Country of Origin: The Chinese Shar Pei (also known as the ‘Chinese Fighting Dog’, and nicknamed the ‘Golden Lion’) lived in the southern provinces of China as far back as 200 B.C, possibly even earlier. ‘Shar Pei’ means ‘sand skin’, referring to the rough texture of the breed’s coat. The Chinese Shar Pei likely shares a common ancestor with the Chow Chow, which also originates from China and has a blue-black tongue. Chinese Shar Peis served as guard dogs, hunters, fighters, workers, and companions for peasants and farmers. Most Chinese dogs were killed after the Communist revolution, but the Shar Pei was kept alive by breeders in Taiwan and Hong Kong, who brought it to America. Touted as the world’s rarest dog in Time Magazine and The Guinness Book of World Records, the breed became popular and was saved from the brink of extinction. Today, they are a popular pet with over 70,000 representatives of the breed registered. Miniature Shar Peis have become popular over the last few years. Mikey Way, bassist of rock band ‘My Chemical Romance’, has a Miniature Shar Pei named ‘Piglet Tree’.
Size: Miniature Shar Peis have a shoulder height up to 43 cm (17 in) and weigh up to 17 kg (38 lbs). Like their larger brethren, they are known for their blue-black tongue and profusely wrinkled head, neck, and shoulders. They have large heads with small, highly set ears, and thick tails which curl over the back. Miniature Shar Peis have large, wide muzzles, and small, sunken eyes. Puppies have wrinkles all over their bodies.
Coat: Miniature Shar Peis have a short, prickly and bristly coat. It is not wavy. The Miniature Shar Pei comes in a wide variety of solid or sable colors such as red, cream, blue, and black.
Character: The Miniature Shar Pei is brave, wise, and dominant, but not always obedient. Miniature Shar Peis are known for being doggedly independent (sorry) and a bit aloof, but are also loyal and loving. They are highly protective of their family and territory.
Temperament: The Miniature Shar Pei bonds quickly with its family, and is extremely devoted. Miniature Shar Pei s are not unfriendly toward strangers, but may bark at them when first introduced. They are fine with children and get along with other household pets, provided socialization has taken place at a young age. They sometimes fight with other dogs.
Care: The characteristic folds of skin that cover the Miniature Shar Pei’s body must be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent irritation. The entire coat should be groomed with a soft brush weekly. Miniature Shar Peis can live outdoors if given sufficient housing and companionship. Some may have skin problems. They have a life expectancy of 9-11 years.
Training: The Miniature Shar Pei must be trained firmly and consistently. Miniature Shar Peis can grow bored of repetition, so training should be made diverse and interesting.
Activity: Miniature Shar Peis will be happy with a daily walk. Miniature Shar-Peis do not like the heat, and should not be over exercised in hot weather.
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