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All dogs whether pedigree or cross breeds can develop or inherit health issues. 

The Shar Pei is no different and here we list some of the conditions that the breed may face.

Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG)/Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)

Primary open angle glaucoma, also known as POAG, is a painful condition where the pressure in the eye(s) increases over time eventually leading to blindness. Primary Lens Luxation (PLL) is a well-recognised, painful and blinding inherited eye condition that affects many breeds of dog, In affected dogs the zonular fibres which support the lens breakdown or disintegrate, causing the lens to fall into the wrong position within the eye. If the lens falls into the anterior chamber of the eye glaucoma and loss of vision can quickly result.  There is now a DNA test for these conditions available to ALL breeders. Together we can breed it out.

The DNA test which is done using a cheek swab will give one of the following results:


CLEAR: The dog has two copies of the normal gene and will neither develop POAG/PLL, nor pass a copy of the POAG/PLL gene to any of its offspring.


CARRIER: The dog has one copy of the normal gene and one copy of the mutant gene that causes POAG/PLL. It will not develop POAG/PLL but will pass on the POAG/PLL gene to 50% (on average) of its offspring.




AFFECTED: The dog has two copies of the POAG/PLL mutation and is affected with POAG/PLL.

The names and results of Kennel Club registered dogs that are tested for conditions which are part of the Kennel Club’s official testing schemes will be recorded on the Kennel Club database for recording on their database and will be made available: In the next available Breed Records Supplement On any new registration certificate issued for the dog and On the registration certificates of any future progeny of the dog On the Health Test Results Finder in the Kennel Club's online health resource, Mate Select.


This is the condition, which all prospective owners should be aware of, as there is only one prognosis – death. Anyone considering sharing his or her life with a Shar pei has to be aware of this.    Amyloidosis is a build up of protein usually in the kidneys or liver, which ultimately results in the failure of the organ. It is a genetic problem and currently there is no test available to determine whether a particular puppy will go on to develop the disorder. It was believed that Shar pei fever (see FSF) was a pre-cursor to amyloidosis and that if a dog suffered with fevers then it would develop amyloidosis. However, it has become apparent that this is not so....    A dog could suffer with fevers all of its life and die of old age and likewise, a dog could die from amyloidosis at a young age and never have a fever. At first, it was thought that one gene was responsible for both problems but today it is believed that each problem has its own gene(s).  Work funded by the Shar Pei Club of Great Britian, the Kennel Club and breed supporters is currently sequencing the genome of two dogs that have died of Amyloidosis in a bid to locate the genetic cause.  

Familial Shar Pei Fever (SFS/SHS)

This terminology was used many years ago when, without any warning, Shar pei (of any age) developed a raging temperature within a matter of hours. One minute the dog would be running around playing and the next minute show signs of complete lethargy. No reason for this has ever been diagnosed and in the early days, treatment was varied – ranging from the administration of antibiotics to steroids. Today, we are no further forward in knowing why these attacks occur, but have discovered that the treatment is purely to administer aspirin. The aspirin brings down the temperature very quickly – and just as quickly, the Shar pei returns to normal and shows no sign of having been ill. The fevers can manifest themselves in one of two ways – either in the face or in the hock joints. The latter has come to be known as “Hock Syndrome”. If the fever manifests itself in the face, the owner will notice that the face becomes swollen and will be very hot around the muzzle. An after-effect of this is that 1-2 days later, the padding on the face will subside. The padding will come back but may take some time to do so. If the fever manifests itself in the hock joint, the owner will notice that the joint itself becomes hot and stiff and the dog will not want to put the leg to the ground. The treatment for this is identical to the facial fever and aspirin administered.  To date, there appears to be no long-term damage or after effect.  Now SFS is considered part of SPAID.


SPAID is the term coined for a number of Shar Pei inflammatory conditions including Familial Shar-Pei Fever (FSF), arthritis, recurrent otitis, hereditary Cutaneous Hyaluranosis (HCH) – formerly “cutaneous mucinosis”.  It is also thought to contribute to a predisposition to aggressive mast cell disease, allergic dermatitis, cellulitis, streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome/Necrotizing Fasciitis, lymphangitis, lymphedema, Lymphangectasia, vasculitis, swollen hock syndrome (SHS) with or without pyrexia and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Two linkage tests have been developed one in Sweden and one in Germany, which may help breeders identify if there may be an increased risk in their breeding stock. However, at this stage the club is not requiring it's members to undertake either of these tests but is watching developments with close interest.


Shar pei, along with some other popular breeds, have a predisposition towards a condition known as entropion, whereby the eyelids may roll inwards, resulting in the eyelashes causing irritation to the cornea. Reputable breeders have made great strides to improve eyes and in most cases the need for surgery has been erradicated. However, anyone considering buying a Shar Pei should be aware of this problem and consult their breeder if a problem should arise.  Dedicated breeders are relentless in their pursuit to eradicate eye problems and great strides have been made over the last fifteen years. However, it must be said that this issue will not be resolved overnight and some puppies may still require “tacking”, but, if the progress is maintained in the next few years equal to that already made, then breeders are certainly on the right track and should be encouraged to continue their best practices. Eye tacking in young puppies should not be considered desirable or the norm.  And if you are thinking of buying a puppy with “show potential”, be reminded, in April 2008, the Kennel Club ruled that Shar pei who had been tacked after that date would not be eligible to be shown…so ask the question!

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