In Chinese his name
translates to "draping sandpaper like skin", a reference to his
bristly skin folded into many wrinkles. Puppies tend to 'grow into' their
wrinkles as they mature. Too much bathing and an improper diet may lead to
skin problems. The Shar-Pei must receive regular grooming with special attention paid to his
ears and toe nails.
The Shar-Pei stands about 20
inches tall at the shoulder, and has a short, smooth coat that may be any
solid colour. One unusual characteristic of this breed is his blue-black
tongue. This feature is shared by only two other dogs, the Chow Chow and
the Thai Ridgeback.
Although he was once known as the Chinese Fighting Dog,
his temperament made him unsuited for fighting as he is generally good-natured and
friendly. The Shar-Pei is intensely loyal
to his family. His attitude
with strangers is independent, aloof, and watchful. As such he makes a
natural guard dog. As devoted as he is to
his family, this is not the dog to be left in the kennel.
As with any breed, training
should be started early to develop good manners. The Shar-Pei is clever and intuitive, and learns quickly. He
requires regular exercise.