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Teddy Bear Breed Information

Mal Shi Dog on a leash

Tiny, fluffy, and completely charming Teddy Bear puppies bring new meaning to love at first sight. These little toy dogs are happy, playful, and as cuddly as can be. They love to impress their owners with cute tricks and stunts, and are entirely devoted to making their human family happy. Teddy Bear puppies adore being involved in every family activity, and are quite fond of games, cuddles, and training.  

Teddy Bear puppies, sometimes referred to as the Zuchon or Shichon, are a designer breed that is typically a cross between the Shih Tzu and  the Bichon Frise (Teddy Bear Shichon) or a mix between the Shih Tzu and the Maltese (the Teddy Bear Mal-Shi).

With their petite stature, soft and cuddly coats, and their cute round faces, they are truly teddy bears in appearance. 

BREED TYPE / MIX Hybrid / Shih Tzu crossed with a Maltese or Bichon ENERGY Moderate SHEDDING Minimum TRAINING Responsive TEMPERAMENT Affectionate, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Out-Going, Playful ADULT WEIGHT 6-14 lbs ADULT HEIGHT 9-12 in LIFE SPAN 12-14 yrs

Characteristics

  • The Teddy Bear exudes friendliness in all aspects – they are friendly with kids, other pets, and strangers
  • The Teddy Bear puppy does not show favorites among family members. A charismatic dog that loves everyone in equal measure, the Teddy Bear makes a most wonderful companion pet for kids and adults alike.  
  • Cuddly and warm, the Teddy Bear is an excellent therapy dog
  • The Zuchon dog is a highly adaptable pup – whether it’s an apartment, a farm or anything in between, the Teddy Bear is quick to adapt to any living situation
  • The Teddy Bear is best suited for large and small families with or without children, singles, and senior owners
  • Shichon Puppies are known to do well in homes with other pets such as cats due to their agreeable personality
  • Fully hypoallergenic, non-shedding Teddy Bear coat
  • The Teddy Bear Puppies are easy to train. They love to learn new tricks and are quite fond of performing and entertaining
  • Also known as Zuchon, Shichon, and Malshi, the Teddy Bear has become one of America’s most popular designer dog breed 
Tricolor Teddy Bear dog

Appearance

Gorgeous teddy bear eyes, a round teddy bear face, and a fluffy teddy bear coat – everything about these adorable little dogs comes down to a Teddy Bear appearance. Teddy Bear dogs are tiny, cuddly-looking, and puffy. They appear friendly, non-aggressive and ready to make friends. Because they are a mix breed of two or more different dog breeds, they may have more features from one parent and less from another.  

Recognized as a Toy Breed, the Teddy Bear dogs inherit the small size of their parent breeds. Although their size can differ slightly from one dog to the next, they generally average in height from 9 to 12 inches and in weight from 6 to 14 pounds for a full grown Teddy Bear dog (adult Teddy Bear dog).  

With their body covered in a soft fluffy coat, a round face with sparkly round eyes, a small precious nose, cute hanging ears, and a puffy short tail that curls over their back, they are true Teddy Bears in appearance.  

The Teddy Bear hypoallergenic coat is soft and fluffy and comes in a variety of gorgeous colors which are most commonly white, brown, black, grey, and yellow. Both the Shichon and the Malshi can sport various coat colors and coat color combinations with certain patterns and markings. The Teddy Bear Shichon has a variety of possible coat textures due to the Shih Tzu’s long straight hair and the Bichon Frise’s curly, wavy coat.  

The most popular Teddy Bear colors are:

There are also a few size varieties in the Teddy Bear breeds. These include the Teacup Teddy Bear dog, the Mini Teddy Bear, and the Toy Teddy Bear dog.  

Temperament

As a mixed breed of two different dogs, the Teddy Bear puppies inherit the most desirable qualities their parents have to offer. They are friendly, affectionate, and calm-tempered. Making friends among other fur-babies and cuddling their humans are among their favorite activities. They love to play games of hide-and-seek, solve treat puzzles, and chase their chew toys. They are also fond of roaming freely, swimming, and fetching. Because they are family-oriented dogs, they are quite big fans of being held, pampered, spoiled, and cuddled.  

When it comes to kids, Teddy Bear dogs make the best furry friends. They are patient and gentle enough to play even with the smallest of children, and bouncy (and mischievous) enough to keep older kids entertained.

Training Teddy Bear puppies is always a fun and rewarding experience. These puppies enjoy the attention that comes with learning sessions and are quite keen on impressing their owners. They like to try out new tricks and are proud to show-off what they have learned.  

When play time is over, the Teddy Bear’s sweet and affectionate nature takes over and is instantly ready for cuddle time.

Entertaining and outgoing, cuddly and affectionate, calm and eager-to-please are just some of the many traits that make the Teddy Bear pup a wonderful addition to any family. 

Insights

Maltipoo vs Malshi (Teddy Bear) Comparison

The Maltipoo and Mal-Shi are two very cute and very popular designer dogs. In the 30 or so years they have been around, these precious designer dogs have impressed with an amazing set of skills and qualities. They are great students when it comes to learning, fantastic play buddies for children, and loyal to the core when it comes to their humans. With that in mind, we can only imagine the difficulty of choosing between these two. If your choice does come down to Maltipoo vs Mal-Shi, read on to...

More Comparisons to Similar Breeds

6 Most Popular Designer Dogs

A designer dog is a cross between two different purebred dogs. This means that a designer puppy is a mixed breed and has parents from two separate breeds. 

By crossing two highly popular breeds that have the most desirable personality traits, a new and improved breed is achieved. The designer puppy inherits a combination of wonderful traits from both...

More Teddy Bear Insights

Care

Grooming Requirements

Teddy Bears are low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They only require a monthly bath and weekly brushing and combing to keep their coats clean, tangle-free, and shiny. It is recommended to check and clean their ears and eyes, brush their teeth regularly, and clip their nails as needed.  

Read more about grooming steps and tips for Grooming your Dog at Home

Exercise Needs

Teddy Bears are playful, cuddle-oriented pups. They love taking part in all family activities whether they involve sporty playtime outdoors or relaxing play sessions at home. Teddy Bears enjoy lazing around the house as much as they enjoy chasing a ball on an open field.  

When it comes to their exercise requirements, a few brisk walks every day and some active playtime indoors are enough to keep the Teddy Bears happy and fit.  

Health

Teddy Bear dogs are a healthy breed that is not prone to as many health concerns as other small dog breeds. They can, on occasion, develop conditions such as hypothyroidism, epilepsy, eye issues, or hip dysplasia. It is recommended to keep the Teddy Bear dog on a well-balanced diet with high quality dog food and provide a proper exercise regimen. Over-exercising, over-feeding, rough-play, and mishandling can lead to serious health problems and should be avoided.  

Lifespan

The Teddy Bear dog lifespan is between 12 to 18 years. The life expectancy of a Teddy Bear dog can exceed 18 years when the dog is provided with a warm and loving environment, a nourishing diet, and daily exercise activities.  

Training

Teddy Bears are very clever dogs. They can be easily trained when they are properly motivated. To keep the Teddy Bears attentive and eager to learn, it is best to keep training sessions short and interactive, and use positive reinforcement methods. Cheers and delicious treats work best when training Teddy Bear puppies. Once they become interested in what they are being taught, they turn into obedient, easygoing students.  

Socializing and leash training Teddy Bears puppies should be done gradually, preferably a few minutes every day. Although they are outgoing, social, and friendly, it is always best to introduce them to new experiences, situations, and distractions early on. 

Read more about what it takes to raise a new puppy in our New Puppy Owner Guide

History

The designer breed Teddy Bear was intentionally crossed between the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise in the United States around the year 2000. Teddy Bear Dog Breeders were looking to mix these two breeds in order to have the Teddy Bear Puppies that held the size of the Shih Tzu and the adaptability of the Bichon Frise. Breeders started to see an increase in popularity of the Shichon, aka the Teddy Bear, due to their hypoallergenic coats and friendly disposition around all types of families.  

Although the exact origins of the Teddy Bear breed are unknown, we can look back at the history of the Shih Tzu, the Maltese, and the Bichon Frise breeds to better understand the designer hybrid breed.

The Shih Tzu, one of the Teddy Bear’s parent breeds, is said to be one of the oldest dog breeds and a favorite of emperors. There are cultural depictions of the Shih Tzu dog breed in Chinese art dating back to the 6th century. This parent breed of the Teddy Bear is said to be a dog with royal attitude, and rightfully so, as they were raised to live in palaces and please emperors.  

The Maltese breed is a member of the canine world aristocracy. A dog of royalty and nobility, the Maltese has been represented in paintings, ceramics, and literature for centuries. The Maltese puppies are among the most mannered small sized pets, obedient and vigorous but also joyful and playful.  

Centuries ago, the Bichon Frise breed was very popular in France and Spain, appearing in royal family portraits in both countries. It is believed that during the 16th century, traveling sailors brought the Bichon Frise from Tenerife to Europe. Upon their arrival, the Bichon puppies quickly stole the hearts of court ladies with their affectionate sweet nature and cuddly good looks, and soon became court favorites.  

Teddy Bear dogs are a gift to dog lovers from all over the world. Dogs that look like teddy bears are truly a testament to the dedication and passion of professional dog breeders. Smaller, healthier, fluffier, and with an abundance of qualities inherited from their parents, these little dogs might just become the best designer dogs of all time.   

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