10 Dog Breeds Similar to Shar Peis

The Shar Pei, with its distinctive deep wrinkles and blue-black tongue, is a breed that stands out in the canine world. Originating from China, the Shar Pei was originally bred for various purposes including hunting, guarding, and later, fighting. This breed is known for its calm demeanor, strong loyalty to its family, and somewhat aloof attitude toward strangers, making it a unique companion. The Shar Pei’s short, bristly coat and unique physical characteristics have garnered a dedicated following, but their care requires understanding of skin and health issues specific to the breed. For those intrigued by the Shar Pei but interested in exploring similar breeds—whether it’s due to their distinctive appearance, protective nature, or simply seeking a breed with low grooming needs—there are several other breeds that share some of these qualities. Each offers its unique charm and challenges, catering to a variety of lifestyles and preferences.
1. Chow Chow
Chow Chows are known for their lion-like mane and distinctive blue-black tongue, traits that they share with the Shar Pei. Originating from China, these dogs have a noble and somewhat aloof demeanor, making them reserved around strangers but fiercely loyal to their families. Their thick double coat requires regular grooming to maintain its lush appearance. Chow Chows are independent and strong-willed, traits that necessitate consistent training and socialization from an early age. Their protective nature makes them excellent watchdogs, similar to the Shar Pei. However, potential owners should be aware of the breed’s need for regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and ensure a well-adjusted companion.
2. Bulldog
Bulldogs, with their distinctive wrinkled face and stocky build, share some physical characteristics with the Shar Pei. Originally bred in England for bull-baiting, today’s Bulldogs are known for their gentle disposition and loyalty to their families. Their calm and friendly nature makes them excellent companions, particularly in households with children. Bulldogs require minimal grooming due to their short coat but need regular cleaning of their facial wrinkles to prevent infections. Like Shar Peis, Bulldogs can be stubborn, requiring patient and consistent training. Their moderate exercise needs make them well-suited to various living situations, including apartments.
3. Pug
Pugs are small, charming dogs known for their playful and affectionate nature. They share the Shar Pei’s distinctive facial wrinkles, albeit on a smaller scale. Pugs have a short, smooth coat that requires minimal grooming, similar to the Shar Pei. Their friendly and outgoing personality makes them great companions for families and individuals alike. Pugs are adaptable and can thrive in various environments, from apartments to larger homes with yards. However, like Shar Peis, they are prone to certain health issues, including respiratory problems due to their brachycephalic (flat-faced) nature, requiring attentive care from their owners.
4. French Bulldog
French Bulldogs, with their compact size and bat-like ears, have gained popularity for their affectionate nature and low maintenance needs. They share the Shar Pei’s brachycephalic facial structure, which contributes to their distinctive appearance but also necessitates careful attention to their respiratory health. French Bulldogs are known for their playful and loving disposition, making them excellent companions. Their coat is short and easy to care for, requiring minimal grooming. French Bulldogs are adaptable to apartment living and enjoy being close to their families, similar to Shar Peis. Their sociable nature makes them less aloof than Shar Peis, offering a more outgoing companion.
5. Neapolitan Mastiff
Neapolitan Mastiffs are large, imposing dogs known for their loose, wrinkled skin and protective nature. They share the Shar Pei’s distinctive wrinkled appearance, albeit on a much larger scale. Neapolitan Mastiffs are loyal and affectionate with their families but can be reserved and protective around strangers. Their short coat requires minimal grooming, but attention should be given to cleaning their wrinkles to prevent skin issues. Like Shar Peis, Neapolitan Mastiffs are strong-willed and require consistent training and socialization to ensure they become well-behaved members of the family.
6. Dogue de Bordeaux
Dogue de Bordeaux, also known as French Mastiffs, are known for their massive heads and muscular build. They share a calm and loyal temperament with the Shar Pei, making them excellent guardians and family pets. Their short coat is easy to maintain, requiring minimal grooming. Dogue de Bordeaux are affectionate and gentle with their families but can be protective, necessitating proper socialization. Like Shar Peis, they appreciate being part of the family activities and thrive on companionship.
7. Bloodhound
Bloodhounds are renowned for their incredible sense of smell and tracking abilities. They share the loose, wrinkled skin around their face and neck with the Shar Pei, adding to their distinctive appearance. Bloodhounds are gentle, patient, and affectionate, making them great family pets. Their coat is short but requires regular grooming to manage shedding. Bloodhounds are more outgoing and sociable than Shar Peis, often showing a friendly demeanor towards strangers and other dogs. Their need for regular exercise and mental stimulation makes them suited to active families.
8. Basset Hound
Basset Hounds, with their long ears and droopy eyes, share the loose skin and calm demeanor of the Shar Pei. They are known for their gentle and laid-back nature, making them excellent companions. Basset Hounds have a short, easy-to-care-for coat but require regular cleaning of their ears to prevent infections. Their sociable and friendly nature makes them less aloof than Shar Peis, and they enjoy the company of children and other pets. Basset Hounds require moderate exercise to maintain their health and prevent obesity.
9. Mastiff
Mastiffs are one of the largest dog breeds, known for their impressive size and gentle temperament. They share the Shar Pei’s protective instincts and loyalty to their family. Mastiffs have a short coat that requires minimal grooming, similar to the Shar Pei. They are calm and affectionate with their families but can be reserved with strangers, making early socialization important. Mastiffs’ calm demeanor and moderate exercise needs make them well-suited to families looking for a less active but loyal companion.
10. Chinese Crested
Chinese Crested dogs, though vastly different in size and coat type, share the Shar Pei’s origin in China. They are known for their affectionate and playful nature, making them excellent companions. Chinese Crested come in two varieties: Hairless and Powderpuff, the latter having a coat that requires regular grooming. Despite their differences, both breeds are intelligent, loyal, and can be reserved with strangers, similar to the Shar Pei. Chinese Crested dogs thrive on human companionship and are adaptable to various living situations.
While the Shar Pei is unique in its appearance and temperament, there are several breeds that offer similar qualities, from distinctive wrinkles to loyal and protective natures. Whether you’re drawn to the aloofness of the Chow Chow, the imposing presence of the Neapolitan Mastiff, or the affectionate nature of the Pug, each breed presents its own set of characteristics that mirror aspects of the Shar Pei’s spirit. Understanding the needs and personalities of these breeds can help potential owners find a companion that shares the Shar Pei’s most cherished qualities, ensuring a rewarding relationship with their chosen breed.
What Are Shar Peis Like? How Are They Different Than Other Breeds?

The Shar Pei, a breed that hails from China, is best known for its deep wrinkles and blue-black tongue. Originally bred for hunting and later for dog fighting, the Shar Pei has a unique combination of traits that make it a fascinating and somewhat challenging companion. Today, they are cherished for their loyalty, independence, and protective nature. Shar Peis possess a calm demeanor, often described as stoic or reserved, especially with strangers. Their distinctive appearance, including a short, bristly coat, and a “hippopotamus” face, sets them apart in the canine world.
Temperament and Personality
Shar Peis are known for their strong loyalty to their family, often forming a close bond with one particular member. They can be aloof with strangers and sometimes aggressive with other dogs if not properly socialized from a young age. Despite their fierce appearance, Shar Peis are quite affectionate with their loved ones and can be good companions for children when raised together. Their independent nature means they are not overly demanding of attention, making them suitable for families with a more laid-back lifestyle.
Physical Characteristics
The most notable physical characteristic of the Shar Pei is its deep wrinkles, which cover the head, neck, and body. This breed also features a broad, flat head and small, triangular ears. Shar Peis are medium-sized dogs, with a compact and muscular build, standing about 18 to 20 inches at the shoulder. Their coat is another distinctive feature; it can be either horse (shortest), brush (a bit longer), or bear coat (longest and not typical for the breed standard). The coat comes in various colors, including black, blue, cream, and fawn.
Health Considerations
Shar Peis are prone to several health issues, partly due to their unique physical traits. Their wrinkled skin can lead to dermatological problems, such as skin infections (pyoderma) and allergies. They are also at risk for Shar Pei Fever, a hereditary condition characterized by fever and swelling of the hocks. Eye conditions like entropion, where the eyelid rolls inward, are common due to the excessive skin. Regular veterinary care, proper nutrition, and attentive grooming are essential to manage these health challenges.
Interaction with Other Pets and Children
While Shar Peis can coexist peacefully with children and other pets, early socialization is crucial. Their protective nature makes them excellent watchdogs, but without proper training, they can become overly protective or territorial. Introducing a Shar Pei to a household with existing pets requires patience and supervision to ensure harmonious relationships. With children, Shar Peis can be gentle and protective, although their interaction should always be monitored to ensure the safety of both the child and the dog.
Training and Socialization
Training a Shar Pei requires consistency, patience, and understanding. Their independent streak can make them stubborn, but they are intelligent and capable of learning quickly with the right motivation. Positive reinforcement techniques work best, as Shar Peis can be sensitive to harsh corrections. Early socialization is vital to prevent aggression and shyness, exposing them to a variety of people, animals, and situations from a young age.
How Are They Different Than Other Breeds?
Shar Peis stand out from other breeds in several key ways. Their unique physical appearance, including the wrinkles and blue-black tongue, is immediately recognizable and unlike any other breed. The combination of their independent nature and deep loyalty to their family sets them apart in terms of temperament. While many breeds are known for their sociability or eagerness to please, Shar Peis offer a more reserved and discerning companionship.
Their health considerations also differentiate them from other breeds, with specific conditions like Shar Pei Fever being unique to them. The care required to maintain their skin and coat health is more intensive, given their susceptibility to skin issues.
Furthermore, their history and evolution from a multi-purpose farm dog in China to a beloved companion animal have influenced their characteristics, making them well-suited to guardianship and protective roles within the family.
The Shar Pei is a breed like no other, offering a unique combination of physical attributes, personality traits, and historical background that sets them apart in the canine world. Their loyalty, protective nature, and distinctive appearance make them appealing to many, but potential owners must be prepared to meet their specific health, grooming, and socialization needs. Understanding and appreciating the Shar Pei’s unique qualities can lead to a rewarding companionship, filled with the love and loyalty that only this breed can offer. Their differences from other breeds not only lie in their wrinkles and coat but also in the depth of their bond with those they consider family, making them a truly special companion.
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