Facts About the Teddy Bear Dog Breed That’ll Make You Go Aww

Teddy bear dog breed is not an AKC recognized breed of dog. They are called “mutts” by many people, or in more appeasing terms, hybrids not pure-breeds. But of course, the other side to this argument is that, not every mutt is called a teddy bear dog. A “mutt” is of uncertain or undocumented parentage, whereas a teddy bear dog has purebred, recognized and known parents.
It may be some time before they get official recognition. Their novelty means that getting a teddy bear puppy costs BIG bucks. Many breeders have cashed in on the obvious ‘cute’ factor, advertising them as purebreds and naming them after what kids love best – teddy bears!

Although they are not prone to excessive and unnecessary barking, there may be a few exceptions, but training will rectify this behavior. Overall, the breed is quickly winning hearts and gaining fans worldwide because of their docile dispositions.

The gene pool of teddy bear dogs includes contributions from 3 breeds – Shih Tzu, Poodle, and Bichon Frisé. While these 3 in any combination make for ideal parents, there can also be other breeds added to the gene pool, as experiments are continuously being carried out to achieve the best temperament and character traits for this breed. So, sometimes, you may have Yorkies or Schnauzers added to the lineage in various combinations.
There are 1st generation and 2nd generation teddy bear dogs. A 1st generation puppy is usually obtained by mating AKC registered purebred parents – usually Shih Tzus and Bichons. Many times, Bichon-Poodle mixes are also bred with Shih Tzus. Other combinations may or may not be termed valid. In the 1st generation, a mix or crossbreed in either of the parents is not tolerated. Indeed, if either of the parents are mixed or crossbreeds themselves, their litter will not be teddy bear puppies.

The 2nd generation of teddy bear dogs have one parent as another teddy bear dog, while the other parent can be any one of the 3 from the selected gene pool. So you can either have a Bichon-Poo and Teddy Bear dog mix or Shih Tzu and Teddy Bear dog mix. The parents have to also be pure-breeds, and the Teddy Bear parent has to be a 1st generation dog.

Since they are very young in terms of breed history, the lineage of these dogs has not yet had time to stabilize, and hence a litter obtained by mating two teddy bear dogs may not be considered as a teddy bear litter. It is always a good thing to be informed before you buy one of these adorable fluff balls for yourself or your family, so that you know what to expect.

These sweet dogs have a very noble history! In accordance with every child’s love for stuffed teddies, teddy bear dogs were bred to do the exact thing that stuffed teddy bears are supposed to do – be adorable, lovable, loving and comforting. Their history shows that they were bred to be therapy dogs for handicapped children.
Their small size, endearing features, and gentle temperaments made them perfect for showering handicapped children with all the love and licks they could handle, without worrying about untoward incidents which were a possibility with bigger dogs.

These dogs were also bred with the intention of bringing out the best qualities of their parents. And this has proven a successful endeavor in many ways, since they have the best temperamental qualities of both the parent breeds, as well as minimum health issues. They were introduced to the world around the start of the 21st century, and have been used as therapy dogs successfully since then. Today, there are many teddies which are working as AKC certified therapy dogs. They are rated as excellent family, therapy and companion dogs.

Adult Height : Between 8 – 12 inches
Adult Weight : Between 10 – 20 pounds
Life Expectancy : Between 14 – 16 years

Imagine a teddy bear. This fur ball is very similar looking. They have the big button eyes and button nose typical of teddies, and are small enough to be lifted and cuddled easily. Their coat can range in color to all white, all black, a mixture of brown and white, or black and white. While these are the common colors, variations may be encountered.

They have a double coat. A fine, soft undercoat, and a fluffy outer coat that is very soft to the touch. The outer coat is usually present in two main varieties – curly and soft, or straight and silky. Also, the coat of these teddy bear dogs is hypoallergenic. It keeps growing at a steady rate throughout the life of the dog, and hence needs regular grooming and trimming. But since they are small, this is not a very time/energy consuming task. 20 minutes per week should be enough to keep them looking spiffy. They shed minimally. Dander, too, is not a serious concern as they are not prone to producing it.

A dog that does not fall into the ranges of weight and height mentioned above may need monitoring to bring the weight back into the specified range, so as to enable them to lead a healthy life. Since they are really small dogs, they have a long life, and will require solid commitment if you intend to get one as a pet. An approximate guess would be 15 years.

Teddy bear dogs are famous for their temperaments! They have none of the traits that are usually associated with small dog breeds – like excessive barking, neurotic behavior, or attention seeking tactics.

In the health department, teddy bear dogs rank high. They are bred in a way that eliminates most health issues. So this is a pretty sturdy breed which will remain in mostly good health all its life.

Some of their character traits are –
~They are happy and very loving dogs.
~They are intelligent and eager to please, hence easy to train.
~At the same time, they can be occasionally stubborn.
~They are very playful, lively and spunky.
~They are highly affectionate and bond strongly with their family.
~If socialized properly, they get along famously with other pets/animals.
~They love licking people, cuddling, learning new tricks and showing off!
~They are quite sporty and love running around, swimming, and fetching, without overdoing anything.
~They are calm, and impartial to family members, loving everyone equally.
~They are devoted, alert and absolute people-dogs!

Apart from this, these delightful little creatures are also very therapeutic and gentle. They make for great therapy dogs for children with learning disabilities, as well as for senior citizens.

Problems associated with small size and old age are bound to occur though. If either of the parent has a health condition, then it is likely to be passed on to the puppies, so it’s important that only healthy dogs be bred. A major concern is their weak trachea. Other than that, regular cleaning of ears and eyes will help avoid any concerns related to them.

Note : Experts opine that a harness is a better choice than a dog collar. These dogs have a small and weak trachea, which may become flattened due to a collar and may lead to untimely death.

A teddy bear dog breed is probably a good pet for almost any family. They are the perfect dogs for people who are allergic to dog hair, since they are hypoallergenic and also shed very less. They are low maintenance dogs and they do not require vigorous exercise to keep them healthy and happy. This makes them perfect for families who have elderly members or very young kids. They are easy to manage, can be house-broken within 2 – 3 weeks, and are ideal companion dogs.
If, after having all this information, you feel like this dog would be a perfect addition to your family and life, make an informed choice before getting one. It is not a good thing if they have to be given up because you have major changes in your life, like changing jobs, moving cities/countries or other personal crises. If they are part of your family, they deserve to be that despite difficult circumstances. Give these dogs a forever home if you are prepared to follow through with the commitment. Also, there are many teddy bear dogs in rescues today, so it would be a good idea to give them a chance instead of buying a new dog. They are as loving and sweet tempered as any new dog and deserve a shot at a good life.