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18 Vet-Reviewed Shar Pei Pros & Cons to Know Before You Get One

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Chinese Shar pei puppy portrait at garden Closeup

Vet approved

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

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The Shar Pei breed is an interesting one. These dogs have adorable wrinkles all over their skin, but unfortunately, they are prone to some problematic health conditions. However, these are bright dogs with playful personalities, loyal temperaments, and curious attitudes.

With all that said, there are many things to consider when deciding whether to get a Shar Pei. Here are 18 pros and cons to know.

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The Pros of Shar Pei

1. Highly Adaptable

The typical Shar Pei is highly adaptable to the different situations that they find themselves in, both indoors and outside. They seem to understand cues quickly and can go with the flow if their human companions are leading the way. This doesn’t pertain to strange humans and animals, but rather to their immediate surroundings and family situations.

2.Typically Confident

The Shar Pei is a confident dog that doesn’t need reassurance to know their place in the family. They thrive on strong bonds and deep respect for their companions. If these two things are in place, confidence is abundant. That confidence is what seems to drive them to fiercely protect their companions, even at the cost of their own life.

fawn shar pei dog at the park
Photo Credit: Kanyshev Andrey, Shutterstock

3. Extremely Loyal

Once a Shar Pei builds rapport, respect, and a bond with their human companion, this breed is unbreakably loyal. They will do anything to please their owner and will be proactive in finding ways to keep everyone in their family environment happy. They’ll stick by their owner’s side like butter on bread.

4. Great Protectors

Due to the Shar Pei’s loyalty and confidence, this breed is known for being a great protector or guard dog. They are sure to let you know when someone gets near your home and will ward off any stranger who makes their way inside. That said, this can be a problem if owners enjoy having visitors regularly, and ongoing training is not in place. Still, it’s great for the protection and peace of mind of the household.

5. Require Moderate Exercise

If you don’t have much time or inclination to exercise a dog for long periods each day, you may be happy to learn that the Shar Pei requires moderate daily exercise to stay happy and healthy throughout their lives. Generally speaking, Shar Peis require at least a couple of 20- to 30-minute walks daily to meet their exercise needs, but this can vary between individuals. Of course, playtime in the yard and games in the house are bonuses that won’t go unappreciated.

Photo Credit: christels, Pixabay

6. Easy-Going Temperament

The average Shar Pei has an easy-going temperament, which makes them a great family pet. They are not snippy with the children in their lives, and they can even get along with other household pet dogs and cats if well socialized from a young age.

7. Good for Houses and Apartments

The Shar Pei is medium in size and easy-going enough to get along well in an apartment setting. If they get out for their daily walks, they will spend the rest of their day happily playing with toys and snoozing on the couch when they are not interacting with their household companions.

Photo Credit: fifathesharpei, instagram

8. Good in Obedience Training

These dogs are smart and generally eager to please, both traits that make for great obedience training students. A firm, confident hand with positive reinforcement and a naturally obedient Shar Pei make an impressive combination for training success.

9. Get Along Great With Children

Shar Pei dogs are usually laidback and easy-going. They don’t take the teasing of children to heart, and they are always up for a game or two when the kids are around. These dogs like to accompany children when they embark on activities like drawing and playing in the yard. They’re also eager to cuddle up while watching a cartoon on a rainy afternoon.

10. Get Along With Other Household Pets

If a Shar Pei is introduced to other cats and dogs within a household while they are still puppies, chances are that they will get along with those pets for a lifetime. They are also more likely to get along with future pets that an owner might want to bring into the house. Socialization early is the key here.

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The Cons of Shar Pei

11. Can Be Stubborn

The Shar Pei is known for being stubborn, which can be a problem for owners who don’t take training and the position of a pack leader seriously. Shar Pei that do not trust or respect their human companions may ignore everything that they try to communicate to them, whether it be a command or a token of love.

12. Don’t Do Well With Loneliness

These dogs are extremely connected to their human companions, so they do not like being left at home alone for long periods. They want to spend their time around human family members as much as possible, so a full day without anyone can cause stress, boredom, loneliness, and depression. If you can’t be there between morning and night, it’s important to consider hiring a pet sitter who can reliably provide care and attention for at least an hour during the time that you are gone.

13. Susceptible to Many Health Problems

Sadly, Shar Peis are susceptible to many health problems because of their wrinkles and overall breeding conditions. These dogs are susceptible to problems like allergic skin disease, skin fold infections, demodectic mange, ear infections, entropion, cherry eye, glaucoma, cataracts, lens luxation, renal amyloidosis, hip dysplasia, and certain skin tumors. Some people say that they’re the most expensive breed due to all the medical costs that they incur throughout their lives.

Image Credit By: wrinkles_rolls, instagram

14. Can Be Aggressive in Social Situations

Shar Pei are quite protective of their family members. Therefore, they can be aggressive in social situations where strangers and new dogs are involved. This is why early socialization is a must. But even then, it can be tough to trust that aggression won’t show itself when people visit the house or get together at the park.

15. Loud Sleepers

Unfortunately, due to their anatomy, Shar Peis are prone to some breathing difficulties, which can make them loud sleepers. It is always recommended to get them checked by your vet to assess the degree of respiratory obstruction, so follow your vet’s professional and tailored advice.

16. A Pricey Investment

Due to the initial cost of this designer breed and the healthcare expenses associated with the many problems they are susceptible to, this breed can end up being a pricey investment. However, the companionship and memories can be worth that investment!

chinese shar pei
Image Credit:
Zuzule, Shutterstock

17. May Not Get Along With Strange Dogs

Since the Shar Pei is protective and territorial, this breed is not usually the best when it comes to getting along with strange dogs. They are rather leery of other dogs and take a protective stance instead. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to take this breed to an open dog park or let them walk off-leash in social settings.

18. Can Be Clingy

Many Shar Pei are considered clingy by their owners because they like to stick by their sides and rarely go off on their own. They will stand by their companion while they’re washing dishes, hang out near the shower, and patiently wait by the door until it’s walk time.



With so many pros and cons to consider, it’s a good idea to take your time and really get to know this breed before deciding whether they’re the one for your household. Shar Peis are intelligent dogs with strong personalities that need early-started and consistent training. Consider spending time with one at a breeder’s place or in a humane society before deciding to acquire this dog.

Featured Image Credit: Waldemar Dabrowski,Shutterstock

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