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Ori-Pei (Pug & Shar-Pei Mix): Info, Pictures, Facts & More

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Lab Pei Dog Breed Info

Height: 10 to 15 inches
Weight: 10 to 30 pounds
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Colors: White, tan, gray, brown, black
Suitable for: Apartments or homes with small yards, active owners, large families
Temperament: Energetic, hardworking, intelligent, loyal

An Ori-Pei is a cross between a Shar-Pei and a Pug. They were first bred in California in the 1970s by Aaron Silver, who was trying to create a smaller, healthier Shar-Pei. Unfortunately, the health problems persisted, but Silver did succeed in breeding a cute, playful, loyal, and non-shedding canine friend.

Ori-Peis are smart, relaxed dogs who form unbreakable bonds with their masters. If you’re looking for a doggie shadow, this is the breed for you. Read on to learn all there is to know about owning and loving an Ori-Pei.

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Ori-Pei Puppies


If you go the route of getting this loyal pup from a breeder, be sure to study up on the breeder beforehand, and to only work with a breeder who has a good reputation. Ask about your prospective Ori-Pei’s medical certificates, and meet both of their parents before you buy one.

With six generations of Ori-Peis now running around, you’re also very likely to find this mix at one of your local shelters. Consider checking those first, since all you’ll have to pay is the adoption fee!

These dogs are prone to medical problems, so vet expenses will likely be your biggest bill over the years that they are part of your family.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Ori-Pei

1. It’s Not Clear Where the “Ori” Part of the Name Comes From

It’s possible that Aaron Silver picked it out at random. However, Ori is a dwarven character from Norse mythology. Given that Silver’s goal was to shrink the Shar-Pei down, it could have been his creative way of calling it a Dwarf Shar-Pei.

2. Ori-Peis Are One of America’s First Designer Breeds

Starting in the 1970s, U.S. breeders began to mix purebred dogs to create new breeds, now commonly called “designer dogs.” The Labradoodle was the first, but Ori-Peis followed close behind and are now on their sixth generation.

3. Chinese Shar-Peis Are So Old, We Don’t Know When They Were First Bred

Unlike many East Asian dog breeds like the Lhasa Apso and Shih-Tzu, the Shar-Pei was a peasant dog. It was bred for hunting and working on farms, instead of sitting on the Emperor’s lap. The puppies they have with Pugs inherit a bit more energy than your average companion dog.

The parent breeds of Ori-Pei
The parent breeds of Ori-Pei: Left – Pug (Erin Minuskin, Unsplash) | Right – Shar-Pei (Waldemar Dabrowski, Shutterstock)

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Ori-Pei 🧠

Most designer dogs have tempers that depend on which of their parents they take after the most. However, as they’ve been bred for longer, Ori-Peis have settled into more of a groove. As a rule, they’re mischievous and playful, loving a chase and a good game of tug-of-war.

However, when the chips are down, these are ride-or-die dogs. They’ll follow you on a walk, to the kitchen, and into the bathroom, where they’ll stand guard while you shower. They’ll stay up all night to watch for intruders.

They’re also very relaxed, and love to curl up on the couch with you. When you go to train them, you’ll find them eager to do the right thing, and hungry for your praise.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The best feature of Ori-Peis is their sociability. They get along well with all members of your household. A couple of pats and tail wags are the only difference between a stranger and a new friend.

With their laid-back personalities, they’re usually very tolerant of young children, but it’s still a good idea to socialize them with kids as early as possible.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Just like they do with human children, Ori-Peis are much more tolerant of dogs and cats they meet as puppies. Bring them into the house as early as possible and they’ll all be cuddling together in no time.

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Things to Know When Owning an Ori-Pei:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Ori-Peis need a high-quality kibble where real meat and fat are the first ingredients. They may be fuzzy potatoes, but they’re still wolves at heart and need the kind of sustenance they’d have gotten in the wild (hint: there’s no such thing as a wild by-product).

Feed your Ori-Pei 3/4 to 1 cup of dry food, depending on their weight, at two regular feeding times per day.

Exercise 🐕

Ori-Peis get a ton of energy from their Shar-Pei parents and need daily walks to burn it off. Take them on a walk for 45 minutes every day, and supplement that with fetch in the backyard or indoor play with toys.

Be aware that Ori-Peis are very sensitive to both hot and cold weather. Take them on short, brisk walks in the winter, and in the summer, walk them in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.

Training 🦮

Ori-Peis that aren’t properly socialized can be aggressive when threats (i.e., new people) appear in their family’s house. Training them from birth is important in order to squash this instinct early, as once it’s gone, they’re as cuddly as can be to everyone.

Luckily, Ori-Peis love to be trained. As working dogs, Shar-Peis are highly intelligent and pass that love of learning down to their Ori-Pei puppies. Pugs are smart as well, but as companion dogs, they tend to be a little more stubborn. You might find yourself having to work around an independent streak.

When training, try to avoid yelling or scolding too much. This won’t teach your Ori-Pei not to behave badly; it’ll only learn to not get caught. Instead, punish problem behaviors by declaring the end of playtime.

Reward good behaviors with treats, pats, and lots of praise. In time, your Ori-Pei can learn all sorts of commands and tricks.

Grooming ✂️

Ori-Peis have short, low-maintenance coats. They shouldn’t need to be brushed more than once a week, and they hardly ever shed.

The biggest source of stink and discomfort for your Ori-Pei will be the folds on its face. Dirt and sweat will gather between the folds of skin, so make sure to regularly scrub them out.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Ori-Peis are vulnerable to a wide variety of health conditions, inherited from both parents. Not every Ori-Pei will suffer from these, and many of them still live long, happy lives. However, it’s important to be aware of the challenges they’re likely to face.

Bloat: A rare but potentially fatal condition in which a deep-chested dog’s stomach twists over itself. If your vet fears your dog might be susceptible to bloat, try feeding them using a slow feeder, as eating too fast can trigger gastric torsion.

Breathing issues: Ori-Peis inherit squashed facial features that make it difficult for them to breathe. If hot weather causes them to pant too deeply, Ori-Peis have been known to fall seriously ill or even die.

Eye issues: Ori-Peis with more Pug-shaped faces might have eyes that bulge out of their heads. This makes it harder for them to close their eyes, and consequently, more prone to poor eyesight and eye ulcers.

Spinal issues: The Pug’s screw-shaped tail indicates a malformed spine, which can cause leg pain and poor bladder control.

Dysplasia: Elbow and hip dysplasia are both common maladies in Ori-Peis. Dogs that suffer from dysplasia have poorly shaped joints that increase their risk of arthritis over time. Not every dog with a malformed hip will feel pain, but it’s still a good idea to catch this early.

Minor Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
Serious Conditions
  • Bloat
  • Breathing issues
  • Eye issues
  • Spinal issues

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Male vs. Female

There’s very little difference between male and female dogs of the Ori-Pei breed. Differentiation in personality will boil down more to quirks of individual dogs themselves and those of their parents.

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Final Thoughts

We’re not trying to scare you off by talking about the health problems of the Ori-Pei. If you get a natural mix from a shelter, as opposed to a designer dog from a breeder, they have a perfectly good chance of being healthy and comfortable.

We’d hate for you to miss out on the chance to win the love of an Ori-Pei. They’re staunch companions, gleeful tricksters, master snugglers, and ideal family dogs. We hope it’s not long before you meet the one that’ll become your life companion!

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Featured Image Credit: the5th, Pixabay

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