The Shar-Pei Pitbull mix is affectionately known as the Sharpull Terrier or Pit Pei, and they are a mixed breed that comes from a Chinese Shar-Pei and an American Pitbull Terrier. The Pitbull is a relatively common dog breed in the U.S., whereas the Shar-Pei is quite rare. Finding a responsible Sharpull Terrier breeder might be tricky, and finding one might require time and patience.
Once you do, you must know they can be challenging dog breeds. They need an experienced owner who can give them firm but fair training. Sharpulls can be excellent guard dogs for the family, but they might not appreciate other dogs in the home. But with the right family, they can make brilliant companions who shower you with love and loyalty. They’re super cute with their robust frame, cheeky smile, and unique hippo-like muzzle.
If you’re thinking about welcoming this rare and quirky-looking hybrid breed into your family, there are a few things you need to know about what they’re like as a family pet. We explore their history, personality, grooming requirements, training needs, puppy prices, and more. Curious to know if this is the right pooch for you and your family? We’ll take a closer look.
There isn’t much history regarding the Sharpull Terrier. Like most hybrid breeds, they were likely made in the U.S. in the late 20th century when new hybrid hounds became popular. Let’s explore their parent’s history and breed to get more of an idea about this pooch and what they might be like as a family pet.
American Pitbull Terrier
Although there are four “Pitbull type” breeds, the American Pitbull Terrier (APBT) is the breed that most people consider a Pitbull. There’s a lot of controversy around this breed because of their dog-fighting history. This is partly why the American Kennel Club (AKC) doesn’t officially recognize them as a breed.
Their descendants were from England and came from robust Bulldog and Terrier mixes. They came to America in the late 19th century, where they bred the largest and most powerful. Over time, they became known as the American Pitbull Terrier.
The American Pitbull Terrier is a stocky but proportionate medium-sized dog. They weigh between 35 and 60 pounds and stand between 17 and 21 inches tall, from paw to shoulder. They have a short and sleek coat that officially comes in any color other than merle. APBTs adore humans, and despite their hard-as-nails appearance, they are sensitive love bugs who hate being left alone. They need firm but fair training but well-socialized and trained pups can make an excellent family pet.
This ancient dog was a versatile companion for farmers who needed help with herding, hunting, and livestock protection. This “peasant’s dog” nearly became extinct when the communist regime took over China in 1949. But thankfully, a few were preserved in neighboring Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Shar-Pei came to America in the 1960s but wasn’t officially recognized by the AKC until 1992.
Chinese Shar-Peis are compact and squarely built pooches weighing between 45 and 60 pounds and measuring between 18 and 20 inches tall. The Shar-Pei is a unique-looking dog with a hippopotamus muzzle, tiny ears, lots of skin rolls, a black tongue, and sand-like fur. They are known for their independent and stubborn character with a strong streak of protectiveness. They meet strangers and other dogs with suspicion, but in the home, they are calm. This breed is unsuitable for first-time dog owners as they can be challenging.
As the Sharpull Terrier is a mixed pup, they can inherit any of their parent’s traits, so it’s important that you love both breeds. Some Sharpulls inherit a similar personality to one parent, whereas some puppies can be an equal blend of both. And this is something you won’t know about until they start to exhibit these traits. What you can prepare for is that they are likely to be stubborn and headstrong. So, you must have previous doggy training experience to get the best out of them.
Sharpull Terriers thrive in human company and love to be involved with everything you do. Their complete devotion to their favorite humans means they hate being lonely for too long. However, they also have moments when they need time out if they feel overstimulated. So, although they like to have you around, they aren’t as clingy as some other breeds, which some dog owners appreciate.
Sharpull Terriers are aloof with strangers and might not warm up to everyone. However, guests who visit the home regularly might receive special treatment thanks to the friendly Pitbull influence. They make excellent guard dogs who protect their family and home and won’t back down in the face of danger. But with their family, they are affectionate and can be absolute goofballs.
Size & Appearance
The Sharpull Terrier usually looks like a Pitbull with some quirky Shar-Pei features. However, puppies in the same litter can look very different from one another. Most Sharpulls weigh between 40 and 60 pounds and stand between 17 and 21 inches tall. This hybrid doesn’t have a breed standard, unlike pure breeds and some common mixed breeds. You can expect them to be a medium-sized dog with a blocky but athletic appearance.
Some Sharpulls have skin rolls around their face and neck, with a swollen-looking muzzle, resembling the famous hippo appearance, but others might not. By the time they reach adulthood, they should have grown into their rolls. Their tails are usually medium length and straight, although some might inherit the small and curled-up tail from the Shar-Pei. They have small triangular drop-down ears that look slightly too small for their head but are super adorable.
Coat & Colors
Sharpulls have a short coat that might be sleek, like the Pitbull, or rough to the touch, like the Shar-Pei’s coat. They are light shedders throughout the year and might shed a little heavier during the shedding months. Their short coat and fastidious habits mean they are very clean doggos and spend a lot of time cleaning themselves.
Sharpulls can inherit a wide range of coat colors, usually one solid color, but some pups have color patches. The only color they shouldn’t be is merle, as it doesn’t exist in either parent breed. They sometimes have darker features around the ears, muzzle, and along the spine. The color of their tongue might be blueish-black, giving them a unique feature compared to other Pitbull mixes.
Exercise & Living Conditions
Sharpull Terriers are active dogs who need around one hour of daily exercise. They need an active family who can commit to this. Otherwise, they become bored, frustrated, and very unhappy. The Shar-Pei is a low-energy breed, so they might not need as much as this. But the Pitbull is a medium to high-energy breed, so you should expect this mixed pup to sit somewhere in the middle. Invest in tough dog toys to keep their mind occupied throughout the day and prevent unwanted destructive behaviors.
Sharpull Terriers are adaptable as long as their needs are met. They can do well in apartments if they are adequately exercised. If you can offer them a yard to play in, they will appreciate it, but it must be secure. This pup can escape easily and might be tempted to get out to chase away passersby if they can. Given their tenacious and athletic Pittie genes, you must ensure your fences are high enough.
Sharpulls can live with dog-savvy children but won’t tolerate boisterous kiddos who don’t respect their space. Their Shar-Pei parent is renowned for disliking canine strangers and other animals, so they might not be a good fit for a multi-pet household. Although much of their tolerance comes down to early training, and some of these mixed pups might thrive with other animals, some won’t tolerate it.
These pups can develop a stubbornly dominant personality and a dislike of other doggos, which means they can be a handful. This is why they are not recommended for first-time owners, and owners must have experience with strong-willed and protective breeds. Training is a lifelong commitment. Despite them being a challenge to train, it is possible with early and consistent training. A professional dog trainer such as Doggy Dan can help if you struggle with anything training-related.
Early socialization is crucial if you want this pup to grow into a well-rounded adult. Expose them to new and unfamiliar situations as much as possible from an early age. Mix them with people, too, and invite visitors over so that they learn to accept new people into their homes. It would be best if you also introduced them to other dogs from an early age to increase their confidence around canines. Socialization is crucial for a healthy and confident relationship with other doggos. But bear in mind that they might not accept other dogs, and this is something you need to prepare for.
Crate training is crucial for this mixed pup for several reasons. Crate training means you can leave your dog home for short periods, knowing they are safely contained. It also means they can’t wander the house and destroy things if they become anxious or bored. This breed also needs a solo space away from everyone when they need time out, and a crate can offer them this.
A Sharpull Terrier is a generally healthy mixed breed and tends to be fitter than a purebred Shar-Pei. They have an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years. The key to a healthy doggo is high-quality nutrition, daily exercise, and keeping up to date with regular health checks and vaccinations. Consider pet insurance to help offset costs associated with healthcare. Let’s look at the main concerns that might affect this pup.
The Sharpull’s Shar-Pei parent is susceptible to multiple eye conditions that can be passed onto this pup. Thankfully, the Pittie’s genetic influence should limit these. The most common eye concerns to watch out for are progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), glaucoma, entropion, retinal dysplasia, and sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS). If you notice any changes in your dog’s eyes or suspect they have vision problems, take them to your vet for an examination. If left untreated, it can limit their quality of life and lead to vision loss.
This is a thyroid gland disorder that causes an imbalance of hormone production. This imbalance can lead to various symptoms, such as hair loss, lethargy, weight gain, seizures, and more. It can also cause secondary health issues. Although hypothyroidism isn’t curable, daily medication helps to manage it.
Elbow and hip dysplasia occurs when the joints develop abnormally and can cause joint pain. Symptoms of joint dysplasia include mobility problems, such as climbing the stairs or struggling to lie down or stand, as well as exercise intolerance. It’s an inherited condition, so working with a breeder who produces dogs with good joints is essential. Feeding them age-appropriate nutrition can help stabilize joint growth and minimize joint problems.
Skin conditions are one of the most likely health concerns to watch out for in this mixed pup, as both of their parents suffer from various skin conditions. The most common problems to be aware of are demodectic mange, seborrhea, pyoderma, and cutaneous mucinosis. They are also susceptible to skin conditions caused by allergies, which are the Pitties’s most common health troubles. You must see a vet for treatment if you discover patchy hair loss, itchy, sore, inflamed skin, severe dandruff, or a strong odor.
How much food you give a Sharpull Terrier depends on a wide range of factors such as age, activity levels, size, and the type of diet you feed them. Follow the feeding instructions on your chosen food, which can advise you how much to give them. Sharpulls can be greedy pups, so keeping them healthy and in shape is essential. If they become overweight, it increases their chances of experiencing joint problems that they are already prone to.
Always select a high-quality diet that lists protein as the first ingredient, carbs, healthy omega fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Look for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) label, which demonstrates it meets your dog’s nutritional requirements. Why not consider a high-quality fresh food service such as Nom Nom?
Sharpull Terriers only need brushing once a week to keep their short coats healthy. Regular brushing helps to remove dead hair and dirt and stimulates blood circulation, which keeps the skin healthy. The best brush for a Sharpull is a bristle brush with protective ends, or a rubber mit, sometimes known as a curry brush. They have sensitive skin and short coats, so take care when brushing them. As you brush them, look for signs of skin problems.
If they have skin rolls, you need to clean them once or twice a week. The areas between the folds are a breeding area for bacteria and can lead to skin problems. Use a clean, damp, warm cloth, and dry them thoroughly. Alternatively, you can use a doggy skin-fold cleaning product. Only bathe them once every two months or so, and use a gentle doggy shampoo formula.
Brush their teeth daily, too, to prevent periodontal diseases and decay. Establishing a regular grooming routine at a young age is essential so they become accustomed to it. Otherwise, a feisty Sharpull might resist it, but it’s vital for their health. However, with practice, most dogs love spending grooming time with their humans. Treat them to something yummy to make it a positive experience.
Breeders & Puppy Costs
Working with a responsible breeder is essential, especially when buying a potentially dominant dog breed like the Sharpull. You want to know they have been raised with care and have healthy parents. If they’ve been raised in poor conditions, such as a puppy mill, they are more likely to experience health and behavioral problems. Research the breeder and meet them and the pups in person. Ask for the relevant health certificates, too. Sharpulls are a relatively rare breed, so you might have to spend time finding the right breeder.
The average price of a healthy Sharpull Terrier pup from a responsible breeder is around $1,000. This is just the cost of the puppy, and you need to buy everything else they need, such as beds, crates, harnesses, and food. There are also costs for health care, vaccinations, and escape-proofing your home and yard. The first year of their life is likely to be the most expensive.
Rescues & Shelters
Rescuing a Sharpull from a rescue is another option, but as a rare breed, you might struggle to find one immediately. Visit your local shelters and speak to the staff who might be able to help you in your search. Alternatively, you can search online via rescue organizations that list dogs needing a forever home nationwide. The costs of rescuing a dog are usually less than buying a puppy from a breeder.
As A Family Pet
- Shar-Pei Pitbull mixes can inherit a mixture of traits from both parents.
- They can be dominant dogs that need an experienced owner.
- Early training and socialization is crucial to transform them into a well-balanced dog.
- They need around one hour of daily exercise.
- Supply them with lots of stimulating dog toys to keep them busy.
- Sharpulls need an active family who can spend lots of time with them.
- They are affectionate and playful with their family.
- But suspicious of strangers.
- They can live with dog-savvy older children.
- Sharpulls might not mix well with other dogs.
Consider Other Pitbull Mixes
The Shar-Pei Pitbull mix can make a great addition to your home. But you must meet their requirements, such as their daily exercise and stimulation needs, and have previous experience raising and training potentially dominant dogs to get the best out of them. However, if you’re wary of the stubborn and independent personality of the Shar-Pei, you may want to consider other pitbull mixes, like the Golden Retriever Pitbull mix or the Australian Shepherd Pitbull mix.