Is Shar-Pei a smart dog?

Did you know that the Shar-Pei is one of the most ancient dog breeds on the planet? Originating from China, these uniquely wrinkly dogs have been around for thousands of years. But beyond their distinctive appearance, they’re often regarded as one of the smartest dog breeds out there. Is this true? And what exactly makes a dog “smart”? Read on to know more about the intelligence of the Shar-Pai breed.

First, let’s delve into understanding what makes a dog “smart”. Canine intelligence is typically measured in a few different ways – instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, obedience intelligence, and capacity to work. Instinctive intelligence refers to what the dog was bred to do. For instance, Labrador Retrievers were bred to retrieve game for hunters – their instinct is to fetch, and they’re naturally good at it. Adaptive intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to solve problems on its own. A dog breed that can figure out how to open doors, escape from their kennels, or hide their toys effectively would be considered to have high adaptive intelligence. Obedience intelligence relates to a dog’s capacity to learn from humans, while work intelligence pertains to a dog’s ability to learn and perform tasks.

So, where does the Shar-Pei fit in? Let’s break it down.

1. Instinctive Intelligence: Shar-Pei dogs were initially bred for farming, hunting, and guarding. They were known to be good at protecting livestock and homes in ancient China. This instinct is still present today. You will often find that they are very alert and wary of strangers. They will quickly alert their families if they sense any danger.

2. Adaptive Intelligence: Shar-Pei dogs are very observant and pick up on their surroundings quickly. They can find ways to get to their favorite spot on the couch or locate a well-hidden treat. They can even learn how to open doors – that’s a pretty smart dog, right?

3. Obedience Intelligence: This is where things might get a bit tricky with the Shar-Pei. If you’ve ever been around these dogs, you’ll know they can be a bit stubborn. They’re independent thinkers and like to do things their way. They do not always follow commands instantly, which can sometimes be mistaken for a lack of intelligence. However, it’s more a sign of their independent streak rather than a lack of understanding.

4. Working Intelligence: These dogs are excellent workers. Given their history as farm dogs, they are not averse to hard work and can learn and perform tasks efficiently. With proper training, they can be good at agility, obedience, and even therapy work.

Now that we understand the gauges of canine intelligence let’s talk specifically about how smart a Shar-Pei is. Yes, they are intelligent dogs. But remember, this intelligence comes packaged with an independent and sometimes stubborn nature, which can sometimes be mistaken as being less intelligent. A Shar-Pei is not a dog that will blindly follow commands. They’re thinkers – and they like to consider their options before responding to a command.

If you’re planning on bringing a Shar-Pei into your home, or if you already have one, here are some training tips that might prove useful given what we know about their intelligence:

1. Start Early: Shar-Peis respond well to training, but it’s better to start when they’re still puppies.

2. Be Consistent: Consistency is key. Do not confuse your dog with different command terms for the same action. Stick to one term and be consistent with your actions as well.

3. Keep it Positive: They don’t respond very well to harsh punishment. Keep the training sessions positive and reward good behavior.

In conclusion, the Shar-Pei, with their intense gaze and abundance of wrinkles, are indeed intelligent dogs. They’re independent, loyal, and observant. Remember, every Shar-Pei is an individual, and while this guide gives a general understanding of the breed’s intelligence, each dog will have its unique quirks and characteristics. And having a dog is not just about how smart they are, it’s about the love, loyalty, and companionship they bring into your life.