Miniature Shar-Pei: Breed Info, Size, Pictures & Facts

Mini Shar Pei walking on the grass

If you’re searching for a miniature version of a guard dog that can also be a delightful companion, then you should consider the mini Shar-Pei.

This fascinating breed will definitely win you over with its charmingly wrinkly appearance, calm demeanor, and protective nature.

Being a smaller version of the standard Chinese Shar-Pei, they are an excellent match for people with small living spaces and those who are more comfortable managing smaller pets.

Read through this guide to get fully acquainted with this cute and intelligent breed. We’ll discuss its appearance, lifespan, health issues, and more. Let’s get started!

Breed Overview

Height:14 – 17 inches
Weight:25 – 40 pounds
Lifespan:9 – 11 years
Coat Colors:Black, blue, brown, cream, fawn, red, red fawn, red sable, fawn sable, cream sable, apricot dilute, blue dilute, lilac dilute, cream dilute, chocolate dilute, five-point red dilute, isabella dilute, black sable, white, blue sable, brown sable
Temperament:Loyal, protective, calm, intelligent
Suitable for:Families with older children; as a companion dog; as a guard dog

What Is a Miniature Shar-Pei? Is There a Mini Shar-Pei?

Mini Shar Pei side profile

A miniature Shar-Pei is a smaller version of the Chinese Shar-Pei. They are a few inches smaller in height and weigh less than half the standard Shar-Pei. The mini Shar-Pei is known for being a loyal, intelligent, and protective dog who appears serious and has a calm demeanor.

Unlike other breeds that come in miniature sizes, the miniature Shar-pei is regarded as a healthy dog and is not known to be vulnerable to other health problems apart from those already associated with the standard Shar-Pei.

They are also referred to as mini Chinese Shar-Pei, Shar-Pei mini, mini-Pei, and toy Shar-Pei.

The miniaturized version of the Shar-Pei is not considered a separate breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC)

AKC classifies them under the non-sporting group, and they are registered solely as Chinese Shar-Pei, together with the standard-sized Shar-Peis. 

The Continental Kennel Club, Inc. (CKC), on the other hand, recognizes the miniature Shar-Pei as a distinct breed. 

They are eligible to participate in conformation shows and competitions hosted by this kennel club under the miniature category.

Miniature Shar-Pei Size and Weight

The miniature Shar-Pei is between 14 and 17 inches tall and weighs around 25 to 40 pounds. Because of their size, they are not considered a teacup.

For reference, this purebred dog is taller by three inches than the French Bulldog. They are also heavier and taller than miniature Poodles, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, and other small breeds.

Since mini Shar-Peis are taller and heavier than other miniaturized dogs, they are more suited to be walked on a leash instead of being constantly carried.

Generally, the full-grown mini Shar-Pei is said to reach its peak height at around 7 to 8 months, which is half the time it takes for the standard-sized Shar-Peis to grow fully.

Miniature Shar-Pei Appearance

Mini Shar Pei getting some sun

Miniature Shar-Peis look a lot like the standard Shar-Pei. The main difference lies in their height and weight.

In terms of proportion, their bodies tend to be square, being as tall as their body length. Female Shar-Pei minis can sometimes have longer body lengths.

The miniature Shar-Pei comes in three coat types: the horse coat, brush coat, and bear coat. The horse coat grows up to an inch and is straight and stiff. This is the shortest variation and is also known as the harsh coat.

The brush coat is harsh in terms of texture and is 1 to 2.5 inches long. The bear coat is longer, usually more than 2.5 inches in length, and has a smooth, wavy texture.

The head of the miniature Shar-Pei is broad and medium in size, resembling a hippopotamus with noticeable wrinkles and loose skin. 

Their muzzle is broad and deep and appears round in shape due to their thick and large lips. A blue-black tongue is also a distinctive feature of the Shar-Pei mini. 

The nose of the mini Shar-Pei dog is usually black or liver and dilute color varieties like the miniature blue Shar-Pei.

Miniature Shar-Peis have deep and broad chests and well-muscled legs. They have thick tails that taper toward the tip. They also come in 25 coat colors and patterns similar to the standard Shar-Pei.

If you want to see what the miniature Shar-Pei looks like, watch the clip below:

miniature shar pei playing with bull terrier

Miniature Shar-Pei Origin and History

Miniature Shar-Peis share the same history and origin as their standard Shar-Pei counterpart. Their roots trace back to the Han dynasty, and they are believed to have the same ancestors as Chow Chows and Mastiffs.

Their name in Chinese means sand-skin, and their original purpose was to hunt, herd, and guard livestock on farms. The Chinese Shar-Pei was also used in dog-fighting sports and, unfortunately, also slaughtered to be consumed.

During the Chinese communist revolution, their numbers declined due to the ban on dog breeding and the heavy tax imposed on dog ownership. They became the rarest breed in the world during the late 60s and 70s.

The breed was eventually saved when the plea of Matgo Law, a breeder from Hong Kong, was made known through the publication of a Life Magazine issue. The plea resulted in increased popularity and demand.

Later on, when miniature versions of dogs became prevalent, miniature Shar-Pei’s popularity also rose. Breeders looked for ways to achieve a smaller-sized Shar-Pei.

While some miniature Shar-Peis are naturally born smaller than the standard breed due to a recessive gene in their DNA, many breeders attempt to produce a miniature size through crossbreeding and selective breeding.

To breed a miniature version of dogs, breeders usually pair the standard size with smaller purebred dogs. But breeding a Shar-Pei with another dog breed would mean that they are no longer considered purebred dogs.

The breeds that are commonly crossed with the Shar-Pei to achieve a smaller version are the Cocker Spaniel, Pug, and Poodle.

Another way to achieve a miniature Shar-Pei is to breed from the runts. The runts are the smallest puppies in the litter. Two Shar-Pei runts who have been selectively bred together would produce a purebred miniature Shar-Pei.

However, selective breeding also bears the risk of passing on health problems if the two Shar-Pei runts have non-ideal weights and underlying health conditions.

Miniature Shar-Pei Temperament and Personality

Mini Shar Pei lying down

Miniature Chinese Shar-Peis are calm, intelligent dogs who are protective of their owners, making them good family dogs. They are loyal and affectionate companions that tend to be aloof with strangers.

Though the miniature Chinese Shar-Pei is affectionate with loved ones, they are better suited to older children. They also tend to be strong-willed dogs who require assertive owners and consistency in training.

The mini-Pei also don’t tend to do well around other dogs. If you have other animals in the household, it is best to introduce them at a young age to get used to being around other pets.

A miniature Shar-Pei also has a prey drive, so it is preferable to have a secure, fenced yard to prevent them from suddenly running away to chase other animals. 

Due to their attachment to loved ones, they may experience separation anxiety when left alone for too long.

Miniature Shar-Pei Lifespan and Health Issues

The average lifespan of a miniature Shar-Pei is between 9 and 11 years. When combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet, you are able to increase the life expectancy of your beloved petite pooch.

Unlike other dog breeds with a miniaturized version, the miniature Shar-Pei is considered healthy. In fact, they are predisposed to just the same health problems as their standard-sized sibling.

Below are some health issues of the mini Chinese Shar-Pei:

  • Entropion: Entropion is an eye condition wherein the eyelid rolls inward, which causes the eyelashes to rub against the cornea and irritate the eye. When left untreated, this can lead to loss of corneal tissue and inflammation.
  • Retinal Dysplasia: Retinal dysplasia occurs when there is an abnormality in the growth rate of the white portion of the eyes and the retina of the miniature Shar-Pei, which can affect their vision. This is said to be genetically linked and can also be caused by viral infections and contact with toxins.
  • Mast Cell Cancer: This particular type of cancer is caused by a tumor composed of white blood cells in the tissues of the miniature Shar-Pei’s body. A mast cell tumor is characterized by a visible bump on the skin that may look like an insect bite or wart. Luckily, this type of cancer can be treated through surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
  • Color Dilution Alopecia: This is a hereditary skin disease affecting blue and other color-diluted dogs, such as the blue mini Shar-Pei. Symptoms of color dilution alopecia include dry and dull hair, flaky and itchy skin, and hair loss.

It is important for owners to be on the lookout for signs of these health problems to address the condition and seek appropriate treatment immediately. 

Regular trips to the vet can also help ensure your miniature Shar-Pei is in good health.

How to Take Care of Your Miniature Shar-Pei

Mini Shar Pei on the side of the road

Knowing how to properly care for a miniature Shar-Pei is an important aspect of owning such a breed. 

These lovable hippo dogs deserve to receive the appropriate care in terms of food and diet, grooming, training, and exercise.

Food and Diet

The miniature Shar-Pei must be fed one to two cups of quality dog food daily. As they are usually allergic to protein derived from beef, owners must be keen to spot signs of allergic reactions in their pups.

It is also advisable to feed them dog food that does not contain wheat, soy, and corn. These are known allergens that can affect sensitive dogs.

The diet of the mini-Pei must contain nutrients that support their eye, brain, and bone development. You can include fruits, vegetables, and fish in their diet.

It is best to consult with your veterinarian on the proper combination of food and treats to feed your Shar-Pei mini to avoid malnutrition or overnutrition, as your pup’s unique lifestyle and activities must also be taken into consideration.

Cleaning and Grooming

The Shar-Pei mini’s coat does not need trimming but requires regular brushing to maintain good condition. 

Once to twice a week brushing, using a soft brush or grooming mitt helps remove dirt and loose hair, and it distributes natural skin oils. During the shedding season, daily brushing is recommended.

Baths must be given as necessary or once every 2 to 3 months. During shedding season, daily baths are needed by Shar-Pei minis, who have brush-type coats. 

Remember to dry their folds or wrinkles properly, as the miniature Shar-Pei’s skin can develop yeast infection when left moist. Their ears must also be regularly cleaned and kept dry.

Training and Exercise

Due to their intelligence, Mini Shar-Peis are able to learn easily, making them easy to train. You can expect them to perform well with consistency, patience, and firm guidance.

Although the mini-Pei may appear to be very peaceful indoors, they are not the ones to have a couch potato lifestyle. 

They are moderately active dogs who need enough exercise for about an hour every day in the form of long walks, running, and playtime. 

They are also moderately active indoors and are able to enjoy mental stimulation games inside the house, such as canine puzzles, hidden treasures, and hide-and-seek.

How Much Does a Miniature Shar-Pei Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

A miniature Shar-Pei puppy is priced around $1,500 to $2,500. Puppies from champion bloodlines are priced higher, usually being offered at $3,000 and up. 

These pups are more expensive in comparison to the cost of a standard-size Shar-Pei

While this can already be a pretty daunting amount, any aspiring dog owner must be careful not to overlook other expenses that come with owning a mini Shar-Pei.

To have an idea of the initial expenses of the mini-Pei, you can refer to the list below:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$30 – $80
Bowls$10 – $30
Toys$20 – $30
Beds$30 – $200
Collars and Leashes$15 – $50
Crates and Carriers$30 – $200
Grooming Essentials$50 – $150
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $500
Initial Vaccine Shots$50 – $300
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$40 – $300
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Microchipping$40 – $60
Dog License$10 – $20
Other Essentials$20 – $50
Total Initial Cost$495 – $2,470

The items listed above are the things and procedures you need to allot your budget for as you prepare to take your miniature Shar-Pei puppy home. 

My neighbor once owned a miniature Shar-Pei, and prior to that, she had also purchased top-quality items for her dog, Keempee.

Despite the price, she did not hesitate to spend on basic items such as bowls, toys, a leash and collar set, a bed and crate set, and other basic necessities.

Though it felt like it was more expensive at the onset, she ended up saving more as these high-quality items were durable enough to last for years, preventing the need to repurchase cheaper items that could be easily destroyed by the dog.

Places to Find Miniature Shar-Pei Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Miniature Shar Pei puppy sitting on the grass

Becoming a pet parent is a serious responsibility and commitment. If you have decided that you can take on this rewarding challenge, the next step is to find a reputable breeder of mini-Peis to purchase from.

Here are some reputable breeders of miniature Shar-Pei you can contact:

  • SandStones Shar-Pei – As members of the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America and American Kennel Club, SandStones Shar-Pei strives to produce puppies with excellent health, temperament, and long lives. Their puppies come with a two-year health guarantee.
  • Baggins Shar-Pei Kennel – Baggins Shar-Pei Kennel focuses on improving the bloodline of their Shar-Peis, including the mini-Pei, by carefully selecting dogs they breed to enhance the good traits and eliminate undesirable characteristics in their lineage.
  • Chenille Chinese Shar-Pei – With over 35 years of experience, Chenille is a trusted producer of champion caliber Chinese Shar Pei. All their puppies are AKC-registered and come with spay/neuter contracts. They also occasionally have miniature Chinese Shar-Pei pups for rehoming.

My experience has allowed me also to treat Shar-Peis who need behavioral therapy in animal shelters.

If adoption is your preferred means of acquiring a miniature Chinese Shar-Pei, it is also a noble action that gives these abandoned dogs another chance at life.

Below are some rescues you can check out:

  • Mid-Atlantic Chinese Shar-Pei Rescue Operation, Inc. (MACSPRO) – MACSPRO is a non-profit organization that relies on donations and fund-raising activities to support the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of abandoned purebred Chinese Shar-Peis. To date, they have been able to find new loving homes for more than 1,000 Shar-Peis.
  • Florida Chinese Shar-Pei Rescue – This rescue is composed of dedicated volunteers who rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome neglected Shar-Peis in Florida. They also try to extend their rescue efforts to nearby states such as Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. 
  • Shar-Pei Rescue of Virginia – This rescue is composed of volunteers who rehabilitate and rehome neglected and abused Shar-Peis from shelters and animal control facilities. They can also facilitate the rehoming of Shar-Peis surrendered by owners who can no longer care for them.

Aside from the following sources, you can also check out Reddit threads and Facebook groups, as many breeders advertise through these platforms.

You can also check out our list of reputable breeders of standard Shar Pei to see if they have miniature ones or at least recommend breeders of these variants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mini Shar Pei puppy on white background

Are Mini Shar-Peis Hypoallergenic?

No, Mini Shar-Peis are not hypoallergenic. These dogs, while not heavy shedders, still shed some amount of hair, which may trigger an allergic reaction in people sensitive to dander.

Do Miniature Shar-Peis Shed?

Yes, miniature Shar-Peis shed a minimal amount of fur. They usually shed more during fall and spring.

During these seasons, they require more frequent brushing in order to prevent dead hair from spreading throughout the house.

Are Miniature Shar-Peis Friendly Dogs?

Miniature Shar-Peis tend to be aloof around strangers. While they are very affectionate and friendly toward family members, they must be properly socialized at an early age to be able to get used to being around other people.

Do you think the mini Chinese Shar-Pei is the right dog for you? Let us know and leave your comments below! Further, if you have questions about this cute version of the Shar-Pei, feel free to ask!

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