Teddy Bear Dogs
Table of Contents
How would you like to own a real live Teddy bear? I mean, that’s the kind of joy childhood dreams are made of...who wouldn’t want to have a real, live breathing, bouncing, fluffy ball of fur all to themselves?
The term of endearment “Teddy Bear Dog” is one given to a number of pure breed and designer breeds that look just like cuddly Teddy bears.
In this article, you’ll learn of some of the most popular ones and their upsides and downsides too. If you are thinking you’d like one, read on to see if one might be a good fit...or not so much.
These dogs can be purebreds or hybrids. The name is given to dogs that...well, look like Teddy Bears. These dogs have become so popular in recent years, we’re in the midst of a bit of a craze.
There are a number of pure breeds that resemble Teddy bears without adding any other breed into the mix. Cockapoos, Teacup Yorkies, Maltipoos, and Zuchons all have these cute characteristics - soft and fluffy coat, big round dark eyes, and little button noses.
There’s just something about them that makes you want to squeeze them tight. But, wait a minute. Before you do, remember that these dogs are real.
Some of the most common breeds to blend for designer dogs are Bichon Frises, Poodles, and Shih Tzus because they have a good bit of the look going for them, to begin with. Yorkshire Terriers and Poodles create Yorkie Poos. Many look a lot like Teddies.
When you mate two that have some of these traits, you are likely to get Teddy Bear puppies that look even more like them. But, this is not always the case.
There’s a certain amount of “pot luck” when it comes to designing dogs, especially when you add in the fact that there is a certain goal for these dogs and that is...for them to look and feel like Teddy Bears.
Suppose you take two dogs. Each one looks about half Teddy bear-ish. Sure, you may get the characteristics from both parents. Or, even some. But then again, you may get none at all.
Breeding two purebred parents in order to get the desired result, be it the soft bear look or a hypoallergenic family dog, became wildly popular during the 1980s. These breeds rose to popularity about that time and have only soared in popularity since.
But because the result of the union of two breeds never guarantees anything, especially a certain look, the sad truth is many of these adorable dogs have been surrendered to shelters or rescue organizations.
On a more positive note though, these dogs are still all the rage. Some are dressed in bear attire and many are treated like royalty. There are group playdates and birthday parties too. It is clear that pet parents love their little bears, that’s for sure.
Some of the most loved of these breeds are:
This is one of the most popular breeds. He is even listed as THE Teddy Bear Dog breed at times.
This dog is a loving cross between a Shih Tzu and a Bichon Frise. The Shih Tzu is a very small Toy dog. He usually weighs an average of 8 to 14 pounds as a full grown adult.
This dog has hypoallergenic, silky, long hair (or sometimes curly coat) that is gorgeous and hails from the Tibetan Plateau but originated in China. He is spunky, clever, outgoing, and truly lovable.
This breed is a small dog, weighing in at just 12 to 14 pounds and standing only 12 inches tall as a full grown adult. His life expectancy is around 15 years so anyone wishing to adopt him must realize he’s definitely a dog and a fulltime commitment. He’s not stuffed animal although he sure is as snuggly as one.
The best dog crate size is 24" for most adult Zuchons.
Playful and active, this breed is a family dog through and through. He is good with kids and even great with other family pets. The only thing he’s not good about is being left out. He freaks when left alone.
Being a hybrid means that he inherits health risks from both sides of the family. The good news is that in keeping with the goal of crossbreeding, he doesn’t have as much of the risk of one side, only half. Still, there are a number of things to watch out for like deafness, liver disease, Canine Hip Dysplasia, and Epilepsy.
This pup is very active and needs a lot of room to romp. He’ll require thirty minutes or more of exercise twice a day and some playtime in between. If you are in love with Teddy bears and think this dog might be your dream come true, as long as you are in it for the long haul, he just might be “the one”.
Interestingly, the Shichon is a Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu mix too, just like the Zuchon. In fact, it’s really the same dog although not all agree on that.
They look just alike and are bred just like so, all in all, this dog breed must be a Zuchon by a different name.
This guy is quite teensy. He weighs, on average, 12-14 pounds and stands around 12 inches tall. He thinks he’s much, much bigger though.
The best dog crate size is 24" for most adult Shichons.
These happy dogs are ones you can snuggle up to and not break out in a sneezing attack because they are hypoallergenic. Whether it’s a Shichon or a Zuchon you are looking for, you’re sure to get something that is adorable.
The thick, fluffy and luscious fur on Pomeranians are adored. With their curled tails, tiny ears, little black button noses, they do look a lot like Teddy bears.
Pomeranians are offshoots of the Spitz dog breed. They got their formal recognition into the American Kennel Club way back in 1900.
Curious, playful, and confident, they are excellent family dogs although they can be a little stand-offish and shy at times. They required early socialization in order to be the ultimate dog they can be.
The proud Pomeranian is usually 7 to 12 inches in height and weighs between 3 and 7 pounds. Some, however, are a bit larger, weighing in at 12 to 14 pounds and standing a little taller too. The 24" dog crate is best for this breed.
There’s a price to pay for the Pomeranian 'Bear' look. It’s called “grooming maintenance”. You’ll need to brush him daily and he’ll need a formal trim up quite frequently.
Pomeranians are hyper if they don’t get their energy out. This cute rascal will get into all sorts of trouble if he doesn’t get walked daily. He’ll need at least thirty minutes of a walk per day and twice a day is even better.
Pomeranians, being a pure breed, are susceptible to some hereditary diseases. Shoulder Luxation, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Entropion, and other eye diseases are on the list of ailments to watch out for if you have a Pomeranian.
Gorgeous and somewhat sophisticated, this dog will snuggle his way right into your heart.
The Teacup version of the Pomeranian is even more like a soft, cuddly bear than the Standard size one. Tiny...cute...cuddly, the Teacup Pomeranian weighs 5 pounds, soaking wet, or even less so, as some Teacup Teddies are smaller than stuffed toys. Imagine that!
These micro-dogs are adorable indeed, but they are fragile too. If you have young children or other pets in the household, this Teacup might not be such a great idea. You want to make sure he is safe, even if that means not taking him home.
Teacup Poms usually weigh about 3 pounds and a full grown adult typically stands under 8 inches tall. The best dog crate size for the Teacup Pom is 18".
Talk about tiny! But...don’t tell him. This breed is well known for being “ten feet tall” and the Teacup versions feel the same as the slightly larger ones do. They don’t back down to other dogs of any size which can land them in trouble.
Teacup Pomeranians are known to be vulnerable to a number of health issues. They are prone to seizures and may have heart defects.
Their tiny lungs may have complications resulting in respiratory problems that are permanent. They are apt to have digestive issues too which may require you to feed them in small amounts frequently throughout the day.
Blood sugar may be a problem too. Blindness and deafness are conditions often occurred with Teacups in general. Arthritis may be a part of the equation too.
This tiny dog can have neck injuries easily so when walking him, you’ll need to take precautions not to pull on his neck with the leash and not to allow him to pull either.
Also, beware of rowdy or aggressive dogs you might come in the path of. Some dogs don’t really get the fact that a tiny dog is...a dog. They sometimes see them as a creature to chase or even worse...a bite-size snack.
Teacup Pomeranians are so tiny, you’ll be tempted to take him shopping in your pocket or to stuff him in your purse when you’re going to lunch with a friend.
While those things are cute and fun too, they can be dangerous for such a little pint size fellow. If he falls, he may not make it out alive. This small of a dog requires the utmost in care.
He can get hurt easily and may even jump from a high place because he doesn’t realize how tiny and fragile he is. Most have a gigantic personality and inflated self-esteem.
They don’t back down from big dogs and don’t fear jumping down from high places either. You are the one who is in charge of his protection. It’s a heavy responsibility.
Still ready to take on a Teacup Pomeranian? If so, you may be the pet parent that fits him like a glove.
The Poochon is a cross between a Poodle and Bichon Frise. He has an uncanny resemblance to a cute little bear and thus, is a proud member of the Club.
This little fellow stands only 9 to 14 inches tall and weighs in around 6-18 pounds. Typically a Bichon Frise and Miniature Poodle are the parents so he gets his small size “honestly”. They are quite sturdy and not scrawny in appearance, however.
The best dog crate for most adult Poochons is 24".
This hybrid dog is excellent as a family member and is especially great with children but can get rowdy and riled up so it is best to only get one if your children are older and more settled down.
The Poochon is fairly high energy so he needs plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis so he’s healthy and happy. Otherwise, he’ll find trouble to get into and he won’t have to look far. The closest slipper can be chomped on or if he can’t find one, he just might gnaw on the rug instead.
Being a designer breed, the Poochon gets health risks, to some extent, from both parents’ line. He is prone to get canine Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and other eye conditions.
The Shih Poo is a cross with a Poodle (generally a Toy or Miniature Poodle) and a Shih Tzu. This warm fuzzy pup has actually been known to give people the warm fuzzies. In fact, he does so on a regular basis.
As adorable as can be, this designer breed certainly looks like a cuddly bear. He acts like one too. He is affectionate and loving, a great family dog who is excellent with children and with the elderly. He’s an all-around gem of a pup.
Typically, the Shih Poo parents are a Miniature Poodle and a Standard Shih Tzu (which isn’t very large, to begin with). Full grown adults usually weigh 8 to 18 pounds and are between 8 and 15 inches tall.
The best dog crate for most adult Shih Poos is the 24".
These Teddy Bear puppies take well to training too. He’s so gentle and good-natured, he won’t require much in the obedience department for he’s a natural there. You can teach him brain games and work with him to learn tricks too. He even excels in some agility ones.
This designer breed seems to have surpassed some of the ailments often seen in crossbred dogs. He’s generally fairly healthy and is apt to live a long life of about 15 years. So, if you are taking this dog home, make sure you’re committed to loving and caring for him for a long, long time.
He will need some regular upkeep in the grooming department. His hair will only be full and fluffy if you take care of it.
He’ll need daily brushing and trips to the groomer every month or two to keep him looking and feeling great. Don’t forget to bathe him regularly too to keep him looking and smelling fresh.
Use a gentle shampoo lest he gets allergies or dry, flaky skin. He’ll get very depressed if he’s too shaggy. His coat can be a number of colors but it is hypoallergenic and silky smooth.
Keep his ears clean and dry. It’s not unheard of for him to get ear infections. Left untreated, they can lead to deafness or he may require surgical treatment.
This breed is prone to have tear stains if his eyes are not cleaned on a regular basis. You’ll want to dry them too.
His teeth tend to stain as well so be sure to brush them with a doggie toothbrush and toothpaste. He’s a good sport so he won’t give you any problems.
The Shih Poo will require walking as he is medium to high in his energy level. A thirty-minute walk at least once or twice per day is great.
You’ll want to give him some mental exercise opportunities as well. He’s smart and needs the stimulation. He also will love just being in your presence to take advantage of his social tendencies.
This breed is said to be a near perfect creation. He’s soft and fluffy, affectionate and smart. One of his only flaws is that he perhaps loves too much.
He gets very anxious when he’s left alone so if you are gone a lot and no one will be at home with him, this dog may not be a good fit for you. But, if you’re available for him a good bit of the time, you could not ask for a better real live cuddly Bear.
There are some things that almost all of these dogs have in common that qualify them for this special beloved classification.
They all look like Teddy bears, needless to say. Typically, they have fluffy fur that is simply irresistible. You must pet them. You just have to!
These dogs usually have a long life expectancy of between 12-16 years even though they may have a number of health conditions you should keep a watchful eye out for.
While their longevity is, of course, a wonderful thing, it’s something many pet parents aren’t prepared for with this breed. Many go into getting one like they would a stuffed toy. They don’t think of it as being a decade or more commitment.
These breeds originated with the dawning of designer breeds. The first of such breeding, that was publicized at least, was in the 1970s when the Cockapoo was created with the mix of the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle. Although the result was a lovely pup, the practice didn’t really catch on.
Designer breeds became a popular craze during the 1980s however. The Guide Dog Organization set about to create a mix of a Standard Poodle and a Labrador in order to get a hypoallergenic therapy dog that could accommodate a blind individual who had allergies.
The mix was a success and the scenario was in place for all sorts of creative endeavors with dog breed blending. The designer dog rush had begun.
Due to their adorability, they were a huge hit instantly. There are a variety of breeds that work well for the Teddy Bear look and feel.
Poodles are popular choices to parent and other fluffy dogs are as well like Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise who have the appearance of a cuddly bear already. How could one go wrong uniting two Teddies?
Not all of these breeds are created equally. Some are just not the calm, gentle beings we all expect them to be.
Many have been abandoned or left at shelters or rescue groups. If you aren’t set on getting one from a breeder, you might consider adopting one that someone else didn’t.
Some of the best dogs are ones that are from backgrounds where they were shunned and forgotten. This kind of dog is often more of a responsibility than the original owner realized he would be.
Going into the adoption aware of all the facts can make you an excellent match for being a pet parent to a needy dog.
There are occasions where there can be a mix of three breeds. Generally, though, they are comprised of two full-bred parents or a second generation creation like breeding two Shih Poos.
Usually, these dogs are small, sometimes very teensy. They weigh an average of 12 to 14 pounds and are usually shorter than 12 inches tall.
There are, however, larger breeds and crossbreeds that look a lot like Teddy Bears and are not exempt from being labeled as such. The Chow is one such dog that bears an uncanny resemblance to a real bear, for that matter.
These dogs usually require a bit of regular grooming maintenance. Their hair is fuzzy, soft, and often times long. They need brushing on a daily basis and baths too.
They are best kept when they see a groomer every month or two. There are a number of appropriate grooming cuts that fit the look. Your groomer can make suggestions.
It’s important to keep their entire body in shape where their fur is concerned which means trimming their private areas every now and then too. Failure to do so can result in poor hygiene.
Typically their toenails need attention because they are inside dogs and don’t wear them down much like outside dogs do although he may come when you take him on walks. Keep them trimmed up nicely and watch for cracking, splitting, or tearing. If you start his toenail grooming when he’s quite young, he won’t think much of it.
Most of these breeds have great personalities. It’s like they know how cute they are and play on it for all they can get out of it. They are pranksters and show-offs, lovers and lapdogs. Some are great with children but others are best with older kids. Many are excellent with family pets but a few are either too tiny to take the risk or are not fond of other dogs.
A good number of these breeds have separation issues that lead to a great amount of anxiety when left by themselves. It’s not advisable to get one if you are gone a lot. It’s just not fair.
When left alone, not only do they tend to wail and cry which can be a big problem if you have neighbors, they also may find naughty things to do which is obnoxious and can be dangerous as well. If you must leave your Teddy alone, you may want to consider crating him, for his safety and your sanity.
While you may be tempted to sleep with your Teddy Bear Dog, like you probably used to with your stuffed bear, it’s frowned upon that you do so. Most are very small and you could easily crush or smother them.
It’s by far better to refrain than to have that happen. But lap and snuggle time when you are awake is completely fine and actually recommended. It’s healthy for both you and your pup. You might say it’s therapy.
These breeds and hybrids are smart and naturally take to training. They catch on easily and only require a few treats and lots of praise to Ace whatever challenge you are presenting to them.
They are eager to please and eat up the attention that comes with class time and a job well done. They also love to show off their new tricks to everyone who will let them.
Many of these dogs have quite a bit of energy but it usually comes in spells. As long as they are walked daily and have some physical and mental exercise time in between, they aren’t hyper or overly active.
They fit right into almost any space and are great dogs to have in an apartment providing you don’t get a barker. If you do, a little obedience training should go a long way and you can nip that bad behavior in the bud when he’s young.
These Teddy dogs travel well too. They can usually fit right into a carry on crate when flying and also love a good car ride. They are adaptable to many scenarios like visiting family or friends.
They generally are well-behaved and polite. They can also be the star at the dog park but, if there are big or energetic dogs around, it might not be such a good idea to take them.
While pet parents love to dress these dogs up and treat them like stuffed toys, they are not. They are dogs and deserve to be treated as the prized pups they are. Dressing them up is fine and good but not to the extreme where they are uncomfortable.
The same is true about taking them out in public. They are adorable to show off but be sure you are putting them in danger or discomfort when doing so. Just because this dog may fit in your pocket doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to have him there.
Some designer breeds are handfuls. You never can be sure what the mix of two dogs will bring. Sometimes, it’s less than the best of the two parents. Be sure you go through a reputable breeder who has references or who you have used before.
Breeders have been known to get greedy and since these dogs bring a pretty penny, it makes the temptation too much for some sketchy, unprofessional breeders. Be certain to get all the documentation you can beforehand. Find out as much as possible about the parents. You can request medical tests and other records.
If you do end up with one who has medical issues, it’s your responsibility to tend to him and seek medical attention. That includes dental cleaning and dental problems.
Each type of these dogs has certain conditions they are prone to and you’ll need to keep a watchful eye out and have him checked should there appear to be any signs and symptoms of problems.
Taking care of your 'Teddy Bear' can be likened unto taking care of a child. You may love dolls and even had them as a child. So, you wanted a baby. You soon found out that there was a huge difference between a baby doll and a real, live baby.
This is the case with the Teddy Bear Dog. He certainly looks like a cute, cuddly bear. But, there’s much more to him. He eats. He whines. He pees and he poops. He may even misbehave and eat your slippers or get into the trash. He may even get on your nerves sometimes. Still, he’s yours...for better or for worse.
Is a Teddy Bear Dog Right for Me?
They are absolutely adorable, no matter which exact breed you are speaking of. They are simply irresistible with their cute little button noses and their big dark eyes. They are little fur-balls just waiting to be loved and pampered.
Some of the so-called 'Teddy Bears' are pure breeds, like the Pomeranian, while some are crossbred dogs. With hybrid dogs, it’s like getting a wrapped present. You have no idea what’s inside. You’re pretty sure it’s something wonderful but there’s no guarantee.
The same is true for crossbred dogs. They may take more after one parent and little after the other or they may be a complete blend of each. And, even though they may turn out looking just like a little bear, there’s no assurance that they’ll be cuddly and sweet like one.
In conclusion, when getting one, just know that you don’t know. Be prepared to love and cherish whatever is inside the package and you do fine.