Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

German Shepherd Shar-Pei Mix Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

german shepherd and shar pei standing on grass

Height: 12 – 18 inches
Weight: 45 – 90 pounds
Lifespan: 9 – 12 years
Colors: Tan, black and tan, sable, fawn, sandy
Suitable for: Active families, experienced dog owners, previous Shar-Pei owners, homestead living
Temperament: Loyal, protective, independent, aloof with strangers, dominant, alert, athletic

divider 10

German Shar-Pei Puppy


German Shepherd Shar-Pei dogs are a rare type of hybrid, but they’re not as popular as other designer dog breeds like Labradoodles. Be wary of significantly low prices, as this usually indicates a puppy mill or backyard breeder.

These dogs can have unstable temperaments due to inexperienced breeders, so it’s crucial that the breeder you select understands canine genetics. We recommend asking around for local breeders that can prove their experience and credibility, including being able to see the facilities and records of the dogs being bred.

3 Little-Known Facts About the German Shar-Pei

1. Shar-Pei Dogs Come in Three Types of Coats

Shar-Pei dogs are unique in that they have three coat types: bear, brush, and horse. The bear coat is the coarsest and shortest coat, which can surprisingly cause hives due to its sandy texture. The brush coat is longer and softer than the horse coat, while the bear coat is the longest and fluffiest. Although not proven as a fact, there is a theory about their coats: some believe that the shorter the coat, the more dominant the temperament.

2. The First Seeing Eye Dog Was a German Shepherd

As smart and obedient dogs, it’s no surprise that the first seeing eye dog was a German Shepherd. In 1928, a German Shepherd named Buddy was officially recognized as a service dog for the blind. Buddy was trained at a school in Switzerland. The service dog training school become so successful that another one was opened in the United States, still training blind service dogs to this day.

3. German Shepherd Shar-Pei Dogs Are Excellent Watch Dogs

With the aloofness of the Shar-Pei and the protective instincts of the German Shepherd, German Shar-Pei dogs are great as watchdogs and will alert the household of anything suspicious. It’s important to teach them a “stop barking” command to prevent excessive barking, which can be loud and booming. Some German Shar-Pei dogs are suspicious of strangers, so introducing them to people while young is important.

The parent breeds of German Shepherd Shar-Pei Mix
The parent breeds of German Shepherd Shar-Pei Mix: Left – German Shepherd (Anna Dudkova, Unsplash) | Right – Shar-Pei (Ivan, Pexels)

Divider 2

Temperament & Intelligence of the German Shar-Pei🧠

German Shar-Pei dogs can be a challenge to handle since they have the intelligence of the Shepherd with the independent attitude of the Shar-Pei. They require a dog owner who either has dealt with big dogs in the past or has experience with Chinese Shar-Pei dogs. However, because German Shar-Pei dogs are usually first-generation hybrids (purebred GSD and Shar-Pei parents), temperaments will vary wildly. The best way to get an idea is to look at the German Shepherd and the Chinese Shar-Pei temperaments.

German Shepherd comes from herding and guarding backgrounds and are mentally sharp dogs with a working dog temperament. They are obedient dogs that enjoy work and training but will only follow a handler that is relaxed and confident. GSDs can be animal aggressive and same-sex dog aggressive, depending on the bloodlines and socialization. They’re also playful dogs that enjoy affection, especially from their favorite person. Requiring hours of exercise, German Shepherds can be great dogs for active families that have lots of space in the home.

Chinese Shar-Pei dogs prefer the company of their families, bonding closely with them and being affectionate with them. They’re reserved and aloof with strangers and unfamiliar dogs, which is due to their history as guard dogs for royalty. Shar-Pei is notably independent and almost feline-like, so they’re not a great option for first-time dog owners. They are affectionate with their owners and enjoy spending time with them, though it’ll be on their terms. Sometimes a challenge to train, Chinese Shar-Pei are quick to shut down if pushed too far.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?🏡

Yes, but we recommend them for families with calmer and older children. While they can be playful and enjoy some rough-housing, Shar-Pei dogs like to have their quiet time and may get moody with rambunctious children. Also, younger children may not understand how to be gentle, which could lead to a German Shar-Pei snarling or even snapping if pushed too far.

On the flip side, German Shar-Pei dogs are protective of their families and will usually watch over the household. They may be protective of the children if unfamiliar people and children are around, especially in larger crowds. German Shar-Pei dogs may not be the best choice for your household if you plan on having lots of social gatherings in your house, but it depends on the individual dog in the end.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?🐶 😽

Generally, German Shar-Pei dogs are better off as the only pet in the house. The one exception is if they’re raised with another dog as a puppy, but this can even lead to jealous and aggressive tendencies. Shar-Pei dogs were once pit-fighting dogs, while German Shepherds are herding dogs that tend to have animal aggressive tendencies. Also, German Shepherds have high prey drives, so smaller pets could be a possible trigger.

Divider 4

Things to Know When Owning a German Shar-Pei:

Food & Diet Requirements🦴

German Shar-Pei dogs are large dogs that need a diet that reflects their activity level. They need a diet rich in protein, plus vitamins and minerals for a balanced and complete diet. Look for dog food with lean meat protein (around 20-25% crude protein) and avoid dog food with filler ingredients like corn and soy products. If you’re not sure which food is best for your dog, we recommend asking your veterinarian for recommendations.

German Shar-Pei Exercise🐕

German Shar-Pei dogs are going to vary in exercise needs, depending on how strong the German Shepherd side stands out. Shar-Pei dogs are not as active as German Shepherds, so the energy level and exercise needs can vary drastically with German Shar-Pei hybrids. Regardless, a few brisk, medium-long walks a day and at least a half-hour of play is a minimum amount of exercise. In the end, it’ll depend on your dog’s energy level.

German Shar-Pei Training🦮

Since Shar-Pei dogs are notoriously independent dogs, training your German Shar-Pei can be challenging. Positive reinforcement training is a good base to start, but it may be hard to handle the stubbornness that comes from the Shar-Pei side. Although German Shepherds can be dominant dogs, they enjoy work and training and can easily excel in dog obedience.

We recommend group puppy classes, which will also help socialize your German Shar-Pei. Since both parent breeds have dog-aggressive tendencies, socialization and proper training are crucial. If you can’t find any group classes, one-on-one lessons with a dog trainer are highly recommended if you’ve never trained or owned a dog before.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming will depend on the coat of your German Shar-Pei since there are different possibilities of coat type and length. For shorter coats, a quick brush out once a week will do. If your German Shar-Pei has a longer coat, a more moderate approach to brushing and grooming may be necessary to keep it tangle-free and clean. Keep bathing to once a month or less unless it’s necessary, as both dogs are prone to skin problems that can be irritated from bathing too often. Your dog’s nails need to be trimmed as well, at least once every 5 weeks.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Knowing your German Shar-Pei’s health and wellness for the future can be hard to tell since most German Shar-Pei dogs are first-generation hybrids. The best way to know is to look at the parent dogs’ health patterns to get a better idea. However, if that’s not possible, the next best thing you can do is look at potential health problems of both breeds.

Common Health Conditions of Shar-Pei
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Skin/yeast Infections
  • Cataracts
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis
  • Glaucoma
Common Health Conditions of German Shepherd
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Bloat/GDV
  • Arthritis
  • Epilepsy

hepper-dog-paw-divider 5

Final Thoughts

German Shar-Pei dogs are unique dogs with a natural knack for protecting the household, coming from two breeds with guarding backgrounds. These large, wrinkly dogs are smart and independent, making them a challenge for those who’ve never owned dogs before. German Shar-Pei dogs are best for individuals who live alone with no pets, but families with calmer, older children can be suitable as well. If you’re looking for a semi-active, naturally protective designer dog breed, the German Shepherd-Shar-Pei mix might be the right pick for you.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Left – Christel SAGNIEZ, Pixabay; Right – Waldemar-Dabrowski, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database