Shar Pei Lab Mix – A Complete Guide To The Lab Pei Dog

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shar pei lab mix

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.

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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

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.

shar pei lab mix

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.

shar pei lab mix

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.

Your individual puppy could favor one breed more than the other or resemble both somewhat equally. New owners should be prepared for any combination of traits.

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.

For specific training tips, check out our guides to crate training and potty training.

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.

Labrador Health

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
  • obesity
  • 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.

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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.

The Labrador Shar-Pei cross, What you need to know! - Your complete dog breed guide.

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.

Regardless of which breed your mixed pup resembles the most, it’s important to dedicate the proper amount of time to grooming for the needs of the individual dog.

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.

Unlike Labs, Shar Peis don’t always do well in households with young children or other pets. A Lab Pei may do best as an only pet in homes with adults and older children.

Similar Breeds

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.

shar pei lab 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.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

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.

Cons:

  • 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

Pros:

  • 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.

References And Resources

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

7 COMMENTS

  1. I rescued my aprox. 2 year old Labpei from the shelter 4 mos. ago. He was so reserved and sad. He had been picked up after being caught in a bad street fight. They told me that he could be a challenge. Especially around other dogs and cats. And I have no idea how he will be with small children. So far he has turned out to be the first rescue dog of our dreams, extremely loyal, loving, protective and intelligent. He has the loose skin of a Shar Pei. And sheds when it gets hot. He loves to run fast around in circles in our yard, can understand about 15 words so far. His favorite things are cheese and likes riding in the back seat of our car lying down contently the best! As long as I keep him in on a schedule, and am consistent with my commands, everything has been wonderful. From now on, I don’t think that I will have any other dog in the future unless it is a rescue dog. They remind you at every chance to remind you how thankful they are to have found you.

  2. We rescued a Shar pei x Lab 4 yr’s ago, she is the sweetest dog, loves my grandkids (aged 9, 8, 15 and 5 months. I*s very protective of them. We rescued her on her 1st birthday and she was quite a handful to start with. We were her 4th family to have her, She hated the postman (and still does), workmen with boots on, the sweeping brush (but doesn’t mind the hoover)Sits and grumbles at the window if anyone walks past, even people who she has seen going past in the 4+ years we have had her lol. Dread to think what she has went through before we rescued her, but she is loved and cared for always xx

  3. I rescue a sharpie lab in 2014 which we believ to be a year old. She has the purple tongue and the small ears. Since we travel for work in our RV we were looking for a good guard dog that was small in size. She was a handful at first she differently had her own mind as what she wanted to do. She needed consistency with what she could do and not do. After a year she began to come around. We have had her now for 7 years and she is the perfect companion. We have her with at all our shows and she is loves attention. We did have to work with her around children she appear not to be as friendly towards them. I would not recommend her as a family pet.
    For medical issue she has had ear infections and the eyelids needed to have surgery. Her wrinkles are only in the face so I have not had many skin issues. I believe she has the lab coat. As far as being protective she has differently proven this quality. She only barks when there is a reason so when she barks it will get my attention. I think I have only heard her bark maybe 20 times. Also we live where there is a issue with coyotes. She has see them not on our property and has not gone after them. However one day a coyote came up onto my patio where I was gardening and she was next to me she took after that coyote and ignore my commands when I saw the second coyote come up from behind her as she ran onto the cattle ranch I thought for sure I had loss her. After searching for her she showed up about three hours later with not one scratch on her.

    As far as other pets she is aggressive towards animals that do not below to anyone in our family. She is also protective of animals that are part of the family. After I had her for two years my granddaughter came to live with us and she wanted a kitten. I was not sure how this would work out. It took about three weeks of sitting with the kitten in my lap and telling her not to touch it before I knew it the kitten was hanging on her tail and as years went by we went on walks the kitten now a cat and if any other cat attempts to fight the my sharpie lab goes into action
    I can only say out all the dogs I have had this is has been my favorite breed

    As she gets older I would like to find another sharpie lab

  4. We rescued a bonded pair of Labpeis. They are the most loyal, intelligent, and gentle companions we have ever had. The female developed an aggressive cancer and her spleen ruptured suddenly at 14 yrs of age. Very heartbreaking. The male is 14.5 years and still relatively healthy. He stuffers from arthritis and can no longer use stairs. We have ramps everywhere for him.

    They are extremely gentle with the kids. We have free range chickens and turkeys and they never bother them. They are fairly lazy, and prefer to cuddle instead of jogging. I highly recommend a Labpeis.

  5. We found our Lab Pei in a dog rescue and fell in love with him instantly. He has a chocolate coloured coat with a black stripe down his back. He has a lot of fur around his neck and when you cuddle him that’s when his face might show the folds and wrinkles but you wouldn’t know otherwise. He does however have the Shar Pei ears and used to get frequent infections but with the vets help we now just use an ear solution twice a month, he’s not had an infection for almost a year now.
    Shedding alot of fur like a Lab happens at least four times a year and then back to normal for the rest of the time. Brushing definitely helps with this. We have not experienced any skin problems. He is also extremely clean, more so than any other dog I know. He will start to lick himself clean almost as soon as he gets in the car after our walks, and if he gets wet he is beside himself trying to get dry until I bring the towel to him and then he’ll lie flat and just let me rub him all over, too adorable!
    He is independent, likes to be dominant but not in an aggressive manner, he gives out a subtle growl to let other dogs know he wants to be left alone. Took him a while to bond with us but we are definitely his family now, he is loyal, loving and very clever. He adores our Grandchildren and will sit and watch over them for ages.
    We trained him like we have trained all our dogs, being consistent, loving and making it fun. We think he was at least 15 mths old when he rescued him, he’s now about 6 years old. He gives us so much joy and love, we couldn’t be without him.

  6. We got an apricot shar pei five years ago and were told that they are very difficult to maintain and had a lot of sensitive issues and if not socialize at an early age they would not be appropriate for certain households. We found it completely false and have had absolutely no problem with him whatsoever. He had never been socialized since he had the surgery correcting the wrinkles that cause has eye lashes to be inverted. In training we were just consistent with him and we’re able to train him in no time. We treat him like we would treat any other dog and have had absolutely no sensitive issues that we were told we would have. One of the problems they do have however is every now and then their hocks get swollen. This requires a vet visit and nothing other than a vetoprofen. He scratches every now and then on his belly and we put hydrocortisone cream and that puts a stop to that without a problem. He is very socialized now as long as he is allowed to smell the person before that person reaches his master which is me. They love to go wherever you go and it is amazing how many people absolutely adore petting him and loving him and taking pictures of him and he actually enjoys it himself. Tell all of the problems and health issues that we were told we would have, we have had none. I think it’s how you approach your dog and how you allow your dog to meet people that they do not know. We do not allow our dog to meet another aggressive dog simply because we don’t care to have any bloodshed. But that would go for any breed of dog that is an alpha male and an aggressive dog. We do not take him to dog parks where they are all off leash. We let him outside of our front yard and as long as there are no other dogs being walked down the street he stays on his property, knows where his property lines are I know it’s very loyal and protective of his master’s. I think it’s how you raise your dog and nurture your dog as do you how he acts. He loves playing with children. We are always very close by just in case but we have never had any problem whatsoever with him with children or socializing him a stranger’s. So don’t believe everything you read about the Shar-Pei. Ours is delightful and wonderful and I cannot imagine my life without him anymore. He gets a bath every 3 months as directed. It’s not his most favorite thing but he reluctantly sits there and lets us do it and once it is done he shakes a couple of times and runs and runs and runs and runs and runs until he’s dry. You do have to watch but the apricot how pink they get when they say outside. They tend to dehydrate since their coats are quite thick so I keep a close eye on how pink he is getting when he is outside. We love our Shar-Pei and would not trade him for any thing else. I would not breed him with any other dog. He is already been bred enough.

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