...the Rolly dog...

Shar-Pei are medium sized dogs originating in China. They could be candidates for 'The Ugliest Dogs in the World'. As puppies they are a mass of wrinkles and even when they 'grow into' their skin as adults it still looks saggy and hangs in folds, particularly around the face. Their small, triangular shaped ears sit close to their large heads, increasing the ugly factor.

These dogs were originally bred as guard dogs for Chinese Palaces, and were later used for dog fighting. They have a reputation for being very aggressive and unpredictable which makes them excellent guard dogs and fighters but more difficult as family pets. However, with proper training and socialisation from puppyhood, they can be outstanding family pets. They are extremely devoted to their family and very affectionate. Their suspicious attitude to strangers, however, never goes away, so visitors to your home need to give your Shar-Pei time to accept them.

Because of their tendency to aggressiveness, it is essential that Shar-Pei are obedience trained. Unlike housetraining, at which Shar-Pei excel, obedience training needs more time. These dogs are quite stubborn so they need strong owners who insist on good behaviour. They also need lots of opportunities to mix with other dogs or they can be unfriendly and provoke fights.

They respond well to reward based training and love toys as rewards, not just food. With a positive approach these dogs will become very obedient and although they may never choose to be social butterflies, they will behave appropriately.

Exercise is not a high priority in Shar-Pei. They are an active breed but as long as they have lots of opportunities to romp and play in the yard, it won't matter if you miss the occasional daily walk.

They should be exercised on a lead and if you love to take them to a dog beach off lead, be alert to any unfriendly behaviour and put them immediately back on lead if they show signs of aggression. Also be aware that these dogs overheat quickly, so they don't like exercise in extreme heat.

Grooming is easy in regard to this breed - a quick, soft brush once a week is fine. However, the folds in their skin, especially when they are puppies, need to be cleaned regularly to prevent infection. They also need the area around their eyes regularly checked and cleansed. Shar-Pei commonly suffer from an eye condition which causes their eyelashes to grow inward, irritating the eye. Most Shar-Pei in Australia need corrective eye surgery.

Other common health issues are the congenital disease Familial Shar-Pei Fever (FSF), which is manageable, and food allergies. You need to be prepared to put time and money into this breed to ensure their good health.

Is your Shar-Pei the ideal weight?

Your adult Shar-Pei should weigh approximatly:

Male Shar-Pei
Female Shar-Pei

Check out some of our great products ideal for your Shar-Pei.

<ul> <li>Medium - sized, short haired dog</li> <li>Wrinkled skin - needs 'fold' cleaning</li> <li>Excellent watch / guard dog</li> <li>Very affectionate and loyal</li> <li>Obedience training essential - known to be aggressive</li> <li>Some health issues - higher than normal vet expenses</li> </ul>