The compact, medium-sized Chinese Shar-Pei is an amalgam of odd physical traits: a broad “hippopotamus” muzzle; a blue-black tongue; small, sunken eyes with a scowling expression; little triangular ears; abundant folds of loose skin about the head, neck, and shoulders; the tapered high-set tail—all blanketed by a harsh, sandpapery coat. (A literal translation of Shar-Pei: “sand skin.”)
Shar-Pei are strong, regal, independent guardians famous for intelligence and loyalty. They are suspicious of strangers and other dogs. Shar-Pei are serene dogs, but they will meet a perceived threat with tenacity and vigor. Early training and socialization are essential—a dominant adult Shar-Pei without them is a serious problem waiting to happen, according to AKC.