Shar Pei, sometimes referred to by their full name ‘Chinese Shar Pei’, are one of the most recognizable breeds. Plentiful folds make this dog entirely cute. But how big does the average Shar Pei get, and what does this all mean from an ownership perspective. Here is what you will want to know.
So, how big do Shar Pei get? Shar Pei typically reach between 17-20 inches (43-50 cm) in height and weigh between 40-65 pounds (18-30 kg), on average. They generally reach their full adult size by 16 months of age. Males of the breed are typically heavier than their female counterparts.
This is not the largest breed of dog by a long stretch.
But that does not mean that they’re not strong or powerful – quite the opposite.
And being quite strong-willed in personality and stubborn by nature, these dogs need early training and socialization.
Otherwise, their independent personalities and desires can easily overcome an unprepared owner.
And it can easily catch an owner off-guard.
They are generally not too much to handle, being calm and devoted most of the time.
Nevertheless, let us now take a closer look at the Shar Pei and how they typically grow – from puppy to adult dog.
How Big Is A Full Grown Shar Pei?
At 17-20 inches in height and 40-65 pounds in weight, Shar pei are medium-sized dogs. They compare similarly in height to Australian Cattle Dogs and German Pinschers and in weight to bulldogs.
Although, there is some variance between the sexes of the breed. Generally, males are larger than females in regard to weight.
They generally stand at the same height, though:
- A male adult Shar Pei will typically stand between 17-20 inches (43-50 cm) in height, weighing between 55-65 pounds. (25-29 kg).
- A female adult Shar Pei will typically stand between 17-20 inches (43-50 cm) in height, weighing between 39-55 pounds. (18-25kg).
Either way, they do both share the same build and frame.
They are relatively compact yet solid dog.
They are somewhat square in appearance, with a broad and deep chest, and a head that is a little large for the rest of their body.
Of course, everyone knows the Shar Pei for their wrinkles. And they have these for life.
Shar pei are actually born with them, and even as they fill out never entirely grow into their skin, keeping these lovable folds around the head, shoulders, and neck.
But then there is also the high-set tail. This is another signature feature of the breed.
And then there is the coat; fawn and very bristle.
All of which really give this dog a unique appearance.
In fact, it is the coat that gave this breed its name.
When Is A Shar Pei Fully Grown?
The average Shar Pei will reach their full adult and final size by 16 months of age. Although for smaller dogs of the breed, it may be a little faster or longer for those on the larger side.
Here is the typical growth trajectory of both the male and female sexes of the breed:
Growth Of A Male Shar Pei
- The weight of a male Shar Pei at 3 months should be between 21 and 25 pounds.
- At 6 months, they will likely weigh between 40 and 47 lbs (pounds).
- At 1 year, a male Shar Pei should weigh between 53 and 62 lbs (pounds).
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Growth Of A Female Shar Pei
- The weight of a female Shar Pei at 3 months should be between 16 and 21 lbs (pounds).
- At 6 months, they will likely weigh between 30 and 40 lbs (pounds).
- At 1 year, a female Shar Pei should weigh between 39 and 52 lbs (pounds).
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As the data in the table shows, the Shar Pei has a relatively gradual and consistent growth.
They do not tend to experience any sudden growth spurts but around 12-14 months their rate of growth does slow down somewhat.
Around the 12-14 month mark, a Shar Pei is basically at their full-grown size, but may still continue to fill out a little.
Spatial Requirements For Shar Pei Dogs
Shar Pei dogs do not require much space, and they are suitable dogs for those who live in an apartment or a larger home.
They can equally live in more rural locations or the hustle and bustle of the city.
While they can live in a home with limited space, they still require a decent amount of daily exercise to remain healthy and happy. But more on their specific needs later.
Having a backyard is not a necessity for this breed, but it is preferred.
Otherwise, it would be best if you looked to take them to a park or outside space reasonably regularly. This way, they can stretch their legs and remain mentally stimulated.
And here is why.
This is actually quite a laid-back and low-energy breed.
They much prefer being with their owner than being active.
In fact, this is when they tend to do best.
The Shar Pei was actually initially bred to guard livestock, so they are a protective dog by nature.
This means they are relatively wary of strangers and other dogs (unless heavily socialized early in life).
Generally, they are not the most social of breeds and do best in more isolated situations.
This is why you will always need to keep them on a leash around other dogs and never be left alone with them, at least initially.
Thankfully Shar Peis are very intelligent, loyal, and keen to please their owners, so they are quite the trainable breed.
You do need to be consistent, however, as they are strong-willed and independent by nature.
Exercise And Dietary Needs Of Shar Pei
For a mid-size yet compact breed of dog, you may be wondering what their exercise and dietary needs are like.
The Shar Pei is not a dog that requires much exercise and daily movement, but it is still essential for good health.
And it is something that you will need to be proactive about.
Shar Peis tend to exercise as much or as little as it is offered to them, so the more you are willing to take them out, the more willing they will be.
Generally, an adult Shar Pei requires 1 hour of exercise per day. A walk on a lead from other dogs is advised.
Puppies do not require the same amount of exercise. However, it should be tapered along with their size and age.
While they are still growing their bones and jones are susceptible to injury which can impact their final size.
A good rule of thumb to follow is 5 minutes of exercise per month of age. Thus:
- 3-month-old Shar Pei: 15 minutes per day.
- 6-month-old Shar Pei: 30 minutes per day.
- 9-month-old Shar Pei: 45 minutes per day.
One other thing to consider is that the Shar Pei has a shorter nose than most other breeds of dog.
While they are no flat-faced like bulldogs or pugs, they are still considered brachycephalic (airway obstruction caused by facial features).
As such, Shar Pei’s do not do very well with running or jogging. They cannot breathe very well and get the oxygen they need.
What food and how much a Shar Pei should eat depends on their age and size. Adult dogs have very different needs to puppies.
A good general estimation for an adult dog of the breed is between 1-2 cups of dry food a day – provided over two meals.
Of course, this does depend on the specific food brand and their level of activity too.
For instance, a puppy should be fed food designed for young pups and transition over to adult food at an appropriate time and life stage.
Nevertheless, regardless of the dog’s age, it’s essential to provide them with the highest quality food you can afford.
For a pup, this will ensure they obtain all the nutrients to grow and reach their full-size potential.
For an adult dog, this will help them to keep a healthy weight.
Just be sure to source food with sufficient protein. This is essential; this nutrient provides the building blocks for growth and supports healthy muscle mass.
Treats can be a great aid in training but should not be overdone.
Table scraps should be offered rarely, especially if they are fatty or generally low nutrition.
You do not want this dog to become overweight.
Monitoring their weight and liaising with a vet to ensure they are healthy respective to their age are also advised.
Shar Peis are not the biggest of dogs, and they do not require too much space either. At least compared to other more active breeds.
This may give the false impression that they are easy dogs to look after and raise.
Not so fast.
They do naturally have a stubborn streak, so an owner needs to be mindful of providing training and socialization from a young age, and reinforcing this consistently throughout their lives.
But in doing so, the Shar Pei can make a great family companion.
They are eager to please, intelligent, and receptive to such training after all.
Nonetheless, this particular breed is best suited to homes with older kids.
Particularly those children raised with dogs or taught how to interact with a dog appropriately.
Not because they are aggressive, but because this dog is relatively independent and tends to lack interest in cuddling or being hugged.
Ultimately, if you are considering this cute wrinkle-faced breed, do consider your particular circumstances, and the cost of course.
They do have a tendency to bark, are naturally protective, and are not the most social of dogs.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.