The Shar Pei breed has always been known and loved for the wrinkles that give them their adorable presence. But, did you know that there is a Shar Pei that is a little different from the traditional one? The Bear Coat Shar Pei has been thrust into mainstream attention thanks to its unique and rare coat that gives it a teddy bear-like look.
These doggos got their name from the appearance of their coat and are one of the cutest dog breeds available today. They also happen to be one of the rarest breeds that you can get. So before making the leap and getting one, there are some things you need to know about the Bear Coat Shar Pei.
Psssst…..if you want to have a look at some giant fluff balls, have a look at these fluffy big dog breeds that you will also adore.
- 1 Bear Coat Shar Pei Dogs: 13 Things to Know
- 1.1 1. What Makes a Bear Coat Shar Pei Special?
- 1.2 2. Bear Coat Shar Pei’s Have a Strong Protective Instinct
- 1.3 3. These Teddy Bears Love to be Outdoors
- 1.4 4. They love to be Mentally Stimulated
- 1.5 5. Diet is Important to Keep Them Healthy
- 1.6 6. The Color of Their Coat has a Meaning Behind it
- 1.7 7. Bear Coats are Better Suited to Experienced owners
- 1.8 8. Puppy Training is Essential
- 1.9 9. They Need Regular Grooming
- 1.10 10. A Regimented Skin Cleaning Routine is Essential
- 1.11 11. Bear Coat’s Have a few Common Health Issues
- 1.12 12. SPAID – Shar Pei AutoInflammatory Disease
- 1.13 13. Keep an Eye Open for Shar Pei Fever
- 2 Is a Bear Coat Shar Pei for You?
Bear Coat Shar Pei Dogs: 13 Things to Know
1. What Makes a Bear Coat Shar Pei Special?
The Shar Pei breed originated in China. It was bred to be a fighting dog and even shares an ancestry with the Chow Chow. Shar Peis are purebred dogs with no known cross-breeding done.
The traditional Shar Pei is already a special dog but when you add the plush coat into the mix from a Bear Coat, you get a dog that will turn heads for sure.
The Bear Coat Shar Pei is the third coat type that a Shar Pei can have. They are an incredibly rare variant of the Traditional Chinese Shar Pei, with only a 1 in 4 chance of being born from normal coat parents. It is a genetic lottery with both the father and mother needing to have a specific recessive gene within their DNA. Only then can there be a chance for one of these pups to be born.
What makes them stand out is their long fur that covers the trademark Shar Pei wrinkles and gives them their teddy bear-like appearance. Interestingly, the Bear Coat variety is not recognized by most of the major breeding clubs. They were brought to the brink of extinction in the mid 1900s. Guinness World Records even named this the rarest canine breed in 1978.
2. Bear Coat Shar Pei’s Have a Strong Protective Instinct
The Shar Pei breed has a history of being a guard dog and that quality shines through towards their owners. They are docile and loving towards their owner while also being extremely faithful. This breed has incredible hearing and so they make brilliant guardians of the home, by alerting their owners to any potential dangers.
If safety is a big concern of yours then this doggo would be a welcomed addition to your home. But, there are a few issues that will come with that strong protective instinct. They aren’t the friendliest towards other people and dogs that they don’t know. In general, they are also very independent, intolerant, and very territorial when it comes to their home.
Bear Coats are loyal and devoted to their owner so you will have a companion for life. But, teaching them to not overreact to new people and animals that they are not familiar with is an essential task when young. Your neighbors might not be the biggest fans of this breed as they do have a tendency to bark loud and at almost anything.
3. These Teddy Bears Love to be Outdoors
Although they aren’t suited to running, thanks to their breathing problems, Bear Coats love to be outside and going on walks with their owners. This is also something that is needed regularly since exercise is important to keep them healthy and happy. They love to be kept busy but their exercise needs are not demanding, thankfully, and they will do just fine in an urban area.
They need at least an hour of exercise a day to keep happy and fit but a brisk walk here and there with some time to run around in the back yard will do just fine. Unless you have trained them well, they are not the best at dog parks, so these should be avoided. As long as you give them a daily dose of fun, they will happily hang out by your side.
4. They love to be Mentally Stimulated
Just like this breed loves to go outside, walk around and get some exercise, they equally love to have their brain exercised. Bear Coat Shar Pei’s are immensely intelligent dogs and so love to be mentally stimulated.
They enjoy being busy and if they can be rewarded for it, even better. When they are not mentally stimulated, they can develop behavioral issues and become somewhat destructive.
This might seem a little strange but playing with your Shar Pei for a few minutes a day with some intricate dog toys is something that they will love. Training sessions that are game-like will go down well but especially any games that involve problem-solving and tasks to be done. But, if you don’t have a few minutes to spare then a dog puzzle is a sure fire way to keep them entertained while you run to the grocery store quickly.
5. Diet is Important to Keep Them Healthy
Believe it or not, these Shar Peis are pretty fussy eaters and yet are prone to obesity. A Bear Coat Shar Pei needs a quality and rich diet as they have pretty sensitive stomachs. Funnily enough, they are also pretty conducive to allergies and so any food that is rice and fish based is preferable. A dog food that is able to help with sensitive skin is also a plus.
They also need a food that is specifically made for medium dog breeds with a protein source that is from real meat, salmon or liver based foods are good options. Any food that is free from additives is also preferable. Chicken-based dog food should be avoided. To try and keep things clean at feeding time, one of these no-mess pet feeders is a good investment.
6. The Color of Their Coat has a Meaning Behind it
The more traditional Shar Peis are known as either a horse or brush coat. These variants have normal coat colors while the Bear Coat Shar Pei has one or two special colors for its coat. It has a thick double coat that would need fairly regular brushing. There are a few links between the coat color and characteristics of your dog that have been discussed.
There is the common idea that the color of the coat has an effect on the dog’s temperament and health. One of the most famous is that a white coat will lead to deafness. Another less-researched link is the one between the coat color and their personality.
Bear Coat Shar Peis are known to have 4 different coat colors: black, white, brilliant gold and lilac. If you manage to get a brilliant gold color, you will find yourself with a pup that resembles a little lion as they grow older. If you really want to up the rarity of your dog though, a lilac coat color is the most rare and is absolutely gorgeous.
7. Bear Coats are Better Suited to Experienced owners
Because of the training needs for this breed, with the pecking order needing to be established early on. They can and will challenge your authority by ignoring your commands, especially if they think they are above humans in the hierarchy. A gentle but somewhat firm and consistent authority figure is needed by this breed.
Shar Peis are also powerful dogs that shouldn’t be let off their leashes when at the dog park. They have a tendency to pull on their leash so a strong harness is a worthwhile investment. Confidence is important with these dogs, as they have a natural tendency to take over if they perceive their owner to be too inconsistent or uncertain.
Constant reinforcement is needed with this breed so if you do bring one home, it is a commitment that you need to be ready for. The end result will be a lovable dog that will provide endless entertainment and guardianship to you and your family.
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8. Puppy Training is Essential
This is the most important stage of your pup’s life, with proper socialization with different people, environments and animals being essential. This is to ensure that the pup will grow to be affectionate and have a respectful attitude towards the people and dogs around him. This is also to prevent any future fears or aggression towards these new and unknown things.
Bear Coat Shar Peis are incredibly intelligent so training can be relatively easy but they are known to be difficult. Their stubbornness does shine through occasionally and owners should never use physical punishment of any sorts with this breed. They crave positive reinforcement so pack a lot of treats and keep them engaged.
Their history of being guard dogs is what makes training essential, with any feelings of fear or worry possibly provoking an aggressive reaction. Patience is critical to the success of the training of your little pup but if you can persevere, then you will be rewarded with a lovable teddy bear.
Keep the training sessions short and add an element of fun to keep them engaged and interested in what is going on. Let them take a break when needed or that stubbornness can make itself known.
9. They Need Regular Grooming
Bear Coat Shar Peis are more prone to tangles and mats because of their fluffy coat when compared to other Shar Peis. This coat has a different grooming need than that of its short-haired cousins. The maintenance needs of their coats are quite extensive with their long coat also hiding their skin folds that need cleaning as well.
Your doggo should be brushed at least twice a week to remove any loose fur and debris that has collected in their two coats. They have two shedding seasons in spring and fall so a worthy shedding brush will save you from cleaning up mountains of hair in advance.
In general, they only need to be bathed once a month but be sure to use a dog-safe shampoo. It is important to make sure that they are thoroughly dried after their bath as any damp skin folds can lead to skin issues over time. Make sure to brush their teeth on a regular basis as well and get them used to the sensation from a young age.
Make sure to check their ears as well as their longer hair can trap debri in them and damp hair can lead to ear infections. It is best to start this routine when they are young as when they get older, they are harder to handle which makes grooming an almost impossible task if they aren’t used to it.
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10. A Regimented Skin Cleaning Routine is Essential
Shar Pei’s are adorable with their folds in their skin but those folds are a source of a number of potential issues of not being taken care of properly. Their trademark wrinkly skin is caused by an excess of mucin, a glycoprotein. This makes them prone to a condition known as cutaneous mucinosis.
This is a cosmetic-only condition that results in excessive lumps and bumps under the skin. A daily wipe to clean the folds of their skin is important to help prevent skin diseases and other conditions from forming. Their flaps of skin are natural traps for bacteria so regular checks around damp areas, like around their nose and mouse, are needed.
Some grooming pet wipes are a quick and easy way to ensure that their skin folds remain clean and prevent any potential diseases such as mange.
11. Bear Coat’s Have a few Common Health Issues
Like all dog breeds, some are more prone to certain health issues than others and the Bear Coat Shar Pei is no different. On average, they can live up to 11 years old and will develop health issues like any Shar Pei. But, as unique and rare as they are, they also have a few issues that potential owners should be aware of.
Their short noses make them prone to overheating so keeping them cool during summer is vital. Bear Coats are also prone to hypothyroidism which can lead to further conditions like epilepsy, obesity and hair loss. Ear infections are another common issue with their longer hair sometimes helping collect and trap debris in their ears.
The skin folds on their face can lead to a condition known as entropion. This is when their eyelids will turn inwards which will cause irritation of their eyes from their hair and lashes. However, the majority of their health issues are related to their skin.
12. SPAID – Shar Pei AutoInflammatory Disease
Yes, this is a disease that is named after the Shar Pei because of their skin and is a result of poor grooming routines. This is the first spontaneous autoinflammatory disease to occur that is described in animals. Thankfully, there is now a test that has been developed to help detect this disease from early on.
It is a hereditary condition that will be passed on from the pups parents and affects roughly one in four Shar Pei pups. The most significant symptom is what is known as Shar Pei Fever.
13. Keep an Eye Open for Shar Pei Fever
Shar Pei Fever or Swollen Hock Syndrome, is a common condition that is associated with SPAID. It will make itself known in the swelling of the hock joints and results in the Shar Pei not wanting to move. There are also other symptoms like shallow breathing among others and it’s something that should be looked out for.
The poor pup will develop either a single or a few random bouts of a fever throughout its life if it has the SPAID condition. It can start from as young as 18 months but can also randomly appear in an adult Shar Pei. The fever will last about a day but this is something to take into consideration about this breed as it is relatively commonplace amongst Shar Pei’s.
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Is a Bear Coat Shar Pei for You?
These teddy bears may have a fair amount of health concerns but they are absolutely adorable dogs and will be faithful companions to you and your family. Their rarity is what may define them on paper but, in reality, it is their fierce loyalty and guardianship that makes them notable. Along with their special coat, these little lions will have a special place in your heart.
If you are worried about their health, have a look at some of the best CBD oil for dogs to look at some alternative ways to help manage any potential issues that may come up.
Although they might need an experienced owner, that should not deter you if you are willing to put the hours into training them. If you do then expect to be rewarded with some of the best cuddles imaginable and all the attention from everyone who wants to take a photo of your lovable dog.
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