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Miniature Shar Pei: Pictures, Care Guide, Temperament & Traits

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Mini Pei Pup Black Looking

With those cute wrinkles and endearing eyes, there is much to love about the Miniature Shar Pei. But good looks are not all that these dogs have going for them. Their ability to adapt to new situations, their outgoing personalities, and their loyalty are all things that owners tend to brag about. Shar Pei in general are impressive dogs, and the miniature version of this breed does not disappoint either.

The Miniature Shar Pei is adorable, adaptable, and family-oriented. This non-sporting breed can live up to 11 years and be a wonderful pet for families of all shapes and sizes. Mini Shar Pei enjoys car rides, hikes, and camping trips, but they also like to hang out at home and snuggle on the couch with their human companions. They can also make excellent watchdogs. Read on to learn more about this interesting dog breed!

Breed Overview

Height: 15–16 inches
Weight: 25–40 pounds
Lifespan: 9–11 years
Colors: Black, red, blue, fawn, cream, brown, apricot
Suitable for: Families, singles
Temperament: Loving, smart, family oriented, playful, alert

The Miniature Shar Pei is just as purebred as their full-sized counterparts. They are created by selectively breeding Shar Pei dogs with recessive genes that will result in a smaller version. The Miniature Shar Pei is not just bred for their size, though. They also typically have more skin wrinkles, giving them a more pronounced look than their full-sized counterparts.

Miniature Shar Pei Characteristics


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Miniature Shar Pei Puppies

Miniature Shar Pei puppies are adorable from the time they are born, and they don’t lose their “puppy” look as easily as some other breeds because of those soft wrinkles. These dogs are usually curious and eager to learn as puppies, so this is the perfect time for things like socializing and obedience training.

While Shar Pei is popular in the United States, the miniature version is not as widespread. Therefore, it may be harder to find one. You’ll likely have to find a breeder to work with, but it isn’t impossible for a Mini Shar Pei to end up at the humane society or another rescue center. So, it’s worth looking if you’re interested in saving a dog in need.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Miniature Shar Pei

The most notable thing about Shar Pei in general, including the miniature ones, is that they tend to be extremely loyal to their human companions yet wary of strangers. This can be a problem for families who like to have guests over to their homes often. However, Shar Pei can be trained to be reliable guard dogs, though the miniature version naturally won’t be as effective because of their smaller size.

These dogs aren’t known to bark unnecessarily or to annoy household members by following them around the house. All Miniature Shar Pei should be well socialized from a young age, with the opportunity to meet new people and other dogs in public regularly. This will help ensure that they can get along well in social situations, but it won’t stop them from being protective and territorial at home.

For the most part, Miniature Shar Pei are playful and easygoing, so they can be good pets for singles and families alike. These are smart dogs and they can be easily trained. However, obedience training should start by the age of about 8 weeks to establish respect and boundaries. These dogs can also be stubborn when they do or don’t want to do something, and training helps keep that stubbornness in check.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The answer to this question comes down to socialization. If a Miniature Shar Pei is well socialized as a puppy and throughout life, they can be an excellent family pet. They tend to get along well with children, and they have an easygoing personality that makes home life with them enjoyable. They’re happy to cuddle with the family during movie time, and they are always down for a walk in the park, a family camping trip, or an adventure through the woods.

One thing to keep in mind is that the territorial and protective behavior of the Miniature Shar Pei can make it tough to have a child’s friends come over to play. If an issue develops, it can be addressed through training and separation from visitors.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Fortunately, the typical Miniature Shar Pei does not have a big prey drive. They are not inclined to go chasing after cats and squirrels like many other dog breeds out there. Therefore, they can usually get along well with other dogs and cats in the household. It’s best if they learn to live with other animals while still puppies, though. Introducing a new cat into a household with an adult Miniature Shar Pei that has never lived with a cat before could be disastrous, so it’s not recommended.

Socialization is helpful when it comes to a Miniature Shar Pei getting along with other household pets. They should either come to a family already established with other pets when they are small puppies, or they should be thoroughly tested for their ability to get along with other dogs and cats before entering a home that has pets.

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Things to Know When Owning a Miniature Shar Pei

Chances are that you have never met a Miniature Shar Pei in person, and even if you have, you may have not experienced what it is like to care for one. So, it’s a good idea to understand everything from their food and diet requirements and exercise needs to necessary grooming practices and health predispositions.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

All the wrinkles on a Miniature Shar Pei make the dog look bigger than they actually are. However, this doesn’t seem to stop this breed from chowing down at mealtime. If left to their own devices, they would spend most of their day eating. Therefore, obesity is an issue that should be kept in mind as an owner. These dogs should never get unlimited amounts of food and should only be fed two or three times a day according to the food package instructions or veterinarian recommendations.

As for the type of food that these dogs should eat, a high-protein recipe is best. A veterinarian-recommended homemade diet is always best because it consists of fresh foods. However, it can be expensive and time-consuming. The next best is a commercial diet that contains real meat as the first ingredient and excludes animal by-products in favor of ingredients like eggs, carrots, blueberries, peas, and brown rice.

Like their larger counterparts, Miniature Shar Pei are susceptible to bloat (gastric dilation-volvulus) which is a serious condition that can lead to death. This condition develops when too much food, air, and water come together in the stomach, which starts twisting. The condition progresses quickly and without warning.

Bloat is another good reason to manage a Miniature Shar Pei food intake. If they eat too quickly, they also inhale more air than is necessary, which can be the cause of bloat. A slow-feeder bowl is a great option for this breed, as it will help ensure that food does not get swallowed too quickly.

Exercise 🐕

The average Shar Pei does not need much daily exercise to stay happy and healthy, and this is especially so for the miniature version of the breed. A bit of time playing in the yard and a short 20- to 30-minute walk each day should do the trick. It’s not a good idea to bring this breed to a dog park because they can become aggressive with dogs they don’t know. Also, as time goes on, too much strain on the muscles and joints can cause arthritis. Therefore, it’s a good idea to engage in only low-impact exercise regimens. This means activities like agility and racing are off the table.

Aside from a brief walk, these dogs are happy to spend their days lounging around in the living room or yard to pass the time. They’re happy to play games and interact with toys throughout the day when they do feel like being active.

Training 🎾

The Miniature Shar Pei is stubborn and must be obedience trained early in life. Fortunately, this dog breed is smart and eager to please. A firm and confident stance is required to overcome the stubbornness, but otherwise, teaching commands should be a breeze for those experienced in training pet dogs. Consistency and positive reinforcement can go a long way in making sure every session is fun and effective.

Grooming ✂️

A great thing about Miniature Shar Pei is that they are light shedders, so hair and dander won’t pile up around the house between cleanings. However, this breed requires daily brushing because they are prone to developing skin infections due to all those wrinkles. Brushing helps clean the debris and gunk out of their coats, so it doesn’t get stuck in the wrinkles and cause problems. Weekly baths are also important to help keep the skin healthy.

Each wrinkle should be thoroughly dried after each bath to prevent chafing and infections. Unfortunately, the Shar Pei breed is prone to ear yeast infections, so it’s important to clean and dry them several times a week. In fact, any moisture buildup can cause yeast infections. All other breeding tasks, like nail trimming and teeth brushing, are also necessary.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The problem with the Shar Pei is that they are popular for their wrinkles, so breeders do whatever they can to exaggerate them. Unfortunately, some breeders maintain poor breeding practices that focus on aesthetic looks rather than health. The result of exaggerating those wrinkles is a host of health predispositions. Here are the conditions that Shar Pei are prone to developing.

Minor Conditions
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Demodectic mange
  • Skin allergies
  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections
Serious Conditions
  • Entropion
  • Hip/elbow dysplasia
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Kidney problems
  • Patellar luxation
  • Chinese Shar Pei fever

Male vs. Female

Like most dog breeds, male Shar Pei are usually a little larger (taller and heavier) than the females. Many owners believe that males are more outgoing and less aggressive than females. Males also tend to be more loyal and will stick by their companions’ sides. Females are more independent and need less attention and one-on-one interaction with their family members.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Miniature Shar Pei

1. Their Size Is Due to a Recessive Gene

The Miniature Shar Pei was created by selectively breeding full-sized Shar Pei that have a recessive gene. This gene results in smaller dogs with many more wrinkles. It is not known whether the Miniature Shar Pei, being a relatively recent breed, could develop other health problems that traditional Chinese Shar Pei don’t.

2. They’re Laidback

While the Shar Pei has a muscular build, this breed is surprisingly laidback and doesn’t need much exercise to stay happy and healthy. A short 20- to 30-minute walk each day is plenty of exercise for them. They are playful and curious but rarely rambunctious. This is especially true for the Mini Shar Pei.

3. They Are Fiercely Loyal

Shar Pei are extremely loyal to their human companions and will do anything to protect them, even if it means forfeiting their own lives. These dogs form a strong bond and deep respect that is not easily broken. Once that bond is there, an owner has a true friend and protector for life.

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Final Thoughts

Miniature Shar Pei are adorable, loyal, and family-friendly. However, they’re a great deal of work when it comes to grooming them and maintaining a safe social life with them. It is important to make sure you understand all the Mini Shar Pei’s needs before committing to caring for one, especially permanently. If possible, spend time with one of these dogs in person before making a final decision.

Featured Image Credit: Mini Pei Pup Black Looking (Eganfi, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

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