Lab Pei (Labrador Retriever & Chinese Shar Pei Mix)

Height: 19 – 23 inches
Weight: 55 – 70 pounds
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Colors: Black, yellow-brown, apricot, blue, cream, fawn, lilac, isabella, red
Suitable for: Active families, those seeking a protective dog, families with older children, experienced dog owners, single pet households
Temperament: Loyal, loving, protective, intelligent, energetic, outgoing

The Lab Pei is one-half Labrador Retriever and one-half Chinese Shar-Pei. Both of the Lab Pei’s parents are very different in both their appearance and personality. But it is this difference that makes the Lab Pei a well-balanced pooch that is both friendly and suspicious, calm and energetic, independent and needy, all at the same time.

Being a mixed breed, you never know which way his personality will swing, but he usually falls somewhere in the middle. But you do need to make sure that you love both the Labrador and the Shar-Pei, just in case he turns out like one parent more than the other.

This medium to large-sized dog is adorably cute, with the traditional Lab look that we all love (he is America’s all-time favorite breed!) with the extra added chunk and rolls. Although he is suited to many families, there are certain types of environments that he is not suited to.

This breed guide is a must-read for anyone considering welcoming this boy into their life, so let’s get started.Divider 1

Lab Pei Puppies – Before You Buy…

Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

The Lab Pei is known to be protective of his estate and family. If he takes after his Shar-Pei parent more than his Labrador parent, there is a very high chance that he will guard his home. Although not aggressive, he will stand his ground and will not appreciate strangers coming to the house. Some dog owners love this canine trait, but others either do not like it or they don’t know how to handle it. If you are going to take this guy on, you need to like it and be able to handle/correct it if he oversteps the mark.

Although he may try and act like a guard dog, he doesn’t really look like one. Thanks to his Lab genes his appearance is cute and well-known as America’s family favorite. That, combined with his wrinkles and crinkles, folds, and squishy hippo face, he doesn’t exactly scream “killer dog!” If it is an imposing guard dog that you are looking for, you might want to choose a less cute one.

In addition to his sometimes-overwhelming protectiveness, he can also be independent and stubborn. The Lab Pei needs a firm owner that is going to step up to the challenge of being the top dog and never allowing the Lab Pei to think he is. Training with any Shar-Pei mix is a lifelong requirement, not a quick 1-month obedience course down at your local center.

Hopefully, his Lab’s intelligent and obedient genes will make him more responsive to your training. But there is no doubt about it, this dominant dog is hard work and he needs an experienced dog owner. Don’t let this put you off, though. If you can successfully crack the Lab Pei’s training, he is completely worth the effort and wait.

Being part Shar-Pei he will also not appreciate other animals or pets, especially other dogs. Even if he is well-socialized and the initial meet-up with other pets went swimmingly, he is known to change his mind overnight. So, if you have other pets or are planning to have other pets in the family home, you need to move onto another mixed hybrid altogether.

Being the only pet also means that he will get your undivided attention. He is affectionate and loving with his family, and loves a hardcore afternoon snooze most days. He loves human companionship, but he is not over needy or anxious without you around.

He is energetic and will need around 60 minutes of exercise every day. He needs to be placed with an active family who can guarantee he will get as much. Otherwise, his powerful and bored jaws will quickly find their way to your table legs and destroy them in seconds. He will also need plenty of toys to entertain himself with throughout the day, otherwise, his intelligent brain will also get bored.

What’s the Price of Lab Pei Puppies?

The price of a Lab Pei puppy from a reputable breeder will set you back anywhere between $700 and $1,000. This might seem like a high price compared to other designer pups but remember this is America’s favorite breed and demand is high. With the recent designer doggy fashion adding a twist to the Lab mix, he is particularly desirable at the moment. At the same time, there may not be many reputable breeders around, so the waiting list might be longer than you think. But here’s a little secret, he is totally worth the wait!

As with any dog, it is important that you work with a reputable breeder who will ensure that the health and safety of their pups is the most important thing. Not how much money they can make from selling them. Research them online, look for other customer reviews, and be sure to meet them in person before you commit to anything or hand over any money.

Always ask to see the pups and their parents, as well as seeing them in action with their litter mates. Always check the health certificates of the parents. This is particularly important considering that the Shar-Pei breed is known to suffer from higher-than-average health problems.

Divider 8

3 Little-Known Facts About Lab Pei

1. They usually inherit the hippopotamus muzzle.

The Lap Pei will typically look like a smaller Labrador Retriever with a Shar-Pei head. This means he will probably inherit the larger-than-life muzzle that really does look like a wrinkly hippo face.

2. They will be a forever hungry pooch and blame it on their ‘missing’ genes.

Scientific studies have shown that the Labrador can now blame his bottomless pit of a stomach on a missing gene. Science has found that the gene ‘POMC’ is genetically mutated, meaning that his stomach will never tell his brain that it is full. He may or may not inherit this genetically mutated gene, but either way, you need to keep an eye on his food intake to prevent him from becoming obese.

3. They will be a water baby.

If looking like a hippo wasn’t enough, the Lab Pei will spend as much time as he can in the water. He will likely inherit the Labrador’s love of the local lake. If you can incorporate water into his exercise routine, he will love you forever.

Parents of Lab Pei
The parents of the Lab Pei. Left: Chinese Shar Pei | Right: Labrador Retriever

Divider 3

Temperament & Intelligence of the Lab Pei

The Lab Pei is a dominant dog for sure. As we have already mentioned, this is exactly why you need to be an experienced dog owner who can show him the ropes and teach him the family hierarchy. Dominant dogs need even more dominant masters, and dogs like this are much happier in the home when they understand who’s boss. If you find he challenges you as top-dog, correct him straight away, and if you still struggle, then you might need to reach out and seek professional help.

He is also a confident dog both in the form of protecting his family and with strangers. Although he will be suspicious and aloof at first, as soon as his master welcomes them into the fold, he will warm up to them as well. If he takes after his Lab parent, he might even request a belly rub if they give off a friendly vibe. He is also courageous and will protect his family and estate if he feels he needs to. His cute looks might not put all intruders off, but if his barking doesn’t, he will courageously stand between family and foe.

Full of love and loyalty, his family will be the apple of his eye. He will always be thinking of ways to impress his master, hoping for verbal praise and cheeky treats. He will always be up for a game of fetch or flyball and will spend hours and hours playing with his family. This makes him a fantastic companion for a family who loves to spend time outdoors, having fun, or adventuring. Although he loves a snooze, he could easily keep up for a mountain hike if that’s on your agenda.

Being a well-balanced dog, he also knows when to be calm in the home. If you and your family are enjoying a relaxing Netflix evening, he will happily sit back and relax with you. He isn’t a very needy dog compared to other mixed breeds, but he does need his human-company fix most days and can become sad without it.

The Lab Pei is a very intelligent dog, thanks to the Labrador passing on his intelligent genes. Although he probably won’t make it as an assistance or search and rescue dog like his Lab parent, he will be able to pick up training and tricks relatively quickly. Especially if you tempt him with treats. Just be warned, the Shar-Pei genetics might make him a little stubborn to train, but we’ll discuss that shortly.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Lab Pei is best suited to families with older children for several reasons. Firstly, he is not very tolerant of grabby, overzealous children. Like the best of us, he can get quite grumpy when annoyed, so he is best placed with older children who will know when he needs his own space.

Secondly, because of his Shar-Pei genes, this pooch can be very dominant. This means that he might not respect younger children as being part of the pack or above him in the hierarchy. He needs to be with an older family that has experience with dominant dogs and can handle the potential pack challenges.

Once he does understand the family dynamics, he is known to settle very well into family life. Also, many protective dogs have an affinity for the younger pack members, too, and the Lab Pei is one of these dogs.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

In a word, no. His Chinese Shar-Pei parent is famous for not liking the company (or sight) of other dogs, so this guy is strictly to be homed as the only dog. He extends this dislike to most other animals, so the Lab Pei really needs to be the only animal in the house.

You need to bear this in mind when you are exercising him in public as well. You will undoubtedly come across other dogs and animals in the neighborhood. Socialization is key to minimalizing his dislike towards animals. You should always keep this guy on a leash and understand that you won’t be able to take him to the doggy park like you might have hoped.

You need to ensure that your yard is secured so that he cannot escape, but also because he will guard his perimeter. Coming nose to nose with another dog at the gate is dangerous, so remove this chance and secure all fencing and gates.

lab pei on grass
Credit: Rom2, Shutterstock

Divider 4

Things to Know When Owning a Lab Pei

The Lab Pei is a gorgeous dog both inside and out, and so, he deserves the very best. Read through his following requirements so that you know exactly what he needs to live his best life.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Lab Pei will consume between 2½ to 3½ cups of food every day, dependent on his size and energy levels. Feed him a high-quality dried kibble that is both age and breed size-appropriate. Dried kibbles are a great way to keep his teeth clean, as the hard kibble pieces help to break down the buildup of plaque.

Remember here that your Lab Pei might inherit that ‘missing’ hunger gene, so he will probably always be on the hunt for snacks. As tempting as it might be to feed him his favorite treats, an overweight dog is an unhappy one and obesity leads to untold health concerns. Always follow package instructions and switch him to a weight management kibble should he start piling on the pounds.

Exercise 🐕

The Lab Pei needs to be exercised for around 60 minutes every day. Being intelligent, you should aim to mix up his exercise activities when possible. He will love to fetch and retrieve, so why not combine this with his love of water and get yourselves down to the local doggy lake?

As he will probably not like other dogs, you need to keep him on a leash and be able to control him when faced with other dogs.

Training 🎾

Following from the above point, leash training is a great idea for the Lab Pei. Not only will it make walkies more enjoyable for both of you, but if he comes face to face with another dog, you know you can handle his power. This guy packs a lot of power, so you need to be a strong owner.

Socialization is the most important part of his training, not only as a puppy but throughout his entire life. Keeping him cooped up all day long will only reinforce the fact that other animals are the enemy. Ensuring that he meets animals and other dogs of all shapes and sizes in a controlled environment will limit the amount of fear-aggression he displays.

Obedience training is also important because of his dominant personality. If you are an experienced dominant dog owner, then you will know how important it is to maintain obedience training throughout his life. No matter how cute and squishy his face is, he needs to learn his place in the pack. Positive reward training is the key to training him, and with his favorite snacks in hand, you’ll have him learning in no time.

Grooming ✂️

The Lab Pei’s double-coat will be short and dense. It will shed moderately throughout the year and then probably experience a full blow-out during the shedding season. Brushing him 2 to 3 times a week will keep him looking fresh and healthy.

Because of his skin rolls, he will need to be cleaned with a specially designed skin-fold ointment that will prevent bacteria and skin infections from developing. How often you do this will be dependent on how many folds he has.

His eyes and ears will also need to be cleaned regularly and ensure that his nails are the correct length otherwise you risk paw injuries. Bathing him with a gentle shampoo once every 8 weeks or so is advised to keep him smelling clean.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Both of his parents have their own health problems and being their mixed puppy product, he could inherit health concerns from both sides. Take a note of the below health concerns that are most common to the Lab Pei and make yourself aware of the symptoms.

Minor Conditions
  • Shar-Pei fever
  • Patella luxation
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Diabetes
  • Exercise-induced collapse
Serious Conditions
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Demodicosis
  • Entropion
  • Atopy dermatitis
  • Seborrhea
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cancer

Divider 5

Male vs Female

As with any dog, a male Lab Pei is usually larger than a female Lab Pei, and they are said to be livelier, too.

Although all Lab Peis are very unlikely to get along well with other dogs and animals, it is stated by many dominant dog owners that females are the most territorial and potentially aggressive when provoked. This is something to consider when thinking about which sex to choose from.Divider 3

Final Thoughts

The Lab Pei is a lovely pooch that makes a great family addition for the right family. You are now equipped with all the Lab Pei knowledge you need to help you to decide whether you are the right family. Just as long as he is exercised, mentally stimulated, and placed with an older family who is experienced with dominant dogs, then you are onto a winning relationship.

Overall, he offers a little bit of every canine trait in moderation, and this well-balanced dog has a lot of love to give. So, if you tick all of his boxes what are you waiting for?


Featured Image Credit: Crystal Alba, Shutterstock