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How Long Do Shar Pei Live? Average Lifespan, Data & Care (Vet-Approved)

Hanh Duong

By Hanh Duong

fawn shar pei dog at the park

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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This ancient and unique dog breed is truly one of a kind. Developed in China, this breed is instantly recognizable thanks to their blue-black tongue, wrinkled skin, and bristle-like coat. But while the Shar Pei is undoubtedly stunning, they are not the right choice for everyone. This intelligent and independent breed needs an experienced owner who understands their aloof and guarded nature around strangers.

However, don’t let that discourage you. The Shar Pei can also be a loyal and protective member who loves nothing more than cuddling up with their loved ones. If you’re considering getting a Shar Pei, it’s important to pay attention to their genetics and living conditions to ensure they stay healthy and happy for as long as possible, which can be usually up to 12 years.

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Shar Pei Average Lifespan

The average lifespan of a Shar-Pei ranges from 8–12 years. But this is just an estimate, as many factors can affect the numbers.

There are actually two different versions of the Shar Pei. The traditional “bone-mouth” look is more commonly found in Eastern regions and features a taller, leaner physique with fewer wrinkles and a less “meaty” muzzle. On the other hand, the newer “meat-mouth” Shar-Pei is more common in Western regions and is characterized by a shorter, stockier build with an excess of wrinkles.

This breed has quite a few unique characteristics and health considerations which you should familiarize yourself with before taking one in. Responsible breeders will aim to reduce the prevalence of these health issues, but we need to know what sort of questions to ask and what features to look out for, so make sure you read up as much as you can about the Shar Pei.

blue shar pei dog lying on the grass
Image Credit: Grisha Bruy, Shutterstock

Why Do Some Shar Pei Live Longer Than Others?

1. Feeding & Diet

Caring for your furry friend ensures a healthy and happy life. When it comes to Shar Peis, you should give them a balanced, portion-controlled diet while providing access to clean drinking water at all times. To prevent bloat, which is more common in large dogs like Shar Peis, you may want to consider using a slow feeding bowl if your pet has the habit of gulping down their food too fast.


2. Environment

Creating a healthy environment for your pet can do wonders for their well-being and longevity.

Use natural, non-toxic cleaning agents and look for products that are safe for pets and the environment.


3. Grooming

Taking care of your Shar Pei’s coat is easier than you might think! The coats of these adorable pups don’t require much maintenance, just a gentle brush once a week to remove any dead hair. Although they do shed, it’s not too much of a hassle. If your furry friend needs a bath, the only thing to keep in mind is to properly dry in between their cute wrinkles, as they are prone to getting skin infections.


4. Breeding

While breeding can’t solve every health issue, it’s crucial to find a reputable breeder who can provide you with the necessary health records of the parents, carry out appropriate screenings and certifications for the little one, and be available to answer any questions you may have after you bring your new furry friend home.

three shar pei dogs of different colors lying on the grass
Image Credit: Marcelino Pozo Ruiz, Shutterstock

The Life Stages of a Shar Pei

1. Puppyhood

Puppies are sparkly-eyed balls of energy, always eager to explore their surroundings and make new furry and human friends! However, it’s crucial to establish routines and boundaries with your little pup. This will help them understand what they should expect and make training easier. Because this breed often suffers with several eye conditions, including entropion, it is essential to have regular check-ups with the vet to ensure their eyes are healthy.


2. Adolescence

The teenage years, also known as the adolescent stage, can be a rollercoaster for you and your furry friend. During this time, your pup might start pushing boundaries, becoming more independent, and testing your patience.


3. Adulthood

During this phase, you will notice a change in your dog’s behavior—they should become more settled and less energetic. You’ll also see their loyalty and affection for you grow stronger.


4. Senior Years

As our furry friends age, they enter the senior stage of life. There are several health issues that are associated with advanced age, and this can be challenging for dogs and their owners. Regular vet checkups are crucial during this stage, as they can help detect and treat any health issues early on.

Chinese Shar-Pei
Image Credit: style81, Pixabay

How to Tell Your Shar Pei’s Age

It can be difficult to accurately tell the age of your dog, but there are some techniques you can use to get a fairly good estimate. Just like us humans, dogs can get gray hair as they age. However, it’s not the same for every dog. A dog with a gray muzzle is usually a mature adult, and older canines may also lose some hair and skin elasticity.

Often mistaken for cataracts, nuclear sclerosis (also known as lenticular sclerosis) is a normal aging process which causes the lens of the eye to become more opaque. This affects all dogs, and usually starts to become apparent around the age of 7-8 years old. It does not significantly affect their vision, but can have a progressive dimming effect.

Now, let’s move on to the teeth. Veterinarians can examine a dog’s teeth to help determine their age. Dogs should have adult teeth when they’re around 6 months old. But, as they age, their teeth may accumulate tartar and become stained, and they might even suffer from periodontitis.

What about their energy levels? Adopting an adult dog can be tricky as it takes time for them to feel comfortable and show their true personality. However, if your pet prefers to curl up and sleep all day long, it might be because they’re older.

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Conclusion

If you’re looking for a furry companion who’s smart, independent, and fiercely loyal to their family, you’ll love the Shar Pei. These pups have been bred for centuries to be vigilant and keep their loved ones safe, but they also have a sweet and loving side that shines through with proper training and socialization.


Featured Image Credit: Kanyshev Andrey, Shutterstock

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