As you can guess by their adorable-sounding name, Teddy Bear dogs are a hybrid or designer crossbreed of a Shih Tzu and a Bichon Frise or a mix of a Shih Tzu and a Maltese.
These dogs are also known as a Zuchon/Shichon, Maltichon, or Mal-Shi based on the specific mix of breeds. During the 2000s these dogs captured the hearts of people around the world around, it is when the designer breed became truly popular, despite this hybrid breed has been around for a while. However, it is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club or any other official breeding body.
Teddy Bear dogs have a small stature, they are fiercely loyal, loving to a fault, and pretty much capture the hearts of anyone they lay their eyes on.
What Do Teddy Bear Dogs Look Like?
As the Teddy Bear dog is a mixture of breeds that are already small, this dog is a tiny ball of fluff. An adult Teddy Bear dog stands at around 9 to 12 inches in height, it will weigh between 6 to 14 pounds on average. As puppies, these are palm-sized and feel like they weigh nothing.
Side Note – The breeders have gone a step further and have bred teacup (a miniature or toy) versions of the Teddy Bear dog.
The Teddy Bear dog’s adorable name comes from the fact that they are so small and fluffy they look less like a dog and resemble a stuffed teddy bear.
These dogs have tiny faces with large, round eyes that sparkle with love. Their ears can be considered large and floppy; sometimes, you will notice these ears perk up. However, usually, they are folded forward in little triangles.
Moving on to the rest of the Teddy Bear dog’s faces, they have little button noses that stick out slightly from their faces, so they don’t look like typical brachycephalic breeds such as a Pug or Pekingese, despite they might have Shih Tzu parentage, as Shih Tzus are brachycephalic dogs.
As their parentage also includes the Bichon Frise, the Shih Tzu, or the Maltese, Teddy Bear dogs are hypoallergenic. Their fur is incredibly soft; it will not irritate your nose if you happen to be allergic to dog fur. This fur is also lightweight and fluffy, which further contributes to the breed’s teddy bear toy-like appearance.
No matter if your Teddy Bear dog is a Maltichon, a Mal-Shi, or a Zuchon/Shichon, they will all sport a range of coat color combinations.
However, the most desirable Teddy Bear color is a white or light cream, their coats do not shed as well.
The colors that may appear in the Teddy Bear dog’s coat are:
- Darker cream
As they are a designer breed, keep in mind that Teddy Bear dogs can vary in their appearance even if they are part of the same litter.
What Is the Teddy Bear Dog’s Temperament?
Teddy Bear dogs have amazing temperaments, these are not bothersome dogs. They can be a calm, soothing presence, or they can be playful and fun depending on the mood and how diligently you trained them.
These dogs are fiercely loyal, they usually don’t pick a favorite family member. Instead, they try to protect all members of the family or “pack” with equal devotion in the face of threats.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that Teddy Bear dogs are less ‘yappy’ than other small breeds, this is a great feature if you live in an apartment or condo that has strict pet policies.
As these tiny canines are not aggressive and enjoy having a large “pack,” they are excellent dogs to bring home if you have cats or other dogs at your home.
This dog breed will not thrive if they are carted away from their humans overnight or left for long periods of time during the day. These teddy bear dogs can even develop severe separation anxiety if they are not carefully trained.
Finally, Teddy Bear dogs are highly intelligent, so training from an early age is crucial. Playtime is a good way to ensure they are mentally as well as physically stimulated while training them.
What Is the Teddy Bear Dog’s Health Like?
Teddy Bear dogs tend to live healthier than their purebred parents and other small-breed counterparts.
This is largely thanks to their mixed-breed heritage. As it allows them access to a more diverse range of genes instead of being stuck with a small gene pool where genetic problems are concentrated instead of diluted.
Despite their parent breeds being brachycephalic, Teddy Bear dogs do not usually suffer from brachiocephalic issues. However, if the Shih Tzu parent happened to have a particularly short snout, then this physical trait might be passed on.
While picking out your Teddy Bear puppy, look for one that has a longer snout and nostrils that are not turned downwards. It is advisable to choose a first-generation Teddy Bear dog instead of one that was bred by Teddy Bear parents.
This is because to achieve the ‘perfect’ teddy bear look, multiple Teddy Bear dogs are back bred, which will concentrate on any genetic issues in the offspring.
As the dogs are very small, they can damage their joints and suffer from dislocations/broken bones if handled roughly. or if the playtime becomes too extreme. Always make sure, if you have any children, to be careful and gentle around their play and do not allow the kids to try and pick them up.
What Is the Teddy Bear Dog’s Trainability?
Teddy Bear dogs are highly intelligent and wish to please their humans. This makes a teddy bear dogs ideal for training. From a young age, your Teddy Bear puppy will understand the training easily and eagerly.
If you do not train the Teddy Bear puppies, they can become a bit of a nuisance, as they will turn destructive. These dogs are prone to separation anxiety, thus without proper training, they can become ill and can also become malnourished.
If your Teddy Bear dog does suffer from separation anxiety, you could offer them a teddy bear toy. While training the Teddy Bear dog, remember the key to success is positive reinforcement. These tiny dogs have sensitive little hearts that will not stomach harsh discipline. However, they are easy to train it becomes a pleasure to praise them.
For the best results with this breed, keep the training sessions short, 15-minute intervals a couple of times throughout the day. Treats, toys, along with shouts of joy are the way to keep them engaged as well as happy.
Teddy Bear Dog’s Grooming Needs
For starters, their soft, fluffy coats need to be brushed regularly to avoid mats forming, teddy bear dogs should be brushed at least two to three times a week to keep up their good looks and to maintain their skin health.
Mats are painful patches of fur that knot together and grow as more fur gets pulled into them. While the mat grows, it will continue to pull on the skin, which leads to sores forming. It is absolutely essential that you keep the Teddy Bear’s coat mat-free.
The Teddy Bear dogs should be given baths once a month to keep the coat as well as skin healthy and shining. Bathing your puppy for the first time can cause alarm in them; however, it just becomes part of their training.
The Teddy Bear dog’s teeth should be brushed at least once a week, while their ears should be cleaned at the same time. Due to their ears being long and floppy, they are likely to accumulate a lot of dirt and debris quickly.
You can keep the Teddy Bear dog’s coat long or trimmed short according to your preferences.
Note – A longer coat requires more frequent brushing.
Are Teddy Bear dogs expensive?
First-generation Teddy Bear dogs are not usually very expensive, neither are the upkeep costs. These are small, so they do not consume much and will be in good health for most of their lives. However, if the Teddy Bear dog you are bringing home has been back bred to get its teddy bear look, then they could be more expensive, as they are seen as the ‘perfect’ Teddy Bear dogs.
What is the Teddy Bear dog’s lifespan?
Like most small breeds of dogs, the Teddy Bear has a substantial lifespan for a canine. Teddy Bear dogs will be with you for 12 to 18 years provided they are in good health. In a few cases, they are even known to live for up to 20 years in loving households.
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