Meet The Ori Pei—A Wrinkly Mix of Pug and Shar Pei
One of the oldest and most uniquely North American designer mixed breeds is the Ori Pei. A mix of Pug and Chinese Shar Pei, the Ori Pei was first created in the 1970s by a breeder named Aaron Silver. The goal of mixing the Shar Pei with the Pug was to produce a healthier version of Shar Pei dogs while retaining their coveted and unique breed standard—the skin folds, the velvety fur, the small ears, the curly tail, and both meat mouth and bone mouth features.
Also called the Shar Pug, the Pei Pug, or the Pug Pei, the Ori Pei is much beloved by lovers of purebred Shar Peis and designer mixed breed enthusiasts alike. Here, we’re taking a deep dive into the looks and unique qualities of the Ori Pei and will introduce a handful of these dogs so you fully imagine what life with an Ori Pei is like.
Meet 8 Ori Peis from Instagram
Some Ori Peis look a lot like Shar Peis, and to the untrained eye, they could possibly pass for purebred. Once you learn what to look for when identifying a Shar Pei Pug mix, you’ll easily be able to distinguish them from their purebred cousins and parents. Here, we’re showing a selection of Ori Peis in different colors, different sizes, and with different features from their parent breeds.
1. Brandi, Moomie, & Pretzel
You’re getting a three-for-one deal with our first featured Ori Pei Instagram—meet Brandi (14, center), Moomie (13, left), and Pretzel (10, right)! These gorgeous girls are all Ori Peis, or Pug and Shar Pei mixes, but they all have very different personalities.
Brandi is the oldest and most mature of the group—she will definitely judge you for late breakfasts! Moomie, the middle child, is a sweet girl with a protective streak who loves her family above everything else. Pretzel, the baby, is a little shy but is working hard to come out of her shell and show her amazing personality.
Like Shar Pei dogs, Shar Pei mixes like the Ori Pei can have spotted or speckled coats. Missy (left) is a lovely little black and white Ori Pei from New York City who loves to hang out with her doggie friends. Here you can see a size comparison of Missy and her Corgi friend—purebred Shar Peis are quite a bit taller than a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, but as you can see Missy is almost the same height.
Toby is a nine-year-old Ori Pei who looks a lot like a purebred Chinese Shar Pei, but his tail gives away that he is actually a Pug mix! Shar Pei tails curl a little, but they don’t corkscrew as tightly as the Pug tail. Pug tails are also thicker at the tip, while purebred Shar Peis have tails that are known for tapering to a fine point. In standard Shar Peis, the higher the tail is set the better, and Toby definitely has a high-set tail.
It’s been rumored that when you reach the end of a rainbow, there’s a good boy waiting there to give you a smooch! When he isn’t playing pot of gold, Porkchop the Shar Pei Pug mix is busy snoozing on the couch, modeling a new fashionable look, or keeping his eyes on his humans’ food to make sure they eat every morsel.
This very handsome boy is Payton, a 14-year-old Shar Pei Pug mix from the Chicago suburbs whose favorite activity is lounging outside, or anywhere snacks are being eaten. Payton gets his looks from both the Pug and the Shar Pei side, but you’ll probably notice that his snoot looks a little more like a flat Pug face than the bulbous Shar Pei nose.
Beautiful Cerisa is a black Ori Pei, which probably means her parents were a black Pug and a black Shar Pei. Shar Peis come in more than a dozen standard colors, but Pugs come in only two. Because of this, there is less color variety in Pug Peis, but they still come in colors like fawn, red, black, and brown.
Ori Pei Dog Basic Info
The original goal of creating the Ori Pei was to honor the breed standards of the Chinese Shar Pei while adding genetic diversity to reduce some health issues common within the breed. Ori Pei may indeed be slightly healthier than their Shar Pei parents, but many still suffer from the same issues and may have medically complicated lives. While the addition of Pug may not guarantee a healthier dog, Ori Peis do have more social and relaxed personalities than the Shar Pei.
Let’s take a closer look at the health, temperament, and size details of this mix.
Ori Pei Temperament
The Ori Pei’s temperament combines the loyal and protective nature of the Shar Pei with the goofy and laid-back vibes of the Pug. Dogs who bond closely with their families, Ori Peis enjoy being social and loving with those they trust but may be reserved or suspicious with strangers. Thanks to their Pug parentage, Ori Pei have a lower prey drive than most Shar Peis and often do well with other dogs.
Like both Shar Peis and Pugs, Ori Pei are independent while still being attentive to their humans. Because they like to set their own boundaries, the Ori Pei may not be the best breed for homes with young children, though some may be very playful and enjoy respectful older kids.
Ori Pei Size
Quite a bit smaller than purebred Shar Peis, but larger than Pugs, Ori Pei usually stand at around 12–15 inches tall and weigh around 15–30 pounds.
Ori Pei Health
Unfortunately, both Pugs and Shar Peis are plagued with health issues, and many Ori Peis inherit these same problems. While their status as mutts or mixed-breed dogs can protect them from some genetic and breed-specific diseases, they are still susceptible to these health problems:
- Joint issues (e.g. hip and elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease)
- Eye problems (e.g. ulcerations and eye injuries, entropion, glaucoma)
- Skin issues (e.g. allergies, skin fold infections, yeast infections, demodectic mange)
- Breathing and respiratory issues
- Neurological issues (e.g. epilepsy)
- Shar Pei fever (Shar Pei recurrent fever syndrome)
Where To Find Ori Pei Puppies
The best place to find an Ori Pei puppy—or any mixed-breed puppy/dog—is at a shelter, humane society, or animal rescue! Mixed-breed dogs are available by the thousands, and there are even private rescues that specialize in specific breeds or mixes. To find an Ori Pei, we recommend checking out your local shelters, online rescue resources, and both Shar Pei and Pug rescues. Here are a few links to get you started.
- North American Shar-Pei Rescue
- Mid-Atlantic Chinese Shar Pei Rescue Operation
- Pug Dog Club of America — Rescue Directory
Shar Pei Pug Mix FAQ
Learn more about Ori Pei parent breeds, and other Shar Pei mixes you might hear about when chatting with lovers of this fascinating breed.
What’s the difference between a Shar Pug and a Shar Pei Puggle mix?
A Shar Pug is a mix of purebred Shar Pei and purebred Pug. A Shar Pei Puggle (or a Shar Puggle) is a mix of a purebred Shar Pei and a mixed-breed Puggle—AKA a Pug Beagle mix. Shar Pugs have two parent breeds, while Shar Puggles have three.
What is an Ori Pei Bulldog?
An Ori Pei Bulldog is usually an Ori Pei (Pug mixed with Shar Pei) mixed with an English Bulldog. Ori Pei Bulldogs have three parent breeds: Shar Pei, Pug, and English Bulldog.
Where do Shar Peis come from?
The Shar Pei dog breed originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. Intelligent dogs with high prey drive and instincts for protection, Shar Peis were used as livestock guardians, hunting dogs, and herders. After thousands of years of indigenous history in China, the Shar Pei was almost wiped out following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, which enacted a range of social policies, including a ban on dog ownership.
A few Chinese Shar Peis survived and were kept by residents of Hong Kong and Taiwan. Dog breeders dedicated to preserving this ancient breed made a purposeful effort to create Shar Pei breeding programs and to reach out to breeders around the world for help. Among them, a breeder from Hong Kong named Matgo Law became particularly influential, and is credited by many for urging American breeders to buy Shar Pei puppies and invest in the breed.
The Shar Pei was enthusiastically received by American dog lovers, breeders, and kennel clubs, and is now a widely recognized breed around the world.
Where do Pugs come from?
Like the Shar Pei, the Pug has more than 2,000 years of documented history and originates in China. The Pug was exported from China much earlier than the Shar Pei and already had a solid footing globally before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. European royals began importing Pugs around the 16th century and helped to popularize the breed not only in Europe but abroad.
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