Have you heard of the Teddy Bear dog breed (also called the Zuchon) and wondered exactly what he is?
Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about in great detail today!
Learn all about this designer hypoallergenic dog including his appearance, personality and more!
We’ll also talk about how to find responsible teddy bear dog breeders if you decide he’s the pooch for you.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
What is the Teddy Bear Dog Breed?
Don’t bother looking for the Teddy Bear dog on the AKC registered breed list, you won’t find him there because he’s not technically a breed…yet.
He’s actually a mixed breed dog, albeit a carefully crafted designer mix, but a mix nonetheless.
Typically, his parents are any combination of Shih Tzu, Bichon Frise, or Poodle breeds.
The end goal is always the same, though: to create a small dog that looks as cute and cuddly as your favorite childhood teddy bear.
Are Teddy Bear dogs hypoallergenic?
Before we dive into the features of the Teddy Bear, let me quickly share a bit of good news for my friends with allergies!
The Teddy Bear dog is hypoallergenic because every potential parent is considered a hypoallergenic breed.
They barely shed and don’t produce the dander that causes allergies.
Of course, with any hybrid, it’s entirely possible to end up with non-hypo dogs finding their way into the mix, but if you go with a responsible breeder you should be just fine.
Teddy Bear Dog Breed Appearance
Since Teddy Bears are the result of mixing two breeds, appearance isn’t set in stone.
For example, you could end up with grey teddy bear dogs, white teddy bears or anything in between!
However, for the most part you can expect to see:
- A big round face with a short muzzle and big eyes that will instantly remind you of your favorite teddy bear!
- Drooping ears (as opposed to upright).
- Short fluffy tails that remind you a bit of cotton balls!
- A soft double coat, with the fine undercoat and either a curly or straight outer coat.
Teddy Bear Dog Size
Teddy bear dogs start off tiny and stay small! A full-grown teddy bear only reaches between 8-12″ in height and falls between 10-20 pounds.
It’s possible for your dog to fall outside this range. Bichons range from 10-20 lbs and Shih Tzus from 3-16 depending on the type.
When poodles enter the mix (literally), there’s no saying how big your Teddy Bear will get because it depends on the type of poodle!
Still, the average is about 10-20 pounds, so you can reasonably expect your dog to stay relatively small.
Teddy Bear Colors
As I mentioned above, the Teddy Bear can end up pretty much any color from white to black.
He may be all one color or a patchwork of different colors. As of now, there isn’t a “breed standard” for coloring.
Personality & Temperament
Teddy Bear dogs have fabulous temperaments, mostly because their parents are pretty well-known for being excellent family dogs.
Interestingly, all the negative traits associated with small dogs (the yapping, namely) seem to be non-existent in the Teddy Bear!
Sure, he’ll bark when necessary, but he’s not really a yappy dog.
They’re also fairly even-keeled dogs who aren’t prone to acting out to get your attention, and they’re far less neurotic than other small breeds.
Character traits include:
- Generally happy, playful disposition
- People pleasing personality that makes basic training a cinch
- High level of intelligence that also makes trick training a breeze
- Very affectionate towards all family members, rather than just bonding with one
- Active and energetic, so they’ll do well with active families.
These are all-around great dogs who genuinely love every member of the family. No worries that he’ll only bond with one of you!
When socialized properly, they even get along great with other dogs and cats!
While they’re active and energetic, they’re also happy just chilling on the couch with their humans.
It’s also interesting to note that the Teddy Bear breed was actually created as a therapy dog for special needs kids.
Now that you know what he looks like and how he acts, let’s look at the Teddy Bear dog health considerations.
Teddy Bear Dog Health
Overall, the Teddy Bear dog appears to be a relatively healthy breed.
It’s important to understand that since he’s such a new hybrid, we haven’t really had time to see any health trends emerge.
Selective breeding helps reduce the health issues typically seen in the parent breeds. Still, a few potential problems include:
- Conditions affecting the eyes, such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy
- Dental problems (so keep up on his teeth cleanings!)
- Kidney problems
- Joint disorders, including knee and hip problems.
Before you adopt a Teddy Bear dog, make sure you ask to see health records for his parents. That will give you a better idea of what to expect.
Again, keep in mind that mixed breeds often have fewer health issues than their pure-bred parents, so don’t assume the worse if mom has a history of cataracts or dad has knee problems!
Teddy bear life expectancy
Small dogs typically live longer than big breeds, and the Teddy Bear is no different.
I have to mention once again that he’s too new to nail down an exact number of years, but expect him to live about 15 years or more.
Shih Tzu dogs can live up to 18 years and Bichons average about 15, so 15 is a reasonable expectation.
Adopting a Teddy Bear Dog Breed
“Adopting” may not be the right word, since we usually reserve that for dogs that are rescued from shelters. “Buying” or “acquiring” fits better.
Whatever you want to call it, adopting a teddy bear dog is definitely a challenge. Why? Basically, because it’s not a “stable” breed yet.
As Dogappy explains, since the hybrid is so new, even by mating two “teddy bear dogs,” breeders could end up with something that falls well outside the teddy bear breed standard.
Also, since they’re so trendy right now, Teddy Bear dogs cost a pretty penny!
Where to Find a Teddy Bear Dog for Sale
Here’s a quick tip for finding a teddy bear dog for sale: expand your search to include “Zuchon” and “Shichon” puppies.
Since there are so few Teddy Bear dog breeders right now, you may need to look well outside your area.
Look for ethical breeders with a good reputation and plenty of references. Seriously, ask for those references and then call them!
Ideally, you should go pick up your Teddy Bear in person so you can see his living conditions and parents.
If this isn’t possible, opt for a breeder with great communication and ask for pictures.
Teddy Bear Dog Breed Rescue
Unfortunately, there really aren’t any specific Teddy Bear rescue groups right now.
For the most part, people know exactly what they’re getting when they buy a Teddy, so they don’t really end up in shelters.
However, there may be plenty of Shih Tzu/Bichon mixes in shelters that weren’t bred specifically as a Teddy Bear dog.
Visit your local shelters, talk to rescue groups, and use PetFinder to locate one near you.