Shar Pei is a breed of dog whose distinctive feature is deep wrinkles. The name (pinyin: sha pí) itself translates to "Sand Skin," not because of their colors, but because of their texture. As young puppies, they have lots of wrinkles, but as they mature, the wrinkles disappear as they "grow into their skin". They were not recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1991.

The Chinese variety of Shar Pei looks like a Doberman Pinscher with small floppy ears, long legs, and a narrow face. Coming in many colors, it has the same characteristic blue-black tongue of the Chow Chow. The wrinkles are seen only on the face and back. Through selective breeding, the American variety of Shar Pei has very short, stubby legs, many wrinkles covering all of its body, and a wide "hippo face". The tail curls up and rests on the back.


A common problem caused by irresponsible inbreeding is excessive wrinkling of the skin that causes an eye condition which turns the eyelashes inward, thus irritating the eye and possibly causing infection. This condition is called entropion and can be fixed by surgery ("tacking" the eyelids up so they won't roll onto the eyeball). Skin infections are also common in this breed due to the folds and wrinkles, as is dry, flaky skin which can be remedied by frequent bathing using a special shampoo. One of the causes of skin problems in the Shar Pei is feeding the dog too much rich food; Shar Pei were developed in poor areas, and thus evolved to survive on very poor diets. As a result, the dog has difficulty coping with high protein diets. High protein diets also increase the risk of a serious kidney disease called amyloidosis. The disease causes short fevers lasting 24 hours, after which there may be no more recurrence; alternatively they may recur at more frequent intervals, becoming more serious, and eventually resulting in kidney or liver failure. Susceptability to this disease is recessive, and surfaces when both of a dog's parents carry it.

Shar Pei


Brundo 2005