Shar-Poo Dog: Shar-Pei & Poodle Mix
|Height:||14 – 18 inches|
|Weight:||35 – 70 pounds|
|Lifespan:||12 – 15 years|
|Colors:||Brown, chocolate, gold, yellow, black, cream, white, gray|
|Suitable for:||Active families, those looking for a low-shedding dog|
|Temperament:||Playful, affectionate, introverted with guests, stubborn, clingy|
It wasn’t long before the designer dog fad came for the Shar-Peis. The Shar Poo, which is a combination of a Shar-Pei and a Poodle, is one of the latest in a long line of hybrid dog breeds.
The idea behind this particular mix is that by adding Poodle DNA to Shar-Pei DNA, you could cut down on dander and other allergens, making the resulting dog more palatable to owners with sensitive respiratory systems. The fact that the dogs are criminally adorable is simply a bonus.
If you’d like to learn more about these precious new dogs — including whether they’re really as allergen-free as people claim — read on.
What is a Shar-Poo?
The playful Shar-Poo is a fun-loving combination of the intelligent Poodle and the devoted Chinese Shar-Pei. With early socialization, this affectionate pooch can learn to get along great with kids and other pets. While he is cautious with new faces….he isn’t a barker and not an ideal watchdog.
The Shar-Poo is a Designer Dog so likely dates back to the 1980s or 1990s when breeders first began mixing 2 different pure-bred dogs to produce puppies with the ideal traits of the parent breeds such as smaller, hypo-allergenic, gentler and often healthier than the parent breeds.
Because the Shar-Poo comes from two different purebred dogs, he doesn’t qualify to join the coveted American Kennel Club’s (AKC) roster of dogs. That said, both parent breeds are members; the Poodle joined AKCs “non-sporting” group in 1887 while the Shar-Pei was named to the same group in 1992.
Diet and Nutrition
As medium-sized dogs, Shar Poos can pack away their fair share of kibble. Expect to spend a good amount on kibble, as food will likely be your biggest ongoing expense when owning one of these dogs.
While you might be tempted to shave off some of that expense by purchasing cheaper food, we wouldn’t recommend it. Feeding your dog a high-quality diet will go a long way toward keeping them happy and healthy and could even help extend their lifespan.
Look for a food that’s high in protein, fat, and fiber, and avoid anything that’s loaded with wheat, corn, soy, animal by-products, and other low-quality ingredients. That’s going to drive up the price of the food considerably (and likely prevent you from being able to find it at your local big-box store), but you will probably save that money and more later on in your pup’s existence.
Just as important as feeding them healthy food is feeding them an appropriate amount of it. Exercise strict portion control, as allowing them to free-feed can lead to obesity, which is terrible for their health. Shar-Peis are notorious for being overweight, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a fat, wrinkly dog is cuter than a wrinkly dog of a more reasonable weight.
Be careful about going overboard with treats and scraps too. Shar Poos might be stubborn, especially if they take after Shar-Peis, but don’t try to bribe them into obedience with snacks.
How easy are Shar-Poo to train?
Training is a non-negotiable need when you bring home a Shar Poo. They need a ton of obedience work and socialization, but you should understand that no matter how much you work with them, they’re not likely to be as gregarious as a Labrador.
The important thing is to only use positive reinforcement during your training sessions. If you punish the dogs or use similar training methods, chances are that you’ll simply alienate them rather than teach them anything.
They can be quite stubborn and independent, so training may not be a walk in the park (and you probably shouldn’t try to train them in the park, as there are too many strangers around). You’ll need to be firm, assertive, and patient.
As a result, first-time owners may want to start with a different breed. If you don’t have experience training dogs, the learning curve may be a bit steep with a Shar Poo.
The most important thing is to train them no matter what, so don’t hesitate to ask for professional help if you need it. It’s better to pay someone to do the job for you than to leave it undone.
Your Shar-Poo is a solid pooch who will weigh in between 40 and 60 pounds when grown.
How would you describe the temperament of Shar-Poo?
Shar Poos are much like little children. With their families or people they trust, they can be absolutely wild, bouncing off the walls and tearing around the house like furry little cyclones. However, as soon as an unfamiliar face drops by, they turn into wallflowers.
That may not be something that you can totally socialize out of them, but it’s still important to introduce them to new people and places as often as possible, especially when they’re puppies. This dog may never run up to strangers and start licking their face, but you want to make sure their timidity never turns into aggression.
At home, though, don’t be surprised if your Shar Poo turns into a fuzzy new appendage. These dogs can be quite clingy, preferring never to leave their human’s side, and they’d usually prefer to play with their favorite person than do anything else.
How healthy are Shar-Poo?
- While most designer breeds have the benefit of hybrid vigor and will often bypass the common genetic health issues of their parents, there is still a good chance of some of these issues being passed down.
- With Poodles, common issues are hip and elbow dysplasia, Addison’s Disease, thyroid problems, and epilepsy. Poodles can also suffer from bloat and allergies at times and are prone to obesity if freely fed.
- Shar Peis can also inherit hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as patellar luxation, autoimmune thyroiditis, and various eye problems, such as entropion, retinal dysplasia, glaucoma, and cataracts. Their loose, folded skin is also highly prone to infection if not kept clean.
- Shar-Poos may inherit some of these issues, but they are generally a healthy breed, and if kept well exercised and fed a healthy, moderate diet, they typically don’t suffer many health issues.
- Patellar luxation
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Autoimmune thyroiditis
- Addison’s disease
How long will Shar-Poo live?
The Shar-Poo will typically live between 12 and 15 years.
How active are Shar-Poo?
- Shar Poos need a fair amount of exercise, and frankly, it will be hard to stop them from running around when they’re home and feeling comfortable.
- You can likely work out most of their energy simply by taking them out in the backyard and running around or tossing a ball with them, but you’ll likely want to walk them frequently. This may require a bit of training, though, as they may be averse to seeing other people or reactive to dogs that they encounter. Don’t assume that you can just throw a leash on them and walk out the door.
- Given how smart these dogs are, they’ll also need mental stimulation. Frequent obedience training is a must, and you will likely need to provide them with puzzle toys and similar activities in order to keep their brains sharp.
- This isn’t a super-athletic breed, but their ability to quickly master new skills makes them a good fit for agility training and similar activities. That’s a great way to burn off excess energy and challenge them intellectually, but they may not enjoy being around all the other dogs at the competitions.
- Shar Poos don’t have a ton of behavioral problems outside their reluctance to meet new people and animals, but any issues that they do have can largely be mitigated by tuckering them out thoroughly, so take their exercise needs seriously.
The Shar-Poo also goes by the name Sharpoo and Shardoodle and while this little pooch doesn’t qualify to be a member of the coveted American Kennel Club (AKC), he is a member of the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA).
- The coat of your Shar-Poo may be short like a Shar-Pei or thick and curly like a Poodle or every iteration between. Typically, it’s on the shorter and straighter side, which makes grooming a breeze. Brush them once a week and you’re good to go. If your Shar-Poo has a longer, thicker coat, you may need to brush them more often, at least every other day, to prevent knots and matting.
- Shar Peis have folds of wrinkly skin all over their body, and if your Shar-Poo inherits this trait in any way, you’ll need to perform regular checks in and around these folds. Make sure they are kept dry and clean to avoid any infection or fungal growth.
- Most dogs will need regular nail clipping, and we recommend beginning this process from puppyhood. This will get them used to the process and make clipping far easier in the future. The same goes for teeth brushing, which they’ll likely need a few times per week.
Shar-Poo puppies can grow into stubborn little dogs that don’t play nice with kids and other animals so early socialization is crucial. Plan to begin obedience training while this pup is 5 to 6 weeks to establish pack pecking order and when introducing a leash, remember that he can experience joint issues later in life so don’t over-do it on the exercise.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
- While Shar Poos aren’t a big fan of strange people, they’re even less happy to be around strange dogs. They may not react aggressively at first, but if the other dog keeps invading their space, it’s unlikely to end pretty.
- They also tend to be quite protective of their humans and don’t like other animals sniffing around and stealing all their pettings. They like to have all the human attention to themselves and may react poorly if forced to share.
- As you can expect, this means that your Shar Poo should likely be the only pet in the house and certainly the only dog.
- Their reactivity toward cats and other pets is less well-known. It likely varies from individual to individual. One Shar Poo may be aggressive toward them, while another doesn’t care about their presence at all.
- We’d still err on the side of caution, which means not having any other animals in the house.
The Shar-Poo is a great hybrid breed, with the intelligence of its Poodle parents combined with the affection and loyalty of the Shar-Pei. They make great family pets because they are gentle with children and friendly toward other pets and animals. While they can be slightly stubborn and headstrong at times, training is usually a breeze, and they are highly adaptable to almost any living environment.
Poodles are a popular breed for hybrids, and the Shar-Poo is further proof of why: These dogs feature the best traits of both parent breeds and make a wonderful family pooch.