The shar-pei's naturally short and clean coat make him one of the lowest maintenance breeds in the canine world. No endless hours brushing out mats or tangles or weekly baths to keep the coat clean. A regular rub-down and occasional bath are all your wrinkly pup needs to stay fresh.
Your shar-pei has hair most military men would recognize — a short, bristly crew-cut. This unique coat helps prevent your dog from developing the distinctive “dog smell” many breeds emit, and only barely sheds. Rubbing him down once a week with a grooming mitt or natural bristle brush will remove any dead hair and even help brush off any dirt before it sticks.
The shar-pei's short hair acts as a stain-resistant barrier, actually repelling dirt and keeping the dog clean. Bathing too frequently will strip his coat of natural oils and dry out your wrinkly pooch's skin, so he should only get a bath when he gets particularly dirty or once every three months. A quick wipe down with a wet towel can remove surface dirt between baths, and will prevent his skin from becoming too dry or irritated.
Once your shar-pei has had his seasonal bath, the most important chore in his short grooming list arrives — drying. Water and shampoo can get caught in those distinctive skin folds and wrinkles, where that moisture can cause skin irritation or infections. Use towels or a hair dryer on a low heat setting to carefully and thoroughly dry every inch of your shar-pei, wrinkles and all.
Sporting floppy skin wrinkles makes for an adorable little puppy face, but the shar-pei's coat makes them prone to various skin conditions. Demodectic mange causes hair loss and scaly skin, and is caused by a tiny mite. Seborrhea and pyoderma are caused by other health issues, such as allergies or hypothyroidism, and appear as flaky, irritated areas of skin. See your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment of these issues before they become too bothersome to your wrinkly pup.
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images