Teddy Bear Dog Breed Guide

  • November 28th, 2017
  • Breeds
  • Stephanie Flansburg-Cruz

Teddy Bear Dog Guide


If you dream with a small, lovable, and cuddlesome pet, a Teddy Bear dog will probably be the best fit for you! They are a relatively new type of dog and became famous in the late 1990’s in the United States. They are typically a cross-breed between a Shih Tzu and a Bichon Frise. Both of them are extremely loyal and devoted companion dogs. The combination of these breeds results in a “Super Companion” dog. However, “Teddy Bears” is a name that could also be used for cross-breeds between Schnauzers, Toy Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Cocker Spaniels. This usually happens due to the general resemblance of those breeds to teddy bears, with a small size, large eyes, fluffy coat and fine features. Their life expectancy ranges from 12 to 16 years.

Teddy Bear dogs are not an officially recognized dog breed by the AKC yet. As they are relatively a new breed, it would take a while to gain their acceptance.  If this breed is accepted by the AKC in the future, it could be named “Zuchon”.

Parents History

Shih Tzu


The beautiful Shih Tzu seems to have an origin back in Chinese History. Many people associate them with the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi, he ruled China for many years, from 1861 to 1908 and considered all dogs sacred. However, the Shih Tzu appears in different tapestries as old as 2000 years ago. Their origins are not fully clear, but the scientific evidence says that they were probably developed by Tibetan Monks, who offered these dogs as gifts to the emperors of China.

Bichon Frise


Regarding the Bichon Frise, this breed is often referred as a French dog. However, they are originally from Spain. As they were sailing dogs and traveled a lot in the Mediterranean Sea. They were divided into four different categories: the Bichon Tenerife, the Bichon Bolognaise, the Bichon Maltese and the Bichon Havanese. As they were happy dogs, sailors started to use them to move from one continent to another. Their success started in the Canary Islands, Tenerife, but in the 14th Century Italian sailors rediscovered these little dogs and returned them to Europe where they started to become more and more popular.

Taking into consideration both breeds’ history, we can have an idea of the Teddy Bear dogs origin; they have a little bit of both. Due to their recent origin, we could state that they are both Asian and European dogs who bred in the late 90’s in the US and became this beautiful and lovely breed that we rapidly started to adore.


The Bichon Frise’s coat is curly, tight and non-shedding while the Shih Tzu’s coat is thick, long, floating and does not shed. The Teddy Bear puppies can show different mixed colors such as black, and several different shades of white and brown. The Bichon Frise is always white, but this variation of colors is caused due to the many colors that Shih Tzus can adopt. Due to the variation of color, almost never two different Teddy Bear dogs will look similar.

The usual weight of a Teddy Bear dog is between 11-16 lbs when fully grown, but they can weight up to 20lbs. Also, their short height will range from 8 to 12 inches in their adulthood. Most Teddy Bear dogs are hypoallergenic, they are perfect for allergic people. They are normally bred to produce little dander.


Teddy Bear dogs are outstandingly loyal. They adore physical contact all the time; it is very usual that they do midday naps at your feet or on your lap. They are great for small children and adults, and also to give love to every member of the family, they are not one-person puppies. In fact, they breeding started with the purpose of giving company to children with disabilities. Also, they build great relationships with other pets, especially with dogs. Their therapeutical features are exceptional.  

They are very empathic dogs, and they can feel other people’s emotions. They behave according to what they feel in the environment and are devoted to making people feel better. They are very lovable and cuddling; they love to play and need exercise. They do not tend to bark, but they could do it if an unknown person enters the house or if they sense danger somehow.

Care and Grooming of Teddy Bear Puppies

Normally, Teddy Bear puppies do not need a lot of shedding. Their coats are “flexible”, they could be kept long or short, and many styles are available to suit them well. However, they do need constant grooming to avoid their coats from being tangled and/or matted. They need to be constantly brushed, preferably daily, and bathed often. Like most of the dogs, their ears must be cleaned, their teeth brushed, and their nails trimmed as part of their routines.

People should always remember that the condition of a Teddy Bear dog’s coat  (or any dog’s coat) could deeply affect their health and integrity. Care and grooming often include the elimination of any tick or mite that could be bothering them, however, as they are house-dogs, they do not usually suffer from the threat of these animals. If you give your Teddy Bear dog the appropriate care, you can rest assured that she/he will be your best friend.

Teddy Bear Puppies


Teddy Bear puppies look almost exactly to a real Teddy Bear! They are incredibly soft and cuddly. It is important to introduce other dogs and humans to Teddy Bears puppies to avoid the development of negative conducts towards others. And of course, constant love and petting will give them the confidence to approach others.

Training Requirements

The Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu are both very smart breeds and therefore, so is the Teddy Bear dog. We can recall that hundreds of years ago, the Bichon Frise was popular among sailors, they had a great temperament and were easy to teach; the Teddy Bear dogs have this feature from one of her/his parents.  The Teddy Bear dog is constantly wanting to please and learn. They are normally easy to train; they have a great ability to pick up tricks and commands. However, like several small dogs, the Teddy Bear dogs can be hard to housebreak. A constant routine, praise, and treats can help them in the training procedure.

Exercising needs

The Teddy Bear dog is not a particularly active dog. It is recommended to walk them once a day or do outdoor activities. Playing would be a great exercise that will definitely maintain them in a healthy status.

Many people believe that exercising and playing could be dangerous for their Teddy Bear dog. However, Teddy Bear dogs have stronger bones that what it seems like. They were bred to be helpful for kids with disabilities, therefore, they are strong and people can play with them without breaking or harming them.


Regarding health, Teddy Bear dogs are ranked very high. The way in which Teddy Bear dogs have been bred is very diverse. As they come from at least two different breeds, the reproductive tank is wide and chances to develop genetic conditions decrease. They normally have a very healthy and long life.

However, the diversity will not make them avoid aging or problems related to their small size. They tend to have a weak trachea; people must be very delicate while touching their throat. Any other than that, they must follow good hygiene routines to stay healthy and enjoy a happy life. It is important to bear in mind that dogs with health issues should not be bred in order to evade future sick puppies.

An interesting fact is that professionals recommend harness rather than a dog collar. Their small trachea could be threatened by a tight dog collar or a fast impulse that could affect her/his trachea and lead to untimely death.

Diet and food

A Teddy Bear dog, just like every dog, should follow a healthy diet. If a Teddy Bear dog likes to eat a lot, he/she must exercise a little bit more than the average small dogs. They must avoid wet and canned food because they tend to lead to decay, gum disease, bad breath and sometimes tooth loss.

Costs of having a Teddy Bear Dog

The average cost to obtain a Teddy Bear dog/puppy ranges from $0 to $2000. They could be found in animal rescue shelters, but it is not very common. When it comes to buying them, they are expensive due to the few breeders that work with Teddy Bear dogs, they are rare to find. Also, as they are not found everywhere, costs for traveling for the dog may apply. Also, food and accessories that Teddy Bear dogs will need should be included in every budget to take care of them. Furthermore, it is important to take them to the veterinarian for frequent checking, the veterinarian’s costs should also be taking into consideration while thinking about adopting or purchasing a Teddy Bear dog; average yearly visits to the veterinarian could range from $200 to $1000.


Stephanie Flansburg-Cruz

Dr. Stephanie Flansburg-Cruz practices mixed animal veterinary medicine and she has a special interest in shelter medicine and animal welfare. Stephanie enjoys volunteering at local animal shelters, reading, writing and traveling.

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