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Home > Dogs > How Long Do Shar Peis Live? Average Lifespan, Data & Care (Vet-Verified)

How Long Do Shar Peis Live? Average Lifespan, Data & Care (Vet-Verified)

Chinese Shar-pei puppy on the grass

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


Shar Pei Average Lifespan

young red fawn Chinese Shar Pei dog standing on the lawn
Image Credit: Alexeysun, Shutterstock

Recognizable for their rolls and rolls of skin, the Shar Pei is a medium-sized breed with an average expected lifespan of 8 to 12 years. Some specific health concerns can impact the longevity of the Shar Pei; however, like all breeds, other factors affect their general health and well-being.

How to Care for Your Shar Pei for a Long Lifespan

While not every aspect of your dog’s lifespan is within your control, you can increase the likelihood of a long and healthy life by focusing on these factors:

1. Feeding & Diet

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

Like all dogs, Shar Peis require a high-quality dog food appropriate for their life stage. Diets approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)1 and meeting the guidelines established by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)2 are ideal. The Shar Pei doesn’t have any breed-specific dietary requirements, but due to their predisposition for skin disease, any food allergies need to be identified and dealt with swiftly.

The ideal weight for a Shar Pei is between 45 and 60 pounds, but this is just a guideline; some individuals are taller and will weigh more, some are more petite, and males tend to be heavier than females. Be sure to consult with your vet about your dog’s weight to ensure they’re not obese, which contributes to a range of health problems.

2. Healthcare

The single most important step you can take for your dog’s health is routine veterinary care. Regular checkups, dental care, and preventatives like vaccines, heartworm, and flea and tick medications prevent an array of life-limiting diseases. Routine care also helps your vet identify some diseases early for a better outcome.

Shar Peis are prone to a variety of health conditions, including entropion, glaucoma, and Sudden Acquired Retinal Dysplasia (SARDS). Heart, skeletal, and gastrointestinal disorders are also common, as well as immune diseases and certain cancers. Working with a responsible breeder who tests parents for genetic health conditions is an important step in getting a healthier puppy.

The most common and significant health issues which may affect the lifespan of a Shar Pei include:
  • Shar Pei fever: caused by a genetic mutation in the breed, this condition results in swollen hocks (ankle joints) and extremely high fevers in affected dogs, of around 104-107oF (normal canine temperature is 101-102.5oF). Although the fever usually resolves without treatment after 1-2 days, repeated episodes increase the Shar Pei’s risk of developing amyloidosis.
  • Amyloidosis: the result of the deposits of a specific protein (amyloid) forming on various organs. In Shar Peis, renal amyloidosis (deposits in the kidneys) is a relatively common consequence of Shar Pei fever, and can result in kidney failure.
  • Skin disease: the skin rolls that have made this breed so popular, are also a major source of problems for the Shar Pei. Moisture gets trapped under these skin rolls, leading to recurrent bacterial and fungal infections, which can severely impact their quality of life. They also suffer from ear infections and pododermatitis (infection of skin of the feet/toes)
  • Entropion: another consequence of their skin folds, entropion refers to the rolling in of the eyelids. This can happen in any breed, but is most common in the Shar Pei, and most will require corrective surgery in order to stop the eyelids rubbing against the surface of the eye. Left untreated, entropion can result in painful corneal ulcers, blindness, even loss of the eye. It is quite common for Shar Pei pups to have had a tacking procedure at a very young age to reduce the risk of damage to the eyes. Dogs with severe entropion should not be bred from, as their offspring will almost certainly inherit the problem.
  • Mast Cell Tumors: Shar Peis are particularly predisposed to the most aggressive type of Mast Cell Tumor, which are the most common skin cancer in dogs.

3. Behavior and Training

sharpei dog training
Image Credit: Pixel Shot, Shutterstock

The Shar Pei is known to be a loving and loyal breed, but can be difficult to train, wary of strangers, and not the best with other dogs. Because of this, early socialization and training is essential. Dogs that have not been well socialized or display aggressive behavior, even if that behavior is based on fear, are more likely to have a shorter lifespan as their risk of euthanasia increases.

4. Husbandry

Dogs need regular grooming and veterinary visits to ensure optimal health. Dogs that are not groomed properly can develop skin problems or infections that can limit their lives. In addition, dogs need plenty of exercise and space to play to stay fit, which is important for physical and mental health.

5. Environment

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

Your dog’s environment may play a role in its health and mental well-being, which can indirectly affect lifespan. Though there’s no specific research into the connection between environment and lifespan, stress and boredom can have negative effects on dogs. In addition, quality of life is arguably more important than quantity.

6. Spaying/Neutering

Entire dogs are more susceptible to certain cancers (mammary, testicular). Additionally, unspayed females can develop a potentially life-threatening infection of the uterus, called pyometra, while entire males can be affected by an enlarged and painful prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Spaying and neutering are the best ways to reduce the risk of these diseases, as well as helping to prevent some behavioral issues, and straying to find a mate.


The Life Stages of a Shar Pei

The Shar Pei goes through similar life stages as other dog breeds:

  • Puppy: As puppies, Shar Peis are dependent on their mothers for three to four weeks, then they’re weaned and continue to develop. They are placed in new homes around 8 to 12 weeks.
  • Adolescence: Dogs reach the adolescent phase between 6 and 12 months. This is when they’re more likely to push boundaries and start to develop adult features, such as their adult teeth. This is an important period for socialization and training.
  • Mature adult: Your Shar Pei becomes an adult around 12-18 months old and will be around their adult size. Male Shar Peis may be larger than female Shar Pei.
  • Senior: Shar Peis become seniors around seven to nine years. They may experience age-related declines like vision or hearing loss, arthritis, and cognitive issues.

How to Tell Your Shar Pei’s Age

Once a Shar Pei reaches adulthood, it becomes much more difficult to determine their age accurately. Your vet may be able to estimate based on gray hair, tooth wear, fitness, and other details, but it’s only an educated guess. Just like people, dogs age at different rates based on their genetics and life experience.



Shar Peis have an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years, though some factors can dramatically influence their longevity. The best way to ensure your dog has both quality and quantity of life is with proper nutrition, routine veterinary care, and plenty of enrichment. If you are thinking about adopting a Shar Pei puppy, be sure to research the breed, and the breeder, so you know what to expect.

Featured Image Credit: Waldemar Dabrowski, Shutterstock

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