Is a Shar-Pei a good family dog?

Puppies are nature’s remedy for feeling unloved… plus numerous other ailments of life. – Richard Allan Palm

This is true for an enigmatic breed of dogs that’s mesmerizing people globally. Interestingly, the shar-pei, with abundance of wrinkles and an unusually blue-black tongue, doesn’t share an origin with other popular dog breeds. Instead, these intriguing features are signs of a profound and rich history dated back to centuries in China. Imagine, a wrinkled puppy growing into a less-wrinkled adult dog, still adorable, and always a head-turner!

Legend has it that during the Han Dynasty, sculptures and statues of wrinkled dogs resembling the Shar-Pei were found in burial sites. Obviously, they were considered to have super-natural protective powers. From being symbols of fortune and authority to overcoming severe threats of extinction, the versatile nature and survival instincts of this breed never cease to awe.

Yet, the question that usually pops up when planning to bring one home is – is a Shar-Pei a good family dog? Let’s decipher the answer while taking a stroll through its fascinating world.

Being a Shar-Pei owner is akin to owning a piece of ancient history. The breed almost took a nosedive into oblivion around the time of the communist revolution in China. Thanks to some dog lovers who sought the help of Americans, a handful of Shar-Peis were imported into the USA. This was the beginning of a Shar-Pei revival and a skyrocket to popularity. So, when you own a Shar-Pei, it’s a living testament to an unwavering survival story, and how!

It’s essential to understand the temperament of a Shar-Pei. By nature, these dogs are known for their loyalty and stoic independence. Like an ideal family member, a Shar-Pei is calm, confident, and protective. They are wonderful companions, but they express love in their own inimitable way, which makes every interaction with them a joyous discovery.

But sweetness comes with spunk! Remember, the Shar-Pei was a peasants’ dog bred to herd, hunt, guard, and even fight when needed. So, they are naturally suspicious of strangers. A friendly stranger might see a frowning Shar-Pei, but families see a loving, playful goofball. To give children the pleasure of having a Shar-Pei as their fun comrade, it’s critical to socialize them early with people and other pets.

Training a Shar-Pei might need a bit of patience given their independent nature. Think of it like dealing with a smart, independent teenager– with effective communication and firm, consistent boundaries, they are happy to oblige. Puzzle toys are effective training tools, as Shar-Peis love to exercise their intellect as much as their muscles. Always remember, a well-trained Shar-Pei equals a harmonious household!

A common Shar-Pei attribute that’s both charming and demanding is its cleanliness. Your Shar-Pei is people-like in its dislike for dirt. So, if you harbor visions of a lazy day in the park with your fur-ball rolling gleefully in the mud, then you might be in for a surprise. Their impeccable cleanliness habits naturally make them excellent indoor pets.

Like every pet, Shar-Peis come with their own set of health concerns. Their most iconic feature, the wrinkles, if not cleaned and maintained, can lead to skin infections. Also, they’re prone to certain eye issues and joint problems. Regular vet visits, a balanced diet, and exercise are non-negotiable components of their care regime.

All the effort, however, is worth it as this extraordinary breed brings immense joy, companionship, and a unique character to a family. If the saying, “A dog is a man’s best friend” stands true, then the Shar-Pei takes it one step further with its tenacious loyalty, unmatched cleanliness, intelligent independence, and its quirky, relatable persona. They’re a fascinating mix of sugar, spice, and everything nice!

So, if you’re looking forward to adding a dose of ancient, rare, and exotic canine friend to your life and if you are comfortable with some degree of discipline, then the Shar-Pei would be a wonderful addition to your family. They may have a crumpled grumpy exterior but inside, they are full of love for their families, which makes them precious companions that then becomes a life-long, gratifying, and endearing journey. Remember, life is better with a dog. And even better with a Shar-Pei. You end up not just owning a dog, but a slice of living history!