What To Expect From A Shar-Pei Lab Mix?

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A Shar-Pei Lab Mix AKA Lab Pei is a designer mixed breed dog that is the result of mixing the popular Labrador retriever with a Chinese Shar-Pei.

The result is a medium-sized dog that hopefully offers the best of both worlds.

Generally, a Lab Pei should be a friendly and loving member of the family like a Lab but have the guard dog instincts of a Shar-Pei and raise the alarm at home when something is not right.

Shar Pei Lab Mix

They should be intelligent and highly trainable like a Lab but have the independence of a Shar-Pei that allows them to tolerate being left alone for extended periods of time.

They should have a coat somewhat like a Lab but less wrinkles than a Shar-Pei, meaning fewer skin issues.

This is the ideal breeders are looking for when they mix a Labrador retriever and a Shar-Pei, but this kind of breeding can be unpredictable.

As a result, it is often difficult to know exactly what to expect from any Lab Pei puppy. 

Read on as we take a closer look at the most important characteristics of the parent breeds and how they are likely to combine in a Lab Pei to help you decide if the Lab Pei is the right dog for you!

Shar-Pei Lab Mix – What To Expect

FYI, you’ll notice we use the breed name interchangeably.

Shar-Pei Lab Mix = Lab Pei

Read on!

Vital Statistics

  • Breed: Mixed breed combining Shar-Pei and Labrador retriever
  • Height: 18 to 20 inches
  • Weight: 55 to 70 pounds
  • Lifespan: 8 to 12 years
  • Coat: Short-to-medium coat with medium shedding and block color
  • Trainability: Intelligent but stubborn and sensitive
  • Energy: High energy but with a tendency to overheat
  • Temperament: Loyal but wary of strangers and relatively independent

History Of The Breed

The Shar-Pei originates from southern China and seems to be a very old breed, as it closely resembles statues of dogs dating from the Han Dynasty around 2,000 years ago.

It is certainly a basal breed that predates the modern breeds of the 19th century.

In China, they were used as guard dogs in the early 20th century, but the breed almost became extinct by the 1970s due to war, famine, and political turmoil. In 1978, it was named the world’s rarest dog breed, with only 60 remaining in the world.

The breed was saved in the early 1970s when Matgo Law, a businessman from Hong Kong, appealed to international kennel clubs to help save the breed.

Following intensive breeding, much of it unscrupulous, the Shar-Pei was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1992.

In the United States, Shar-Peis are often bred to be smaller than the standard, measuring no more than 16 inches tall and having extra wrinkly skin!

On the other hand, the Labrador retriever is a younger dog bred in England in the 19th century using Canadian dogs that worked as fisherman’s close companions.

They were bred to retrieve game from land and water.

Labradors are known for being highly intelligent and naturally friendly, which is why they make excellent working dogs, especially in roles as service dogs.

The Labrador is among the most popular breeds both as a pet and guide dog.

Breeders started experimenting with mixing the two breeds in the 1990s.

The aim was to reduce the shedding of Labrador coats by mixing it with the lower shedding Shar-Pei and to improve the credentials of the Lab as a dual companion and guide dog.

While this breeding has been relatively successful, mixed breed dogs can still be somewhat unpredictable.

Appearance

Both Labrador retrievers and Shar-Peis are medium-sized dogs, though Labs are notably the larger of the two. This is why you can always expect the Lab to be the mother in an Z1 Lab Pei.

Labradors usually measure between 20.5 and 22.5 inches in height, and they weigh 45 to 80 pounds. Shar-Peis are smaller, measuring 17 to 20 inches and weighing 35 to 45 pounds.

It is unusual to see a Lab Pei that measures more than 20 inches, and they typically weigh 50 to 60 pounds, but they can be heavier, up to around 70 pounds.

The dog will be a solid block color. Labs are black, chocolate, or golden. Shar-Peis can be any block color other than white, but they are most commonly black, red, fawn or cream.

They can appear like their color is textured, but this is more due to folds of the skin creating dense areas rather than actual color.

However, Shar-Peis do have a distinctive black tongue, and the skin around the muzzle also tends to be darker. You can expect your Lab Pei to be any of these solid colors.

Labrador retrievers are known for their thick and soft double coat, which is beautiful and protective but also sheds a lot! The Shar-Pei has a short, harsh, and bristly coat that is low-shedding.

Breeders will try to prioritize the low-shedding coat in Lab Pei puppies, but it is not always possible to control for this, and your dog could have either coat.

Labradors have an athletic build with a square and long muzzle and long floppy ears.

Shar-Peis have a melon-shaped head with a flat, broad muzzle. While they have athletic bodies, their heads are proportionately large.

They also have clam-shell ears and excess skin that causes deep wrinkles.

How these physical characteristics will combine in a mixed pup is difficult to predict.

Very often you will see dogs with the longer muzzle of a Lab but the clam-shell ears or a Shar-Pei, though slightly longer than normal.

Skin wrinkling is expected, but to a much lesser extent than on a purebred Shar-Pei.

Whichever coat your dog receives, they will need quite a bit of grooming! Lab coats need to be brushed regularly to remove excess hair and limit shedding.

Wrinkle coats mean frequent bathing to keep bacteria that can form in skin folds under control and prevent infections.

Temperament

Labrador retrievers and Shar-Peis have opposing temperaments.

Labs are innately friendly dogs that love everyone and get on well with children, strangers, and other animals. Meanwhile, Shar-Peis are naturally wary and can be aggressive.

They are likely to bark at strangers and chase and attack smaller animals if not properly socialized from a young age. 

From a Lab Pei, you can expect something between the two.

They will probably bond quickly with your family and can be taught not to chase the cat if socialized early, but will continue to be wary of strangers, making  them a better guard dog than a pure Lab.

Labradors are highly intelligent and motivated to please, which makes them very easy to train. They bond quickly and are innately loyal, so they are easy to control, even if you are a first-time owner.

Shar-Peis, on the other hand, are less intelligent, so they need more training to master new skills, and they can also be stubborn.

They are quite independent and will test you if you show weakness. They are also very sensitive, which means that they can respond badly to any kind of punishment. 

The result for a Lab Pei often means they are trainable dogs, but they need an experienced hand that can exert authority and won’t lose control in challenging situations.

While Labrador retrievers hate being left alone for long periods, Shar-Peis are independent and don’t really have a problem with this.

When you mix the two, the result is often a dog that can tolerate being left alone for much longer periods but would really prefer to be around you!

Energy

Labrador retrievers are known to be high-energy dogs that need lots of exercise, usually at least an hour a day. But Shar-Peis are lazier, needing only about half that.

They are also prone to overheating due to their wrinkly coat and breathing issues due to their relatively flat nose.

When you mix the two breeds, what you often get is a dog with lots of energy that might not be able to keep up with itself.

This means it’s important to take your dog out for regular exercise but monitor them carefully to ensure that they don’t do too much. Always have water and shade on hand for them to recover.

Labs love to swim, and their coats are designed for that purpose. Shar-Peis can either love or hate the water.

Whatever the preference of your Lab Pei, respect it, and don’t force them into the water if they clearly show that they don’t enjoy it.

Also, make sure you dry your dog thoroughly after swimming, especially if there are any wrinkles.

Both Labs and Shar-Peis can be prone to weight gain as they tend to overeat. This is because they are unable to tell when they are full, and loving parents seeing empty bowls give them more food.

You do need to carefully portion out your Lab Pei’s food and monitor their weight to find the right calorie balance for them.

Health

Both Labradors and Shar-Peis are prone to specific health conditions due to breeding practices that make these prevalent.

This is not to say that your dog will definitely have any of these conditions, but they are things you should monitor for so they can be dealt with swiftly and effectively if they do affect your dog.

Watch out for elbow and hip dysplasia, which is when joints form incorrectly, resulting in mobility issues and pain later in life.

One of the main reasons this happens is overexerting puppies, exacerbating growth issues.

Avoid this by limiting your dog to five minutes of exercise per day per month of age while they are a growing pup. A four-month-old pup should only have about 20 minutes of exercise a day.

Progressive eye issues are also common, and most Labs and Lab mixes will lose at least some of their sight as they enter their senior years.

Shar-Peis can have the additional issue of entropion, which is when the eyelashes grow inwards. This can be painful and cause blindness if not treated swiftly.

The skin of Shar-Peis comes with various health warnings, which are partially mitigated by mixing with a Lab.

Nevertheless, still keep an eye out from chronic skin allergies and dermatological issues.

Ear infections are also an issue, and they can be worse in Lab mixes as they tend to have longer ears that can completely close the ear canal.

Shar-Peis can also inherit a chronic disease that causes short fevers that can last one to three days and swelling around the ankles. A vitamin B12 deficiency is also very common in Shar-Peis and their offspring.

A Lab Pei will have a life expectancy of 8 to 12 years, and they will probably enter their senior years at around the age of seven.

Read more about senior dogs and their specific needs here.

How Much Is A Lab Pei Puppy?

You can expect Shar-Pei Lab mix puppies to be quite expensive and relatively difficult to find. While Shar-Peis are not at risk of extinction any more, they are still relatively rare when compared to other breeds.

Labradors are popular, but as well as being bred as pure, they are also popular in many mix breeds. This means there just aren’t that many Lab Peis being bred.

Expect to pay at least $1,000 for a Lab Pei puppy, and it could be more than double that depending on supply and demand where you live.

While some will turn up in shelters, since they are relatively rare, there aren’t many, and few rescues work specifically with the breed.

Interested in adopting a rescue dog? Find useful articles in our rescue dog archive.

Will You Adopt A Shar-Pei Lab Mix?

What do you think? Does a Lab Pei represent the best of both worlds when it comes to a friendly and compliant family pet and an effective guard dog?

As is the case with many dogs, their temperament and behavior will depend very much on their environment and not just their breed!

A dog that is properly socialized and trained from a young age can be a loving and friendly family pet that knows when to relax and when to be on high alert.

Finally, to recap, here are this breed’s key statistics at a glance once more:

  • Breed: Mixed breed combining Shar-Pei and Labrador retriever
  • Height: 18 to 20 inches
  • Weight: 55 to 70 pounds
  • Lifespan: 8 to 12 years
  • Coat: Short-to-medium coat with medium shedding and block color
  • Trainability: Intelligent but stubborn and sensitive
  • Energy: High energy but with a tendency to overheat
  • Temperament: Loyal but wary of strangers and relatively independent

Do you have a Shar-Pei Lab mix?

If so, tell us about your dog in the comment section below.

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Shar Pei Lab Mix - What to expect from a Lab Pei - Shar Pei walking in the grass

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Lab Pei: What To Expect From A Shar-Pei Lab Mix was last modified: April 6th, 2023 by LTHQ

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