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Shar-Pei Cost: The Price Is Sharp, Eh?

Shar-Pei Cost: The Price Is Sharp, Eh?

Googling a breed of dog you like is inevitably going to end with a “cost” search. More often than not, you will utter something similar to “oof” or “wow” because getting a puppy from reputable breeders is very expensive.

The Shar-Pei cost is dependent on several things. We will go through all of the information you need to get to that oofing or wowing stage. Most things that are good are also expensive, but you might end up getting one regardless.

Seeing a Shar-Pei and that absolutely glorious wrinkly face just pushes you to go price-checking all over the internet, so let me tell you how much you should pay for those big money wrinkles.

How Much Should I Pay For A Shar-Pei?

three shar pei puppies in a basket

Ideally, you should get one for free, but we are pretty sure that will not happen unless you are gifted one. If you are that lucky and have family or friends that love you, I applaud their effort to keep your wallet nice and fat by subsidizing the Shar-Pei cost.

The average price for a Shar-Pei is around $1000. This means that most breeders value their Shar-Pei dogs at around that price. The availability of much higher-prized bloodlines means that there is a price range that goes well beyond $1000.

How much should you pay? That is entirely on you and your financial capability. However, I advise you to consider additional costs too.

I have those ready for you further down in the article. For starters, here is a table of first time and annual/monthly costs.

A Table Of First Time Expenses For The Shar-Pei

ItemCost
Puppy$1000-$1500
Vaccinations$100-$150
Microchip$40-$60
Neuter/Spay$60-$500
Poop bags$20
Food$80-$100
Bowls$10-$30
Leash/Collar$30-$50
Toys$30-$50
Bed$50-$200
Crate$50-$350
License $20-$30$20-$30
Deworming/Anti-Pest$70-$200
Total Initial Cost$1640-$4860

Table Of Yearly Adult Shar-Pei Cost

ItemCost
Food$450-$950
Vaccinations$100-$250
Deworming/Anti-Pest$150-$250
General Vet Care$200-$400
Pet Insurance$450-$900
Grooming$150-$350
Poop bags$20
Leash/Collar$30-$50
Toys$50-$150
Bed and Crate$150-$400
Annual Total$1750-$3750
Cost Per Month$145-$312

Getting A Rescue Shar-Pei

Shar-Pei dogs are not that common a dog breed. People who get one as a gift or buy it from a shady breeder usually realize how many health problems their particular dog has and abandon it.

It is due to uninformed decisions, that these things happen all the time.

A rescue Shar-Pei does not have to be from a bad breeder. There are many cases where high-quality bloodlines get abandoned simply due to their high upkeep.

Adopting a Shar-Pei from a rescue levels the playing field and you can get an amazing dog for a price between $100 and $500.

If you think about it, that is a great deal. However, you could also get one for free if you decide to expand your search to shelters or rescue centers.

This option kills two birds with one stone — you get your dream dog for an acquisition cost of zero dollars and help it escape the confines of the shelter’s cages.

Keep in mind that many Shar-Pei dogs with a suspiciously low price can be from puppy mills.

The “breeders” who are in this business of unethical breeding deduct a lot from the puppies’ cost simply because health screenings are not performed due to their unregistered status.

Buying A Chinese Shar-Pei Puppy From A Shar-Pei Breeder

If you want the “real deal” with health guarantees, bloodline and AKC-approved certifications, then you will pay a hefty premium to get a custom-to-order puppy or adult. Yes, you can get adult dogs too, and let me tell you: they are not cheap.

An adult dog that is still with the breeder is usually a Dame or Sire (a female or male parent of a show quality bloodline). In most cases, they are not for sale, but if such a scenario occurs, you are looking at $5000 dollars and more for one.

Offspring from the same line, for example, would cost you an average of $2500 or more. There is no going around these high price tags if you want a quality dog. If you have no clue as to why their cost is so high, let me explain.

Why Are Shar-Peis So Expensive?

shar pei puppy standing on the lawn

Purebred Shar-Peis are an amazing breed. They originated in China and possessed a feature combination that the western world had not seen before.

Skin folds on their medium-sized bodies with a muscular build and incredible watchdog instincts with a mild temper made the Shar-Pei the perfect family dog. Their role of guard dogs in the Chinese empire was welcomed in the West too.

You can tell from this brief description that the Shar-Pei breed is an exceptional choice for a loyal and unique-looking canine family member.

Part of their matchless status in the dog world (except for maybe the Chow Chow) comes from this set of features that are highly sought after in the modern world.

A strong, mild-tempered, healthy guard dog with head turning looks commands a high price.

Putting things into context, the Shar-Pei average price is pretty low when compared to some other breeds like a Chow Chow. Chows from reputable breeders cost upward of $3000.

There are several factors that directly impact the price of a Shar-Pei dog: age, coat color, breeder choice and bloodlines. Let us quickly go through them.

Old Dog VS Puppy?

I briefly referred to high-quality bloodline parents being expensive beyond measure. They are the exception to the rule. A genetically healthy dog that produces equally healthy Shar-Pei puppies is quite an asset to have.

They are expensive because they represent a long-term investment by the breeder. However, dogs that are too old to be used in breeding or never were “hot prospects” can be bought for a reasonable price.

Do not count on high-quality Dames or Sires because the owners usually sell them to other breeders or keep them until death.

Let us not talk about such grim topics and move on to young and spirited creatures.

Puppies are the bread and butter of the breeder business. They are more expensive than older dogs because you get a blank slate that can be somewhat tailored to your needs. Choosing the sex and color of your puppy comes at a price.

Common VS Unique Physical Features?

If the coat or color are rare and only have a chance of happening once in a blue moon, then you will see those four digit numbers go higher and higher. The bear coat Shar-Pei is an example of high cost selective breeding for cosmetic purposes.

Similarly, Shar-Pei coat colors add to the cost of getting a “lilac” or any other lottery-type coat colored puppy.

The AKC recognizes a bunch of colors as breed standard so you should be able to get lost in the options if you plan on getting a show dog.

An important piece of advice is to differentiate between an American Shar-Pei and Chinese Shar-Pei since they are slightly different in the way they were bred. They are different in physical appearance but have the same overall temper.

The prices are different because the Chinese Shar-Pei (the traditional Shar-Pei) does not come with the rarer coat colors or patterns like sable, blue, lilac etc.

If you are in the market for a unique looking Shar-Pei you will, most likely, be looking for an American Shar-Pei.

I almost forgot that a blue-black tongue is typical for purebred Shar-Peis, and one of the tell-tale signs of your bank accounts’ impending doom.

Breeder Reputation, Certifications And Other Papers

Choice of breeder is perhaps the biggest cost determiner. While a smaller scale breeder can charge as much as $1000 for a Chinese Shar-Pei, a larger breeder that has more than a couple high-quality litters per year will probably charge closer to the $2000 mark.

The price increase happens due to high demand and lengthy waitlists. Everyone is out there looking for a puppy, and now you even have to wait in line to get it?! Yes. That is correct.

American Kennel Club certified breeders that provide first year or longer health guarantees will most likely fall under the $1500 price range. If the bloodline is full of champions or grand champions the price will easily exceed $2000.

These show dog lineages often have three or more years of health guarantees that include health screenings deep into the ancestry line. That means no health issues are present in the offspring.

While socialization and dog training of the puppies or adult dogs can be included in the breeder’s asking price, oftentimes it is optional and can add to the price.

There Is More To Shar-Pei Price Than The Acquisition Cost

shar pei puppz standing indoors

So, you bought or adopted your first Shar-Pei for a hefty price or zero dollars. Now what? This is where you realize that getting all the necessary stuff should have been planned before purchasing the dog.

You cannot just get the dog and put it in your home. You need a designated place for the dog bed, toys to keep it entertained while you are not there, hygiene supplies, brushes, furminators and all the instruments for its grooming needs etc.

Here is what you will need to get before and after acquiring a puppy or adult dog.

Health

Purebred, high-quality dogs will give you greater peace of mind. That does not mean they cannot get sick. It simply implies that their susceptibility to congenital conditions is much lower than your run of the mill breeder’s dog.

There are several health conditions that the Shar-Pei can be prone to, and it is time we addressed them.

Hypothyroidism

Hypo is Greek for “down” or “under”. The thyroid gland secretes hormones that control many of the body’s key systems. The thyroid answers to the pituitary and, in tandem, they control our metabolism.

When thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T4) (the two hormones produced by the thyroid) are low in level, the entire metabolism slows down. This means that every other part of the body suffers the consequences.

The two principal causes for hypothyroidism in Shar-Pei dogs are lymphocytic thyroiditis or idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy.

Lymphocytic thyroiditis is predominantly the culprit behind hypothyroidism and the two combined are causes of 95% of hypothyroidism in dogs.

Even though the condition is incurable there are treatments with synthetic thyroid hormones administered orally. Here is a table with minimum costs associated with hypothyroidism test panels.

Thyroid Panel 1$50
Thyroid Panel 2 $60
Complete Urinalysis $35
Test to monitor T4 levels$75
Thyroid blood panel$110
Complete Blood Count test, Blood Chemistry Test, and T4 levels$190

If you do not have pet insurance, you should consider getting it since some, if not all, costs can be covered by the insurance.

Hip Dysplasia

This is another condition that hits medium-sized dogs and targets the hip joint. While the disease develops during the dog’s early age it can progress over years.

A deformed femur or “ball” does not properly sit inside the hip socket and the dislodgement causes both bone and cartilage to wear out. The process causes permanent damage and slowly lowers the dog’s ability to move without pain and discomfort.

Depending on the stage the dysplasia is in, there are two types of treatment: NSAIDs or surgery. The latter is necessary when anti-inflammatory drugs simply cannot reduce the joint inflammation and the dog cannot move discomfort free.

Surgery cost varies and is based on the type of surgery performed on the dog. The three main types are Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO), Double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO) and Total Hip Replacement (THR).

FHO $1500-$2500+Includes pre-surgical bloodwork, procedure, anesthesia, post-surgical care, and medications.
DPO/TPO $3000+Includes pre-surgical bloodwork, procedure, anesthesia, post-surgical care, and medications.
THR$7500-$14000Includes pre-surgical bloodwork, procedure, anesthesia, post-surgical care, and medications.

Keep in mind that all of these surgery options include a rather lengthy and intense recovery period where the dog has to be kept a close eye on. Vet checkups are also frequent so that recovery can be properly monitored.

Glaucoma

Eye conditions are not uncommon among dogs. Some breeds are more susceptible to them than others, and glaucoma is among the most frequent diseases.

It can be described as the eyes’ being unable to properly drain the aqueous liquid. This is caused by increased ocular pressure and has two stages: primary and secondary glaucoma.

The treatment of acute glaucoma cases is urgent and requires a prompt reaction and visit to the vet or animal hospital. It consists of mechanically removing the fluid from the ducts. Chronic cases and healed acute cases require medication.

The cost for treating glaucomas in Shar-Peis is between $2000 and $3500. This does not include additional care after surgery.

Primary glaucomas usually lead to complete blindness, while secondary glaucoma has a chance of preserving partial eyesight.

Heartworm

This is a very serious parasitic infection that involves worm larvae entering the dog’s body.

The larvae themselves cannot be detected in the body, but five or six months after infection a test can be performed to reveal an adult worm specific antigen.

The adult worm lives in the heart of the dog and reproduces in it. The symptoms in the first stage of the infection can be non-existent and become more serious as it develops.

Most often, there will be refusal of physical activity, fever, lethargy and loss of appetite.

Treatment has to be administered carefully as the toxins that are injected in the dog’s body can overwhelm the immune system and cause a shock to the organ systems.

While the contents of this parasite killing toxin are not harmful for the dog, there are reactions that can include death.

The tests themselves cost between $20 and $40 but if the disease proceeds to the more serious stages, therapy can cost progressively more.

Steroid therapy costs $10-$40 and the final round of injections to kill off the adult worms can cost between $500 and $1500 (cost depends on dog weight).

This is why prevention is cheaper as the larvae infection treatment costs $6-18$. Deworming with wide spectrum antiparasitic medication is only effective with worms that live in the dog’s intestine.

An added cost can be NSAIDs ($10-$40) in case your dog’s exercise needs are causing pain while the infection is active.

Entropion

Simply put, this is a condition where the eyelids are rolled inwards. The only treatment is surgery and it does not come in cheap. Choosing a reputable Shar-Pei breeder can save you a lot of money in the future.

The treatment involves three procedures to correct the eyelid and they all require healing between each other.

Specialized eye surgeons will have a higher price that ranges from $1000 to $2000, while general veterinarians charge $200-$800.

Food

shar pei eating from a bowl

Dog food is something we just do without thinking about the amount of money involved. Depending on what kind of diet you plan on feeding your dog you can have monthly expenses anywhere between $80 and $120 per month.

That is no small amount of money. First-year costs hit hardest when you get a puppy. They grow very fast, their interest waiver from one thing to another.

Foods that you bought for a puppy can be eaten by adult dogs but their nutritional requirements differ so it is not advisable.

If you plan on feeding your dog a raw diet, your costs will be even higher. Organic and certified, high-quality raw ingredients are very expensive. Add nutritional supplements to that and you can get up to a $200 figure really fast.

Bedding

Dog beds usually go for around $200 dollars. The larger the dog, the pricier the bed will be so you are maybe looking at slightly less than $200 for a Shar-Pei.

You can, of course, go with a simple solution like a blanket, which will set you back around $30.

Perhaps your dog will prefer to lie on the carpet instead of the bed or you can go for a DIY bed if you like taking part in your dog’s snooze activities.

Toys

This one is a money pit. I dare not think about the total spent on toys my dog would not even look at. From my experience, they enjoy the simple things like pieces of furniture, common household objects like rubber bands, bolts of wool, remotes, shoes etc.

If you spend money on toys, make sure your dog shows some interest in them. Otherwise, you will just be wasting money.

Your Shar-Pei will probably enjoy some chew toys, a couple of tug toys that will last and maybe some puzzle games to stimulate the brain.

This should all be covered with $100 though I believe you can get the toy department sorted under $50 too.

Third Party Services

Shar-Pei dogs need intense grooming and if you want to save money you will have to ditch the groomer. You can learn to enjoy brushing and grooming your dog and save some money.

If you are a busy person who spends a lot of their day out of home, then maybe you should reconsider getting a Shar-Pei. This breed needs organized physical activity and planned walks will be costly if you hire a dog walker.

Find out more about dog walking in our How Often Do You Walk Your Dog? Learn The Desirable Frequency article.

Cutting To The Chase

shar pei dog in a meadow

Phew… We finally got the rough numbers of the Shar-Pei cost. If you felt your lifespan was shortened with every consecutive item on the list and its associated cost, do not worry, you are not alone.

Having an ancient breed of dog that emperors used as a guard dog is difficult on a normal human’s budget and such an undertaking requires extensive planning ahead.

Seeing the estimate of monthly, annual and first time costs can be overwhelming at the beginning, but it gets easier once you see your puppy thrive in his new home.

There is nothing more satisfying than living with a happy canine by your side. Cost is important, not only for our financial plans, but also the dog’s wellbeing.

Going for the rescue dog purely for the fact that it is, virtually, free does not mean you will get a dog for free. It simply means you are rectifying someone else’s mistake which automatically gives you additional points as a human being.

Plan your dog acquisition as you would your wedding or vacation and you should be on track to finding out if you really can afford it.

Alas, go into the sunset with Shar-Pei and leash in hand knowing you made the right decision.

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