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Are Shar-Peis Aggressive?

By Mawoo Pets · 10 Feb · 5 mins read
Are Shar-Peis Aggressive?

Shar-Peis, whether standard or miniature, are sometimes suggested to be aggressive dogs. But are they really aggressive dogs, or simply misunderstood? And if they are aggressive, when is this aggression displayed? 

Let's delve into the history and temperament of Shar-Peis to better understand their behavior, factors that can influence aggression, and how to prevent or manage signs of aggression in your Shar-Pei. 

Understanding the Shar-Pei Temperament

The Shar-Pei is a breed with a rich history that was originally bred in China for various reasons including hunting, herding, and even dog fighting. These dogs were frequently used as home guardians

This background as a guard and fight dog has resulted in a breed that is independent, protective, and sometimes aloof. While Shar-Peis are known for their incredible loyalty towards their family, they can be wary of strangers. 

Are Shar-Peis Naturally Aggressive?

Shar-Peis are naturally protective and reserved with strangers. This behavior is part of their natural instinct to protect their family and territory -- and it's contributed to their reputation as aggressive dogs. However, they are not naturally aggressive dogs. It's more typically poor socialization, fear, or pain that leads to signs of aggression in Shar-Peis. 

You may be wondering: How are Shar-Peis with other pets? Given the breed's history as a fighting and hunting dog, this breed can act aggressively towards other dogs. Shar-Peis do best in households where they are the only pet. If you have other pets in the home, socialization from a young age is key, and play with other dogs is best supervised.    

A well-socialized Shar-Pei who has been properly trained from a young age should not exhibit aggressive behaviors. It's important to remember that aggression is not a trait that is specific to any particular breed, but rather a behavior that can develop due to various factors.

Factors That Can Influence Aggression in Shar-Peis

There are several factors that can influence whether a Shar-Pei becomes aggressive. Understanding these factors can help you prevent aggression from developing in your Shar-Pei.


Genetics can play a role in a dog's temperament. Some dogs may be more prone to aggressive behavior due to their inherited traits. However, this doesn't mean that a dog will definitely become aggressive -- it just means they may be more susceptible to it.

It's important to research the lineage of a Shar-Pei before bringing a puppy home. If a dog's parents or grandparents exhibited aggressive behavior, it's possible that these traits have be passed down to your pup as well. However, genetics is just one piece of the puzzle and environment and upbringing play a significant role as well.

Lack of Socialization

Socialization is crucial for any dog breed, and Shar-Peis are no exception. A lack of proper socialization can lead to fear and anxiety, which can in turn lead to aggressive behavior. Shar-Peis that have not been exposed to different environments, including people and other animals from a young age, can grow up to be weary of unfamiliar things as being a threat. 

Health and Environmental Issues

Health issues in a Shar-Pei can also contribute to aggression. For instance, they are prone to certain skin conditions due to their wrinkles. If they are in pain, they may become irritable and show signs of aggression.

A peaceful and loving environment can also help reduce the chances of aggressive behavior. On the other hand, a stressful or abusive environment can lead to fear and aggression.

Signs of Aggression in Shar-Peis

It's important to recognize the signs of aggression in Shar-Peis to prevent any potential harm. These signs may include growling, snarling, snapping, and biting. They may also show signs of fear or anxiety such as pacing, trembling, and excessive barking.

Remember, these signs don't necessarily mean your Shar-Pei is aggressive. They may be reacting to a certain situation or they may be in pain. It's always best to consult with a professional if you notice any changes in your dog's behavior.

Managing and Preventing Aggression in Shar-Peis

So, how can you manage and prevent aggression in Shar-Peis? Here are some tips that can help.

Early Socialization and Training

As mentioned earlier, early socialization and training are key in preventing aggression. Expose your mini Shar-Pei puppy to a variety of people, dogs, and environments from a young age. This can help them become more comfortable in different situations and reduce the likelihood of fear-based aggression.

Training should also start early and be consistent. Use positive reinforcement methods and avoid harsh punishments. Instead, focus on rewarding good behavior and gently correcting bad behavior. Remember, you want your Shar-Pei to associate training with positive experiences.

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is important for all dogs, and Shar-Peis are no exception. Exercise can help reduce anxiety and aggression by providing an outlet for your dog's energy. A tired dog is a happy dog!

Try to provide your Shar-Pei with a mix of physical and mental exercise. This could include walks, playtime, and puzzle toys. Remember, a well-exercised dog is less likely to exhibit problem behaviors such as aggression.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If your Shar-Pei is showing signs of aggression, it's important to seek professional help. A professional dog trainer or behaviorist can help identify the cause of the aggression and provide you with a plan to manage and reduce it. Never punish your dog for aggressive behavior. This can only make the situation worse. Instead, try to understand the root cause of the aggression and address it appropriately.

Remember, aggression is a serious issue that should not be ignored. It's important to address it as soon as possible to prevent it from escalating.


So, do Shar-Peis get aggressive? The answer is not a simple yes or no. While Shar-Peis can be standoffish and protective, they are not naturally aggressive dogs towards humans. Aggression in Shar-Peis, like in any dog breed, can be influenced by a variety of factors including genetics, lack of socialization, and lack of training.

However, with early socialization, consistent training, and regular exercise, you can help prevent aggression in your Shar-Pei. And remember, if your Shar-Pei is showing signs of aggression, don't hesitate to seek professional help. With the right approach, your Shar-Pei can be a loving and well-behaved member of your family.

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