The Shar Pei Lab mix, or Lab Pei, is a cross between two very different dogs. The friendly, active and outgoing Labrador and the loyal but more reserved Shar Pei.
Like any mix breed, the outcome of this cross is uncertain. Shar Pei Labs tend to inherit a mixture of both parents’ looks and personalities. They are usually medium sized, with some wrinkles. They are likely to be less friendly to strangers than a purebred Labrador, and a little trickier to train. But just as loyal to their close family. Let’s take a look at exactly what you can expect from a Shar Pei Lab mix, and what makes them unique.
People Often Ask…
- Are Shar Pei Lab mixes good family dogs?
- Are Shar Pei Lab mixes aggressive
- Where can I find a Lab and Shar Pei mix puppy?
- Do Lab Pei mixes have health issues?
What’s In This Guide
- Shar Pei Lab Mix At A Glance
- In-depth Breed Review
- Shar Pei Lab Mix Training And Care
- Pros And Cons Of Getting A Shar Pei Lab Mix
Shar Pei Lab Mix: Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dogs in the United States; Shar Peis are #65 on a list of 193 popular breeds
- Purpose: Companion
- Weight: 55-70 pounds
- Temperament: Loyal, potentially aloof to strangers
Shar Pei Lab Mix Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose of the Shar Pei Lab mix
- Lab Pei appearance
- Shar Pei Lab mix temperament
- Training and exercising your Shar Pei Lab mix
- Shar Pei Lab mix health and care
- Do Lab Peis make good family pets?
- Rescuing a Shar Pei Lab mix
- Finding and raising a Shar Pei Lab mix puppy
Origin Of The Shar Pei Lab Mix
The Shar Pei Labrador mix is often called the Lab Pei. While any mixed breed dog can occur by chance, the intentional Shar Pei and Lab cross as a “designer” mix goes back just a few decades. We can learn more about the potential of this mix by looking at the parent breeds.
Origin of the Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world… and for good reason! The Lab is a friendly, loving, and outgoing dog. Their charming personalities and love of play has made them the family dog of choice for many years.
Originally created as a working water dog in Canada, the Lab quickly became a favorite sporting dog. Retrievers like the Lab are used to gently retrieve small game like waterfowl brought down by a hunter. The Lab is an energetic and active dog, always eager to please and ready to play. But what about the exotic Shar Pei?
Origin of the Shar Pei
The Shar Pei, sometimes called the Chinese Shar Pei, differs from the Lab in both appearance and temperament. The Shar Pei is an ancient breed from China known for its loose wrinkly skin, short rough coat, and black tongue.
The personality of the Shar Pei is best described as devoted to its family but somewhat aloof and standoffish with strangers. It’s not as active as the Lab and is generally not recommended for households with young children.
What To Expect From A Shar Pei Lab Mix
Labrador Retriever mixes are especially popular, such as the Lab Poodle mix, known as the Labradoodle. The Shar Pei Labrador mix is less well known, but appeals to many people seeking unusual mixes.
Even though we have a good idea of the origins and specifics of the parent breeds, there’s no surefire way to know details of how the mix will turn out. The parent breeds give us a range to draw from, but appearance, temperament, and health issues will vary from pup to pup. That’s why it’s very important to educate yourself on both parent breeds before you make a life-long commitment to any mixed dog.
Shar Pei Lab Mix Appearance
The most important thing to keep in mind about physical traits of mixed breed dogs is that a cross can have any combination of either parent breed’s characteristics. A Chinese Shar Pei and Lab mix could have more of the physical characteristics of one breed or the other. There are no guarantees and it may be difficult to tell what your puppy will ultimately look like. Let’s look at both breeds and then the cross.
Labrador Retriever Appearance
The Labrador is a strong, medium-sized dog. The weight is between 50-80 pounds and height between 21.5-24.5 inches, depending on gender. The Lab’s head is sleeker than the Shar Pei’s, with larger ears and appealingly expressive and gentle eyes. Recognized Lab coat colors are solid yellow, black, and chocolate.
Shar Pei Appearance
The Shar Pei is also a sturdy, medium-sized dog. Their weight ranges from 45-60 pounds, and height at the shoulder is 18-20 inches. Males tend to be larger than females. The Shar Pei has a large head characterized by those distinctive folds and wrinkles. The ears and eyes are small in comparison to head size.
Shar Pei coat colors come in a range as well, including black, fawn, cream, red, and sand. Their coat is short and rough. The coat color can be solid or sable (black tipped hairs). Solid Shar Peis can have some shading, but not patterns or markings.
Lab Pei Appearance
Generally, a Lab Pei is a medium-sized dog, weighing between 55-70 pounds and standing 18-25 inches in height.
The appearance of the face and head is important to many potential Lab Pei owners. People tend to seek a cute mixture of the Lab’s sweet, expressive face with some of the Shar Pei’s wrinkling. The Lab Pei coat could favor either the Lab or the Shar Pei breeds or be a combination of both. Generally, it’s short, straight, and somewhat rough. The color can be cream, light brown, dark brown, or black. This means that whether you are looking for a yellow Lab Shar Pei mix, a chocolate Lab Shar Pei mix, or a black Lab Shar Pei mix, you can find one. Some Lab Peis may also have the sable tipping.
Shar Pei Lab Mix Temperament
As mentioned before, the Shar Pei and Lab mix have very different temperaments. While the Lab is friendly with everyone, the Shar Pei can be more reserved.
The Shar Pei is a more challenging breed for novice dog owners. They can be stubborn and dominant. They don’t always do well in homes with young children or other pets. Shar Pei’s were also historically bred as watchdogs, which means that there is the potential for aggressive behavior. Some veterinarians have even classified them as ”very aggressive.”
There’s no guarantee that your mix pup will inherit those Shar Pei tendencies — but there are no guarantees that they won’t, either. It’s difficult to predict what a Lab Pei puppy’s personality will be. Overall, they tend to be independent, loyal, and protective of their families. New owners should not expect the stereotypical Lab personality with a Lab Pei.
Shar Pei Lab Mix Socialization
Your Labrador Shar Pei mix will require socialization and obedience training from an early age. Because Shar Peis are known as “difficult” dogs, finding a professional trainer who has experience with the breed is recommended.
Proper training and socialization is important for all dogs, even if your Lab Pei is more Lab-like in personality. Even a little of that Shar Pei independence will make training from puppyhood on essential.
Training And Exercising Your Shar Pei Lab Mix
Exercise is another area where the two parent breeds have very different needs. Labradors are well known for being full of energy, and in need of at least an hour of exercise every day to keep them happy and healthy. Shar Peis, on the other hand, tend to need more moderate exercise, such as a few brisk walks rather than hours of running around playing.
If your mix seems to be taking after the Shar Pei parent, care should be exercised to ensure that they don’t overheat or get short of breath in hot weather, due to their shorter muzzle and skin folds.
Shar Pei Lab Mix Health And Care
Is the Shar Pei Lab mix a healthy mixed breed dog? Both parent breeds have some well-known genetic health issues. Your Lab Pei could inherit health problems from one or both parents, so it’s important to consider the potential issues from both breeds. Here’s what you should know about Labrador and Shar Pei health, and the health of Lab Peis.
Labradors can be prone to certain health conditions. These include:
- hip and elbow dysplasia
- a heart condition called tricuspid valve dysplasia
- autosomal recessive muscular dystrophy
- progressive retinal atrophy
- ear problems
- skin allergies
There are genetic tests available for many of these health conditions. Responsible Lab breeders will test their breeding stock and avoid passing diseases on to future generations. Your Shar Pei Lab mix breeder should provide proof that your puppy has healthy genetics on the Lab side.
Shar Pei Health
The Chinese Shar Pei has several genetic health conditions that new owners should be aware of. Additionally, there are health issues which are inherently associated with the Shar Pei skin folds. The unique Shar Pei head makes the breed prone to eye, ear, and respiratory problems. Conditions such as cherry eye, ear infections, and deflated muzzle are common.
A particularly aggressive type of mast cell cancer is often seen in the Shar Pei. They are also prone to a type of skin cancer called histiocytoma. Shar Peis should always be monitored for abnormal lumps and bumps.
The skin folds of the Shar Pei can lead to a serious skin condition called pyoderma. Pyoderma is a bacterial infection of the skin. While mild superficial cases are common in many breeds, Shar Peis can suffer from severe cases, due to moisture trapped in the skin folds.
Shar Pei Lab Health
What about the Shar Pei Labrador mix? Your Lab Pei can inherit health problems from both the Labrador and Shar Pei sides. Hip and elbow dysplasia and skin problems are the most common. Reputable breeders will health test for dysplasia and provide buyers with certified test results. The skin issues can be more problematic, as pyoderma is associated with the Shar Pei wrinkles.
Your Lab Pei puppy may grow up to have deep folds or moderate folds. This can determine how serious the skin problems will be. Special care always needs to be taken with the skin, ensuring that it remains clean and dry.
Shar Pei Lab Life Expectancy
According to studies, the average lifespan for Labradors is 10-12 years, and about 8-12 for Shar Peis. The actual lifespan for Shar Peis may tend to be even shorter, from 6-7 years, depending on health issues and the individual dog.
It’s impossible to predict an accurate lifespan for your mixed breed pup, but you can expect it to fall somewhere in those ranges. However, mixed breeds can sometimes be healthier than purebred dogs, and that may work in your dog’s favor.
Shar Pei Lab Mix Shedding
The Lab has a double coat, consisting of a soft thick undercoat and a dense weather-resistant top coat. Labs tend to be fairly heavy shedders, and they will lose their undercoats in warm weather. Shar Peis, on the other hand, have a much shorter, rougher coat, and are less prone to shedding. However, as there’s no sure way to tell which parent breed your dog will take after the most, it’s probably best to expect some shedding with this mix.
Lab Pei Grooming
Coat characteristics and grooming requirements are important to many people interested in the Lab Pei. While both breeds have short coats, they differ in both texture and grooming requirements.
Labs require regular weekly grooming and will need to be brushed a few times a week during shedding season. The Shar Pei has a short brush-like coat that requires less maintenance than a Lab’s. However, a Shar Pei has unique grooming requirements because of the wrinkly skin. It’s important to keep a Shar Pei’s ears and skin folds dry and clean.
Do Shar Pei Lab Mixes Make Good Family Pets?
As we’ve seen, there are some special considerations to keep in mind when thinking about acquiring a Lab Shar Pei mix. Health and temperament are of particular concern. A Lab Pei with excessive skin folds will require a significant amount of care to keep the skin clean and healthy. Other health concerns such as hip and elbow dysplasia, cancer, and eye disease should also be kept in mind.
A Shar Pei’s temperament is very different from a Lab’s. Potential owners should be careful not to assume that they will be getting a Lab Pei that perfectly combines the sunny Lab disposition with a few cute wrinkles! There are no temperament guarantees with mixed breed dogs, and the Shar Pei can have a challenging temperament for novice owners. Good training and socialization is a must for the Lab Pei.
If you love the idea of this mixed breed but shy away from the health concerns or potential temperament issues, there are other mixes to consider.
Rescuing a Shar Pei Lab
If you have the right home for a Lab Pei, it is possible to find an adult Shar Pei Lab mix through an animal shelter or rescue group. Since they are not as common as some other Lab mixes, finding one may require patience.
As these dogs have so many potential health concerns, adopting an adult may be the kindest and best thing to do. Please make sure to consider whether you are able to offer the needed care for this mix. And remember that there may be a wide variety in appearance, with everything from coat color to size. You may set out looking for a black Lab Shar Pei mix only to find that you fall for a fawn Shar Pei Lab mix instead.
Shar Pei Lab Breed Rescues
It is often difficult to find breed rescues for mixed breeds. This is true in the case of the Labrador and Shar Pei mix. If you’re set on this mix, talk to reputable Labrador Retriever and Shar Pei rescue organizations and let them know that you’re interested in a Lab Shar Pei mix.
Animal shelter search engines like Petfinder allow potential adopters to narrow searches by breed. Unsure if your dog is a true Lab Pei? Genetic dog breed tests are widely available. If you’ve come across any breed rescues for this mix, please let us know in the comments!
Finding A Shar Pei Lab Puppy
Although the Lab Pei is a relatively unknown mix, mixed breeds as a whole are growing in popularity. So you may be able to find a Shar Pei Lab mix puppy. However, there are a few things to note.
Avoid buying a Lab Pei puppy sight unseen from a seller on the Internet. Your puppy could be coming from a large scale, for-profit breeding operation known as a puppy mill. Breeding animals used in mills are often kept in inhumane conditions and are not health tested for genetic diseases. An unhealthy mill puppy could cost you many thousands in vet bills over the dog’s lifetime. For more specifics on finding a puppy, take a look at our puppy search guide.
Shar Pei Lab Mix Breeders
How do you find a Shar Pei Lab puppy? Shar Pei Lab puppies are available from breeders, but potential buyers need to be very careful about ensuring that they pick a reputable breeder. It is always best to work with local, small breeders who welcome potential buyers into their homes. It’s important to see the kennel, meet the breeder, and meet your dog’s parents, if possible.
Your breeder should be able to provide you with genetic health test results. Not all health issues have genetic tests, but many do. For dysplasia, your breeder’s vet will send x-rays to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals to be officially graded.
Shar Pei Lab Mix Products And Accessories
Getting ready to outfit your new best friend? Here are a few curated suggestions for products for Lab mixes like the Lab Pei!
Is A Shar Pei Lab Right For Me?
To summarise, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of getting a Shar Pei Lab mix.
- Has significant risk of inherited health issues
- May be aggressive or standoffish
- Will require lots of socialization and training
- Potential for very brief lifespan
- May not be suitable as a family dog
- May require careful grooming
- Likely to be very loyal
- Almost certain to be intelligent
- May be an excellent pet for a family without young children
Your Shar Pei Lab
Do you have a Shar Pei Lab? We’d love to hear all about them in the comments below.
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References And Resources
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- O’Neill et al. 2013. Longevity and Mortality of Owned Dogs In England. The Veterinary Journal
- Adams VJ, et al. 2010. Results of a Survey of UK Purebred Dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
- Schalamon et al. 2006. Analysis of Dog Bites In Children Who Are Younger Than 17 Years. Pediatrics
- Duffy D et al. Breed differences in canine aggression. Applied Animal Behavior Science 2008
- Strain G. Deafness prevalence and pigmentation and gender associations in dog breeds at risk. The Veterinary Journal 2004
- Packer et al. 2015. Impact of Facial Conformation On Canine Health. PlosOne
- Beuchat, C. “The Myth of Hybrid Vigor in Dogs…is a Myth.” The Institute of Canine Biology, 2014.
- “Health News.” The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc.
- Vidt, J. “Breed Problems in the Shar-Pei.” Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America, Inc.
- Moriello, K.A. “Overview of Pyoderma.” Merck Veterinary Manual.
This article has been extensively revised and updated.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website