The Chinese shar-pei were originally bred to be farm and guardian dogs. They are highly independent dogs, which the AKC standard describes as "intelligent and often stubborn." Shar-peis need a place of their own in which to sleep or in which they can feel secure. In addition to your dog's personal comfort, kennels and crates provide the means of securing your pet in the car when traveling or in the house when it is sick. A kennel run can also keep your dog from running away when outside.
The Chinese Shar-Pei
According to the AKC standard of perfection, shar-peis were bred to be multipurpose dogs with "moderate sound structure [that] allowed them to be perimeter guard dogs, working all day" in their roles as vermin control, herders and trackers. The ideal shar-pei is between 18 and 20 inches at the highest point of the shoulders and should weigh between 45 and 60 lbs. depending on its sex. Although a medium-sized dog, the Chinese shar-pei is also a powerful dog and requires a sturdy kennel of an appropriate size.
Wire and Plastic Crates
The most common kennels for indoor use are the wire crate and the plastic "airline" crate. Indoor kennels provide a den for your dog, where it can have privacy and security. A crate should be roomy enough for the dog to move comfortably and for it to have a blanket and a toy. According to the Chinese Shar-Pei website, a crate for a shar-pei should be at least 24 inches tall, even for puppies.
Traveling with a Shar-Pei
Your dog should be able to travel in a crate similar in size to its "den." When driving, your dog will benefit from a crate large enough to stand and turn in, but small enough so it won't shift around too much on sharp turns or going up and down hills. When flying with your dog you may be required to get a crate larger than its normal den, since some airlines require a certain amount of head space as well as that required for the movement of the dog. Check with the airline before buying your ticket, though, since some airlines do not allow shar-peis to travel as checked baggage.
Outdoor Kennel Runs
Despite their origins as farm animals, Chinese shar-peis are primarily inside dogs now. According to author Tanya Ditto, when providing an outside kennel for these dogs, the enclosed "house" part of the run should be large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around in, but small enough so that its bedding and its own body can warm the enclosure when the weather is cool or cold. The kennel run should be large enough for the dog to take several strides at a run, or about 16 feet long by 8 feet wide by 6 feet high. At least part of the run should be shaded.
- American Kennel Club: AKC Meet the Breeds: Chinese Shar-Pei; 1998
- "Shar-Pei (Complete Owner's Manual)"; Tanya Ditto; 2006
- American Airlines: Traveling with Pets
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images