The Bear Coat Shar-Pei: What Makes This Breed Extra-Special?

Bear Coat Shar-Pei in winter

Shar-Pei is one of the top breeds in western countries like the United States. But most are unaware of their different sub-breeds like the bear coat Shar-Pei.

Some might immediately characterize them as the dogs with the excess and wrinkly skin and coats that are furry and sometimes not so.

While others mistakenly identify them as another Chinese dog breed called Chow-Chow. Well, although they are their ancestors, they are still far distinct from the other.

There are different varieties of Shar-Pei, like Meat Mouth Brush Coat, Bone Mouth Brush Coat, Bone Mouth Horse Coat, etc. However, they are generally categorized into two groups, such as either American or Chinese.

Yup, as you see, there are a lot of them and lots of information to process before you could own one.

And you may have to be specific about the one you want to adopt. This is important because hygiene and proper care may differ depending on the breed.

In this article, I’ll talk about a particular and lesser-known type of Shar-Pei, which is the bear coat Shar-Pei. I will be discussing their tendencies, personalities, medical care, proper hygiene, and regular grooming.

So without further delays, let’s begin…

What Is a Bear Coat Shar-Pei?

A Bear Coat Shar-Pei is a breed of dog that originated from China and a rare sub-breed in the Shar-Pei family. Unlike other canines in this group, they are characterized by their long and soft fur, which resembles a teddy bear. They’re also known for their friendly nature.

If you’re longing for a fluffy and adorable canine companion during the cold season of winter and autumn, then the bear coat Shar-Pei is what you might be looking for.

They are warm and cuddly and have a fun-loving disposition, and easy to get along with, especially people within your household.

One last thing to bear in mind is that Shar-Pei, in general, is extremely protective and alert, which makes them an excellent guard dog.

Let’s continue and learn more about the breed…

History and Origins: Where Do Bear Coat Shar-Peis Come From?

As mentioned, Shar-Pei is believed to have been originally bred from China. There are no written records about the exact region where it was first bred or how it was made back then, but based on my research, it was traditionally used as a fighting dog.

And because of this, they were thought to be almost driven to the brink of extinction in the 20th century.

As it happens, a man named Matgo Law appealed to many regulating bodies, including the American Kennel Club in 1978. This is to make an effort to save the breed.

As a matter of fact, they were so close to wiping them that the Guinness World of Records proclaimed them as the rarest canine breed in 1978.

Shar-Pei was introduced to Western society in the 1970s through individuals traveling to the Eastern regions of Asia. And they were successfully saved and re-populated when Western societies started to adopt Shar-Peis.

Also, there are different types of Shar-Pei. In particular, the bear coat Shar-Pei is a rare breed from the traditional Chinese Shar-Pei.

Well, this is the reason why you won’t find them in the official breed of dogs recognized around the globe or even under the Shar-Pei family tree. Nonetheless, it’s still considered a less known breed.

And its rarity is believed to might have been caused by a recessive gene that goes back to their Chow Chow ancestors. However, there is no scientific evidence as of yet to prove this claim.

Again, the distinguishing factor of bear coat Shar-Pei among other Shar-Peis is their long and smooth furs.

Coincidentally, this may also be a huge flaw if you’re considering signing them up in the ring competition or breeding, according to the UK Kennel Club.

What Does a Bear Coat Shar-Pei Look Like?

In regards to physical appearance, the primary characteristic of bear coat Shar-Pei is its coat.

The fur of a traditional Shar-Pei is categorized into horse coat and brush coat. A bear coat Shar-Pei is rare, and you may recognize them through the fur’s length and texture – which is longer and smoother compared to others.

The most common mistake people make is comparing them to the Chinese Shar-Pei.

However, this is only partially true. Although the bear coat is essentially within the family tree of Shar-Pei, there are important factors to consider on why you should differentiate them. I will explain more about this in the following chapters.

As for now, let’s talk about the typical colors of bear coat Shar-Pei you’ll find around. There are many colors to choose from, and below are the most common ones:

Black Bear Coat Shar-Pei

This color of bear coat Shar-Pei is what you might be looking for if you want a pet companion who emits an elegant vibe.

Brilliant Gold Bear Coat Shar-Pei

If you want a pet that could brighten up your day, then Brilliant Gold is your color.

White Bear Coat Shar-Pei

White is so clean and relaxing to look at, would you agree?

Lilac Bear Coat Shar-Pei

If you’re looking for a rare color, then this one is what you might be looking for.

What Makes the Coats of Bear Coat Shar-Pei So Special Compared to Others?

You have to take note the Shar-Pei doesn’t only refer to one breed. However, most don’t seem to care about these differences. They are plainly content just owning a fluffy and adorable canine companion.

For example, the bear coat Shar-Pei is often mistaken for the pure breed or traditional Chinese Shar-Pei.

Although the breed has originated from China, each type of sub-breed varies in several considerations. Like for instance, the level of care, food, and grooming may differ—such factors shall be relayed in the later chapters.

What makes the fur of the bear coat extra special than the rest is that it is thought to inherit the personality type and temperament of the dog.

Although their genes have a significant impact on the color of the coat, there is no scientific evidence to correlate this claim.

However, our vibe toward them may be affected by the dog’s fur. For example, bright-colored fur may induce a cheery vibe, while a dark-colored coat may cause us to feel a little terrified of the canine if not uneasy.

Another association to the coat is that some experts are linking it to the canines’ health. However, I will thoroughly explain why this is so in the following sections.

In the meantime, if you want to know the tendencies of bear coat Shar-Pei based on experiences from past owners, then continue to the next section…

Bear Coat Shar-Pei Temperament: Do They Make Good Family Dogs?

Back in the days, bear coat Shar-Pei was popularly used as a guard dog and assisted hunters.

Because of their keen sense of smell and hearing, they are excellent in keeping the homeowners alert whenever there is a trespasser within their vicinity or assisting the hunting in finding wild games.

And with such protective instinct, I believe that they are a perfect dog to own if you are conscious of any break-ins and the safety of people in your home.

With this being said, they are not particularly friendly to other dogs and people they’re familiar with. Some dog experts do not advise any breeds of Shar-Pei to be owned by individuals who don’t have prior experience with them.

If you truly intend on adopting one, then at least thoroughly research the breed, and know how to properly care for them and train before you introduce them to your family.

It is also advisable to ask current owners of the breed about their experiences or a local veterinarian.

Lastly, take note that bear coat Shar-Pei, in general, is intolerant and very independent compared to other breeds. What this means to us as pet owners are we make an effort not to restrain them as much as possible.

You have to use a leash in city parks or public places because it is mandatory, of course. But try to avoid minimizing their space to prevent them from being hostile.

But overall, I believe that a bear coat Shar-Pei is a great addition to your family. You really have nothing to worry about in a family setting if proper measures are observed and the dogs are properly taken care of and trained.

Watch the video below to see a bear coat Shar-Pei puppy playing with its owner.

Introducing Koda Bear - Sharpei Bear Coat - Play Time - Chase Time

How Big Do Bear Coat Shar-Pei Get When Fully Grown?

Another reason why most people mistakenly refer to bear coat as a pure breed is their almost similarity in height. They differ in their weight and amount of wrinkles in their body.

An average bear coat Shar-Pei could grow as tall as 18 to 22 inches. And there’s also another variety of this breed that could only grow between 15 to 18 inches, which makes them essentially more in the toy group than anything else.

As for the weight, the average mass of a male bear coat Shar-Pei is between 35 to 65 pounds. On the other hand, their female counterpart has an average weight of 40 to 55 pounds.

In general, they are a medium-sized dog. And as mentioned, one of their major differences is the wrinkles, which become more and more prominent as they progressively develop into adulthood.

The wrinkles are caused by the production of excess mucin—a type of glycoprotein. Their skin also produces more oil compared to other breeds. The combination of oil and wrinkles is especially helpful during the days where they were used as fighting dogs.

Other traits that you might start to notice as they grow older are their tiny ears, rounder eye, and round tail.

RELATED: How Big Do Shar-Peis Get? Puppy Growth Chart and FAQ

Bear Coat Shar-Pei Health Issues: Does the Coat Type Affect Their Health?

Similar to other coat types of Shar-Pei, the average bear coat Shar-Pei life span is 8 to 12 years.

As explained, it was believed that the fur of the bear coat affects their personality. I discussed their temperament earlier and established that it’s inconclusive.

In addition, it’s also thought to have effects on their health. Like for example, dogs that have white-colored coats are more likely to experience deafness. You can check the study of the correlation between the dog’s coat color and potential health problems here.

This may be the case; you still have to bear in mind that the results are inconclusive. The study related above applies to every domesticated mammal and does not specifically indicate one animal or canine for this matter.

Common health issues that most bear coat Shar-Pei experiences are as follows:

Skin Disorders and Other Infections

The wrinkles are one of the appeals of this breed. However, it is also a common cause of skin diseases and other infections caused by their excess and flappy skin.

The enclosed gaps between the folds may incubate bacteria like Staphylococci if proper hygiene is not observed. This may commonly occur in areas where it’s usually damp, like the wrinkles near the nose and mouth.

Also, the over-production of glycoprotein increases the risk of skin conditions known as cutaneous mucinosis. It is a disease that accumulates under an excessive amount of skin and hair follicles.

Shar-Pei Auto-Inflammatory Disease

Yes, there are diseases that particularly refer to the skin trait of the canine. Again, Shar-Pei Auto-inflammatory Disease or simply SPAID is a group of diseases due to excess skin.

The diseases are believed to cause serious inflammatory diseases if you don’t groom your bear coat Shar-Pei as regularly as possible.

Aside from various skin conditions, they may also encounter other health problems like ear infections, fever, and abnormality in the distribution of protein in their body or commonly referred to as amyloidosis.


This is a common disorder with naturally excess skin. Sometimes the skin would grow and get into their eyes.

Such an experience is unpleasant to your canine companion. Its persistence affects the cornea and impedes their eyesight, and it would lead to eventual blindness. You can detect them early when your dog constantly tears up.


It was found that bear coat Shar-Pei is more likely to experience a deficiency in thyroid hormones. A health condition referred to as hypothyroidism.

Again, this health issue primarily affects the skin that is often characterized by persistent itching. You have to consult your veterinarian regularly to prevent this problem from occurring.

Demodectic Mange

It is actually a mite that could thrive in the gaps of the skinfold of the dogs. Without proper hygiene, they will eventually cause skin problems. Proper grooming and care from the owner is the apparent solution in preventing mites from hindering the mites from thriving.

Ear Infections

The excess skin could also cause the ear canals of the bear coat Shar-Pei to become narrow. Again, without proper hygiene, it would accumulate ear wax and other oil. Such an environment promotes the development of bacteria.

How Much Does a Bear Coat Shar-Pei Puppy Cost? Price & Expenses

You have to prepare your budget if you’re considering owning one. Aside from the initial purchase, they are also high-maintenance.

The price of bear coat Shar-Pei puppies could cost anywhere from at least $750 to a whopping $1,800! And yes, they are an expensive breed of dog!

And it doesn’t end there…

You also have to consider monthly expenses such as food, medical care, and grooming. The first year of your puppy’s life is the most expensive because you have to take note of vaccination, paper works, and maybe vitamins. And then, a steady cost throughout their life.

I can’t really place an exact cost, but to give you a bull part figure, it is about $2,800 in the first year. It is then about $1,500 per year or $125 per month in their entire lifetime.

So let’s say, for example, that a bear coat Shar-Pei reaches the average lifespan of 11 years, then the lifetime cost is approximately $16,500!

If the cost doesn’t daunt you in any way and you feel you’re up to the challenge, then the following is what you have to know about where to adopt them.

RELATED: How Much Does a Shar-Pei Cost? (2023 Price Guide)

Places to Find Bear Coat Shar-Pei Puppies for Sale or Adoption

As I searched the net for sites where I can adopt a bear coat Shar-Pei, I found that most of the dedicated Shar-Pei sites were rescue centers and some are Shar-Pei breeders.

Here are several sites where you can buy a bear coat Shar-Pei puppy:

  • American Kennel Club (AKC) Marketplace: AKC Marketplace offers a broad selection of Shar-Peis. What this means is that you can select the bear coat Shar-Pei puppy that best suits your personality.
  • PuppyFind: is a great site for potential dog owners because aside from the Shar-Pei available, they also include other information about the breed.
  • Baggins Shar-Pei: Baggins Shar-Pei is one of my go-to pet shops because they also offer a thorough detail of the breed before you make any conclusive decision.

Some of the online rescue sites where you can adopt a Shar-Pei is listed below:

  • Pei Land Rescue: Pei Land Rescue is the place you go to if you want to volunteer to be a foster family of Shar-Peis.
  • California Shar-Pei Rescue: California Shar-Pei Rescue is one of the best Shar-Pei rescue sites in the California area.
  • Shar-Pei Rescue: Shar-Pei Rescue is a legit rescue site dedicated to helping to find a Shar-Pei new home.
  • Adopt-a-Pet: Adopt-a-Pet is a popular site where you can adopt a pet including bear coat Shar-Pei.
  • Petfinder: Like the previous one, Petfinder offers a wide selection of canine breeds, not only Shar-Peis.

How to Care for Your Bear Coat Shar-Pei


Because of their stature, bear coat Shar-Peis are prone to becoming obese. Fat build-ups in your dog could affect their mobility and their overall health condition as well.

As mentioned, the skin may overproduce oil, which leads to skin infections. And you have to take note that the bodily oil is affected by the amount of food your pet intakes. Therefore, be sure to feed them the right amount only.


Grooming bear coat Shar-Pei would be a challenge given that they have long fur and wrinkly skin. In showering them, you have to clean them thoroughly, which includes the gaps between their skin.

Also, take them to the grooming center in addition to your visits to the veterinary.

Exercise & Training

As I said, they are prone to obesity. Regular exercise, such as daily walks, decreases the risk of this health condition.

Also, you have to take training into proper consideration. I highly recommend that socializing should be your main priority, especially with other dogs or humans, as often as possible to lessen their hostility.

Veterinary Care

As explained, bear coat Shar-Peis are prone to diseases if not properly groomed, and regular check-up isn’t observed. Therefore, a monthly visit to your veterinarians’ clinic is essential to prevent such health conditions and skin issues.

Related Questions

Some of the other typical questions asked about this breed are as follows:

Do Bear Coat Shar-Peis Shed?

Like any other breed of dog, bear coat Shar-Peis do shed, but not that much. They shed probably twice a year. You can expect shedding within the months of spring and fall.

Do Bear Coat Shar-Peis Bark a Lot?

They both growl and bark in excess and loudly only if they encounter strangers and unfamiliar dogs.

Do Bear Coat Shar-Peis Do Well in Hot Weather?

Not really. Bear coat Shar-Peis are not doing well in hot weather due to their thick coat.

In general, dog experts do not recommend them living in hot and humid environments due to their sensitive skin. But if you still want to care for them, you have to pay extra attention to their hygiene and keep them cool and comfortable.

Final Thoughts: Is Bear Coat Shar-Pei the Right Pet Dog for You?

As you see, this breed of dog requires a responsible owner. Not only that owning one is expensive, but maintenance is also very costly.

Due to their fur and excess skin, they are very susceptible to skin diseases and other health disorders like ear infection, hypothyroidism, and mite infestations.

So think long and hard before finalizing your decision to adopt a bear coat Shar-Pei!

Well, I guess we’ve covered sufficient grounds about the details of this breed. Thank you for your time, and I hope this content has helped you one way to the other.

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