The Miniature Shar Pei or Mini Pei is a smaller version of the Shar Pei breed.
Standard Shar Peis stand between 18 and 20 inches and weigh from 45 to 60 pounds.
The Miniature Shar Pei stands no taller than 17 inches and weighs from 25 to 40 pounds.
In terms of appearance, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more interesting fusion of unusual physical trails in any other breed.
The “hippopotamus” head, the blue-black tongue, the tiny ears, and the abundant wrinkles, are all found in the miniature version.
Basically, there are three methods to achieve a smaller dog and we’ll look into those shortly.
Shar Peis are loyal to family, but wary of strangers and other dogs. They’re also known to be quite aggressive.
The breed almost became extinct when the communist regime took over China in 1949. Then, in 1966 the Shar Pei was brought to America, where the breed has grown in popularity.
It’s believed the Miniature Shar Pei is actually a closer representation of the breed’s original dimensions.
It was only once in the US that the breed adopted the larger size that is now considered the standard by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Miniature Shar Peis come from purebred bloodlines and their smaller size is a result of a recessive gene carried in their DNA.
As Shar Peis have grown in popularity, so have their wrinkles.
Originally, the purpose of their overly loose skin was to help them keep fighting, even while another dog had a hold of them.
It’s thought that a mutation occurs in the HAS2 gene, which makes an enzyme important for the production of skin tissue.
Apparently, some breeders liked the looks of the thickened skin and enhanced wrinkles this mutation created.
Unfortunately, there’s also a link between extreme wrinkling and s serious condition known as Shar Pei fever.
This disorder is only found in the Shar Pei breed, characterized by recurring fever and swelling of the hocks.
In addition, their excessive wrinkling also puts them at risk for chronic skin conditions like atopic dermatitis.
Entropion is a painful eye condition in which the eyelid turns inward and the eyelashes irritate the eye’s surface.
Although the Miniature Shar Pei’s muzzle isn’t as short as some other breeds, their tightly pinched nose can cause respiratory problems.
Miniature Shar-Peis Are Not Teacup Dogs
The word miniature itself is somewhat deceiving in regard to this breed because these are not teacup-sized dogs, nor are they pets you will want to tote around in a purse like an accessory. These dogs generally have the solid, stocky frame of their larger counterparts, as well as the familiar wrinkled and short face. They are meant to be walked on leashes, and they are heavy enough to make it difficult to carry them for more than brief periods of time.
The general appearance of a miniature Shar-Pei is the trade-mark typical hippopotamus-shaped head, wrinkled head and body skin and a height not exceeding 17 inches. The eyes must be clear and almond shaped. The tongue and inside of the mouth should be blue to black, but a gray, purple, or lavender tongue is acceptable. A lot of pink on the tongue and prick ears are considered disqualifications in show dogs. Even with the miniature version, the chest of the dog is deep, and the neck is only of medium length, blending into well-set, broad shoulders. The dogs back is broad and short, while the tail is thick at the base and rises to a point that curls.
This breed comes in black, blue, brown, chocolate, cream, dilute apricot, fawn lilac, red, or sable. They are not a heavy shedding breed but will shed somewhat more than usual during fall and spring. This breed comes with three coat types:
You will need to brush your miniature Shar-Pei several times a week to keep their coat and skin healthy. Dogs with bear coats will need daily brushings. They should be bathed if they get dirty or smelly, but you do not need to bathe them more than is needed. In fact, too many baths can dry their skin and cause skin problems. Its important when bathing this breed to make sure all the water is dried away with a clean towel from the folds of their skin and not allowed to sit and accumulate. You will also need to clean their ears often, as dirt and debris can get caught in the folds of their ears.
While Shar-Peis are described as aloof and standoffish, the breed is also known for being utterly loyal to their owners. These puppies have an amiable nature with their owners.
The miniature Shar-Pei is often described as adaptable, goofy, and is even guilty of being a couch potato on occasion. They can make good family dogs, especially if raised as a puppy with the children, although older children may be better for them. They will most likely be protective of family members, so its important to socialize them early if your children intend to have a lot of friends coming in and out of the home. They also should have a secure, fenced yard because of their protective nature.
Being very intelligent and people-focused dogs, they can be easy to train, although they also have been bred for independence and you may need to work on finding rewards that keep their attention. They are also not heavy barkers and are generally considered to be quiet dogs, though they will bark if strangers approach.
Shar-Peis have received some bad press related to biting when they are nervous, stressed, or fearful. Generally, this tendency is no more predominant in this breed than any other dog. Since the breed was originally developed for fighting, they do have a tendency to not do well in homes with other dogs, particularly with same-sex pairings. They also have a prey drive and may not be a good fit for a home with cats or small pets.
You will need to devote time each day to exercise with this breed. They are not the highest energy breed, but they are definitely not regular coach potatoes, either. Regular walks are important, as well as play time with you in the yard.
The average lifespan of a miniature Shar-Pei is between 9 to 12 years. They can suffer from a variety of health conditions, including:
If youre looking to buy a miniature Shar-Pei puppy, you can expect to pay around $1,500 to $2,500 from a breeder. You can contact the Miniature Shar-Pei Club of America for referrals for breeders. If you want to rescue one, there are no groups dedicated to the miniature version, so you will need to work with rescues dedicated to all sizes of Shar-Peis. The North American Shar-Pei Rescue is a good resource for finding dogs that need homes across the United States.
There are a few myths surrounding mini Shar-Peis that need to be dispelled.
The Miniature Shar-Pei should be alert, confident, playful, adaptable, affectionate, easily trained and inherently clean and quiet. The Mini Shar-Pei is very loyal to his handler, intelligent playful, active, dominant and brave. It bonds with its family, but is not unfriendly toward strangers. If the dog meets cats and children while it is still young, it usually will not have a problem with them. The Miniature Shar-Pei has a frowning expression, but is surprisingly easy-going, calm, independent and devoted. It makes a delightful companion and a good watchdog. The Miniature Shar-Pei needs a confident handler. If you are uncertain, inconsistent, too soft or mild, in the dogs eyes, it will take over as the boss. The Shar-Pei needs a firm, but gentle, extremely consistent authority figure. The dog must be taught all humans are above him in the pecking order. Those who see themselves as above humans will be stubborn and bold. This breed needs firm obedience training to establish your leadership. They may refuse commands from family members who have not established leadership over them. They need an owner who as the ability to be “Top Dog”. The Miniature Shar-Pei generally hates water and tries as hard as it can to avoid it. Mixing other dogs can sometimes be a problem if one of the dogs is displaying dominant behaviors. Socialization is important. Some Miniature Shar-Pei are less dominant than others. The dogs temperament depends on how the owner treats the dog. Dogs that are allowed to believe they are the boss over humans will develop behavior issues. Dogs that are not taken for daily pack walks will also begin to display a varying degree of issues. A lot of this breed’s health issues depend on the lines it comes from. Good Shar-Pei lines will not have skin problems, which is a hereditary condition.
The Miniature Chinese Shar-Pei have a considerable need for exercise, which includes a daily walk. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as instinct tells a dog that the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. Do not over exercise them in the heat, as they are sensitive to it.
“Winston is 6 months old, 32.7 lbs., 11 inches high, 23 inches in length. Winston is now a full-fledged guard dog, he has grown into a perfectly obsessive compulsive barker, and despite pleads, classes, collars and personal training, is committed to barking at everything that dares make noise. He is strong willed, attentive and full of energy always. Winstons eyes have gone from blue to brown but that was expected. No surgeries needed for any extra eye skin; he has mostly lost his wrinkles.
“In 6 months I have learned that this breed should always been crate trained and socialized. I very strongly believe that adding a Mini Shar-Pei to a family with a trained adult dog would be most beneficial, as Winston can mimic a dog’s behavior automatically. Never stop socializing them, Winston has gotten more skittish since hes gotten older and it now takes time for him to warm up to new persons. Overall, Winston is an amazingly smart animal, he makes me laugh every day and when he is neutered I believe he will be a very calm, enjoyable animal to socialize with. He has never shown signs of aggression and is always waiting for a command, kind word or treat. Had he had more wrinkles, he would have been a great specimen to breed.”
“This is Winston Chen, a Mini Shar-Pei puppy at 6 1/2 weeks old. I took this photo at the park the third day I had him. Off the bat he went to the bathroom outside, hardly ever having any accidents inside. He automatically walked next to us at the park without a leash, never running off or chasing after anyone. Winston is the most brilliant puppy I have ever met, from his lovable personality to his easygoing nature. Despite the history of the breed, he does not mind water at all, he is a chewer/biter, but listens and learns very quickly. Winston generally gets one 45-minute walk a day. Despite his stubborn streak (which comes out when we tell him “No”) he is very affectionate and caring. No snoring, minimal farting in addition to his bed hogging he is a cuddle bug to everyone. We currently live in an apartment which seems to suit him fine so long as he is exercised daily. On a side note he absolutely hates the original Kong toy and wants nothing to do with it; instead he chews on the rug, socks and towels with minimal interest in tennis balls. He was born 11/28/10, at 6 weeks he weighed 5.9 pounds, at 7 weeks he now weighs 7.3 pounds. I am overall very happy with this choice of breed, I found that he is an amazing puppy despite being just that and with as much socializing as possible he will be a great therapy and family dog.”
Where Does the Miniature Shar Pei Come From?
There are essentially three ways breeders can create a smaller version of the breed:
Mixing a Shar Pei with another breed would mean this is no longer a purebred dog.
Therefore, there’s no way of knowing exactly what physical and behavioral characteristics the puppies will have.
One benefit to crossbreeding is that there’s a possibility that it can reduce the chance of passing along inherited genetic diseases.
Another is that combining the Shar Pei with a less aggressive and protective breed could temper these less than desirable qualities.
Here are some crossbreeds that could potentially create a smaller version of the Shar Pei.
The Cocker Spaniel Shar Pei mix combines two very different breeds.
The big soulful eyes and lush, floppy ears of the Cocker Spaniel are in stark contrast to the Shar Pei’s small, sunken eyes and tiny, triangular ears.
This hybrid dog could have any of either parent’s traits.
However, in terms of appearance, many Cocker Pei’s inherit a wrinkled face and a short smooth coat.
It’s possible that the Cocker Spaniel’s friendliness and eagerness to please could counter the Shar Pei’s stubbornness and aloofness.
In terms of size, the sturdy, yet compact Cocker Spaniel typically stands at a height of 13.5 to 15.5 inches and weighs between 20 and 30 lbs.
So it’s also possible this dog could be smaller than a standard Shar Pei.
Combining the Shar Pei with the Poodle is sure to create an intelligent dog that’s devoted to their family.
The Miniature Poodle stands from 10 to 15 inches and weighs from 10 to 15 lbs.
So there’s a good chance of creating a smaller mix by using this version of the popular Poodle breed.
Shar-Poos often inherit the wavy or curly coat of the Poodle, which is sought after for its low-shedding quality.
The Ori Pei brings together two distinctly Chinese breeds: the Pug and the Shar Pei.
Ori Peis are typically 10 to 14 inches tall and weigh between 15 and 30 pounds.
Usually, this mix has short hair, wrinkled fur, and the short black muzzle of the Pug.
It’s interesting to note that this crossbreed was developed in the 1970s by a breeder who wanted a smaller version of the Shar-Pei without the health problems.
Unfortunately, both of these breeds are prone to a long list of health conditions owing to their body structures.
Although the dwarfism gene is usually a random mutation, some breeders use it to create smaller than average puppies.
Dwarfism, or chondrodysplasia, refers to malformation of the cartilage and bones.
And it’s essentially a disorder that doesn’t really miniaturize the dog but gives them malformed or shortened legs.
Some of these dogs may suffer from chronic pain throughout their lives, which are often cut short due to the condition.
While it’s true this method can create a miniature Shar Pei, it’s certainly not in the best interests of the animal.
The term runt often refers to the smallest puppy in the litter.
However, there’s a difference between a severely underweight puppy and one that merely weighs less than their siblings.
This is extremely important since extremely underweight dogs are at a much higher risk for numerous health problems.
So while breeding two undersized Shar Peis together will ensure the offspring are purebred dogs with all of the breed characteristics.
If both dogs are an unhealthy weight, this can increase the risk of passing along inherited health conditions.
How big does a mini shar pei get?
Is there a mini Sharpei?