How Long Do Shar Peis Live? Vet-Reviewed Average Lifespan, Data & Care

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Chinese shar pei puppy on the lawn
Photo by Dr. Karin Kanofsky

Information is based on the latest veterinary research.

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The Shar-Pei is a guardian dog that originates from China and has an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years, but many factors can affect that lifespan. The oldest known Shar Pei lived to be 18 years old. Learn more about this breed’s lifespan and what you can do to promote a longer, healthier life.

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Average lifespan of a Shar Pei

Known for its curly coat, the Shar Pei is a medium-sized dog breed with an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years. Some specific health concerns can affect your Shar Pei’s lifespan. However, as with all breeds, other factors affect overall health and well-being.

Young red fawn Chinese Shar Pei dog standing on the lawn
Image credit: Alexeysun, Shutterstock

How to care for your Shar Pei to make it live longer

Although not every aspect of your dog’s lifespan is within your control, you can increase your chances of living a long, healthy life by focusing on the following factors.

1. feeding and eating

Like all dogs, Shar Peis require high-quality dog ​​food that is appropriate for their life stage.Feed approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)1 Meets the guidelines set by the World Small Animal Veterinarian Association (WSAVA)2 is ideal. Although Shar-Peis do not have any breed-specific dietary restrictions, they are prone to skin diseases, so any food allergies should be identified and addressed promptly.

The ideal weight for a Shar Pei is between 45 and 60 pounds, but this is just a guideline. Some individuals are taller and heavier, while others are smaller, and males tend to be heavier than females. Always talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s weight to make sure it’s not obese, which can lead to a variety of health problems.

sharpei dog eats
Image credits: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

2. health care

The most important step you can take for your dog’s health is regular veterinary care. Precautions such as regular checkups, dental care, vaccines, heartworm, and flea and tick treatments help prevent a variety of life-threatening diseases. Regular care can also help your veterinarian identify some diseases early and provide better outcomes.

Shar Peis are susceptible to a variety of health conditions, including entropion, glaucoma, and sudden retinal dysplasia (SARDS). Heart, skeletal, and gastrointestinal disorders are common, as are immune disorders and certain cancers. Working with a responsible breeder who tests the genetic health of both parents is an important step to obtaining healthier puppies.

The most common and serious health issues that can affect your Shar Pei’s lifespan are:

  • Sharpei fever: The disease, caused by a genetic mutation within the breed, causes affected dogs to have swelling of the hock (ankle joint) and a very high fever of around 104 to 107 degrees.ahF (normal dog body temperature is 101-102.5)ahF). Fever usually clears up in 1-2 days without treatment, but repeated symptoms increase the risk of developing amyloidosis.
  • Amyloidosis: The result of certain protein (amyloid) deposits that form on various organs. In Shar Peis, renal amyloidosis (kidney deposits) is a relatively common consequence of Shar Pei fever and can lead to kidney failure.
  • Skin diseases: The skin roll that has made this breed so popular is also a major problem for the Shar-Pei. Moisture gets trapped under these skin rolls and can cause recurrent bacterial and fungal infections, severely impacting your quality of life. I also suffer from ear infections and pododermatitis (infections of the skin on the feet/toes).
  • Entropion: Another result of skin folds, entropion, refers to the inward rolling of the eyelids. Although this can occur in any breed, it is most common in Shar-Peis and will almost always require corrective surgery to prevent the eyelid from rubbing against the surface of the eye. If left untreated, entropion can lead to painful corneal ulcers, blindness, and even blindness. It is very common for Shar Pei puppies to undergo tuck surgery at a very young age to reduce the risk of eye damage. Dogs with severe entropion should not be bred as their offspring will almost certainly inherit the problem.
  • Mast cell tumors: Shar-Peis are particularly prone to mast cell tumors, the most aggressive type of skin cancer in dogs.

3. behavior and training

Shar-Pei dogs are known to be affectionate and loyal, but they can be difficult to train, can be wary of strangers, and may not get along well with other dogs. For this reason, early socialization and training are essential. Dogs that are poorly socialized or display aggressive behavior, even if the behavior is fear-based, are more likely to have a shorter lifespan with an increased risk of euthanasia.

shar pei dog training
Image credits: Pixel Shot, Shutterstock

Four. Livestock industry

Dogs require regular grooming and veterinary visits to ensure optimal health. Dogs that are not properly cared for can develop skin diseases and infections that can limit their lifespan. Additionally, dogs need plenty of exercise and play space to stay healthy, which is important for their physical and mental health.

Five. environment

A dog’s environment can affect its health and mental well-being, which can indirectly affect its lifespan. Although there are no specific studies on the relationship between environment and lifespan, stress and boredom can have negative effects on dogs. Furthermore, quality of life is probably more important than quantity.

brown shar pei standing in the meadow
Image credit: Marcelino Pozo Ruiz, Shutterstock

6. Spay/neuter surgery

Dogs as a whole are more susceptible to certain cancers (breast cancer, testicular cancer). In addition, unspayed females can develop a potentially life-threatening uterine infection called pyometra, and the entire male is affected by an enlarged and painful prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia). There is a possibility. Spaying or neutering is the best way to reduce the risk of these diseases and can also help prevent behavioral problems and wandering in search of a mate.

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Shar Pei life stages

Shar Peis go through life stages similar to other dog breeds.

  • puppy: When a Shar Pei is a puppy, it is dependent on its mother for 3 to 4 weeks, after which it is weaned and continues to grow. It will be ready for planting in its new home in approximately 8-12 weeks.
  • puberty: Dogs reach puberty between 6 and 12 months of age. During this period, they are more likely to outgrow their limitations and begin developing adult features such as adult teeth. This period is an important period for socialization and training.
  • mature adult: Shar Peis reach adulthood at around 12 to 18 months of age and reach approximately adult size. Male Shar-Pei can be larger than female Shar-Pei.
  • Senior: Shar Pace becomes a senior at around 7 to 9 years old. She may experience age-related declines such as vision and hearing loss, arthritis, and cognitive problems.

How to tell the age of a Shar Pei

Once a Shar Pei reaches adulthood, it becomes very difficult to accurately determine their age. Your veterinarian may be able to make an estimate based on gray hair, tooth wear, health, and other details, but that’s just an educated guess. Just like humans, dogs age at different rates based on their genetics and life experiences.

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The Shar Pei has an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years, but several factors can greatly affect that lifespan. The best way to ensure your dog has both quality and quantity of life is through proper nutrition, regular veterinary care, and adequate supplementation. If you’re thinking of adopting a Shar Pei puppy, be sure to research the breed and breeder so you know what to expect.

Featured image credit: David Raihelgauz, Shutterstock

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