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Home > Dogs > How Much Exercise Does a Shar Pei Need? Vet Approved Advice

How Much Exercise Does a Shar Pei Need? Vet Approved Advice

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Dr. Lauren Demos

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Many adjectives can be used to describe the regal Shar Pei: serene, calm, independent, fearless, and loyal, just to name a few. In the eyes of their owners, the qualities of this unique dog are (almost!) infinite. Here’s another one: Shar Pei are laid back dogs that don’t require much exercise. They are content with a daily 30-minute walk or even a short Frisbee session in the backyard! Furthermore, you don’t need to live in a castle to welcome one of these magnificently wrinkled dogs into your life: A Shar Pei will easily adapt to life in an apartment or a small house.

Read on as we discuss all this breed’s exercise requirements and provide you with great tips for keeping your Shar Pei in tip-top shape!


Do Shar Pei Need a Large Amount of Exercise?

The answer is no. That said, while Shar Pei are not high-energy pups like Border Collies or Labrador Retrievers, they still require exercise to maintain their health and prevent boredom-related behavior problems. Additionally, it’s important to note that this breed tends to be slightly overweight, which can lead to a few health issues as they age, like arthritis. Regular exercise helps keep them fit and prevents these problems.

How Much Exercise Is Enough for a Shar Pei?

Adult Shar Pei do not require much exercise daily—a leisurely daily walk of around 30 minutes will make this breed happy. Puppies have more energy and may need shorter, more frequent walks and playtime. However, be aware that Shar Pei are not physically suited to overly vigorous exercise and can overheat easily.

Are Shar Pei Good Running Partners?

Shar Pei are not ideal running companions. They have a unique build with facial conformations such as a short nose and other anatomical changes, which can make them prone to overheating. They are best suited for leisurely walks and moderate play sessions rather than high-intensity activities like running or strenuous hikes. That said, the Shar Pei is also a fairly adaptable breed, meaning they can do well with an active owner.

sharpei dog training
Image Credit: Pixel Shot, Shutterstock

What Are Fun Exercises for Your Shar Pei?

If you want to keep your independent Shar Pei engaged and entertained during exercise, pick activities like agility training, rally, tracking, obedience classes, and puzzle toys. These should do wonders for your furry friend’s mind and body.

Tailoring Exercise to Your Shar Pei’s Needs

The exercise requirements of Shar Pei may vary from one dog to another. Here are a few factors to consider when tailoring an exercise routine for your Shar Pei.


You should adjust the exercise routine of your Shar Pei as they age. Puppies are tiny balls of energy and require more playtime and shorter walks. Adult Shar Pei have moderate energy levels and can manage slightly longer walks, while senior Shar Pei may need gentler playtime and shorter walks to cope with their aging joints.


The health of your Shar Pei plays a significant role in determining their exercise needs. If your dog has underlying health issues, such as hip dysplasia or breathing problems, you should seek advice from your vet so they can help you develop a suitable exercise plan for your pup. In some cases, swimming can be an excellent low-impact exercise option for Shar Pei with joint issues.

blue shar pei dog standing in the water
Image Credit: Martyna Nysk, Shutterstock


Each Shar Pei has their own unique personality. Some may be more active and playful, while others may lean toward a more laid back lifestyle. Pay attention to your dog’s preferences, and adjust their exercise routine accordingly. If your Shar Pei loves fetch, incorporate it into their daily routine. If they prefer sniffing around during walks, let them explore at their own pace.


Weather conditions can impact your Shar Pei’s exercise routine. These dogs are sensitive to extreme heat due to their facial conformation (brachycephalic), which can make them prone to overheating. On hot days, opt for early morning or late evening walks when the temperature is cooler. Conversely, in cold weather, consider providing your Shar Pei with a doggy sweater to keep them warm during walks.

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3 Tips to Keep Your Shar Pei in Top-Notch Shape

Here are three tips to help you care for your beloved Shar Pei.

1. Choose a Diet Adapted to the Needs of Your Pup

shar pei dog eating
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Nutrition is the cornerstone of your Shar Pei’s health. Since these dogs tend to gain weight quite easily, though, you must control the size of their portions and offer them a diet adapted to their age and activity level. Avoid giving them too many treats, especially if your Shar Pei is the couch potato type!

2. Take Care of Their Wrinkled Skin

Those adorable wrinkles on your Shar Pei’s face are part of what makes them so unique. However, these wrinkles can also trap moisture and dirt, leading to skin infections and dermatitis. Clean and dry your Shar Pei’s skin folds regularly to prevent such problems. Be gentle, and use a dog-safe hypoallergenic wipe or solution recommended by your veterinarian.

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3. Make Sure to Socialize Them Early

Shar Pei are generally known for their independent nature, though they still need socialization to thrive. Since they tend to be wary of strangers and other dogs, it is essential to start their socialization as early as possible to avoid dominance problems later. Therefore, you should engage your Shar Pei puppy in regular social activities as soon as possible, such as frequent contact with other friendly canine companions and visits to the dog park.


Final Thoughts

The Shar Pei is not the most energetic pup out there! That doesn’t mean you can let them laze around all day, of course. But since a leisurely walk of less than an hour is usually more than enough to meet their exercise needs, you’ll have plenty of time to snuggle up on the couch to watch your favorite series together!

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Featured Image Credit: David Raihelgauz, Shutterstock

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