CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SHAR-PEI by ALICE FRITZ
I am fairly certain that most people think that their breed of dog is the best one above all the others. The Chinese Shar-Pei is no differ- ent. Once people own one, they seldom change to another breed. It truly is a unique breed. They are very loyal dogs and extremely devoted to their fam- ily. There isn’t much they wouldn’t do for their owners. When you are gone, they will be looking for your return. They are a little bit stand-offish and aloof with strangers but over time will become friends with them as well. Shar-Pei makes great house compan- ions. They are easy to house-train. They love to keep themselves and their area clean. Puppies housebreak themselves. Many of them take care of “their busi- ness” at the farthest corners of their yard to keep their play area clean. This is not taught, it is just a natural quality unique to the breed. If you change the home of a Shar-Pei puppy, give them three days and they will learn where you expect them to go outside. They are pretty mellow dogs and once they have outgrown the puppy stage, they are fairly calm dogs. They do require exercise, though, whether that is daily walks or the opportunity to run freely in a fenced backyard. Most Shar-Pei love children and are very protective if they feel that someone is trying to harm a child. Shar- Pei are watch dogs and they take their job seriously of watching over their homes and family members. Although they aren’t really known as barkers, they will certainly alert you to a strang- er approaching the home or to anything out of the ordinary going on outside. If you hear a Shar-Pei barking wildly, you had better go investigate. Many of them even watch from the window for the owners to return and can recognize the vehicles that the fam- ily drives. They want to be in the same room as their owners and will follow you from room to room. Shar-Pei will either sleep close to your feet while you watch t.v. or they will lay in a spot so
they can watch all the entrances to the home while keeping an eye on the own- ers as well. If you have your heart set on a lap dog, then this probably is not the breed for you. There are some people that don’t believe that dogs can show empathy, but Shar-Pei can! They sense when you are sad and will do their best to show their deep love for you, as well as try to make you feel better. They are very affectionate dogs and might even show- er you with kisses, although that is not reserved for just being sad! Learning is not a problem with this breed. They love to learn new things but they also can be a little stubborn. If they feel that what they are learn- ing is not fun or useful, there might be a problem. On the whole, they love to please their owners and will try just about anything the owner asks of them, up to a point. We have quite a few dogs in our breed that partici- pate in conformation, obedience/rally, agility, therapy work, herding, flyball and freestyle dance. There are several multi-titled dogs that have earned Ver- satility titles from the CSPCA. Most of the breed has a pretty good understand- ing of the difference between working and playing. You can often find them playing outside of a show or perfor- mance ring, but get serious and down to business as soon as they cross the line into the ring. Shar-Pei have no problem running the show, so they need a strong owner that lets them know who the boss is. They are happy to have their owners step up to that job, but if the owner doesn’t, then they will. Most of the breed gets along well with other dogs and some even get along with cats. It is easy to run these dogs in a pack as long as they know who the boss is. You prob- ably need to know that Shar-Pei are like potato chips—you can’t have just one. As with any breed, there are things that you need to do on a regular main- tenance basis. The breed is pretty much a “wash and wear” breed; bathe
them when needed and let them air dry. Their hair is so short so that blow drying is not necessary. Their nails grow very fast so it is a good idea to trim the nails weekly. Since the ears fold over towards the face, that structure is the ideal setting for ear problems. Weekly cleaning of the ears, when you do the nails, is recommended. The breed usu- ally “blows their coat” (sheds) twice a year with the changes of seasons. Dur- ing this time you will probably want to brush the loose hair out of their coat. All breeds of dogs have some kind of health issues. The inherited problems in the breed are Shar-Pei fever, Amyloi- dosis (kidney disease), entropion (roll- ing in of the lids on the eyeball) and allergies, which cause skin problems. Not all Shar-Pei are affected with these problems, but if you have a problem, it is likely to be one of the ones men- tioned. Good breeders have worked hard to eliminate these problems and are making process in eliminating these inherited health issues. All in all, the owners of this breed are just as devoted to the breed as the dogs are devoted to the owners. If you would like more information about our breed, you can always go to our website to find more information www.cspca.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Alice Fix has owned Shar-Pei for 27 years. She is currently a Direc- tor-at-Large for
the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America. She also is Co-Chairman of the Public Education Committee, Chairman of the CSPCA Affiliated Club Presidents Group, President of the Centennial Chinese Shar-Pei Club in Colorado, Editor for The Barker magazine and serves on the CSPCA Health Testing Committee. Alice resides in Aurora, Colorado with her three Shar-Pei.
284 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2017
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