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Are Shar Peis Good Family Dogs? Important Info for Owners

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

Chinese Shar pei puppy portrait at garden

When you add any dog to your household, it’s best to know that the breed is compatible with your home situation. Some dogs make excellent family companions, clicking with everyone and everything in their path. Others are much more particular and protective, taking on a guardian role. The Shar Pei is certainly the latter.

Shar Peis can make excellent protectors, securing the kiddos and the adults alike by patrolling the perimeter. However, they were bred to be guard dogs, so if you want them to be good family dogs, it’s important that they are socialized and trained correctly. Shar Peis are best for experienced owners. Let’s learn more about the Shar Pei as a family dog in this article.

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Shar Pei General Character

Some people would describe a Shar Pei as being slightly aloof and not so fantastic with people outside of their household. However, those same people would also tell you that a Shar Pei is a fiercely loyal, brilliant companion animal that can have good character with proper breeding and training.

The Shar Pei forms intense bonds that won’t break with human families. They take their role seriously in the pack, defending the family with honor. They can be playful, affectionate, and excitable at times, but they must be completely relaxed to be their goofy selves.

However, things can go south because of their sometimes challenging and demanding characteristics. Shar Peis might sometimes display territorial or behavioral aggression that can be hard to correct once habits are formed.

shar pei dog lying on the floor
Image Credit: Alika Obraz, Shutterstock

Are Shar Peis Good with Children?

Shar Peis can be very good with children if they are raised alongside them. However, if a Shar-Pei isn’t properly socialized, they can even be territorial with little ones. Ensure you have an excellent breed understanding before you get a Shar Pei so you can expose them to new situations properly.

Since Shar Peis can be territorial creatures that don’t take well to new faces, children can be on the chopping block in the situation just as adults can. While Shar Peis have pretty decent discernment as to who is and who is not a threat, they might perceive a child suspiciously.

They might even mistake your children’s friends for interfering with the children in their own homes, causing them to be slightly aggressive towards children they don’t know. This is not common, but it isn’t unheard of either. It’s something to be aware of if you want to own this breed.

Even if the Shar Pei is raised alongside children, they are typically never the cuddliest type of dog. This guard dog takes their duties seriously and prefers to monitor the household rather than snuggle up on the couch.

Chinese Shar pei puppy portrait at garden_Waldemar Dabrowski_shutterstock
Image Credit: Waldemar Dabrowski, Shutterstock

Are Shar Peis Good With Other Pets?

Shar Peis and other pets can be hit-and-miss. While they can be extremely good with some animals, they might not be the best for others. Also, since Shar Peis have such a wide variety of tolerance and personality, some might do very well with other pets while others are best as the only pet. The key to successful socialization is early exposure. If your Shar Pei is acclimated to other pests very early, it can cause a higher probability of compatibility than if they’re introduced later.

Are Shar Peis Good with Cats?

Shar Peis can be very good with cats when they are raised alongside them. However, a Shar Pei that hasn’t been properly socialized may never make a good match with cats. Also, a Shar Pei with cats in the home might not like strange cats coming around.

When it comes to this category, it is really a gamble, and you should judge it based on the individual dog.

How to Acclimate a Shar Pei

Owning a Shar Pei is no easy task. These exceptional dogs require owners who are familiar with their particular care needs. It is important to understand dogs like the Shar Pei. Don’t get a dog simply based on appearance or other factors without assessing whether their breed characteristics will match your lifestyle.

Buying a Shar Pei is a very big decision that comes with huge responsibility. A Shar Pei is not a good fit for someone who expects their dog to socialize like a Golden Retriever. The Shar Pei was designed to be a guard dog; those genes remain strong today.

They are extremely suspicious of anything new, as they see it as a potential threat, and they must first decipher the situation. Some Shar Peis develop an aggressive nature because they have trouble distinguishing friends from foes.

Chinese Shar-Pei
Image Credit: style81, Pixabay

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Buying a Shar Pei Puppy

If you plan on buying a Shar Pei puppy, research beforehand. Choose a reputable breeder near you that has an extensive history of successful litters. You will want breed quality, especially regarding temperament and trainability.

Shar Peis are rather rare and can be quite expensive when you do locate a litter of puppies. You might also find that you must remain on a waiting list for quite some time or put down a deposit to secure a pup.

Adopting a Shar Pei

If you choose to adopt a Shar Pei, make sure that you follow all of these steps appropriately. If you have pets and children, you will want to do a meet and greet to make sure all family members are compatible.

If you adopt from a shelter, all the vetting has been done for you, including spay and neuter surgery and microchipping. You pay significantly less to adopt a dog if you are in a position to give a stray another chance.

Adopting a puppy is a better idea than adopting an adult dog for families who want their dog to better acclimate to their lifestyle. You can raise the Shar Pei alongside other pets and children better if you adopt a puppy. It makes it a lot easier to socialize them.

Cute Shar-Pei dog with owner at home
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot,Shutterstock

Training a Shar Pei

Training your Shar Pei should be similar to training any other dog, but slight differences exist. Since this breed is prone to aggression and territorial tendencies, opting for professional help may be a good foundational point.

You can work diligently alongside a trainer to appropriately work with your dog according to their personality. This can solidify a bond between you and your pet and establish a hierarchy so they know you are the boss.

A Shar Pei can be a well-acclimated family member, and professional training can give you the tools and resources to make it happen. It can be pricey or reasonable depending on what kind of training you do.

Make sure to ask for recommendations or read reviews on professional trainers near you.

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So now you understand that Shar Peis can make good family dogs if you set the correct expectations. These dogs need to do what they are made to do: watch and guard the household. If they are trained correctly, this behavior can be incredibly beneficial, especially if you like the extra security.

If you don’t know the breed correctly, this can be a very challenging dog to have as an inexperienced owner. We recommend that you diligently research to ensure this breed fits your lifestyle correctly.

Featured Image Credit: Waldemar Dabrowski,Shutterstock

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