Chinese Shar-pei - Breed and Grooming Tips

General Information

Immediately recognizable due to their unique "hippopotamus" head shape, profile and wrinkles, the Shar-Pei is an ancient breed that is usually aloof and standoffish with strangers, but devoted to his family. Their name "Shar-Pei" means sandy coat and their coat should be offstanding and harsh. Any solid color and sable is acceptable and none of these is preferred over the others. Today, the Shar-Pei is exhibited in conformation, agility, obedience and tracking.

Right Breed for You?

An intelligent and often stubborn breed, Shar Pei ownership needs careful consideration. They are bright and learn quickly, but early training and socialization are important, as is daily exercise. Shar-Pei are clean dogs, but they do  require a little more grooming than an occasional bath, regular ear cleaning and toe nail clipping.

Source:  American Kennel Club -


Bathing and General Grooming

The loose wrinkly skin and their harsh sand paper type coat is a hallmark of the breed. A “brush coat” which is a longer coat, but never more than one inch in length is also acceptable in the breed as well. The coat should look healthy but never shiny. This sand paper type coat does require regular bathing in order to maintain healthy skin and coat.  Selecting the correct products to match your pet’s needs is essential in order to achieve optimal results.

Before bathing your Shar Pei, it is recommended to go over the dog’s entire body with a high velocity dryer in order loosen any dirt and dander from the skin and remove any excess loose coat.  Lightly card the coat to help accelerate shedding.  Once you have selected the best products for your Shar Pei, it is bath time! A preliminary bath should be done to remove any dirt, debris, and return the skin and coat to a neutral state.  A solution oriented bath should be the second bath.

One area to pay particular attention to detail is the facial area.  A facial cleanser allows you to focus on the entire facial surface as well as any facial wrinkles.  Any wrinkles and facial folds can hold odor and bacteria.  It is imperative to pay particular attention to those areas.  The facial should be used as a pre-soak while the preliminary bath is done. The facial scrub can be used in between baths in order maintain freshness and good hygiene as well.

Recommended products:

Hypoallergenic Shampoo: A natural, tearless solution for pets with super sensitive skin that is chocked full of Aloe, Coconut, and Vitamins A, D, and E.

Oatmeal Baking Soda Shampoo: A solution oriented shampoo to help remove odors while maintaining healthy skin and coat.

Flea and Tick Shampoo:  Kills fleas and ticks while cleaning and conditioning your pet’s skin and coat.  Leaves a fresh and clean fragrance.  Safe for puppies over 12 weeks.  Keep out of eyes.

Luxury Remoisturizer Conditioner: A deep penetrating coat conditioner to restore moisture. In order to stay true to coat type, dilute 50:1 and rinse thoroughly.

Dead Sea Mineral Mudbath: This soothing mudbath is a conditioning treatment to soften and cleanse the skin while leaving the coat in a healthy state.

Oatmeal Baking Soda Facial Cleanser: Great for eliminating facial odors, lifting stains from eye drainage and food, and soothing the skin.

This intelligent yet aloof dog should be bathed and groomed on a regular basis. In order to keep the coat in prime condition, it is always beneficial to use a hydrating spray following the bath and drying process.  This allows the skin and coat to lock in moisture and maintain perfect hydration.  As a finishing touch, before using a hydrating spray, use a grooming mitt and massage in a circular motion to stimulate the release of natural oils in addition to the removal of any excess loose hairs.  Then finish with a hydrating spray.

Recommended Products:

Aloe Hydrating Spray: Formulated to provide extreme hydration allowing the skin’s healthy natural oils to permeate the skin.  The inner filet of the Aloe plant allows the skin and the coat to maintain perfect hydration.

General Healthcare

Prep work is the foundation of all grooming.  Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, anal glands, and proper dental hygiene.  Mastering these skills sets the professional pet stylist apart from the rest.  Prep work should be done before every bathing and grooming appointment.  All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned on a regular basis.  Proper nail care is also very important.  Long, unsightly nails are uncomfortable for the dog, as well as anyone they might jump on.  Long nails also compromise the shape of the foot.  Trimming the pads of the foot helps give the dog good traction on different surfaces, and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into the house.  It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions.  Anal glands should also be checked and expressed if they are full.  Some caring pet owners prefer to have the anal glands done by their veterinarian. Good dental hygiene is essential for a healthy pet as well.

Recommended Products:

Ear Care:  This ear cleaner has a blend of natural oils to remove dirt, debris, and wax.

Paw Balm: Use weekly to keep paws pliable and soft.  Paw Balm will aid in the prevention of pads to dry out and crack.

3 in 1 Healing Cream:  If your pet gets a wound, this cream promotes cell regeneration and healing.  It is formulated with Bitrex to discourage licking.

Hot Spot Foam: Soothing Aloe, Tea Tree Oil, and Chamomile relieves itching and burning while promoting and accelerating healing.

Nutritional Care

In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through a well-balanced diet, vitamins, and healthy treats.

Frequently Asked Questions

1/  What products do I need if I just purchased a Shar Pei puppy?

Puppy Shampoo

Luxury Remoisturizing Conditioner

Facial Cleanser

Aloe Hydrating Spray

Ear Care Aloe Wipes

Tear Stain Aloe Wipes

2/ Do they require a lot of grooming?

Despite the fact that this breed is naturally clean, regular baths are recommended at least every 4 weeks.

3/ What is a common problem in Chinese Shar Pei?

 Like all pure breed dogs, the Shar Pei has its fair share of health issues.  This is a brachycephalic breed.  The Shar Pei does manifest Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome that is composed of a number of anatomical abnormalities. Eyes are another major issue in this breed.  Entropian, where the eyelids roll in, is a major concern.  If it is not treated, a cornel ulceration can occur which can lead to blindness.

4/  Do Shar Pei’s shed or cause allergies?

As a rule of thumb, Chinese Shar Pei’s do not shed year around, but they do shed seasonally. If you suffer from allergies, it is recommended to spend some time around the breed before bringing a Shar Pei into your home.

5/ Are they good with children?

 The Shar Pei has a very strong temperament and an independent mind of their own.  Because of this, this is not the best breed to have around young children.

6/ What if I have a show dog?

Whether you have a show dog or a companion quality dog, the same basic care is given regarding nutrition, socialization, and hygiene.  The difference is the conditioning of the dog and conformation training.  It is always quite helpful if your breeder can help mentor you to lead you in the right direction upon entering the wonderful world of dog shows.  A great place to start is with the national breed club like the Chinese Shar Pei Club of America, Inc,

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