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The Shar Pei is a breed of dog that originated in China and has the distinctive features of deep wrinkles and a blue-black tongue. The name translates to "sand skin," and refers to the texture of its short, rough coat. As puppies, Shar Pei have lots of wrinkles, but as they mature, the wrinkles disappear as they "grow into their skin". Shar pei's were once named as one of the world's rarest dog breeds by Time magazine and the Guiness Book of World Records, and the American Kennel Club did not recognize the breed until 1991.
Shar Pei come in many colors but have the same characteristic blue-black tongue of the Chow Chow. Loose skin and wrinkles cover the head, neck, and body of puppies, but adult Shar Pei most often grow into their skin so that these features are limited to the head, neck and withers. Improper breeding (detrimental to the health of the Shar Pei) produces adult dogs with wrinkles all over the body. Small, triangular ears, a muzzle shaped like that of a hippopotamus, and a high set tail also give the Shar Pei a unique look.
The Shar-Pei is known for being a naturally independent and reserved breed. They are often suspicious of strangers, which is related to their origins as guard dogs. Nevertheless, the Shar Pei is extremely devoted, loyal and affectionate to their family, and is amenable to accepting strangers given time and proper introduction. If poorly socialized or trained it can become especially territorial and aggressive. Even friendly, and well-socialized individuals will retain the breed's watch dog proclivities (such as barking at strangers). The breed is amenable to training, but can get bored from repetition. Overall, the Shar-Pei is a dog that is loyal and loving to their family while being independent. Train your pup using Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer tips!