Shar Pei

It isn’t 100 percent clear how the Shar Pei came into existence. It is interesting to note that there are depictions from the Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) showing a kind of guard dog that looks a lot like an unwrinkled version of these animals. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Shar Peis are descended from that guard dog. Whatever the truth of things, they are considered to be one of the basal breeds, meaning that they are quite distinctive from the overwhelming majority of modern dogs. Having said that, it is important to note that Shar Peis have seen considerable change over time. For proof, look no further than the fact that the predominant version would be the meat-mouth Shar Pei rather than the bone-mouth Shar Pei even though the bone-mouth Shar Pei was the original version of these animals.

As for how this happened, the gist of it is that a period of turmoil can be very bad for the prospects of a dog breed. This can be seen in how a number of European dog breeds came very close to extinction because of the First World War as well as the Second World War. Meanwhile, China experienced a period of turmoil for much of the 20th century, which didn’t exactly do wonders for Chinese dog breeds. By the 1970s, the situation was so bad for the Shar Pei that a Hong Kong businessman named Matgo Law appealed to the American Kennel Club as well as other international dog enthusiasts for assistance in saving these animals. Initially, such efforts were slow-going. Everything started picking up speed when The Guinness Book of Records named it the single rarest dog breed in the entire world in 1978. Unfortunately, this had mixed results.

On the one hand, the surge of popularity did a great deal for the continuing survival of the Shar Pei. On the other hand, a lot of Americans bought dogs that had been produced by crossbreeding the small number of surviving Shar Peis with foreign dog breeds. The result was an animal with a much fleshier mouth, which is why these animals became called meat-mouth Shar Peis while their counterparts became called bone-mouth Shar Peis. On top of that, there are even members of this dog breed that look like in-betweens of these two versions, though there doesn’t seem to be a universally agreed-upon name for these in-betweeners at this point in time. Personality-wise, Shar Peis are supposed to be calm and confident animals that are very close with their owners. Apparently, they can serve as guard dogs because they are alert, suspicious of strangers, and very protective of their people. As such, it is important to ensure that Shar Peis get the right training as well as the right socialization. Something that is particularly true because they have been known to show aggression towards other dogs. Still, Shar Peis can make wonderful companions for the people who choose them.

What Can You Expect to Pay For a Shar Pei?

Dogs aren’t exactly uncommon animals. However, there are dogs and then there are dogs, which is why some people choose to buy purebred puppies even though they can get a dog for a much lower price than that. Shar Peis aren’t the most expensive purebred dogs that can be found out there. Unfortunately, they are still quite expensive at a price range of $1,000 to $1,500 when buying from reputable dog breeders. Of course, it is possible to find Shar Peis being sold at both much higher prices and much lower prices, though there are bound to be explanations for why that happens to be the case. Generally speaking, dog breeders are like other business owners in that they will set a price for their products that exceeds the costs that they have spent on making their products available to their customers. After all, businesses can’t incur losses forever, meaning that it is important for them to make a profit. This has some very important implications for the dogs sold by dog breeders.

As a rough rule, it is reasonable to expect a higher-priced dog to have had more resources spent on their breeding, their training, their healthcare, their living environment, and all of the other factors that make them what they are. Similarly, it is reasonable to expect that the reverse is true as well. Interested individuals should not feel obligated to go for the most expensive dogs that can be found out there. Instead, they should be focused on getting a dog with less risk of developing various physical issues and health issues that will be bad for the dog as well as the dog owner. This is particularly true because Shar Peis have experienced a surge of popularity in the past that saw their numbers explode. Thanks to that, even though dog breeders have been working hard for quite some time to eliminate the problems caused by bad breeding practices, they are still very much around in the dog breed. Due to this, interested individuals should absolutely do their best to get a Shar Pei that they know to have been bred right and treated well.

Of course, anyone can make fine-sounding claims about how their dogs are treated. Unfortunately, not everyone can live up to them. This is the reason that interested individuals should always check out the operations of the dog breeders that they are thinking about buying a Shar Pei from, particularly since reputable dog breeders often take an interest in the people who want buy dogs from them as well. After all, a purebred puppy is an expensive purchase, so it makes sense for people to do the research for themselves rather than just put their trust in marketing claims. For that matter, this is a very easy way for people to detect puppy mills, though to be fair, chances are good that they will be able to tell because of the suspiciously-low prices anyway. Shar Peis still have a lot of problems because of the bad breeding carried out to meet the demand for them created by the surge of popularity in the past. Compounding that with more bad breeding as well as poor living conditions is just asking for trouble. As it is, Shar Peis already struggle to live to 10 years of age, so getting a puppy from a puppy mill comes with an unpleasantly high chance of the dog owner being presented with very expensive healthcare costs at some point in the future.

Besides this, it is worth mentioning some of the factors that can influence a Shar Pei’s price one way or the other. Unsurprisingly, a dog with a prestigious background can sell for a much higher price, so much so that interested individuals shouldn’t be surprised to see a particularly prized Shar Pei selling for $2,500. However, it is important to note that there are multiple varieties of Shar Peis out there. The meat-mouth Shar Pei is the more common version, which means that it tends to be the less expensive version when compared its bone-mouth counterpart. Other than them, there is a miniature version of the Shar Pei as well.

Be warned that there are some dog breeders that seem to have been quite annoyed by the development of this variety, so it is possible that their development didn’t exactly do wonders for their expected health. Something that interested individuals will want to look into. Still, if people want one, they can expect a miniature Shar Pei to be that much more expensive because of their rarity as well as their demand. The usual factors such as age and local popularity are as applicable for Shar Peis as they are for other dog breeds, so those are things that people should take into consideration as well. If people don’t want to buy a Shar Pei, they should look into adopting one from animal shelters and similar organizations. The single biggest upside to this approach is that it will be much less expensive. At most, interested individuals might have to spend a few hundred dollars, much of which will go towards healthcare as well as other costs that they will need to pay for their dog at some point anyway. Unfortunately, there are some serious downsides as well, which might deter interested individuals. For example, Shar Peis aren’t that common, so interested individuals might not be able to find a suitable candidate for adoption.

There are online resources that can help them look through more animal shelters and similar organizations than what they can personally check out. Even so, they might have to wait some time for a suitable dog to show up. Similarly, interested individuals won’t have much of a choice when it comes to the dogs that are available to them. It is possible that a dog was sent to the care of one of these organizations because the dog owner became incapable of taking care of them but it is also possible that a dog was sent to the care of one of these organizations because the dog owner couldn’t deal with some kind of issue on the dog’s part. Still, if the dog is available for adoption, it seems reasonable to say that any issue will be manageable. Moreover, animal shelters and similar organizations will inform interested individuals about these problems so that they can properly prepare for them, which makes sense because they don’t have any reason to lie about such things. If anything, they have incentive to be honest and upfront.

What Are Some Other Costs of Owning a Shar Pei?

Of course, the price paid for a Shar Pei will be just the first price to be paid for owning one of these dogs. The start-up costs can go from $180 to more than $900 depending on what people choose to buy as well as how people choose to go about buying them. After all, even though interested individuals are going to need to get a dog bowl, there is a wide range of dog bowls being sold by a wide range of retailers at a wide range of prices. As a result, there are definitely ways for them to reduce their costs if they have to do so. Still, some of these costs are just unavoidable, so however much effort people put into this, they should still expect to spend a fair amount of money. In fact, they might want to go for higher-quality items even if that comes at somewhat increased costs so that they won’t need to buy replacements for any of the toys, accessories, and other necessary items that they get for their new dog.

After that, periodic costs should be much lower. Shar Peis are mid-sized dogs, so they can eat a fair amount. Even so, the costs shouldn’t be more than $10 to $35 a month, with buying in bulk being a particularly useful method for getting a better price in this regard. Grooming can cost about $40 to $55 a session if people choose to visit a professional dog groomer. This can be surprisingly important, particularly since a Shar Pei’s wrinkles mean that they need a good bath even between the folds from time to time. Still, grooming is something that people can do on their own so long as they are willing to buy the necessary tools and supplies. The same absolutely cannot be said for preventative healthcare, which can go for $10 to more than $100 on a monthly basis depending on exactly what is being paid for. Still, this is important, particularly since Shar Peis aren’t the healthiest dog breed out there. Moreover, interested individuals should definitely look into getting pet insurance for $15 to more than $50 a month, which will cover any healthcare costs that come up. That is critical, seeing as how even a single treatment for a single medical problem can cost hundreds of dollars or more.