinkles need some attention! Their deeply set folds can trap moisture and debris, leading to skin infections if not regularly cleaned. To help them stay squeaky clean, use a soft cloth to clean inside these folds gently.

The Shar-Pei is relatively quiet, they’re no pet to disrupt neighbors. They’re also medium-sized dogs that can fit well in both apartments and houses as long as they’re given their daily exercise. Whether it’s a walk around the block or a quick game of fetch, they need their daily dose of activity!

One of the greatest challenges about owning a Shar-Pei is their health. This breed tends to suffer from a range of hereditary and genetic conditions, such as skin problems, hip dysplasia, and a unique kind called Shar-Pei fever. So, it is essential to purchase Shar-Peis from reputable breeders who screen their breeding dogs for these diseases. Regular visits to the vet can help ensure they stay in tip-top shape.

In conclusion, the Chinese Shar-Pei can be a delightful and entertaining pet for the right family or individual. They’re intelligent, loyal, and have an independent spirit that’s coupled with a playful side. However, their stubbornness and health issues make them best-suited to experienced dog owners who can provide lots of attention, training, and healthcare. But, with the right environment and care, the Shar-Pei can undoubtedly shine as a unique and cherished family pet. And let’s face it – a few extra laughs spread throughout the day are never a bad thing, right? They’re a breed that embodies the saying, “you don’t just own a Shar-Pei; the Shar-Pei owns you.”