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Shar Pei Secrets

Lucille Ambrose

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Table Of Contents Page No

Foreword 3

Chapter 1. The Origins Of The Shar-Peis 4

Chapter 2. Addressing Health Issues 18

Chapter 3. Feeding Your Shar-Pei 42

Chapter 4.Grooming & Taking Care Of

Your Shar-Pei 51

Chapter 5. Training Your Shar Pei 55

Chapter 6. FAQ’s 66

Chapter 7. Breeding, Spaying & Neutering 72

Resources 82

Shar-Peis are intelligent dogs needing little training. Although they are
somewhat aloof, snobbish and reserved in the presence of strangers, they
are extremely loyal and devoted to their family. Essentially they are an
independent, regal, alert, dignified, animal with a calm and confident

Being an exceptionally intelligent dog makes the Shar-Pei an ideal

companion. Whether your intention is to exhibit at conformation shows,
participate in obedience trials, or just to own a loving, loyal pet. The
Shar-Pei is sure to give you great satisfaction.

They enjoy both the open spaces of a country life and the suburban life,
and are equally happy indoors or outdoors. They excel at obedience work
and take pride in pleasing their owners, which makes them a pleasure to
train and own. Shar-Peis have been called the Chinese Fighting dog, but
this is a misnomer of sorts as they are not dogs that will savagely seek to
fight other animals, but they will, however, retaliate with fervor should
they be provoked.

The best part of owning a Shar-Pei , is that they require minimal

grooming- a weekly brushing and biweekly bath will do.

Besides, they are also a very clean breed and almost housebreak
themselves. Because of its padded head, the Shar-Pei is very sensitive to
heat. Shade and water must always be available. Puppies grow very
quickly and must be fed accordingly. Some owners are allergic to its
coarse coat. Shar-Pei generally hates water and tries very hard to avoid

it. Fevers of unknown origin or swollen hocks syndrome may be the early
stages of amyloidosis (kidney failure).

Shar-Peis are a one-man dog, although living in a family environment,

they will love everyone, but they will always have their own favorite
person and it may not be the one you choose but the one they choose to
bond with. The ideal owner will appreciate the loyalty this breed exhibits
and also respect its need for space. They need exercise, socialization, love
and attention to be a happy, well-balanced pet.

Is Shar-pei the pet for you? Read the next chapter to find out.

Chapter 1
The Origins Of The Shar Peis
The Shar-Pei is a very ancient breed. Its history begins as early as 202-
220 AD (Han Dynasty). The Chinese Shar-Pei, is believed to have
originated in the area around the small village of Tai Li in Kwangtung
Province, located in the southern provinces of China. Statues bearing a
strong resemblance to the Shar-Pei have been discovered and dated to
this period. More recently, a Chinese manuscript of the 13th century has
been translated; it refers to a wrinkled dog with characteristics much like
those of the Shar-Pei.

The name "Shar-Pei” literally means "sand-skin", but translated more

loosely as "rough, sandy coat" or "sand-paper-like coat" and refers to the
two distinctive qualities of the Shar-Pei coat - roughness and shortness -
which make the breed unique in the dog world. The Shar-Pei shares
another distinctive characteristic with only one other breed, the Chow-
Chow, in having a blue-black tongue, which may indicate an ancestor
common to both breeds.

For many years, the Shar-Pei was kept as a general-purpose farm dog in
the Chinese countryside, used for hunting, protecting stock, and
guarding the home and family. During that time, it was bred for
intelligence, strength and its very distinct scowling face. Later, the Shar-
Pei was used in dog fighting. The loose skin and extremely prickly coat
were developed to aid the dog in fighting, making the Shar-Pei difficult
for an opponent to grab and hold on to.

The history of the Chinese Shar-Pei in modern times is incomplete. In
1940s, when the communist regime took over China, Mao Tse-Tung
chose to impose luxury tax on pets. As a result, in the 1960s the Chinese
Shar-Pei breed was under a threat of extinction. It was named the most
rare dog breed in the Guinness Book of World Records in late 60s.

During this period a few Chinese Shar-Pei were bred in Hong Kong, BC
and in the Republic of China (Taiwan). The breed was recognized by the
Hong Kong Kennel Club around 1968. Subsequently the Hong Kong and
Kowloon Kennel Association established a dog registry and registered the
Shar-Pei. This organization still registers the breed today along with
other registries in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, as well as organizations in
Europe, Canada and Great Britain.

In the United States, the documented history of the breed goes back to
1966 when a few dogs were imported from stock registered with the Hong
Kong Kennel Club. The American Dog Breeders Association registered a
Chinese Shar-Pei for J.C. Smith on October 8, 1970.

Help came from Hong-Kong, when in 1973, Mr. Matgo Law wrote to an
American magazine explaining the problem and enclosing some pictures
of these dogs. He was concerned about the disappearance of the breed.
There was an immediate response resulting in making the Shar-Pei the
most expensive dog breed in the world. The Shar-Pei fever lasted several
years and made the breed extremely fashionable. However, this fad
brought about the problem of poor quality breeding of Shar-Peis caused
by irresponsible, greedy, breeders to whom only money mattered.

The Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America, Inc. (CSPCA), held its first
organizational meeting in 1974, and the club has been in continuous
existence since that time. The first Annual National Specialty Show was
held in 1978 and successive national shows have been held each year.

The Club's primary purpose was to promote the breed, maintain the
studbook registry and to provide a standard for the breed. On May 4,
1988 the Chinese Shar-Pei was accepted in to the American Kennel Club
(AKC) Miscellaneous Class. The CSPCA continued to represent the breed
and operated the registry until the AKC accepted the breed into the Non-
Sporting Group on August 1, 1992. The CSPCA continues to promote the
best interests of the breed, maintains the Standard and serves as a
Member Club of the AKC.

Breed Standard of the Chinese Shar-Pei

General Appearance

The Chinese Shar-Pei is square profiled, with a broad, full head,

distinctive wide, padded muzzle, and extremely loose, wrinkled skin.
(Wrinkles may be more pronounced in puppies.) The ears are very small,
and lie flat against the head. The unusual coat is extremely prickly (there
is also a "brush coated" variety with longer hairs and a smoother feel).
The coat on either variety can be up to 1 inch in length.

The Shar-pei is an alert, medium-sized dog. The loose skin and wrinkles
covering the head, neck and body are in abundance in puppies but these
features may be limited to the head, neck. Besides, it withers in the
adult. Another distinguishing characteristic is the blue-black tongue .A
scissors bite is strongly preferred. The tail is set high, is wide at the base,
and tapers to a point, curling up over or off the side of the back.

Proportion and Substance

Preferred height is 18 to 20 inches at the withers. The preferred weight is

40 to 55 pounds. The dog is usually larger and squarer than the bitch,
but both appear well proportioned.
Proportion: The height of the Shar-Pei from the ground to the withers is
approximately equal to the length from the point of breastbone to the
point of the rump.


The head is large, slightly but not overly, proudly carried and covered
with a lot of wrinkles on the forehead continuing into side wrinkles
framing the face.


Eyes are dark, small, almond-shaped and sunken, displaying a scowling

expression. In the dilute colored dogs the eye color may be lighter.

The ears are extremely small rather thick, equilateral triangles in shape,
slightly rounded at the tips; edges of the ear may curl. Ears lie flat
against the head, are set wide apart and forward on the skull, pointing
toward the eyes. The ears have the ability to move. Pricked ears are a


The skull is flat and broad, the stop moderately defined.


This is one of the distinctive features of the breed. It is broad and full
with no suggestion of snippiness. The length from nose to stop is
approximately the same as from stop to occiput. Nose large and wide and
darkly pigmented, preferably black but any color nose conforming to the
general coat color of the dog is acceptable. In dilute colors, the preferred
nose is self-colored. Darkly pigmented cream Shar-Pei may have some
light pigment either in the center of their noses or on their entire nose.
The lips and top of muzzle are well padded and may cause a slight bulge
at the base of the nose.


Tongue, solid bluish-black is preferred in all coat colors except in dilute

colors , which have a solid lavender pigmentation. A spotted tongue is a
major fault. A solid pink tongue is a disqualification. (Tongue colors may
lighten due to heat stress; care must be taken not to confuse dilute
pigmentation with a pink tongue).


Teeth are strong, meeting in a scissors bite. Deviation from a scissors

bite is a major fault.

The neck is medium length, full and set well into the shoulders. There
are moderate to heavy folds of loose skin and abundant dewlap above the
neck and throat.


The topline dips slightly behind the withers, slightly rising over the short,
broad loin.


The chest is broad and deep with the brisket extending to the elbow and
rising slightly under the loin. Back short and close-coupled.


The croup is flat, with the base of the tail, set extremely high, clearly
exposing an up tilted anus. The high set tail is a characteristic feature of
the Shar-Pei.


The tail is thick and round at the base, tapering to a fine point and
curling over or to either side of the back. The absence of a complete tail
is a disqualification.


Muscular, well laid back and sloping.


When viewed from the front, straight, moderately spaced, with elbows
close to the body. When viewed from the side, the forelegs are straight;
the pasterns are strong and flexible. The bone is substantial but never
heavy and is of moderate length. Removal of front dewclaws is optional.

Feet are moderate in size, compact and firmly set, not splayed.


Hindquarters are muscular, strong, and moderately angular. The

metatarsi (hocks} are short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to
each other when viewed from the rear. Hind dewclaws must be removed.
Feet as in front.


The extremely harsh coat is one of the distinguishing features of the

breed. The coat is absolutely straight and off standing on the main trunk
of the body but generally lies somewhat flatter on the limbs. The coat

appears healthy without being shiny or lustrous. Acceptable coat lengths
may range from extremely short horse coat up to the brush coat not to
exceed one inch in length at the withers. A soft coat, a wavy coat, a coat
in excess of 1 inch in length at the withers or a coat that has been
trimmed is a major fault. The Shar-Pei is shown in its natural state.


Only solid colors are acceptable. A solid colored dog may have shading,
primarily darker down the back and on the ears. The shading must be
variations of the same body color (except in sables) and may include
darker hairs throughout the coat. The following colors are a disqualifying
fault: Not a solid color, that is: Albino; Brindle; Parti-colored (patches)
Spotted (including spots, ticked or roaning ) Tan-Pointed Pattern
(including typical black and tan or saddled patterns).

The movement of the Shar-Pei is to be judged at a trot. The gait is free
and balanced with the feet tending to converge on a centerline of gravity
when the dog moves at a vigorous trot. The gait combines good forward
reach and a strong drive in the hindquarters. Proper movement is


Regal, alert, intelligent, dignified, lordly, scowling, sober and snobbish,

essentially independent and somewhat standoffish with strangers, but
extreme in his devotion to his family. The Shar-Pei stands firmly on the
ground with a calm, confident stature.


Faults are undesirable traits in a dog. A major fault is undesirable, but

forgivable in the show ring. The judge may overlook a major fault if the
dog has other outstanding qualities. A disqualifying fault means that a
dog with such a fault should not bred or shown in AKC Conformation.

Major Faults

*Spotted tongue
*A soft coat

*A wavy coat
*A coat in excess if 1 inch at the withers
*A coat that has been trimmed.


* Pricked Ears
* Solid Pink Tongue
* Absence of a complete tail
* Not a solid color, that is, the dog's coat is one of the following:
* Albino
* Brindle
* Parti-colored (patches)
* Spotted (including spots, ticked or roaning)
* Tan-Pointed Pattern (including typical black and tan or saddled

Average Life Span:

The average lifespan for a Shar-Pei is 10 to 12 years.


Children: Good with children.

Friendliness: Reserved with strangers.
Trainability: Easy to train.
Independence: Moderately dependent on people.
Dominance: High.
Combativeness: Tends to be fairly aggressive towards other dogs.

watchdog, guarding, and competitive obedience

Behavior with other pets

The Shar-Pei is primarily a working dog, although it is placed in

the non-sporting classification. Socialization with other animals is
important, as they can be aggressive especially with other dogs of
the same sex. Personality and temperament varies with each dog.
Some Shar-Peis will live quite happily around smaller animals and
livestock while others may exhibit the natural instinct to hunt.

They are generally good with children and other pets if they are
reared with them.


They are easy to look after and contrary to common misperceptions

they do not require special care of their abundant wrinkles. Normal
dog management, vaccinating, deworming, treating for fleas,
bathing, and general welfare will ensure that you have a healthy
dog. These dogs are not smelly and the short length of the coat
means that no brushing is required. Attention needs to be paid to
the ears, as they can get dirty due to the lack of air circulation.
Dietary requirements are a simple well-balanced dog diet with
special attention paid to avoiding artificial colors, preservatives and
red meat. Other ingredients to be avoided are corn, and soy
products. These can lead to allergic reactions in this breed.

Fun things to do:

Daily walks, not runs, make for a great exercise for you and your

Things to watch out for with this breed:

They cannot see very well, and this causes them to be startled if
approached too quickly. In addition, there are numerous potential health
problems. Most veterinarians will be familiar with Shar-pei and their
special health needs


The Shar-pei was accepted into the AKC in 1992, in the Non-Sporting

Is Shar-Pei The Right Breed For Me?

First let's have a look at some of the common characteristics of this


• Is medium-sized and sturdily-built

• Has an unusual appearance: wrinkled skin, hippopotamus head,
and scowling expression
• Stands firmly on the ground with a calm, confident, dignified stature
• Is naturally clean and easy to housebreak
• Doesn't bark much

• Needs only moderate exercise

What Can You Expect From A Shar-Pei?

• Aggression in some lines, or when not socialized properly

• Aggression toward other animals
• Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who
can take charge
• Shedding
• Snorting and snoring
• High prices
• Serious health problems

Various Issues About Shar-Peis That You Should Consider

1. Aggression toward strangers. Many Chinese Shar Peis have

protective instincts and distrust strangers. They need extensive
exposure to friendly people so that they learn to recognize normal
behavior. Only then will they recognize the difference when
someone acts abnormally. Without proper socialization, they may
be suspicious of everyone, which can lead to their biting people.
2. Animal aggression. Many Chinese Shar Peis are dominant or
aggressive toward other dogs, especially of the same sex. Many
have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing
creatures. This is not a good breed to keep with livestock. If
anything goes wrong in the breeding, socializing, training,
handling, or management of this breed, it is capable of seriously
injuring or killing other animals.
3. The strong temperament. Chinese Shar Pei is not a Golden
Retriever. They have an independent mind of their own and are not
pushovers to raise and train. Many Chinese Shar -peis are willful,
obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make
you prove that you can make them do things. You must show
them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
4. Shedding and harsh coat. Chinese Shar-peis come in three coat
varieties. The "horse" coat is very short and prickly, and can
irritate the skin of sensitive people. The "brush" coat is thicker and
about one inch long. The "bear" coat is very heavy, like that of a
Chow. All three coats shed, with the brush and bear coats
shedding the most.
5. Shar-Pei sounds. Many Chinese Sharpeis snort, grunt, and snore
loudly. The sounds are endearing to some people; nerve-wracking
to others.
6. High prices. Though this breed is very common, many breeders
still charge $1000 or more.

7. Serious health problems. It's been said that if you feel like
supporting your vet with great chunks of money, get a Chinese
Shar pei. They suffer from a host of eye problems, skin diseases
and allergies, kidney disease, and more.

Does your family include children?

Children and dogs can make a great combination if you keep these
things in mind. Consider the age of your child and the antics of a puppy.
You should not mix babies and Shar-Pei puppies together-because of
their bouncy behavior and dominant attitude towards weaker beings.
Constant supervision is required to avoid scratches or knockdowns of
small children.

What social lifestyle do you maintain?

Chinese Shar-Peis were bred to be guard dogs and protectors of their

territory. They can be raised to accept strangers, but it requires constant
training to avoid a relapse into their natural behavior. They may scare
your neighbors away from dropping in for an unexpected visit.

What do you consider expensive for owning or purchasing a dog?

Unfortunately, even the best breeders cannot guarantee perfect health,

and you can expect to visit your vet for more than just your yearly
checkups. Make sure you are financially stable and willing to afford
proper care. It is vitally important to check the overall health of the
pedigree, especially the parents. Find out when and how many of its
relatives have died, especially when it comes to renal amyloidosis or
cancer. This will give you a better idea of the longetivity of your Shar-pei
line. When possible, ask for a veterinarian recommendation.

What relationship do you expect from a dog?

Most Shar-Peis prefer a stable territory to purposefully dedicate

themselves in protecting those people closest. These intentions make
their relationship responsive and endearing to their owners, but if you
have a large family, or one where people come and go at irregular hours,
this may upset and cause tension, confusion, or unpredictable behavior,
in your Shar-Pei.

What would you do if you could no longer keep your Shar-Pei?

Considering the type of devoted companionship and relationship that a

Chinese Shar-Pei offers, this is a very important question that you

should ask yourself before purchase. If your intentions are impulsive,
please think things through. Many of our rescue dogs are created by
impulsive or uneducated purchases. Learn before you buy!

There are plenty of adult Chinese Sharpeis, which have already proven
themselves NOT to have such negative characteristics. If you find such
an adult, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you.

Other important areas that you would need to think about are:

What type of exercise will be available for your dog?

Whether it is daily walks, fenced yard or other containment protection, to

allow the dog exercise without running away or avoid being approached
by other animals or strangers when unsupervised. A well-controlled dog
is vital when living in a suburban area, and a well-balanced dog requires
daily exercise to remain healthy!

What type of veterinary care is available?

Unfortunately, not all regions of our country are populated with enough
Chinese Shar-Pei to offer a veterinarian with experience in working with
this breed. Plan ahead, you may need to look outside your general area.
Don't expect your current vet to know the right information; many people
have lost their puppies and adults due to inexperienced veterinarians.

What kind of obedience or handling classes is offered in your area?

You may be surprised to find out that there are no classes available, they
will be much further away than planned, or they will be more expensive.
Don't neglect the needs of your pet--an untrained Shar-pei can be a
threat to itself and your community!

How To Find A Shar-Pei Puppy:

1. Deciding if you want a Shar-Pei puppy

Try to find out as much about the breed as possible before you
start looking for a new pup. The Shar-Pei does have some unique
health problems such as Familial Shar-Pei Fever which can result
in kidney failure at a young age, entropion (rolling in) of the eye

lids, tight lip syndrome, cancer, etc. which you should become
well-versed in before searching for a puppy. Besides, you will
definitely want to ask questions concerning Shar-Pei problems of
the breeder you choose. It may be noted that the health care
expenses for a Shar-Pei are very much towards the high end of the
scale in general. This doesn't mean all Shar-Pei require expensive
medical care but that one should be prepared for that possibility. It
would be ideal to start a medical savings account for the puppy
ahead of time. This is a savings account in which you deposit, on a
regular basis, funds for potential medical care. With this in place,
any unexpected medical expenses will not cause as immediate a
hardship on the family finances. Issues of routine maintenance
procedures such as bathing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning,
puppy housebreaking and training, yard cleanup, crate training
and exercise should be discussed and planned for in advance
before deciding to get a puppy. Who is going to let the pup out
during the day while you're at work? How do I puppy-proof the
house? Does my apartment lease allow me to have a dog and are
there size restrictions? Will my vet see Shar-Pei? Where can I go for
puppy classes and basic obedience training?

2. Finding a Shar-Pei Breeder

I would strongly advise against purchasing a Shar-Pei from a pet

shop or puppy broker. The quality of the pups usually isn't the
best, the health is often questionable and you don't deal with the
breeder of the pup directly. You could solicit Shar-Pei breeder
recommendations from veterinarians, Shar-Pei owners, the Shar-
Pei breed publication called The Barker, and the AKC web site at and click on Breeder Referral. The breeder's location
may limit the choice although a quality pup is well worth the trip.
You might check out AKC shows in your area and talk with Shar-
Pei breeders who are attending the show.

3. Selecting the Right Shar-Pei Breeder

You are selecting a breeder with a lifelong commitment to you and

your puppy in mind. Also your breeder should have a commitment
to the breed and a goal of producing dogs that will better the breed.
I don't think any question is too tough to ask the breeder and you
should expect straight and honest answers. Consider the following

a. Will the breeder allow you to see the pup's parents (sire and
dam)? How are their health, longevity and temperament?
b. What are the major causes of death in the line?
c. Will the breeder freely discuss health issues in the breed?
d. Is the breeder active in the breed demonstrated by having
membership in the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America,
showing their dogs in obedience, conformation and/or
agility, membership in the American Kennel Club,
supporting breed rescue?
e. Will the breeder give you references to check such as
veterinarians, other puppy owners, friends, etc?
f. Does the breeder have an information packet for your
g. Will the breeder give you a copy of the puppy contract to
review? Does the contract contain a health guarantee?
h. Does the breeder vaccinate the pups; deworm them, check
stool samples, etc?

Selecting a Puppy

Before selecting a Shar-pei puppy, consider these guidelines:

* Puppies should at least be 8 weeks of age before going to a new

home. A puppy needs adequate time with his/ her littermates and
mother for proper socialization to begin.

* Buyers should see both parents. Although it's normal for a Shar-Pei
to behave in a standoffish manner in the presence of strangers,
neither the sire nor the dam ( nor puppies) should behave in a shy or
aggressive manner.

* Buyers should look for a puppy that is confidant not shy, aggressive
fearful. To buy the funniest pup is not advised. Before a decision is
made, eyes and ears of the puppy should be examined. Does the puppy
look healthy? Does he have a normal weight? Is he lively and curious?

* Health should be of the utmost importance for a new prospective

owner. No discharge from the eyes or nose, distended or potbellied
abdomen, dull coat, and no lethargic behavior.

EYES: avoid eyes that tear, drain, or have that extremely "puffy" look. These are signs of allergies or
entropion and usually require surgery to correct.

EARS: extremely small or flattened ear canals provide an unhealthy environment for recurring yeast or ear
infections, especially during extreme temperatures or allergy seasons.

PALATE: elongated soft palate can cause respiratory distress when hot or sick, and is usually associated
with snoring or choking.

SKIN: reddened, flaking, or loss of hair is underlying symptoms for poor diet, allergies, or unhealthy
genetic breeding.

BITE: overbite and tight lip are major faults within the breed, causing poor eating disorders, mouth sores,
or early loss of teeth.

HIPS: hip dysplasia is still prominent in many bloodlines, causing crippling at a young age. Make sure
parents are x-rayed for dysplasia.

GENERAL HEALTH: the dog must be alert, active, and look the appropriate weight to be in general good
health. Because of these and many other genetic disorders, including early kidney failure and cancer, there
are many bloodlines that do not live as long as others. Research your pedigree and require the breeder to
allow you to see the actual parents and as many of its relatives as possible

* Check with the kennel club in your area if you are not sure about
what papers you are entitled to, but you should not be asked to pay
extra for the registration papers of your new puppy. Papers included
in the purchasing price of your pup are a signed pedigree, copies of
the contract of sale and health guarantee, a complete health record
that includes the dates of deworming and a veterinarian's certificate
proving inoculation. "The breeder also should provide written proof that
he or she will take the puppy back within a limited period of time if it
is found to be ill or suffering from some defect. Dogs should be
examined by a veterinarian within 48 hours of the sale. Pet quality
dogs should be sold with a spay/ neuter contract

Be Prepared For Your Puppy

Have your checklist ready before you bring him home:

*Bowls for food and water

*A crate - I advise a crate with double latches on the door.
*Leash and collar
*Nail clippers
*A veterinarian who is Shar-Pei friendly.
*A training class, especially one offering puppy kindergarten classes.

4. When You Pick Up Your Puppy

Be sure you receive a signed copy of the dog's contract, the AKC papers
for that puppy, copies of vaccination/veterinary records, some of the food
the puppy has been on (usually 7-14 days worth), and any other
information the breeder usually gives out. Be sure to have the breeder's
information and their veterinarian's information also.

Chapter 2
Addressing Health Issues
That adorable, cuddly puppy will grow into a strong, opinionated,
adult dog. It will win your heart with loyalty and affection to your
family. Unless properly socialized, however, it often will refuse to
be friendly to others besides being aggressive to other animals and
towards strangers. It will be to your advantage to introduce your
puppy to a variety of different dogs and people when it is still

The Shar-Pei is not a ‘ barking ’dog, but it will bark when

threatened. It is a good watchdog, and does not over react.

In return for the love and devotion that your Shar-Pei will give you,
you must give him or her the love he or she pines for and the
attention required to promote a long, healthy and happy life. As
with all living things, diet is the first line of defense against poor
health and disease. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a high
quality dog food and limit your dog’s intake of high carbohydrate
and fatty foods.

Proper veterinary care will extend and increase the quality of your
dog’s life. Plenty of time spent developing and enjoying the
relationship between you and your Shar-Pei will extend yours.

How To Pick A Vet For Your Shar-Pei

1. Being a good vet involves a fine balance of the following skills:

o People skills
o Caring/compassion for animals - animal skills
o Medical skills
o Philosophy of practice.

It's difficult to find someone with all the necessary skills.

2. At any given time the same vet may fail in one of these skill areas.
Is the owner willing to stay with the same vet for the long haul or
bail out based on one mistake or bad encounter? It is amazing to
see several people jump from vet to vet or see multiple vets. It's
very hard to get to know an owner or their animals or become
familiar with the pet's history when they see so many vets. This
often compromises the medical care of the pet and may waste
valuable resources. It also results in bringing one vet's
philosophy/approach and trying to impose it on another vet. Each
vet has a different philosophy of practice and that difference must
be respected.
3. There must be give and take between the owner and the
veterinarian. The vet must be willing to learn from the owner and
pet. Likewise the owner must be willing to let the vet be the
ultimate authority. Neither must demand their position.
4. Shar-Pei owners must realize that not all vets want to be or find it
reasonable to become a Shar-Pei authority. In most vet practices
the Shar-Pei accounts for a very small percentage of the clientele.
Many vets do not have the time or the inclination to keep abreast
of the literature on Shar-Pei and their unique qualities and medical
problems. And that's OK as long as the owner knows that. And the
vet should not be held in contempt for that either.
5. Honesty and forthrightness are critical in the veterinarian/client
relationship. This doesn't have to be adversarial or confrontational.
It's very helpful to know what the owner’s expectations are, his
financial concerns, etc.
6. Attributes of a good client:
o respect for vet's position and time
o good people skills
o medical/animal knowledge
o realistic financial ability
o animal skills - compassion, caring, etc.
o loyalty

Keeping Your Shar-Pei Healthy

(1) DIET: Shar-pei requires food, which promotes its good health and
also takes care of the skin and coat. Your generic brand dog food does
not. Staying with a good brand will reduce the problems from the start.

(2) GROOMING: All Shar-pei require regular grooming yearlong. Special

bathing during flea season and extra brushing during coat changes are
mandatory for keeping the coat healthy.

(3) INJURY: Special care to any cuts or scrapes is necessary, especially

within the wrinkles, to avoid infection. Shar-pei’s skin can be cut or torn
easily, especially during playtime with other dogs. Treat all cuts
immediately with antibiotic ointment and get oral antibiotics for any
serious injuries. Watch for yeast infections caused by moisture.

(4) ENVIRONMENT: Shar-pei is better suited as indoor pet to reduce any

other health problems that can affect the skin. Allergens such as pieces
of grass, pollen, insect bites, fleas, and harsh flea or shampoo products
can cause skin/coat irritation or allergic reactions. Any time spent
outdoors should be followed by brushing the coat and a check for

(5) IMMUNIZATIONS: Chinese Shar-peis are not equipped with the

strongest immune system and are more susceptible than the average
dog. It is highly recommended to keep every Shar-pei fully immunized
against known viruses.

(6) PREVENTATIVE CARE: The best way to avoid any health problems is
by learning how to prevent them. Eyes and ears need to be kept clear
and dry, the coat must be kept free of dead hairs, regular bathing for
good skin, and nails cut every couple of weeks.

(7) LOVE YOUR PET: Chinese Shar-pei are very loving, but sensitive
creatures-- requiring a stable and stress-free environment and love from
its family to enjoy good health for years to come. It is recommended that
all pets be altered at six months of age to avoid the complications of
intact animals, including cancer and unwanted puppies.

Home Care

The Shar-pei has a weak immune systems, which is very sensitive to
allergens-insect stings, fleas, contact with yard, plant, or house
chemicals, pollen, grass itch, unhealthy or spoiled food, wrong
medicines, or abnormal stress are all possible allergens.
The symptoms that should be viewed with concern are: excessive
scratching especially on the face or feet, sneezing, itchy or runny eyes,
shaking head, and red, itchy rash or hives. From personal experience,
these human products and listed prescription medicines have been most
successful to alleviate or prevent most infections or reactions.

Please seek the advice of your veterinarian before administering any


BENEDRYL: Relieves itchy/runny eyes, ears, nose, or hives. Talk to your

veterinarian prior to use, for it can cause potential injury if not
administered properly.

KAOPECTATE: relieves diarrhea or stomach irritation. Use IMMODIUM-

AD for severe cases. Call your veterinarian first if you think your dog has
been poisoned!

EYE DROPS: Clears drainage from eyes and relieves redness. If drainage
is infectious or ulcers have started, ask for TRIOPTIC or other triple
antibiotic ointment. To treat stress entropion, use TETRACAINE
HYDROCHLORIDE or ATROPINE ointment on a limited basis. If eye
troubles persist, surgery may be required to correct the problem.

MINERAL OIL: Use on a cotton ball once a week to gently clean the
inside of the ear. (It is not recommended to use a Q-Tip or other
instrument, for it tends to cause more irritation.) If heavy wax or black
yeast formations are present, clean daily (until it disappears) with an ear
cleaner such as OTI-CLENS or GENTL-CLENS (which includes an ear
drying formula). For yeast infections, ask your vet for TRESEDERM or
XENODINE. For ear infections, OTOMAX is most effective. To avoid
continual infection recurrence, continue all treatments for at least 7 to
14 days. In extreme cases or dogs with allergic problems may need up to
a month of treatment. Ask your veterinarian for professional treatment

CORTISONE/BENEDRYL CREAM: Relieves itchy rashes or insect bites.

If the skin has yeast formations (dark black splotches), clean with
BETADINE first. For serious itching, consider using CALAMINE lotion,
but avoid excessive use, for it will dry the skin.

EPIDERM DOG SHAMPOO: for skin irritation problems, like hot spots or
oozing rashes. For dogs with healthy skin use a high protein,

moisturizing human shampoo for bi-weekly regular use, but some vets
disagree, recommending an oatmeal or sulfur based shampoo with a
designated dog's PH balance.

VASELINE (OR FAVORITE HAND LOTION): Immediate relief of flaking

or dry skin. Please note: this is not necessarily a lasting or effective
treatment. Other treatments for dry skin include adding safflower or fish
oil to your pet's food.

BENZOYL PEROXIDE OR PREPARATION "H": To relieve and heal "hot

spots". We occasionally rely on an old pet favorite, SULFADENE, that
can be purchased at most grocery stores, for "hot spots" and also moist
ear problems.

ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT: Treat all cuts and scratches to prevent


Should excessive diarrhea, vomiting, or fever accompany a reaction, or if

the symptoms persist, it may not be allergy related. Dogs don't get colds,
but Shar-peis are susceptible to different viruses, causing cold-like

Common Diseases and Disorders

Some of the common medical concerns, diseases or disorders reported in

a Sharp-pei are:

Blindness in the Chinese Shar-Pei

One of the major causes of blindness is uncorrected entropion. This is a

problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of
the eyelid, facial wrinkles may actually rub against the eye causing
erosions, ulcers, and even permanent blindness. Watery eyes, infection,
even a corneal ulcer, can occur. Surgical correction is required. Dogs
with this condition should not be bred, as a genetic component is

Drying of the cornea can also cause similar changes and is seen in a
condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). In this condition,
there is a decrease in tear production primarily in the lacrimal gland.
This can occur as a sequela to viral infection such as distemper, herpes
virus and others or as a primary immune-mediated destruction of the
lacrimal gland. The decrease in tear production results in drying of the

cornea and the formation of scar tissue as a protective response. A
Schirmer Tear Test, which measures tear production, can be easily done
to diagnose this condition and treatment is possible. KCS also seems to
occur more often in those dogs that have had "cherry eye" or prolapse of
the gland of the third eyelid in which the gland was removed instead of
tacked back into position. Tacking is much preferred in treating cherry
eye for this reason. Other causes of blindness we will discuss are
glaucoma, optic neuritis, Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration (SARD)
and retinal detachment/hemorrhage.

Blindness in the Shar-Pei is not hopeless. Dogs adjust very well to

blindness and can function normally after an adjustment period. Some
simple rules that can help your Shar-pei are:

1. Don't change the environment much. Dogs memorize the layout of

the house and yard.
2. Keep blind dogs on a leash in a new environment. Help them with
stairs, doors and other obstacles.
3. Watch blind dogs around other dogs. Dogs don't always realize
blind dogs can't see and may fight when they get bumped into or
stared at by a blind dog.
4. While their hearing is unaffected, blind dogs seem to have some
trouble in orienting to sound.

Blindness is not unique to Shar-Pei and owners need to be aware that

blind dogs can have an excellent quality of life. They need us to be their

Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration (SARD)

Sudden acquired retinal degeneration (SARD) is a retinal disease seen in
Shar-Pei as well as other breeds of dogs. Remember the retina is the
photoreceptor layer of the eye, which is responsible for converting visual
images to electrical signals. These signals are transmitted to the brain
where the image is processed. This condition leads to a very sudden
onset of blindness, which occurs over a period of a few days to several
weeks. The retina is normal when viewed with an ophthalmoscope, but
there is a loss of photoreceptor activity as evidenced by a diminished
electroretinogram (ERG). The ERG is a test, which measures the
electrical activity of the retina. Synonyms for SARD are "toxic metabolic
retinopathy" and "silent retina syndrome". Shar-Pei with SARD are
usually middle-aged females many of whom are overweight and may have
symptoms of Cushing's disease or hyperadrenocorticism - increased
water consumption, increased urination, panting, increased appetite, etc.

Often there are laboratory changes in the blood tests consistent with
hyperadrenocorticism such as an increase in liver tests such as the
alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase (used to be the SGPT) and
cholesterol. Some of these dogs will have abnormal ACTH stimulation or
low-dose dexamethasone suppression tests confirming

There is no treatment for SARD and the dog will be permanently blind.
Your veterinarian should rule out other causes of blindness in Shar-Pei
which include glaucoma, retinal detachment (sometimes accompanying
hypertension with kidney disease), pigmentary keratitis, optic neuritis,

Optic Neuritis
This is an inflammatory condition of the optic nerve, which can result in
acute, bilateral loss of vision. Degenerative changes in the optic nerve
can result in similar symptoms and are more correctly termed optic
neuropathy. Causes include infectious diseases such as canine
distemper, toxoplasmosis, and others, various types of cancer such as
lymphoma and tumors involving the orbit or bony eyeball socket, vitamin
A deficiency, trauma, other diseases of the orbit such as abscesses and
cellulitis and unknown causes. The vast majority of optic neuritis in dogs
is due to unknown causes. Early treatment is imperative and involves
the use of steroids. The prognosis is guarded and recurrences are

Is a painful and serious condition that causes pressure within the eye to
increase. It can lead to blindness if not treated early. Glaucoma is
classified as primary or secondary.

Primary glaucoma occurs in the Shar-Pei due to a genetically pre-

programmed narrowing of the drainage angle. This interferes with
drainage of the aqueous fluid and causes an increase in intraocular

Secondary glaucoma occurs in the Shar-Pei as a result of lens luxation.

This is inherited as a simple autosomal recessive trait in the Shar-Pei
Clinical signs include conjunctivitis ("bloodshot eyes"), cloudy cornea,
swollen (buphthalmos) painful eyes, squinting, increases tearing, and
pupil size can vary depending on the stage of glaucoma but most often
the pupil is fixed and dilated.

Diagnosis is based on measurement of intraocular pressure (IOP).
Normal values in the dog are 15-25 mmHg. Anything above 25 mmHg is
abnormal and glaucoma treatment should be initiated immediately - the
increased pressure can cause lose of vision within 4-24 hours depending
on how rapidly the pressure increases. One problem is that in Shar-Pei
early on they may have intermittent pressure spikes and be normal in
between these episodes. Also squinting may be mistaken for entropion.

Medical treatment, in the dog, is usually not successful long term.

Surgical options, in a visual eye, involve destroying some of the ciliary
body by freezing or laser destruction , or placing a glaucoma shunt. In
the blind eye in which the pressure can't be controlled medically options
include removing the eyeball, using an intraocular prosthesis or injecting
the eyeball with gentamicin to destroy ciliary tissue. These are
procedures done by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Retinal Detachment/Hemorrhage
Dogs do develop secondary hypertension or high blood pressure. Primary
hypertension, which commonly occurs in humans, has not been
documented in the case of dogs.

Increased blood pressure often occurs secondary to kidney disease,

primarily glomerulonephritis, Cushing's disease, and heart disease. High
blood pressure can result in bleeding in the retina due to rupture of the
tiny blood vessels located there. This hemorrhage can lead to damage
with subsequent scarring of the retina or blood building up behind the
retina and causing a detachment. Blindness can result. Retinal
detachment can also occur as a result of head trauma. This may be
treated with anti-inflammatory medication, anti-hypertensive medication
and treatment of the primary disease problem.


Current estimates suggest that one Shar-pei in five is deficient in thyroid

hormone. The thyroid glands secrete a hormone, which controls the basic
metabolic rate of the entire body. Inadequate hormone levels reset the
body to function at a lower metabolic level. In that case, dogs fatten
easily on a normal diet, become sluggish, and are easily chilled. Hair
changes are most noticeable and include loss of hair from the flanks and
back, increased pigmentation of the skin, scaling and seborrhea (an
abnormality in the production of skin cells.) Secondary bacterial infection
of the skin is common. The ears may also be affected, filling with thick,
yellow greasy material which may predispose the dog to ear infections.

Blood tests will determine the level of thyroid function and
administration of thyroid hormone can treat the condition.

Familial Fever and Amyloidosis

Shar-Pei with Familial Shar-Pei Fever (FSF):

This is a genetic disease, transmitted through a recessive gene, which

causes episodes of fever up to 107oF lasting 1 to 2 days. Joint swelling,
especially the ankles (hocks) commonly accompanies the fever and, if
that weren't bad enough, the condition is associated with a malignant
protein deposition (amyloidosis) in the kidneys, which commonly leads to
kidney failure. The common signs to watch out for include:

* Have one or more bouts of unexplained fever, usually 103-107 degrees

F (39.4-41.7 degrees C) but in rare cases may go higher.

* If they do not have a fever, it is not FSF. (Assuming, it is not


* Fevers usually start before they are 18 months old but adult-onset
attacks are not uncommon. Fever episodes usually become less frequent
with age.

* Fever episodes last 24-36 hours in most cases without treatment.

* Of the dogs that experienced fevers, approximately 53% had

experienced Swollen Hock Syndrome (SHS) at some time along with the

* Be very careful not to mistake the normal “socks” (excess wrinkling

around the hocks on some Shar-Pei) for SHS.

* One or more of the following signs may accompany fever episodes:

* Swelling around a joint (cellulitis) with or without inflammation of the

joint itself. One or more joints may be affected but most cases involve
the tibiotarsal or hock joint (SHS).

* Sometimes a swollen painful muzzle.

* Abdominal pain, reluctance to move, “roached” back, mild vomiting or

diarrhea, shallow rapid breathing.

How is FSF diagnosed?

* No single test is yet available

* Still a clinical diagnosis by history, signs and excluding other


* Blood tests are usually negative/normal except that an elevated white

blood count with a left shift is not uncommon as is mildly elevated
alkaline phosphatase levels

Treatment of FSF episodes.

* Tender loving care, close observation of body temperature and

otherwise benign neglect.

* Buffered aspirin.

* 1.0 ml of 50% Dipyrone SQ, or Banamine (flunixin meglumine) to

reduce fever and provide pain relief, particularly for fevers > 105 degrees.

* Extremely high fevers or other systemic inflammatory response

syndrome (SIRS) may indicate that rapid aggressive iv fluid therapy and
shock treatment is necessary in some very rare cases. FSF episodes can
be fatal and should never be shrugged off as inconsequential.

* There is no infection and therefore, antibiotics are unnecessary unless

the veterinarian is concerned that the stressed dog may be secondarily


Occurs when the APP cannot be broken down normally by the animal
because of a defect in metabolism or when a large amount of APP
continuously overwhelms the body’s ability to get rid of it. Amyloid is
then deposited outside the cell walls and are not eliminated from the
body. The build-up of the waste product amyloid is what causes the
disease. Amyloid may be detected in different organs and in blood
vessels. In the kidneys, the damage is irreversible and usually results in
kidney failure and subsequent death of the dog.

* Deaths have been reported in Shar-peis, as young as 8 months of age

and as old as 12 years of age. It most commonly strikes between 3 and 5
years of age.

* Amyloidosis can only be diagnosed by surgical biopsy or by tissues
obtained at autopsy. The abnormal amyloid protein is identified with
special stains when examined under the microscope.

Most Common Signs of Advanced Amyloidosis.

* Unexplained weight loss.

* Increased thirst and frequency of urination.

* Vomiting

* Bad Breath as a result of uremia (the buildup of toxins/wastes in the

bloodstream as the kidney +/- liver fails to process them).

How is Amyloidosis Treated?

* Slow the progression of irreversible kidney disease with dietary

management and supportive care... prescription kidney diets, omega 3
fatty acids, low dose aspirin therapy, ACE-inhibitors (benazepril or
enalapril), and antioxidants may be indicated in individual cases.

* Thromboembolism “throwing a clot” is not uncommon in these patients

and that is why low dose (1/4 of a baby aspirin once daily) may be

* Liver disease often shows up as severe jaundice along with weight loss,
vomiting and inappetance. These cases seem to have a better prognosis
than those primarily affecting the kidneys and have shown good
response to colchicine therapy with survival times over 4 years possible

Other causes of kidney failure in Shar-Pei

* Glomerulonephritis

* Pyelonephritis

* Renal Infarcts

You cannot assume that every Shar-Pei that died of kidney failure had
amyloidosis. It is, however, the overwhelming cause of premature death
in the breed.


Is a drug that has been in use in people with FMF to prevent
amyloidosis. It is currently being recommended in Shar-Pei with FSF for
the same purpose. No studies have been completed to determine if it is
useful for this purpose in the Shar-Pei or not. The clinical impression is
that it does help. Those dogs on colchicine seem to have fewer FSF
episodes and less severe signs while on the drug. Side-effects appear to
be minimal at this time and are primarily gastrointestinal such as
vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia (decreased appetite), etc.

Infection between the toes (Pododermatitis) and short-coated dog

Pyoderma (skin infection)

The short hairs of the Shar-pei (as with other short coated dogs) may
actually impact inside hair follicles leading to skin infections. The
enclosed spaces between the Shar-pei's wrinkles form excellent
incubators for Staph and other bacteria thus leading to skin fold
infections. In this condition, which usually involves the folds around the
muzzle, skin becomes red and moist and soon begins to smell. Regular
grooming is vital, as is inspection and cleaning of the skin folds.
Brushing stimulates the production of important skin oils that are
protective. Choosing a less wrinkled dog may be helpful in avoiding this

This situation may or may not be confined to the feet. The short, bristly
fur of the Shar-pei with or without ingrown hairs may be responsible for
this common syndrome. There are many possible causes of infection of
the feet, including allergy, stress, demodectic mange and more. If your
Shar-pei has itchy feet, it is likely that a skin biopsy will be needed to
sort the possible causes.

Demodectic Mange

The demodectic mange mite lives inside the hair follicles of all normal
The mite, Demodex canis, starts off as small dry areas on the head,
chest, and legs of the Shar-Pei. Because the dog scratches to relieve the
intense itching, the skin becomes red and raw with a leathery look about
it. Check with your veterinarian for prescribed medication, shampoos,
and other appropriate treatment.
If your Shar-pei develops any kind of skin disease, your veterinarian will
probably include a skin scraping for mites in the testing performed. Due
to the unique nature of Shar-pei skin, often skin scrapes are not
adequate for diagnosis and skin biopsy is needed to detect the mites
(especially true with skin disease on the feet and between the toes).

Ear Infections

The Shar-pei's ear canal is often too narrow for the veterinarian to
examine. This becomes a perfect breeding ground for all sorts of
microbes and makes treatment almost impossible. Care should be taken
in cleaning the ear thoroughly with a vet prescribed ear solution. Do not
use a Q-tip to dig down in the ear canal. Use a make-up pad to gently
clean the ear and then let the dog shake its head.

Ear surgery may be required to control the infections. It may be helpful

to attempt prevention with weekly use of a good ear disinfectant.

Seborrhea Oleosa

Severe rancid body odor, which comes from raw, scaly, bloody skin.
Could be caused by hypothyroidism, yeast infections, and or food
allergies. This situation should be immediately discussed with a
veterinarian and the appropriate shampoos and medication can
effectively treat this condition.


Overbites are very common. This can occur due to the misplacement of
the incisors causing an overcrowding. Extraction at a young age can
prevent the adult canines from cutting into the hard palate.

Tight Lip Syndrome

This is where the excess flesh from the lower lip covers the teeth making
it difficult for the Shar-Pei to chew. This excess flesh also traps food and
is usually associated with an overbite.
Two types of surgical repair are available. Surgery usually should be
done early - around 3 months of age. One surgery involves resection of
the skin of the chin. In this procedure the lower lip is pulled ventrally to
expose the lower incisors. When this is done a fold of skin is created on
the chin and an elliptical incision is made through the skin and
subcutaneous tissue and the fold is removed. When the subcutaneous
tissue and the cut edges of the skin are opposed the lower incisor teeth
should remain exposed..

The second procedure is a cheiloplasty procedure. Here the lower lip is

separated from the chin so the lip can heal in a more normal position.

With the puppy on its back the lower lip is pulled down to expose the
lower incisor teeth an incision is made along the mucogingival junction
from the first premolar tooth on one side to the first premolar tooth on
the other side.

Some veterinarians prefer the cheiloplasty procedure over the chin skin
resection procedure - they feel the chin skin resection results in
decreased flexibility of the skin of the chin, which may prevent normal
lengthening of the mandible. Also bear in mind this is a cosmetic surgery
and these dogs cannot be shown in the American Kennel Club.

Nose - Stenotic Nares

These dogs snore because of excess flesh. If the dog is unable to breathe
air with ease, surgery to altar the folds of the nostril may be necessary.
An "elongated soft palate" is likely to be the cause of "respiratory

Carpal Laxity
This is a weakness is the carpal ligaments which causes instability and
bowing forward in young puppies.Usually these pups are in the 6-10
week old range. This usually occurs in rapidly growing, heavy pups and
is due to weakness of the ligaments in this area caused by excess weight
occurring before adequate bone development. Many of these dogs are on
higher protein puppy diets as well as additional vitamin and mineral
supplements. Treatment involves:
A visit to your veterinarian to rule out other problems affecting the carpii
(wrists). Switching diets to adult maintenance food or puppy diets for
large breed puppies. The goal here is to slow down the growth rate
shooting for 2-3 pounds a week. You can feed 1 cup of dry food per 6
pounds of body weight per day up to a maximum of 4-6 cups per day.
Stop all vitamin-mineral supplements.

House and exercise the pups on surfaces with good footing. Try to avoid
flooring consisting of tile, finished concrete, hardwood, linoleum, etc.
Carpeting, grass, rubber matting, etc. all provide good traction for
strengthening the legs.

Rarely, soft wraps on the wrists are used initially to provide additional
support while the above changes are being implemented.
Usually the front legs will straighten up in 7-14 days. Pups that don't
respond or in older pups X-rays should be taken to further evaluate for

orthopedic problems such as premature closure of growth plates, bone
cysts, and other problems

Patellar Luxation

This is a condition where the kneecap slips out of its socket. Any Shar-
Pei with this condition should not be bred.

Medial Luxations

Often these are termed “congenital” due to the fact they occur early in life
and are not associated with trauma. Luxation may not be present at
birth but the anatomical deformities that predispose to these luxations
are present at that time and are responsible for later problems.
Medial luxation is much more common than lateral luxation in all
breeds representing 70-80% of the cases with bilateral involvement seen
20-25% of the time. Chronic luxating patellas seem to predispose to
anterior cruciate ligament rupture due to the forces exerted on the
ligament by the abnormal alignment of the quadriceps mechanism.
Patellar luxation is graded based on the following scale:

Grade I —
Intermittent patellar luxation causing the limb to be carried occasionally.
The patella luxates at full extension but returns to normal position when
released. With the patella in normal position the leg aligns normally.
Grade II —
Luxation occurs more frequently than in Grade I. The patella luxates
easily. There is slight external rotation of the leg. Many dogs live with
this grade for years before progressive arthritis causes more severe
Grade III —
Here the patella is permanently luxated with very noticeable external
rotation of the leg. The trochlea shallow or flattened. There is moderate
Grade IV —
The patella is permanently luxated and the limb may be carried if
unilateral. If bilateral the dog may move in a crouched position in the
rear end with the limbs partly flexed and severely “toed-out”.

Lateral Luxations

Lateral patellar luxation is also known as genu valgum. Components of

hip dysplasia such as coxa valga (increased angle of inclination of the
femoral neck) and increased anteversion (excessive external rotation of
the upper part of the femur relative to the lower part) of the femoral neck
are seen in this condition. These deformities result in internal rotation of

the femur, which displaces the quadriceps mechanism and patella
laterally (externally). The most common finding is a knock-knee (genu
valgum) stance. In mild cases surgical repair may not be necessary.
Surgical repair can consist of soft tissue reconstruction or bone
reconstruction or both.

Without going into the actual surgical techniques, listed below are the
soft tissue reconstruction procedures available:

*Overlap of the lateral or medial retinaculum

*Fascia lata overlap
*Patellar/Tibial antirotational suture ligaments
*Quadriceps release

The bone reconstructive procedures consist of:

*Trochlear chondroplasty
*Recession sulcoplasty
*Trochlear sulcoplasty
*Transposition of the tibial tuberosity

Post-operative care involves limiting exercise for 3-4 weeks with

particular attention to preventing jumping. Post-op pain medication may
be dispensed as indicated. Later, physical rehabilitation will be needed.

Hip Dysplasia

A dysplastic dog has an abnormal hip joint where the femur and
acetabulum are misaligned. This can range in severity from mild
(controllable) pain to dogs in such agony they must be put down. Make
sure the parents of any puppy you consider have been cleared of Hip
Dysplasia through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

Elbow Dysplasia

The term “elbow dysplasia” encompasses a complex range of orthopedic

disorders involving the elbow joint of the dog. In order to differentiate
among the different causes of “elbow dysplasia” a combination of
diagnostic tools are used including physical examination, orthopedic
examination, radiology, gait analysis, CT (computed tomography), MRI
(magnetic resonance imaging), arthroscopy and exploratory joint surgery.

Recommendations in Shar-Pei:

o Use of large breed puppy diets, which are usually lower in

protein and favor a slower growth rate. You can try for a
growth rate of 2-3 pounds a week. Avoid excessive weight in
o Avoid trauma by supervising activity and exercise periods.
Especially be careful with stairs, jumping up on or down
from furniture, uncontrolled behavior, etc.
o Provide firm footing for puppies at all times.
o For those handlers training in agility I recommend only very
low jumps, low obstacles, slow weave poles and emphasize
keeping the puppy under control to avoid sharp turns,
abrupt stops, etc. Flat work is OK and provides good
foundation for later training on obstacles.

Early diagnosis and treatment of elbow problems is very important to

prevent lameness, premature arthritis and physical abnormalities in
affected dogs. Consultation with a veterinary orthopedic surgeon is
usually indicated for these problems. The earlier the treatment is
initiated the better it is.


"Megaesophagus and or diaphramatic hernias may not be detected until

the dog is much older when they will appear underweight or emaciated,
with a history of vomiting. This is a developmental defect possibly a
delayed maturation of the esophageal nueromuscular system. Mild cases
in young dogs can improve with careful feeding." Feeding the dog by
elevating the food in such a way as to raise the dog's front end. Putting
food bowls on a stair or two and then allowing them some time to digest
in the same position may help.

Cutaneous Mucinosis

Mucin is the substance in the Shar-Pei skin that causes all the
wrinkling. It is clear and stringy and acts like glue in fight wounds. Some
Shar-Peis have an excess of Mucin causing it to form clear bubbles on
the skin that may rupture and ooze. May be associated with possible
allergies and can be treated by “alternate day steroid therapy.”


Being one of the many deep chested breeds, bloat can occur in Shar-Pei.
Although similar to colic in horses, "bloat and torsion occur when the
stomach swells with gas and then twists and cuts off its blood supply.
Without timely surgical intervention the condition is fatal. You must take
the dog to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Often complicated by food allergies and or chronic stress diarrhea.

Usually responds to a strict hypoallergenic diet.


Some Shar-Pei are susceptible to allergies caused by food, grass, plants

(indoor and outdoor), flea bite dermatitis an allergy based condition
where the dog develops an itchy rash in reaction to flea saliva after being
bitten. Try to keep the dog's living quarters and play area as flea free as
possible. Other allergies are "Inhalant allergies" that causes the dog to
lick his/her paws, scratch, and rub its muzzle. Eliminating the allergy's
cause, using the correct type of shampoo and administering
antihistamines or cortisone are common forms of treatment. Always
consult a Shar-Pei knowledgeable veterinarian for proper treatment and
care. In addition some breeders believe the Shar-Pei has a weakened
immune system that makes it more susceptible to and less able to
recover from airborne viruses such as parvo. This condition makes timely
inoculation especially important.

Pneumonia in Shar-Pei Pups

It often occurs in pups 8 - 16 weeks old and seems to come out of

nowhere. The only specific signs, which may suggest pneumonia, are
heavy breathing usually with an abdominal component and sometimes a
productive cough. By the times these signs are present, you have a very
sick puppy and generally have very little time to do much about it.
Diagnosis must be quick, accurate and specific. A minimal database
must include a CBC and a chest radiograph. The Vets are primarily
interested in the white blood cell count (WBC). What they want to see in
the sick pup is a high WBC with some young white blood cells called
"bands". This would signal an appropriate response and that the pup is
fighting the infection. A bad sign would be a normal or low WBC with
high numbers of bands. This indicates the infection is winning and this
pup may die. Radiographic signs of pneumonia are pretty classic and
usually apparent on chest X-rays.

It is also helpful to try to stretch out the wrinkles over the chest when
the radiograph is taken. Those folds can often obscure the lung changes
seen in pneumonia. Pneumonia appears as fluid in the lungs seen in the
ventral (lowest) lung fields and located in the cranial (forward) lung lobes.
Fluid may accumulate in one lung lobe, cover multiple lobes and also
occur in both sides of the chest. The fluid will often obscure the heart
shadow on a chest radiograph. The definitive diagnosis is based on a
tracheal wash. In this procedure, a catheter is introduced into the
trachea and sterile water is flushed into the trachea and then aspirated
back out hopefully with the offending bacteria in it. This sample can then
be cultured and an antibiotic sensitivity done. This procedure is usually
done under sedation or light anesthesia and has some risk involved in it,
especially in a sick pup, but the information gathered is critical to
instituting the appropriate antibiotic therapy.

What causes pneumonia in Shar-Pei pups? By the time we have a sick

pup the lungs have been infected by bacteria. These are usually Gram (-)
bacteria such as E. Coli, Klebsiella and Bordetella. Gram (+) cocci such
as Streptococcus may also be isolated. It is also known that viruses such
as canine distemper, adenovirus and parainfluenza can also cause
pneumonia. Shar-Pei also may have an IgA deficiency which occurs in
the vast majority of the dogs. IgA is a protective immunoglobulin found in
body secretions such as tears, mucous, saliva, etc. It is responsible for
local immunity in the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and urogenital
systems as well as the skin. IgA deficiency may predispose an animal to
bacterial pneumonia. Due to the wide range of underlying causes of
bacterial pneumonia it is very important to autopsy any Shar-Pei who
dies of pneumonia

Treatment of pneumonia involves the use of antibiotic therapy based on

the culture and sensitivity results obtained via the tracheal wash.
Pending getting these results back from the laboratory, which may take
2-3 days it is necessary to use "Four Quadrant Therapy". This is
antibacterial therapy effective against all bacterial groups - Gram (+)
aerobes and anaerobes and Gram (-) aerobes and anaerobes. The initial
choice can be aminoglycoside and a penicillin. Use of injectable
medications is indicated initially. Another choice is the use of a
fluoroquinolone and a penicillin. This has the advantage of being given
orally. Once the culture and sensitivity results are back specific
antibiotic therapy is based on those results. Many a times different
antibiotic is used every 2 weeks for at least 4-6 weeks. The therapy
should be continued for 2 weeks after the chest radiographs appear

There is a very real danger of not treating pneumonia long enough and
having it recur with the possibility that the antibiotic therapy used either
selected for a resistant strain of bacteria or a new bacteria is causing the
problem. A "smoldering-type" pneumonia develops and can cause
respiratory problems for a long time. This is more apt to occur when a
tracheal wash - culture/sensitivity is not done. Injectable antibiotics may
be used in a nebulizer which allows the antibiotic to be breathed into the
deeper airways and reach the lungs. Additional therapy is supportive.
Fluids (IV or subcutaneous) are very important to maintain hydration in
the sick pup and to keep secretions thin. This allows the normal
respiratory defense mechanisms such as coughing and ciliary function to
clear the bacteria from the lungs. Use of a humidifier is useful in this
regard. Adequate nutrition is vital to maintain energy levels in the pup
and prevent secondary disease. Coupage (thumping the chest) is useful
to stimulate coughing, mobilizing fluid in the chest and stimulate deep
breaths to prevent collapsed lungs (atelectasis). Mild, frequent periods of
exercise help to mobilize secretions and maintain the pup's interest and
mental well-being.

Maintaining a high level of suspicion for pneumonia in the 8 - 16 week-

old puppy is the best way to discover the problem early and get
treatment fast. Also remember that pneumonia isn't the only condition,
which can result in a fever in pups - every fever is not pneumonia
especially if not confirmed by the complete blood count and chest


The subject of vaccines and vaccination protocols has become a hot topic
in dog circles over recent years. Concerns have been raised about the
increased incidence of immune-mediated diseases such as
thromobytopenia (low platelet counts), hemolytic anemia (immune-
mediated red blood cell destruction), immune-mediated arthritis and
immune mediated skin disease as well as allergic vaccine reactions,
seizures and other problems possibly related to vaccination.

The first point that must be made is that the vaccines available today are
very effective. Since the advent of vaccination programs in dogs the
incidence of canine distemper, rabies, canine hepatitis, parvovirus, and
parainfluenza (viral component of the "kennel cough" complex) have been
dramatically reduced. During1980 the canine parvovirus epidemic had
just begun and hundreds of thousands of dogs died due to lack of an

effective vaccine. Now we hardly see a case of parvovirus and when we do
it's in an inadequately vaccinated puppy or adult. Vaccination works by
stimulating the immune system response to a mild dose of the disease-
causing virus (modified-live virus vaccine) or killed form of the virus
(killed vaccine). It is generally felt that MLV vaccines stimulate better and
longer duration of immunity than killed vaccines.

In response to the vaccination the immune system generates clones of

lymphocytes capable of producing antibodies specific for that disease.
Some of these cells are "memory cells" and will produce antibodies on re-
exposure to the same disease or to a booster vaccination. Booster
vaccination helps to maintain this population of memory cells, which
allows a faster response to exposure to the disease later on. The presence
of these memory cells and their protein products called antibodies is the
basis for the concept of "titers". Titers are the antibody levels maintained
by the memory cells in the blood stream. Over the years scientists have
determined the levels of antibody needed to maintain protection against
infection by different diseases - protective titers. Ideally, the frequency of
vaccination should be based on the protective titer. One concern that has
been raised is what constitutes a protective titer. This titer may vary from
individual to individual, the age of the animal, stress factors and
exposure potential.

Some animals can be vaccinated every 2-4 years because they maintain a
protective titer for that long. Other pets require more frequent
vaccination intervals. The only way to verify the vaccination interval in a
particular animal is to have the titer for a specific disease checked by a
blood sample. The problem here is the expense involved to check titers
vs. the expense of annual vaccinations. It is less expensive to vaccinate
yearly than to check titers so annual vaccinations are recommended. We
also vaccinate pets based on exposure potential. Not all pets have tick
exposure so vaccinating for Lyme's disease is not necessary in all cases.
Bordetella is the bacterial component of the kennel cough complex and
again, not all dogs are at risk. The term "core vaccines" has been used to
denote the vaccinations all dogs should have and consist of rabies,
canine distemper, canine parvovirus, adenovirus and parainfluenza.
Other vaccines, which can be added, based on exposure potential are
leptospirosis, bordetella, coronavirus, and Lyme's.

Vaccine reactions can and do occur although they are infrequent. Acute
allergic reactions also known as "anaphylactic reactions" occur within
10-30 minutes of the vaccinations and consist of vomiting, diarrhea,
collapse, depression, pale gums all consistent with a shock-like reaction.
I consider this a life-threatening reaction and immediate veterinary
attention is required. Treatment involves IV fluids, antihistamines,
steroids, epinephrine and supportive care. Other reactions occur later

(several hours) such as hive-like reactions with itching, swollen muzzle
and face, fever, lameness and just not feeling well. These reactions are
not considered life-threatening and immediate intervention is seldom
necessary. Treatment consists of antihistamines, steroids and/or aspirin.


The main information to evaluate on the urinalysis is the urine specific

gravity and the urine protein. The specific gravity is a crude measure of
kidney function. In the early stages of kidney failure the kidneys lose the
ability to concentrate urine. This happens when about 75-80% of the
kidney is non-functional. Blood changes occur when about 85-95% of the
kidney tissue is not working properly so the urine sample gives us early
information about kidney function. Amyloidosis in Shar-Pei tends to
damage the medulla of the kidney, which is the area of the kidney
responsible for the concentrating ability of the kidney.

The urine protein gives us information about the glomerulus, which is

the filtration unit of the kidney. Normally very little protein is lost in the
urine. When the glomerulus is damaged due to amyloidosis, immune-
mediated glomerulonephritis, etc. more protein appears in the urine.
This can be quantified by doing a urine protein/creatinine ratio on the

I advise checking a urinalysis on Shar-Pei every 3 months to catch

kidney failure early when dietary therapy and medications can be most
useful especially in individuals with Familial Shar-Pei Fever.

Health and changes in Behavior

Often the first sign of disease in the Shar-Pei is a change in behavior or

personality. Thus, it is very important to know what the normal behavior
of a particular dog is. While Shar-Pei possess several behavior traits in
common, there certainly exists a wide variation among the dogs. The
veterinarian is usually not aware of the "normal" behavior of a specific
dog and must rely on the owner to furnish that information. Second,the
owner must understand that the veterinarian may want to pursue
diagnostic testing in order to determine if the behavior changes are
caused by an underlying physical disease problem. Third, it must be
realized that dogs can have emotional or mental disease. Fourth, the
behavior of a dog can vary because of age, stress, environment,

interactions with other animals and people, smells sounds, etc. Also we
need to realize that behavior is not "static"-it changes over time.

There can be considerable overlap between the behavioral changes

related to disease and the physical disease itself. Behaviors are
categorized into eating, drinking, sleeping, elimination, play, and a
nebulous category known as "personality". Changes in personality are
the most highly variable and difficult to grasp. Owners know when their
pet is "not acting like herself", but cannot often describe this change in
specific terms. Personality includes interactions with the owner, other
people, other dogs and other animals and covers areas such as
aggression, dominance, territoriality, etc.

Disease can influence behavior in several ways. Diseases such as liver

disease, kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, bacterial diseases resulting in
septicemia such as pyometra and others are associated with the
accumulation of waste products in the blood which effect the brain
causing depression, slow mentality and changes in personality. Other
diseases can cause generalized weakness, which can affect the dog's
responses and behavior. Addison's (hypoadrenocorticism), myasthenia
gravis, and hypothyroidism are examples of diseases causing weakness.
Diseases resulting in fever can manifest as changes in behavior and
personality. Familial Shar-Pei Fever is a prime example of this. Shar-Pei
in an FSF episode show several typical behavior changes related to the
fever and pain of the disease - decreased appetite, decreased activity,
pain often with aggression, and personality changes which alert the
owner that this dog is sick. Aggression often manifests itself in diseases
characterized by pain. Examples include FSF (painful hocks),
degenerative joint disease (arthritis), abscesses, some types of cancer,
glaucoma, etc.
There are primary behavioral disorders in dogs now being studied. These
include separation anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders and others.
These can be managed through behavior modification and drug therapy.
Perhaps some forms of aggression and dominance behavior also fit into
this category.
What clues tell us that a change in behavior might be caused by disease?
The following are general guidelines:
Duration of the abnormal behavior. The longer the abnormal behavior
continues the greater the chance it is caused by an underlying disease
Behavior changes vs. personality changes. Changes in behavior are more
often associated with disease than are changes in personality.
Behavior changes with accompanying physical changes. Behavior
changes with physical changes such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea,
etc. are more often associated with disease.

Abrupt changes in behavior. Generally, rapid changes in behavior are
associated with a disease process.
Often, specific behavior changes help to pinpoint the problem. A dog with
a head tilt and constant scratching of the ear on that side probably has
an ear infection. A dog that begins to strain to urinate and urinate more
often probably has some type of urinary problem. Other changes in
behavior are not specific enough to help us define the problem. An
example is loss of appetite. Can the dog eat, but he chooses not to? Or is
the dog physically unable to eat? Or is the dog not eating as much as the
owner thinks he should?

Another aspect of behavior involves hormonal influences in intact

animals. Almost any behavior change, which occurs during a female's
heat cycle, can be normal. Most females tend to not show extreme
behavior changes, but the changes in behavior seen tend to be consistent
for that individual. Males, likewise, can show behavior changes when
females are in heat. Many males show decreased appetite and increased
activity in the spring and fall coinciding with the heat cycles of females.
Some males become irritable at these times of the year as well resulting
in aggression or increased territorial behavior.

Many behaviors are caused by emotional problems. These can be due to

changes in environment, routine, pack order, loss of another dog or
family member, etc. In this category we place obsessive-compulsive
disorders, separation anxiety, overly aggressive behaviors, destructive
chewing, inappropriate elimination and others. Here we get into the
"genetic vs. environment" controversy - are emotional problems inherited
or related to early social interactions?

In conclusion, there are not really specific changes in behavior, which

serve as a marker for specific diseases. Changes in behavior tell us a
problem exists and then it's up to the veterinarian and the owner to
begin to piece the puzzle together. Very often this involves preliminary
diagnostics such as blood work, radiographs, urinalysis, etc. The real
challenge often involves some detective work to determine what changes
in the dog's environment may have contributed to the problem.

Chapter 3
Feeding Your Shar-Pei
Food allergies may cause skin and stomach diseases. This breed should
have a well-balanced, preservative free diet and one that is low in
protein, approximately (16-21%). Some alternatives to rawhide and store
bought treats are raw or cooked vegetables (but nothing from the
cabbage family or onions) and most fruits such as bananas, apricots,
apples, etc. are also healthy alternatives to store bought treats. No table
scraps because we tend to dress up our vegetables with butter,
margarine, salt, sugar, and/ or gravy. Anything with soya or beef, dyes,
or chemical preservatives liked BHA, BHT, or Exthoxyquin should be
avoided. Instead look for foods that are preserved with vitamins A, C, or
E. A chemical-free food is often enough to make a huge difference in a
dog's health.

Feeding Puppies:

Due to the variation in size and energy level of each individual puppy,
feeding schedules may vary. Check the amounts given on the food bag
and adjust accordingly to your puppy's needs.

Formula for puppies newborn to two weeks: (litter quantity: start with
½ ounce each feeding and gradually increase)
1 can of condensed milk and (1 can of water)
2 eggs (scrambled, poached)

1 tbs. of corn syrup or corn oil
1tbs. of liquid vitamins (Pet-tinic is recommended)

It is not encouraged to feed puppies this young on purpose. Hopefully,

mother Shar-pei will do her duty, but there are always exceptions to this
rule. Mom may get sick or not recover properly to feed her litter and then
you must step in to save your puppies. Use a normal size bottle and
nipple for your puppy. Find a comfortable position for you and the puppy
as natural as if it were his mother. Don't raise the bottle too much or too
fast, let the puppy work a little for his meal, but don't overtire. This will
develop his muscles so that he may develop naturally when older. Feed
six to eight times a day, depending on quantity fed.

Formula for puppies two weeks and older: (litter quantity-average ½ to

1 cup per puppy)
4 cups of baby cereal (rice or oatmeal)
2 eggs (scrambled, poached)
1 can of condensed milk and (1 can of water)
1 tbs. of corn syrup or corn oil
1 tbs. of liquid vitamins (Pet-Tinic)

You can feed young puppies four times a day and allow young puppies to
feed only for 5 to 10 minutes each meal, and then pick up the dish until
the next meal. Puppies are known to overfeed, and will bloat or get sick if
they eat too much. Supervise closely during meals. After seven to ten
days of this formula, we will gradually change the food of each puppy to
½ cup of puppy food (made soft by water), 1 tbs canned food, & a tsp of

After about eight to twelve weeks, a puppy should be able to handle dry
puppy food, canned food, and vitamins (you can switch to Pet-Tabs).
Make sure that the puppy is chewing his food and not choking it down.
Add water when necessary, or alternate wet and dry meals. Increase the
portion to 1 cup and feed only three times a day.

By the time the puppy is four months old, try to stop adding water to
its' food. Keep water plentiful, but separated from the food dish. At six
months of age, your puppies should be weaned of wet food. By this
time, the adult teeth are in and need to be kept clean. Feed only twice a
day, adding canned food or cooked hamburger when necessary. It is
important to stay consistent to avoid health problems.

Usually, all puppies remain on this schedule until their first birthday. It
usually ends up about two cups twice a day, unless you are still adding
canned food, then decrease one cup. Of course there are always
exceptions to the rules. If your puppy is experiencing a strong growth

period, it may need more to eat, or the opposite may happen, it may go
off its food once in awhile. This is no cause for concern unless it

Watch for loose or strange looking stools. Stop feeding canned food if
there is a problem. As long as your puppy is neither too thin nor too fat,
it will remain on puppy growth until one year of age.

If your puppy is too fat, consider mixing puppy food with adult formula
to cut down on calories. If your puppy is too thin, continue with a third
meal or add calories (like canned food). Call your vet if you have any
concerns about your puppy's health or feedings.

Feeding Adults:

For adults, food conditions may vary, according to type of living

environment, such as areas prone to allergies or if in contact with
sensitive plants or vegetation. You should maintain consistency for sake
of the dog's digestive system, with same or similar brand adult formulas
from ProPlan, Sensible Choice, NutroMax, or Diamond.

If there is a show dog, a performance formula and supplemental stress

vitamins may be necessary. For pregnant bitches, we usually feed them
the puppy growth, daily multi-vitamins, vitamin C (500mg) tablets, and
additional calcium (tablets, cottage cheese, yogurt) when nursing.

Depending on the development of your Shar-pei, adult formula is first

introduced from six to eighteen months. If prior to the first birthday, it is
usually mixed (50/50) with puppy growth to reduce calories for big
eaters or inactive puppies. If after the first birthday, it is because your
puppy hasn't filled out enough or is an active personality requiring more
energy to grow.

Adults, once fed adult formula, usually require only one large meal or
two small meals a day. Any signs of vomiting or nausea could mean that
your Shar-pei is not eating enough. This can be easily corrected by
adding supplements like canned food, scrambled eggs, or cottage cheese
to the morning meals. I don't encourage overuse of these items, since we
lack knowledge in what really causes toxin buildup in animals that leads
to organ damage and cancerous tumors. The best knowledge to a
successful plan is when the end results in a happy fit dog. Call your vet if
you are concerned about losing weight or recurring vomiting. These may
be signs of a more complicated problem than picky eating.

During the winter, whether Shar-pei puppy or adult may require

supplements, such as adding safflower or fish oil and use skin

moisturizers, to eliminate dry skin problems caused by winter. You could
also use a daily vitamin to keep your Shar-pei extra healthy and strong
to avoid unnecessary illnesses. Viruses can be very difficult to treat,
especially in puppies or stressed adults, and may cause harmful, even
deadly, reactions to a dog.

This adult schedule can be maintained until your Shar-pei starts to slow
down, at about five to seven years of age. As with any older dog, diet
needs to be adjusted to meet a slower/older lifestyle. A lower protein and
fat food (Pro Plan offers a light formula), offered in two or three meals,
will keep a Shar-pei happy the rest of its' life. Do not allow your older dog
to gain unnecessary weight. It not only slows them down, it will make
them more injury/health prone.

For Chinese Shar-pei (as in most breeds) receiving proper exercise, diet,
and current immunizations will determine your dog's future health. It is
up to each owner to see that their Shar-pei is given the proper health,
nutrition, and medical care to live a happy life.

10-Step Natural Health Program

If you build up your dog's immune system, it will be strong enough to

fight off most illnesses all on its own. These ten steps are the building
blocks for building your dog's immune system:

* Real homemade food, rather than kibble or canned food

* All-natural, human-grade kibble (if you can't make real food)
* Spring water, rather than chlorinated/fluoridated from the tap
* Raw meaty bones for strong white teeth
* Minimal chemicals in your home and yard
* Limited vaccinations
* Holistic veterinary care, rather than drug-based
* Neutering to avoid reproductive problems
* Natural home remedies for simple health problems
* Some knowledge on your part about more serious health problems, so
that you will be able to understand what your vet says

Dietary Protein

This is still an area of controversy between clinicians and nutritionists,

but research is providing more insight concerning the role of dietary
protein in the management of the kidney failure patients. Just read the
current thinking on this subject and come to your own conclusions.

There is a link between dietary protein levels and the clinical signs of
kidney failure.

• Once dogs have developed signs of uremia such as decreased

appetite, vomiting, depression, electrolyte changes, GI ulceration,
increased BUN and creatinine and weight loss, then decreasing the
protein content of the diet is indicated these signs. Decreasing the
protein content of the diet prior to the onset of clinical signs does
not affect the progression of kidney failure. The pathogenesis of
kidney failure is not clear and the rate of progression is variable.
• We know that increasing the protein in the diet results in
increased blood flow to the kidneys - this occurs in both healthy
dogs and those with decreased kidney function.
• Increased levels of dietary protein do not seem to change the rate
of progression of kidney failure. Protein levels in the diet do not
seem to affect mortality, rate of progression of uremia or the
development of kidney lesions.
• Decreased protein levels in the diet may impair immune responses,
decrease hemo-globin levels, cause anemia, decrease total protein
levels and result in muscle wasting.
• Phosphorus restriction is an important factor in management of
dogs with kidney failure.
• 3/4 to 15/16 of the kidney mass must be lost before progression of
kidney failure occurs.
• When protein restriction is initiated fat and carbohydrate levels
must be increased to provide alternate energy sources.

Much of the research in kidney failure and diet have been done in rats,
dogs who have had surgically induced kidney failure and geriatric dogs
with progressive kidney failure due to age-related changes. Does this
information pertain to dogs with amyloidosis, immune-mediated kidney
diseases or inflammatory kidney diseases? Studies need to be done to
address these scenarios. The information available can be used to
formulate the following general guidelines:

• Feed a diet with a protein level, which fits the dog's activity level.
Couch potatoes on a high protein diet become obese leading to
other problems.
• Dietary protein levels do not appear to be involved in the
progression of renal disease or play a role in the prevention of
kidney failure. The protein levels in the 20-24 % range are
probably safe. Of course other factors enter in such as the protein
source, the bio availability of the protein, fat content, carbohydrate
levels, etc. must be considered as well.
• When the BUN is greater than 75mg/dl and/or signs of uremia
develop, moderate protein restriction is indicated to decrease the
BUN and the clinical signs. Phosphorus restriction is also
indicated at this time. This is most easily done with the available
commercial kidney diets on the market.
• What this also means is that these dogs must be monitored closely
to follow changes in the BUN and creatinine levels. It is generally
observed that Shar-Peis indicate clinical signs of kidney failure
very late in the course of the condition when their BUN and
creatinine levels are extremely elevated. Often, Shar-Pei owners
miss the very subtle early changes and present their dogs when it's
too late.

Diet does not appear to play a major role in prevention of kidney disease
in Shar-Pei at this time. I think avoiding substances and situations
which result in kidney damage are preventative steps that can be taken.
Certain drugs such as aminoglycoside antibiotics can cause kidney
damage and should be avoided, when possible. Decreased kidney blood
flow can lead to kidney damage emphasizing the importance of IV fluids
administered during anesthetic procedures and use of monitoring
equipment. Situations, which result in low blood flow to the kidneys
such as heat stroke, bloat, and shock, must also be avoided. Infectious
diseases can also result in kidney damage. These include bacterial
kidney disease, heartworm, leptospirosis, Lymes disease, etc. Toxins
such as ethylene glycol (antifreeze) and arsenic can cause kidney damage
as well. To a large extent we can prevent some of these things. The major
emphasis has to be monitoring the dogs so the onset of kidney failure is
uncovered early in the course of the disease when dietary manipulations
may be useful.

Tips On Feeding

Proper diet is very important for the longevity and health of your Shar-
Pei. Most pets become overweight and inactive if they are allowed to eat
what they want. A fat dog is not a healthy dog and will have a greatly
decreased lifespan.


1. Puppy diets with or without water are best until the pup is 4-6
months old. Stick with brand name diets such as Iams, Purina,
Pedigree and others. Currently you can go in for the puppy diets
for large breed puppies made by Eukanuba® (Iams) and Purina.
These diets help to maintain a slower growth rate. Don’t feed
according to the bag directions — usually 1 cup per 6 pounds of
body weight is adequate. In the Shar-Pei a desired growth rate is 2-
3 pounds a week.
2. In pups up to 3 months feed 3 meals per day. In pups from 3-6
months gradually change from 3 meals per day to 2 meals per day.
In pups over 6 months feed 2 meals per day.
3. Try not to give canned dog foods. Most Shar-Pei will not overeat on
dry food. If you do give canned foods, mix it with dry foods and
make sure the mixture is at least 3 parts dry food to 1 part canned
food. Mix the food together thoroughly so the dog will not eat only
the canned food and leave the dry food.
4. Do not give table scraps.
5. Never give steak, pork, chicken or turkey bones. The only bones
permitted are large beef knucklebones.
6. Nylon bones and rawhide bones make good toys. Rawhide bones
should be large enough to last your dog 2-3 weeks. Don’t use
rawhide sticks or chips — don’t let your dog eat rawhide. Avoid
pig’s ears and cow hooves —Shar-Pei usually eat these or swallow
them and get into trouble.
7. What diet you feed your adult Shar-Pei should be based on the
dog’s activity level, coat quality, stool quality such as volume,
consistency, frequency and the dog’s general well-being. If you’re
not happy with any of these criteria then consider a diet change.
8. Avoid changing your dog’s diet too often. If a diet change is
necessary do so gradually by mixing the foods over a 1-2 week

General Guidelines on Feeding Shar-Pei

1. You can feed your Shar-Pei at least twice a day. This decreases the
begging behavior and may decrease the incidence of bloat.
2. Obesity is a very common dog problem. It is essential to balance
the dog’s activity and food intake. It is common sense to
understand that an inactive dog requires fewer calories to maintain
body weight. The converse is also true — a very active dog requires

more calories. The solution is simple — feed according to your
dog’s activity level.
3. Realize that there are some dogs that do not eat every meal or even
every day. This may represent the dog’s way of maintaining its
body weight. If we entice a dog such as this to eat every meal we
may circumvent this natural tendency to be slim and trim.
4. Most Shar-Peis are less active in the winter and more active in the
summer. This means we need to decrease the amount of food they
get during the times of the year coinciding with decreased activity
and increase the amount of food when activity increases. The
reverse may be true with brushcoats and bearcoats who tolerate
the winter much better than horsecoats.
5. Older dogs tend to decrease their activity and we need to decrease
the amount of food they get. Older dogs also tend to develop age-
related joint problems, which also decrease activity and require
diet adjustment. Switching older dogs to a “senior” or “lite” diet can
be helpful in preventing obesity but may not be the total answer. It
is still sometimes necessary to decrease even the amounts of these
diets in order to maintain body weight. Current nutritional
research indicates that senior dogs require higher protein levels
than have been fed in the past. These higher protein levels are
necessary to maintain muscle mass, to maintain the immune
system and for overall general health. If your dog is having trouble
maintaining body weight and muscle mass then going back to an
adult maintenance diet may be useful.
6. Vitamin supplements may become necessary in dieting dogs.
7. You can give your dog canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) is
a good way to fill the dog up without increasing calories or
“starving” the dog.
8. Measuring the food is extremely important! This allows us to make
adjustments in amounts of food in an accurate way. It also helps
your veterinarian to evaluate your feeding regimen.
9. Use of stainless steel or ceramic food and water bowls. Otherwise,
you can occasionally see a de pigmentation on the front of the
muzzle and chin in those dogs that have plastic or vinyl bowls.
This is due to a contact allergy, which can occur due to the release
of chemicals from the plastic/vinyl that occurs over time.

Some Comments On Alternative Diets

Your basic philosophy on diets should be to feed what your dog thrives

1. Raw food diets make their appearance every 7-10 years. Early on
diets were formulated to prevent bloat and consisted of whole
chickens cooked in a pressure cooker. Now the BARF (Bones And
Raw Food) diet is the vogue. But for most of us the commercial

diets are the best. You should feed your dog a diet that is
nutritionally balanced, easy to feed, doesn’t require a lot of work to
prepare and has a long history of consistent results behind it. Most
of the commercial dog food companies have research/quality
control facilities, on-going research and development, have been
producing dog foods for several decades and publish nutritional
research in veterinary journals and proceedings.
2. There have been several recent veterinary articles concerning
bacterial contamination of raw food incorporated into dog diets.
Certainly this speaks to the need to wash vegetables, keep food
preparation surfaces clean and store the diets properly.
3. Supplements such as vitamins, minerals and other things like
kelp, herbs, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, etc. are often added
to diets. But remember, that additives can interact producing
undesired results. Examples such as decreased copper absorption
due to zinc over-supplementation, calcium-phosphorous
interactions leading to growth abnormalities, biotin deficiency and
raw eggs and numerous other interactions must be considered
before supplementing diets.
4. The use of prescription diets under veterinary supervision is a
useful therapeutic and diagnostic tool. More cases of food allergy,
food reaction, food intolerance and food hypersensitivity are being
diagnosed and diet manipulation is very important. These are
usually commercially produced diets, which are balanced to meet
the nutritional requirements of dogs.


Everyone wants to give their puppy a snack once in a while. Here are a
few guidelines on what NOT to feed:
BONES: chicken, pork, and even steak bones can break, splinter, or get
lodged inside your dog causing an emergency situation. It is
recommended to stay with bones made for dogs.
TABLE SCRAPS: fats and sweets can throw off a Shar-pei internal system
causing vomiting or diarrhea. Avoid large quantities until you know what
he can handle.
Chocolate is especially toxic and should be avoided completely.

Chapter 4
Grooming & Taking Care Of Your

Shar-Peis are instinctively clean and are very easily housetrained.

This makes them easy to care for. There are however, special
considerations when caring for dogs of this breed.

Every breed has its inherent strengths and weaknesses. The

hereditary areas of weakness in the Chinese Shar-Pesi are the eyes
and skin.

Entropion is an eye problem that causes the puppy's eyelids to roll

inward. As a result, the eyelashes rubbing against the cornea
cause acute distress. Symptoms of eye problems include pawing at
the eyes and excessive tearing. I have found it very useful to use
lubricating eye drops in the puppy’s eyes once a day. Especially
when still teething, moulting or when in season. There is a chance
that your Shar-Pei's eyes may blink or water slightly, something
which can also happen if your Shar-Pei is stressed. This will
usually subside when the temporary problem has been solved. The

face, and around the back of the ears, can be bathed with a mild
solution of salt water and polysporin drops may be used if
necessary. Always take care not to transfer infection from one eye
to the other; Be sure to use a different piece of cotton wool to bathe
each eye.

Another area of particular concern is the ear. Because the ears are
so small, it is important that they be checked on a weekly basis, so
that any sign of infection can be detected right away. There is some
very good ear cleaning solutions available at your vet’s office. These
make ear cleaning easy with the aid of some cotton wool. Be sure
not to delve too deeply into the ear canal, for this could cause
serious damage. Any scratching at the ear or shaking of the head
is a clear signal that something is causing irritation, so check them
as soon as possible.

Wherever your Shar-Pei is to spend time, there must be suitable

bedding and it is essential that this is kept clean. Always keep in
mind that draughts and dampness must be excluded at all costs,
and there must be access to shade when the weather is hot. Shar-
Peis like to have a their own bed. Again remember that it should be
kept scrupulously clean, so that parasites do not make a home
During puppy and adulthood, remember to keep a record so that
your Shar-Pei's vaccinations are adequately boosted, including
kennel cough. Last, but certainly not the least, enjoy your Shar-Pei
and always treat him/her with kindness.

Low Maintenance

The Shar-Pei requires minimal maintenance. Brushing with a good

bristle brush every other day keeps its unique coat in excellent condition.
You can bathe him occasionally using warm water and a good shampoo
recommended by a vet.

Contrary to popular belief the Shar-Peis do not need to be bathed every

week. The Shar-Pei coat is one of those canine coats, which tends not to
give off a "doggy" odor, even when it is wet. Its natural coarseness also
has a tendency to repel dirt, which is an added bonus.

Constant bathing will make the skin dry (increase itching) and cause the
coat to look dull. By doing this you will wash away the dogs natural oils.

Only bathe the dog if he/ she smells with a vet recommended shampoo
for general bathing needs.

The nails of a Shar-Pei grow fast so frequent clipping is in order. Always

touch your puppy's paws and the puppy all over to get them used to
grooming. Because the Shar-Pei has tiny ears frequent cleaning is a
must. Usually once every week or every two weeks depending on the
individual dog. Use cotton swabs or make-up pads (cotton ones) with an
ear solution from your vet. Do not use Q-tips as it may push the waxy
build-up further down the ear canal. After you have cleaned the ears let
them shake and then later clean the excess. The ears, eyes, and the
whole body in general should be inspected frequently to have a happy,
healthy Shar-Pei.

Most Shar-pei do not require regular grooming, but the most difficult time for
puppy coat care may be during the adolescent months. After puberty, allergies,
thyroid, or immune imbalance are the leading causes of most "hot spots", rashes,
or continual hair loss. No matter what some people say, it is NOT normal for a
Shar-pei to have skin infestations, and these problems must be treated to
prevent additional problems.

Don't leave mud or other debris on the coat or between the toes for any longer
than necessary. Use a consistent flea control to prevent infestation. Teeth should
be cleaned often (weekly with a dog toothbrush or washcloth) starting when you
can see plaque buildup. All of these habits should be introduced during the
puppy's growing months to ensure good habits for the rest of its life. Good habits
help your dog look better and stay healthier.

Odor in Shar-Pei

Odor in Shar-Pei can emanate from several areas:

Mouth odor -- usually due to dental problems, lip folds infections; chin
infection, and mouth tumors. Bad breath can also occur with kidney
failure (uremic poisoning), dehydration, oral injuries, oral foreign objects
or be diet related.

Ear problems --yeast infections, bacterial infections, food and hay fever-
type allergies.

Eyes -- associated with increased drainage due to entropion,

mucopurulent discharge seen in keratoconjunctivitis sicca ("dry eye"),
glaucoma, rubbing and itching the eyes related to allergic disease (hay
fever, food) and increased tearing with prolapsed gland of the third eyelid
("cherry eye").

Skin problems -- bacterial pyoderma (infections) and/or Malassezia
(yeast) dermatitis. These are usually secondary to endocrine skin disease
such as hypothyroidism, hay fever-type allergies, food allergies,
nutritional problems, parasitic dermatitis as occurs in
demodectic/sarcoptic mange and with flea problems. Infected bite
wounds can be another common cause of odor to the skin especially
noticeable a few days after a dogfight. Odor with skin disease is usually
caused by the dog's licking and chewing due to itching. Skin irritation
due to any cause results in an increase in skin oil production. When the
excess oil is broken down by organisms such as bacteria and yeast a
"ranchid" odor is produced.

Feet - often odor to the feet is secondary to the same problems as

discussed under skin problems. The feet are a particular target for
licking and chewing associated with allergic disease such as atopy (hay
fever- type allergy) and food allergy.
Perineum (anal area) - certainly there are "normal" odors associated
with flatulence or gas. Abnormal odors can be associated with diarrhea,
colitis, tumors around the rear end and especially anal gland problems
such as abscesses, infection and impaction.
It is necessary to socialize a Shar-Pei puppy well, before it leaves for it's
new home. This is done normally, on a constant basis by the breeder
from the beginning of their life, so that you will have a well adjusted pet
in the future.
Playtime is also very important in a puppy’s life. During play puppies
learn what is and isn't acceptable behavior. With the proper
encouragement a puppy learns to inhibit his/her biting and
aggressiveness. At the same time playing helps puppies discover the
limitations of their bodies and the world around them. Playing also
reinforces social bonds between group members. Because your dog
considers you his leader and best friend playing brings you closer
together. Playing encourages your puppy to exercise and release it's
energy in a positive and productive way.

Chapter 5
Training Your Shar Pei

Shar-Peis are believed to have preserved some qualities of a wild animal.

The Shar-Pei was forced to develop a strong personality, since it used to
be a working and fighting dog in China. A Shar-Pei puppy will need
obedience classes to become well behaved. Shar-Peis are not barkers and
don't normally have a mischievous nature. Nevertheless, a puppy cannot
be expected to turn into a model dog without any effort on your part.

Training Tips for you and your Pet

(1) Bonding with your pet results in a quicker, more responsive training
reaction. Despite some dog trainer’s contempt for more independent
breeds, it's not a matter of intelligence that makes certain breeds harder
to train, but the way in which you choose to communicate with your pet.
In other words, you must speak with a voice and body language they
understand, or you won't ever anything.
(2) Every adult dog has been genetically given temperament traits of
dominance, submission, and independence, which may be modified by

training but can never be completely removed. You must learn to respect
your dog's given genetics and use the suggested behavior modification
techniques to overcome undesirable traits or behaviors.
(3) The most important aspects to successful training are focused on
getting the dog's full attention and consistently responding to its
behavior. Therefore, it is considered essential for beginners to work in
controlled environments in order reach these goals. We strongly suggest
novice trainers attend organized obedience classes, which are usually
provided by local dog-training clubs or businesses. Most dog breeds also
benefit from the added socializing, with people and other animals, plus
the support that builds self-confidence for you and your pet.
(4) Don't forget to have fun!!! You would have come across several
unhappy, frustrated owners training equally unhappy pets. We all want
to see timely results when working with our pets, but if your pets can't
find enjoyment and positive social interaction from the training process,
they will not respond to the training method. Keep your voice and
attitude positive, making a point to praise correct behavior.

What is Behavior Modification?

Behavior Modification, psychological methods for treating maladjustment
and for changing observable behavior patterns. In the behavior
modification process, the procedures used are monitored so that changes
can be made when necessary.

Most Common Method to Apply Behavior Modification

Systematic desensitization, the most widely used technique, attempts to
treat disturbances having identifiable sources, such as a paralyzing fear
of closed spaces. This method usually involves training the individual to
relax in the presence of fear-producing stimuli. The anxiety reaction will
be replaced gradually with the new relaxation response; this is called
reciprocal inhibition.

The Importance of Behavior Modification Training

Behavior modification training can become a very useful strategy for pet
owners to help their dog overcome fears and stressful experiences. As
compared to human behavior, it's like Christmas for a young child, or a
shy adult that suffers from social anxiety, both of whom may be
overwhelmed with too much excitement or activity to handle at once.
Socializing builds self-esteem and confidence, thereby eliminating the
newness of potential trouble situations, or pet owners may run the risk
their dog will respond in an instinctive defensive canine behavior.

Specific Techniques of Canine Systematic Desensitization

Touching - Some Shar-pei are fearful or panic in circumstances that
involve being touched, for example, grooming, vet care, or even a simple

bath. That is why part of your adolescent training must involve personal
handling, by you and other people, including holding feet, touching ears,
opening their mouth, in a constrained environment. De-sensitizing will
reduce the risk of injury to your pet during these routine events.
Socializing - Another common problem for Shar-Pei owners is
aggression around strangers or other animals. The reason why
aggressiveness usually develops is because pet owners may not know or
think to socialize until the dog is older. Yet training experience has
proven that early socializing may begin once the pup has had it's first few
shots and must continue consistently to prevent, or at least generally
control, potential for aggression. Socializing is essentially mandatory for
extremely dominant or submissive personalities to overcome or tolerate
everyday situations that life may generally offer.

What To Teach Your Puppy-When He Is 8 Weeks Old

• His home and schedule. Where his water dish is. Where his food
dish is. What time he eats. Where his bed is. What time he goes to
bed. What time he gets up. Where he goes to the bathroom. When
he will be taken out to the bathroom. What time he goes for a walk.
Where are his toys are kept.
• Puppies love routines. They feel reassured and safe when they
know where everything is and when they're on a predictable
schedule. Routines reassure your puppy that, regardless of the
unfamiliarity of his new world, everything is predictable. Routines
reassure him that he knows what comes next, that his world is the
same as it was yesterday, and that it will be the same tomorrow.
Routines reassure him that YOU are dependable, that he can
count on you to say and do the same thing
• What "No" means. To stop what he's doing when you say "No!" or
"Ah-ah!" or "Stop that."
• Housebreaking. An 8-week-old puppy is still an infant. You can
start introducing him to his bathroom spot and commit yourself to
taking him out every couple of hours, but it will be several months
before his internal organs are developed enough for reliability.
Smaller breeds are especially slow to housebreak, with many toy
breeds not being reliable until eight months of age.
• Crate training. To go willingly into his crate and stay there quietly.
• Being handled. Standing patiently (more or less!) while you brush
his coat, sitting quietly while you clip his nails, opening his mouth
while you brush his teeth.
• Gentleness. To take things gently from your hand, and to release
things on your request. No grabbing or biting or clinging grimly to

At 3-4 months old, your puppy should learn

• To sit. And to STAY sitting. Yes, even when you walk away from
him. Yes, even when distractions tempt him to move.
• To lie down.
• To look directly at you when you say his name.
• To come when called. Always.
• To never run away from you.
• To walk politely on the leash.
• To drop whatever is in his mouth when you tell him to.
• To stop barking when you tell him to.
• To get along with people and other animals.

At 4-6 months old, your puppy should learn

• To listen attentively when spoken to.

• To wait inside your door or gate. Even when it opens. Even when
there are distractions tempting him outside.
• To play fetch -- to bring his ball or toy back to you after you throw
• To stay lying down for a half-hour while you do normal household
• To greet guests politely.
• To do tricks! Shake hands. Speak. Play dead. Roll over. Dance.
• To recognize the individual names of all the members of your
family -- and to search for someone who is hiding.

How Owners Can Help To Make Their Puppy Turn Out Well

• Respond appropriately if your puppy ignores the word "No"

• Use the right tone of voice and facial expression when talking to
your puppy
• Respond appropriately if you call your puppy and he doesn't come
• Socialize your puppy carefully with other animals and with
• Respond appropriately if your puppy acts aggressively or fearfully
toward other dogs or strangers
• Give your puppy just the right amount of petting and cuddling
• Respond appropriately if your puppy darts away from you when
you're trying to catch him.

• Say and do the right things whenever you have to leave your puppy
home alone
• Talk to your puppy in ways that he understands
• Respond appropriately if your puppy fusses or protests while being
• Use the right collar and leash for training
• Teach your puppy to calm down when you decide playtime is over
• Choose the right sleeping place for your puppy
• Housebreak your puppy slowly and carefully
• Clean up accidents with the right cleaner so he won't be led to that
spot again
• Respond appropriately if your puppy "pees" when he gets excited or

Housebreaking Your Dog

If owners could choose only one skill they wanted their dog to have,
housebreaking would top the list. Shar-pei are very easy to house train,
in fact, they do most of it themselves. Any time the puppy has eaten, has
finished playtime, or wakes from a nap, take time to take him outside.
Your puppy will be trained by two to four months. Just remember,
consistency is the key to success.

But you have to keep two things in mind:

Confining your dog to ensure that it cannot go to the bathroom in the
wrong places.
Constant or regular access to the bathroom.

Confinement from the wrong places

Confinement means that until your dog is housebroken, he is never

allowed to walk freely around the house. Confinement means every
minute, every hour of every day -- unless you are sitting with your dog,
playing with him, walking him, feeding him, grooming him, teaching him
something, or otherwise interacting with him. Because if he is loose and
you take your eyes off him for just a few moments, he can go to the
bathroom on your floor -- and the bad habit is begun.

Access to the right place

This means you take your dog outside -- or he lets himself outside
through a doggy door. Or it means you provide him with newspapers or a
litter box indoors. He must have somewhere to "go" -- on a regular,
reliable basis.

If the only place your dog has a chance to "go" is outside on a regular
schedule, or on newspapers or in a litter box, that's the habit he will
develop. If you let him loose in the house, then he can GO anywhere in
the house, and that's the habit he will develop. It's up to you!

1. Confinement in a crate.

The best way to house train a dog is by Crate Training. This means
every time that your puppy is unsupervised, he goes into the crate, or
an exercise pen if you are away a lot. This prevents any accidents in
the carpet or damage to your home. After the puppy is about six to
twelve months old, slowly allow him his freedom, depending on your
circumstances. Crate training is not cruel in any way.

• This is the most common and most effective method of

housebreaking. Whenever you're not interacting directly with your
dog, he is safe in his crate.
• You can also tie his leash to your belt so he accompanies you
around the house. But keep your EYE on him, so he doesn't pee on
the floor right at your feet!
• On a regular basis throughout the day, you take him outside to a
specific potty area to go to the bathroom.

2. Confinement in an exercise pen. Constant access to newspapers

or a litter box.

• If you're gone more than four hours a day, consider this method of
housebreaking for small dogs.
• A litter box appeals to many people because it looks tidier than
newspapers, and is easier to clean. However, litter boxes work best
for really tiny dogs such as Chihuahuas, Maltese, and Yorkshire
Terriers. And a litter box is more natural for females and neutered
males who don't lift their legs. Males who lift their leg will sprays
urine everywhere.
• A cat litter box is too shallow for dogs. They tend to back up to the
edge and leave their deposits on or over the edge. Use a clear
plastic storage bin from Wal-Mart. Cut a squared-off U-shape in

one side to make a step-over entrance, leaving enough of the box
below the entrance to keep the litter in.
• Don't use regular cat litter! Regular litter, sticks to your pet's feet
and coat and ends up in his stomach when he licks himself. Litter
that "clumps" when it gets wet also "clumps" in your pet's
stomach, causing impactions. Litter also contains chemicals,
antibacterial agents, and fragrances -- all of which are bad for your
• Instead, use a natural litter such as "Care Fresh" or "Yesterday's
News." They're made of recycled newspaper. They're safe, non-
toxic, dust-free, and environmentally friendly.

3. Constant access to an outside

yard via a doggy door.

• You can have a small room with a doggy door leading outside to a
small fenced "potty" yard.
• When you have to leave the house for more than four hours, you
can put your dog in the small room, with access to the potty yard
via the doggy door.
• This method of confinement and bathroom access should only be
considered if your dog doesn't bark when he goes outside.

Understanding Canine Behavior

It's very important to properly identify your dog's behavior patterns to

train them in the most effective, humane way and prevent the stressful
situation these issues can create.

Canine drives

The prey drive includes those behaviors that highlight hunting and
foraging behaviors. Dogs that hunt and kill their toys (or objects of
clothing, pillows, etc.), chase anything that moves, steal food, stalk the
cat, and pounce on toys or other animals are probably high in prey drive.

The pack drive involves a dog's affinity for humans or other dogs. A dog
with a high pack drive cannot get enough of people; he barks or cries
when left alone, solicits play and petting, likes to touch, enjoys grooming,
and loves the sound of his master's voice.

The fight drive is defensive and indicates a dog's self-confidence in
stressful situations. A dog with a strong fight-defense drive stands his
ground, walks high on his toes, guards his territory and his family, may
guard his toys and food, tolerates petting and grooming but does not
really enjoy these activities, enjoys tug-of-war, and seems ready to fight.

The flight drive is also a defense drive and indicates a dog's lack of self-
confidence. A dog with high flight drive is unsure in new situations and
may hide behind his master, is stressed when separated from him,
crawls on his belly or urinates when reprimanded, and may bite when


There are three general types of aggressive behavior in dogs: dominance

aggression, fearful aggression, and protective (territorial) aggression

Dominance aggression: The manifestation of inappropriate responses to

specific situations related to control. It usually develops in dogs at social
maturity, between 18 and 36 months of age

Fearful aggression: Fearfully aggressive dogs react inappropriately when

they sense intrusion or feel cornered

Protective aggression: Dogs with protective or territorial aggression

protect people or places regardless of whether or not there is an actual
threat. Their response is inappropriate and potentially dangerous.
Protective (directed at protecting people, other animals, and objects) and
territorial (directed at protecting their house, yard, or room) behavior is
appropriate in actual threats, such as attacks or break-ins, but is not
appropriate when a threat does not exist. Protective or territorial
aggression may be directed at strangers (e.g., delivery person) or
someone not well known to the dog (e.g., owner’s friend). The dog may
also inappropriately protect one household member from another (e.g.,
when children are roughhousing). Dogs without protective aggression
usually give a low-level threat (bark or growl) then determine if the
perceived threat is real based on the response they receive.

Separation anxiety

As sensitive and loyal as most Chinese Shar-Pei are, separation anxiety

is a common stress problem identified by both rescuers and breeders.
The combination of this predisposition, and the fact that most owners
have no choice but to leave their dog alone at some point each day can
create potential situations of self-inflicted damage to themselves and
your home if not properly handled. Please follow these simple guidelines:

Plan Your Exit - When it is time to leave, just leave. Do not say "Good
bye" to your dog with hugs and kisses. In fact, ignore your dog for five
minutes before you go. Paying too much attention will make your dog feel
more insecure when the attention is abruptly withdrawn.
Leave a Distraction - Prepare a "Bye-Bye" bone. Purchase a sterilized;
hollow bone from the pet store. Fill it with goodies such as dried liver pet
treats, beef jerky, peanut butter, cheese or other things your dog really
likes. Keep it hidden and take it out when you leave each day. Place it
near your dog just before you close the door. When you arrive home,
poke the goodies left in the bone out so your dog gets them. Hopefully, he
will appreciate the bone so much that he will look forward to it coming
out in place of getting upset with your leaving.
Confine Your Dog When You Are Away - Confining your dog during your
times of absence has two positive results. First, a dog who is confined to
a carrier or crate cannot do damage to your home. Secondly, a crate,
when properly introduced, will act as a safe, comfortable den where the
dog can relax. Limiting his movement also acts as an anxiety reducer for
most dogs.
Leave the Radio On - Tune a radio to a talk station, put it on in a room
you are often in, the bedroom is usually a good choice, and close the
door. The dog will hear the human voices from your room and may not
feel so alone. You can even tape record your own voice and play the
recording in place of the radio program. Dogs know the sound of your
voice all too well. And remember, since the dog is most anxious just after
you leave, a one-hour recording will most probably do.
Practice This Training Routine - With most dogs, the hardest time for
them is immediately after you leave. Their anxious (and sometimes
destructive) behavior occurs within the first hour after they are left alone.
It will be your job to reshape your dog's behavior through reinforcement
training. Leave your dog out of his crate, put your coat on, and walk to
the door and leave. Come back in immediately. Greet your dog calmly.
Tell him to sit. When he does, reinforce this behavior with a food treat he
enjoys. Wait a few minutes and then repeat the exercise, this time
remaining outside a few seconds longer. Continue practicing leaving and
returning over the next few weeks, always remembering to return, greet
your dog calmly and command him to sit before offering a treat.
Establish Your Leadership - When a dog has a strong leader, it has a
calming effect on him. He feels safe and taken care of. In the absence of a
strong leader, your dog feels obligated to assume that position in the
social hierarchy of the family pack. Since a leader must control all that
goes on, his inability to control your leaving causes him stress and
anxiety. For example there was a case with a male Lhasa Apso who
would bite at an owner's leg each morning when she attempted to leave
for work. He would exhibit dominant behavior to try to stop his owner
from leaving which would then cause him stress, which he wished to

avoid. Obedience training is the best-organized method of establishing
yourself as a strong leader.
Exercise Your Dog - A dog that is lacking exercise is more likely to have
stress and tension. Tiring a dog out with a long walk, run or with play
goes a long way in reducing stress.


The Chinese Shar-Pei was bred as a guard dog- this makes them very
territorial. They are very protective of their home and family. This makes
them an excellent housedog, but can present some problems when
strangers enter the home. While it is desirable to have a dog that protects
the home, it is risky to have a dog that is too protective. Here are some

1. When people come over to the house have the dog crated - this
avoids any confrontations. Otherwise, have the dog on a leash and
slip collar. Have your guests ignore the dog for the first few
minutes and let the dog get used to the fact that strangers have
entered his domain. Then have the guests offer some treats to the
dog - again, under your supervision and control.
2. Many Shar-Pei will guard the door. Use baby gates to restrict this
activity. Crating is also useful for this problem.
3. Spray bottles containing water are useful to control some
unwanted behaviors since most Shar-Pei don't seem to like water.
4. It's always a good idea, with any dog, to have friends phone before
they come over to your home. This allows you a chance to prepare
for the interaction of friends and your dog ahead of time.
5. Keep a good supply of treats on hand to reward good behavior.
6. Use common sense. Remember that not all people like dogs or
know how to handle them. Don't let your dog be a nuisance to
houseguests. Young children often don't know how to behave
around dogs - be especially alert when youngsters come to the

Breed-Specific Behaviors:
Shar-Pei display the following behaviors which seem to be characteristics
of the breed:

• They display a behavior known as "sharking". This is a circling;

staring behavior characteristic of fighting dogs and used to
intimidate their opponents. This occurs when the dog is nervous or

• When crated or otherwise confined they have a tendency to "bury"
their water and/or food.
• They don't like to be petted on top of the head. This is probably
due to poor peripheral vision caused by the excessive skin folds
around the eyes and the heavy brow.
• Many Shar-Pei, particularly the horse-coats, don't like to go out in
the rain. They may have to be kicked out the door to make them

Shar-Pei and Other Dogs:

The Chinese Shar-Pei is a very alert, intelligent and highly responsive dog
breed. They have a lower aggression threshold to other dogs as well as a
lower proximity tolerance around other dogs. This translates into the
following recommendations:

1. It is highly advised to begin obedience training at as early an age

as possible. Early socialization is to be encouraged and the earlier
this begins the better.
2. Always maintain control of your Shar-Pei in the presence of other
dogs. Bear in mind that other dog owners may not control their
dogs and be prepared for the unexpected.
3. Use of positive reinforcement (treats, toys) to reward good behavior
and paying attention in the presence of other dogs is absolutely
necessary. It is difficult to use punishment when the dog is already
excited by the presence of another dog - learning is not happening
when the adrenalin is flowing.

Exercise Needs Of puppies

Shar-Peis require daily walks that should be longer than just taking the
dog away for its needs. Generally, the Shar-Pei makes a good house pet
and doesn't give the owners much trouble. They are calm. However, if the
amount of exercise is not sufficient, the Shar-Pei may get bored and
misbehave. Shar-Peis are intelligent dogs and need both mental and
physical activities to keep them fit and contented.

Chapter 6


Is the Shar-Pei a rare breed?

In the early 70's, there were only a few dog breeds, and Shar-Peis were
the sought after rare breed. The government of mainland Communist
China had an active program of destroying all dogs. As fanciers from the
US became involved with saving the Shar-Pei, its quick intelligence and
engaging personality made it an extremely popular companion. So much
so, that when the Shar-Pei entered the AKC Non-Sporting Group in
August 1992, over 70,000 dogs were registered as foundation stock - the
largest breed ever to join AKC. Now it is not a rare breed anymore.

Is the Shar-Pei expensive to buy?

When the Chinese Shar-Pei first came to this country, they were very
expensive. Today however, Shar-Pei is a very popular breed of dog. Prices
for pet quality and show quality dogs are comparable to what you would
expect to pay for any other purebred dog. You check out a few reputable
breeders to insure you are not paying more than what they are worth.

But remember the bottom line - they are worth what you are willing to
pay for them.

We are wondering how to go about choosing a pup without being

able to see the parents or the puppies.

It is not advisable buying a dog that you cannot see or research prior to
purchase. There are so many questionable temperament and health
defects that can be eliminated by genetic research. Even if the dog is for
a pet only, this research removes a lot of potential heartbreak and
financial expense at a later stage.
It would be best to find a breeder that is close enough to your region to
drive, or take the extra trip to fly and see the pup in person.

I need some good advice on a recommended diet to get my female

Shar-pei started on - any suggestions and/or recommendations
would be much appreciated, she is 6 years old.

On average, older adult dogs should not eat food with more than 20%
protein to avoid kidney problems, but sometimes may need additional fat
(like from canned food) to maintain healthy weight and coat.

We have a male Shar-pei who is 10 months old now. He has a

problem with a bad odor. We give him a bath every week but it is
still there. Any suggestions?

There are a variety of reasons why a Shar-pei can smell:

1) Ears: build-up of wax or yeast can create not only painful ears, but
also a strong odor. Clean the ears with a product that reduces odors as
well as dries out ear canals
2) Slime: the protein in Shar-pei slobber has a distinctly different smell
to it. Wipe away slime and any food particles caught in the folds of the
mouth regularly.
3) Bad breath: either due to teeth problems or what the dog is fed. Too
much protein can create a stronger smell if not digested properly, also if
your dog regurgitates anytime. Bad breath is also associated with the
breed's health problems of Swollen Hock Syndrome and Amyloidosis.
Brush the teeth thoroughly every week.
4) Mucin odor: the substance that creates the folds and wrinkles in Shar-
pei skin can seep through the pores and cause odor. Mucin can be
released during stress like hormones, which also smell. Use a Betadine
rinse (50/50 mix with distilled water) after bathing to eliminate topical
germs. Neutering a male also helps to eliminate body odors.

Does Shar-Pei have lots of medical problems?

When the Shar-Pei first came to this country, there were only a few dozen
dogs from which to start a breeding program. Unfortunately, some early
dogs had health problems. Over the past 25 years, dedicated breeders
have carefully worked to eliminate health problems by breeding only
sound, healthy dogs. Most Shar-Peis do not require eye entropian
surgery nor do they have skin problems.

Does Shar-Pei have a bad temperament?

Temperament problems are not a Shar-Pei affliction. Any dog, any breed
- when bred improperly can have temperament problems. Shar-Pei is
intensely loyal to their family and makes excellent watchdogs. Like all
dogs, however, they should be socialized. Some Shar-Peis are aloof
toward strangers. Because Shar-Pei have a quick intelligence and are
eager to please their family, they are very easily trained.

Must you dry and powder Shar-Pei wrinkles after a bath?

Shar-Peis do not require any special treatment when bathing. You don't
have to powder or dry their wrinkles with a Q-tip. Like any other breed,
you must thoroughly rinse the shampoo from the coat and wrinkles.
Although Shar-Pei hates water, they are easily trained to stand for a
bath. Because they are fastidiously clean, they greatly appreciate the
fresh feeling after a bath. A good dog shampoo and a simple toweling
down to keep them from dripping on the carpet is all that's required. The
short coat naturally air-dries in a few moments.

Does it require a lot of work to house break a Shar-Pei?

Shar-Pei may be the easiest breed in the world to housebreak. It's not
unusual for 6 to 8 week puppies wanting to go outside. When there is a
pet door near the whelping box, Shar-Pei instinctively copy mama's
behavior and bounce out the pet door to relieve themselves. New owners
should take their puppies outside immediately after feeding and about
once every 2 hours. Shar-Peis are fastidiously clean and are famous for
holding it in until they can go outside.

Is the Shar-Pei highly intelligent?

Shar-Pei has a quick intelligence. However, their high intelligence may
cause boredom with overly repetitive training, so training should be
combined with play and new tasks to accomplish.

Is the Shar-Pei very friendly?

Although some Shar-Pei may be aloof toward strangers, they bond very
readily to their new families.

What colors does Shar-Pei come in?

Shar-Pei come in just about every color there is: black, red, fawn, cream,
sable, blue, chocolate, 5 point red dilute, apricot-dilute, and cream-
dilute. Any solid color is acceptable, but spots, patches, saddle-patterns,
and two-tone patterns are a disqualification for the show ring, but have
no negative impact on the dog being a companion animal. Pigmented
dogs have a solid-black tongue. Dilute-colored dogs have a solid lavender
tongue. A spotted tongue is a major fault, and a pink tongue is a
disqualification - again - in the show ring - as a pet or companion animal
this is not important.

Why is its tongue black? Do any other breeds also have a black

The Shar-Pei shares this distinctive characteristic with only one other
breed, the Chow-Chow, indicating that there may be a common ancestor.

My Shar-Pei bit someone viciously. I do not want to have him

destroyed. He is not a vicious dog, but he is quick to bite people. Is
there any way to muzzle a Shar-Pei?

You could muzzle your dog, but that might only make him more upset. It
might be easier to crate train him or put him away in a bedroom. Shar-
pei is natural protector, and the more dominant ones will be quick to
bite. It is highly recommend that you work on socializing him, so he's not
so stressed by visitors in the future.
If you do decide to use a muzzle, make sure the dog can breathe properly
after applying the muzzle, or you could put your dog into respiratory
distress. Shar-pei has a long palate and requires open mouth breathing
at most times.

The puppies are cute and wrinkly! Do they stay this wrinkly?

No, in the adult Shar-Pei the wrinkling is confined mainly to the forehead
and withers. However, some have more wrinkles than others.

Are they good with other dogs? Children? Cats and other pets?

Yes, like most breeds if raised with children and other pets the Shar-Pei
can be a loving member of the family. Puppy kindergarten is a good way
to socialize your puppy with other dogs, people, and unfamiliar
surroundings. When considering a Shar-Pei as your families dog make
sure you see the parents of your prospective pup. This will help you
determine what your pup's temperament will be like. Thus socialization
is very important when young. The Shar-Pei thrives on lots of attention
and interaction.

Why does the Shar-Pei shy away when a person tries to pet them on
the head or approaches to quickly?

The breed's eyes are hooded by skin, which limits its peripheral vision.
As a result, they have difficulty seeing people approach from either side
until they're almost directly in front of them. The sudden appearance
startles the dogs, which causes them to shy away. When approached
from the front, Shar-Pei doesn’t react this way. Always let the dog sniff
your hand and allow him/her time to familiarize themselves with you.
Sniffing is a dog's way of making friends.

Are they suspicious of strangers? Do they make good watchdogs?

Yes, they are aloof with strangers and make excellent watchdogs. They
are defensive of their home and loved ones. They are an independent
breed, very owner-oriented. Training sessions should be brief and never
with force. Shar-Pei respond best to praise and or food reinforcement as
a reward for good behavior.

Does Shar-Pei snore?

Yes, Shar-Pei snores, some more then others. The Shar-Pei also snort
which may be mistaken for growling. As with all squashed-faced breeds,
Bulldogs, Pugs, etc., snoring and snorting go hand-in-hand.

Do they shed much?

No, only once a year to lighten their dense coat for the summer. Always
use a bristled brush or a hound glove.

How long do they live?
They live to be approximately 8 to 12 years of age but some have been
known to live as long as 15 years or more.

Is the Shar-Pei suitable for apartment living?

Yes, but they need daily exercise otherwise they will begin to feel pent-
up. This should include more then just taking them out to do their

Is Shar-Pei intelligent?

Shar-Pei is very intelligent and excels in obedience training. They are

quick to learn therefore training should be varied in order to maintain
their interest.

Does Shar-Pei drool?

Only after they eat do they get slobbery due to water getting trapped in
the folds of their muzzle. Also if they are offered some tasty treats!

Can Shar-Pei tolerate extremes in temperature?

Shar-Pei should not be left in the sun for long periods of time as they can
get over heated easily. In cold weather the Shar-Pei is fine but should not
live as an outdoor dog. Remember to put vaseline on the pads of their
paws to protect them from the salt some cities put down for vehicles.
This salt can burn the pads of their feet and can be very painful. The
Shar-Pei does not do well with climate extremes.

What is the general disposition of a Shar-Pei?

The Shar-Pei is a bright, affectionate dog that makes a terrific companion

animal. In addition it is an able contender in the obedience or agility ring
when trained with the appropriate methods. It is easily house-trained,
exceptionally clean and requires minimal grooming. And, it is stable and
temperamentally dependable when bred by reputable breeders
knowledgeable in genetics.

Chapter 7
Breeding, Spaying & Neutering

Should I breed my Shar-Peis? Think Very Hard!

Almost everyone who owns a dog thinks about breeding it at least once.
Raising a litter sounds easy and fun but it involves much more work and
responsibility than most people are prepared to undertake. Before you
breed your dog, there are some important things to consider:

Will all your puppies find good, permanent homes?

According to the Humane Society of the United States and the

government Census Bureau 2,000 puppies and 450 humans are born
every hour in our country. Right from the start, only 1 out of 4 puppies
has a chance of finding a home. Finding a permanent home is even more
unlikely - only 1 out of 10 dogs will stay with its original buyer for its
whole life. Five out of 10 will change owners before they're a year old. The
remainder of these dogs will end up in animal shelters, abandoned and
unwanted. Even if your dog is an expensive purebred, your puppies are
subject to the same statistics. At least 3 MILLION purebred dogs will be
killed in animal shelters this year alone because there just aren't enough

homes for all of them. There are so many unwanted pets that cities and
counties all over the country are considering passing laws that will ban
all breeding!

Having a litter is expensive

Raising a litter involves a considerable investment in time and money -

money that you aren't likely to get back in profit. By the time your bitch
is old enough to have puppies, you'll have more than $1000 invested in
her purchase price, food and up keep, vaccinations and the medical tests
and certification to prove her suitability for breeding. In order to produce
quality puppies,
you'll need to use a stud dog that's as good or better than she is. Good
stud dogs require a hefty fee. Most professional breeders won't be
interested in taking a puppy in exchange nor are they interested in
breeding to just any bitch.
There'll be pre-whelping exams and x-rays, post-whelping exams and
shots, dewclaw removal and puppy shots (two sets for each pup before
they're sold), de worming medication, extra food for dam and pups,
equipment like whelping boxes, heating pads, puppy playpens, crates,
etc. Problem pregnancies are common. A Cesarian section can cost over
You'll be taking time off work to help whelp the litter and make sure all is
well the first few days, especially if this is your bitch's first litter. Dogs
don't always know what to do and can accidentally kill their puppies. A
problem during whelping can cost your bitch her life if you're not there to
tend her. You can depend on a 25% mortality rate for newborn puppies
no matter how well you care for them. Birth defects like cleft palettes are
also common. Then there will be advertising costs to help sell your
puppies. Depending on your breed and part of the country, it can take
up to six months to find proper homes for your entire litter. Even
breeders of top quality show dogs rarely break even on their expenses.

AKC registration requirements

If you plan to register your litter with the AKC, you need to become
familiar with their rules and record keeping requirements. You should be
aware that they have the right to inspect your premises and breeding
records at any time. If your record keeping doesn't meet their standards,
they can refuse to register your puppies, impose a large fine and suspend
you from registration privileges for life.

Before going any further, think hard about your reasons for wanting to
breed a litter. Here are some of the most common ones that are heard
most often:

Nature intended dogs to have puppies.

Nature doesn't control our pets' reproductive careers any more - we do.
Nature's way is very different than ours. Nature never intends all animals
to reproduce. In the wild, nature sees to it that only the strongest, fittest
and smartest animals survive long enough to have babies. Nature only
allows females to conceive when the food supply and environment is
suitable to assure a good future. We humans allow our animals to
reproduce anytime, no matter if there is a future for them or not.

We're doing it for the kids.

Seeing the miracle of birth isn't all that rosy as it seems. It's messy,
bloody and usually happens in the middle of the night. It's painful for the
bitch and her screaming may be more than you or the kids can stand.
There are videos and books available to show children what birth is like
without the responsibility and expense of raising puppies. Seeing the
birth of a mummified fetus, or a grotesquely malformed puppy and even
possibly the death of their beloved pet bitch is not a positive experience
for children.

We want another dog just like this one

Your puppies have at least a 50-50 chance of taking after the other
parent instead! Your dog is unique, special. The laws of heredity make it
impossible for any two to be exactly alike. Many of the qualities of
personality that make your dog so adorable to you are developed, not

We want to keep a puppy.

It's far cheaper and easier to buy a new puppy than to breed one

All our friends want one

Almost everyone who saw your dog as a pup will tell you they want one
"someday". That someday is seldom when your puppies are ready for
their new homes! You'll be amazed at how many people suddenly don't
have time for a pup right now or aren't willing to pay your price. Don't
count on vague promises!

Placing puppies in good homes is easier said than done. Not everyone
should own a dog and bad owners aren't always easy to sort from the
good ones. You have to be a good judge of character and willing to spend

time getting to know people before you sell them a puppy. Do they have
the experience to raise and train your puppy and if not, are you willing to
teach them? Is this the best possible home for this particular puppy? Do
you know how to evaluate puppy potential to match the right dog with
the right person? Will you be willing to hang on to each pup until just the
right home comes along?

She needs to experience sex

Hormones govern sex in animals. There is no love, emotion or thinking

involved. A bitch only "thinks" about sex when she's in season. The
experience is forgotten once her season is over. Males only think about
sex when they're near a bitch in season. There is no truth to the old
wives' tale that bitches need to have a litter before spaying. Veterinarians
who still give that advice are behind the times! Research shows that even
baby puppies may be spayed or neutered with no ill effects. Spaying a
bitch before her first heat cycle eliminates the risk of breast cancer and
life-threatening uterine infections. Neutering a male dog won't make him
a wimp! In fact, neutering will make him a better, more trainable pet by
allowing him to channel what used to be sexual energy into other areas.

We want to get back our investment in our dog.

As was pointed out earlier, you are not likely to make a profit from
raising puppies. In fact, raising a litter will probably cost more than you
ever imagined! You probably bought your dog to provide companionship
and pleasure. Even if you paid as much as $1000 for it, that's only an
"investment" of $100 a year if your dog lives for 10 years - less than $2 a
week. Isn't the companionship, pleasure, love and loyalty your dog gives
you worth that much?

If you sincerely feel that you have exceptionally good reasons for breeding
your dog and can live up to the great responsibility involved, your work is
just beginning!

A Check List:

Here is quick checklist of what you should look for before you breed.

Is your bitch:

1. show quality
2. a champion
3. have both parents and grand parents that are champions
4. free from hereditary disease

5. parents and grand parents tested and free from hip dysplasia
6. mature enough to breed
7. tested today as free from brucellosis

Is your dog:

1. show quality
2. a champion
3. have both parents and grand parents that are champions
4. free from hereditary disease
5. parents and grand parents tested and free from hip dysplasia
6. mature enough to breed
7. tested today as free from brucellosis

And There’s More To Think!

1. you have got to have homes already for all pups - before the mating
2. you have found a dog that meets all the points in the section above
relating to the requirements of the bitch
3. you are prepared to offer a lifetime guarantee (or at least two years)
for the health of the pups
4. if, during the lifetime of the pups, if any are returned for whatever
reason, you have to take back that pup (now adult dog) and find a
home for him/her.
5. all non-show quality pups are sold with a spay/neuter agreement
6. all prospective buyers have been fully screened by you
7. you are going to offer support and advice to your puppy buyers for
the life of the pup
8. you have the money to cover a stud fee, possible c-section and
complications, vaccinations, and still get no income from the sale of
any pups.
9. have you consented with the breeder of your bitch/dog and sought
their advice?

Now that's just a starting point. If you can't or won't meet these criteria,
perhaps breeding at this time is not the best thing for you or your dog.

The Cost Of Breeding:

Many people are under the misconception that by breeding their bitch
they can make a bit of easy money. Let's say that you may have 6
puppies that you can sell for $500 each. Wow - that's $3000, and you
haven't even had to do anything except own the bitch!

This is far from the truth

These are some of the costs that you will have to budget for:

*stud fee
*Whelping box, heat pads, heat lamps, thermometer, scissors, towels,
*baby scales, tweezers, hemostats, baby suction bulb
*milk replacement formula and/or goats milk, baby bottles, tubes for
*tube feeding, sterilizing solution, nail clippers
*puppy wormer (2,4,6,& 8 weeks), puppy diarrhea medicine
*food - a pregnant female may need up to four times what she normally
eats, and a nursing female will also need a lot of food. Puppies also eat
much more food than what you would think
*eye certification - done at 7 weeks

Here are some of the hidden and not so hidden costs that you may have
not factored in
* vet checks and health tests to make sure that the bitch is ok to be
mated and whelp
* ultrasounds
* lots of extra washing for bedding in whelping box
* emergency vet trips (invariably late at night)for the emergency c-section
emergency vet trips to save a dying pup
* time off from work that you need to take to help the bitch and to make
sure that no puppies get squashed, etc - allow at least 5 days off work for
* vet visit and antibiotics for the bitch for such things as mastisis
advertising to sell puppies
* lots of phone calls to and from interested and not so interested puppy

Now, that you have read this, do you still figure you can make money in

Spaying Your Female Dog

You can call it "spaying" or "neutering". Both terms refer to an ovario-
hysterectomy -- removal of the ovaries and uterus. There are several
advantages. To name a few:

Health reasons top the list.

Spaying offers complete protection against serious uterine infections
such as pyometra and endometritis. These infections are common and
they can be killers, especially of small females. Spaying offers complete
protection against the hormonal upsets or false pregnancy. Spaying
offers partial protection against breast cancer.

Risks of pregnancy.

Giving birth is risky and could cost your female's life. Dealing with
puppies means a major change in your life.

Bloody discharge.

Twice a year, unspayed females come into "season" or "heat" and have a
bloody discharge that can stain your carpets and furniture.

Swollen genitals, licking, and "flirting."

During her heat period, the genitals swell. Many females spend a lot of
time licking their private parts. Many females flirt shamelessly with other


Many females in heat will mount other dogs and hump pillows or stuffed

Mood changes.

Some females become more restless, moody, or flighty during their heat

Heat periods can interrupt your daily schedule.

During the heat period, you often need to curtail daily walks or change
your route so you're not passing the yards of male dogs. And friends and
relatives may not appreciate your dog visiting at this time.

License fees.

In many communities, dog license fees are highest for unspayed females.

Possible disadvantages of spaying your female

Risk of surgery.

Spaying is major surgery requiring general anesthesia. This always

carries some risk, especially with a breed who is notoriously difficult to
anesthetize, such as toy breeds, flat-faced breeds (Bulldogs, Pugs),
sighthounds, and giant breeds.

The expense.
Spaying costs one to two hundred dollars when the safest anesthesia is
used and all safety precautions taken. Low-cost spay clinics are
available, but it is not recommend especially for Shar-peis.

Can't show in conformation classes.

You can't show a spayed dog in conformation classes at dog shows, but I
don't think much of these anyway -- and you can still show her in every
other canine activity, such as obedience, agility, tracking, and so on.

If you spay before the first heat...

Your female's risk of developing a breast tumor later in life drops from 1-
in-4 to 1-in-200. That's excellent. But breast tumors are usually benign.
And the disadvantages of such early spaying are...

• Increased anesthesia risk -- because of smaller size (especially in

breeds that are small to begin with) and because of immature
lungs/organs that have to withstand the stress of the anesthesia.
• Tendency to mature with a somewhat "rounded", somewhat
"generic" body shape -- because the reproductive hormones didn't
have enough time to stamp in distinctive feminine characteristics.

Tendency to develop incontinence (leaking urine) in middle age.

If you spay AFTER the first heat, but before the second heat...

• You gain most of the same health benefits -- the risk of uterine
infections still drops to zero, and the risk of breast tumors drops
from 1-in-4 to 1-in-15, which is still good.
• Your female will be bigger and stronger for the surgery.
• Her internal organs will be more fully developed.
• Her feminine characteristics will be more clearly defined.
• The spay is easy to schedule -- you do it a month or two after the
first heat is completed.

If you spay after the SECOND (or later) heat...

you're no longer reducing the risk of breast tumor. It remains 1-in-4. But
you're still eliminating uterine infections (pyometra and endometritis), so
spaying is very much worth it even if your dog is several years old.

Good reasons to neuter your male

Behavioral reasons top the list.

1.Unneutered males are more likely to "mark" their territory, which

means spraying urine on every vertical object so other males can smell it.
Marking can be an obsession with some males, especially in toy breeds
and dominant breeds. They will tow you toward every fire hydrant and
telephone pole. Some will mark inside your house, too.
2.Unneutered males are more likely to pick fights with other males. They
are also more likely to be attacked by other unneutered males, who see
them as potential rivals.
3.Unneutered males often get aroused easily -- the signs of which can be
4.Unneutered males are easily distracted. Their eyeballs tend to rove up
the street looking for females or potential male rivals, rather than
focusing on YOU.
5.Unneutered males can be hard to control when a female is in heat.
They become agitated, whining and drooling and pacing and attempting
to escape their house or yard.
6.Unneutered males are more dominant. Their testosterone goads them
into resisting and challenging authority

Health reasons.
Neutering offers complete protection against testicular cancer. Neutering
may offer partial protection against prostate disease.

License fees.
In many communities, dog license fees are higher for unneutered dogs.

Disadvantages of neutering your male

Changed temperament.
Some males do become overly placid after neutering

Risk of surgery.
Neutering does require general anesthesia, which always carries some
risk, especially with a breed which is notoriously difficult to anesthetize,
such as toy breeds, flat-faced breeds (Bulldogs, Pugs), sight hounds, and
giant breeds. However, neutering a male is simpler than spaying a
female, and the male is not under anesthesia for very long. The exception

is when one or both testicles have been retained. This surgery is more

Can't show in conformation classes.

You can't show a neutered dog in conformation classes at dog shows, but
I don't think much of these anyway -- and you CAN still show him in
every other canine activity, such as obedience, agility, tracking, and so

Toy breed males mature quickly and should be neutered at five to six
months to prevent the obsessive leg-lifting and territorial marking habits
they are prone to develop.
Larger breeds take longer to develop, so wait till nine to twelve months
before neutering. Males who have been neutered earlier tend to mature
with a somewhat "rounded", somewhat "generic" body shape -- because
the reproductive hormones didn't have enough time to stamp in
distinctive masculine characteristics.

To sum up…

Now that you have decided to buy the Shar-Pei, aren’t you happy that
you read this book?

Good Luck


Shar-Pei Vet List

This is a list of Shar-Pei knowledgeable vets throughout North

America, overseas and abroad, compiled by the CHIS-L list members
(Chinese Shar-Pei mailing list). It can be found at:

http:/ /

You can also try this web URL for the vet list maintained by the
Shar-Pei Breeders & Lovers Network.

Shar-Pei Mailing List

This is the website for eGroups. At this link you will find a list of
email groups geared to Chinese Shar-Pei fanciers.


The American Kennel Club

5580 Centerview Drive,
Raleigh, NC 27606.
Publication: American Kennel Gazette

Suggested Readings

• Chinese Shar-Pei, The - Debo.

• Chinese Shar-Pei, World of The - Nicholas.

• Shar-Pei, Book of The - Brearley.

• Chinese Shar-Pei, Understanding The – Redditt

• Chinese Shar-Pei, An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet -


• Puppy Book, The Chinese Shar-Pei - Redditt.