Despite the fact that dogs are alive and teddy bears are not, both are excellent cuddlers, who actually have a lot in common.
Dogs and teddy bears are both adorable and great for snuggling, and they can help provide comfort when you need it most. Many dog breeds naturally resemble teddy bears, and some breeders have tried to create puppies that look as much like teddy bears as possible.
Below, we’ll talk about some of the most teddy-bear-like pups around, and help you decide which cuddly canine is right for you. We’ll discuss distinct breeds that look like teddy bears, as well as a few of the most common designer dogs, who are the product of multiple breeds.
A lot of purebred dogs have a set of physical traits – including big eyes, cute features, and fluffy coats — that resemble those of teddy bears. Many of them also have the added benefit of being roughly the same size as the average teddy bear.
Poodles are an obvious choice for those looking for a teddy-bear-like dog. They’re covered in soft, curly hair; they have big, endearing eyes, and they prance around the way living teddy bears undoubtedly would.
Although standard poodles are actually pretty big pups, toy and miniature poodles are about the size of a teddy bear.
Poodles make fantastic pets for first time owners, as they’re very sweet, smart, and easy to train. They are typically very affectionate with their owners, and they make friends with most strangers and other dogs they meet. The only real challenge poodles present is their need for regular (and somewhat elaborate) grooming.
Poodles have become quite popular over the last few decades as they shed relatively little and usually don’t cause serious allergy problems for most people. For more poodle pups, check out our list of poodle mixed breeds!
Yorkies, as Yorkshire terriers are often called, are tiny little pups with multi-colored coats that would help them blend right in with a pile of stuffed toys. Sweet, affectionate, and adorable, Yorkies are easy to love, and unless you have an especially cold heart, you probably won’t be able to look at one without smiling.
Yorkies are pretty good dogs for first-time owners, but they do present a few challenges. They do not like to be alone at all, so you’ll need to take your new teddy bear with you whenever possible (luckily, there are plenty of pretty purse carriers you can bring your Yorkie around town in).
They can also be a bit skittish around kids and other pets, although proper socialization can help alleviate these problems.
Note that while Yorkies are certainly sweet, they are also pretty feisty, and they have very playful personalities.
Unlike many of the other dogs on this list who were essentially created to be companions and nothing more, the Cocker Spaniel was initially developed to work alongside bird hunters. They also reach bigger sizes (some adults may exceed 30 pounds) than most of the other dogs on our list.
Despite their size and working history, cocker spaniels, with their fluffy coat and endearing expression, fit right in with most other teddy-bear-like breeds, especially while they’re puppies.
Although they are smart, eager to please, and easy to train, Cocker Spaniels aren’t ideal for first-time owners. They aren’t difficult to house train, but because many are exceedingly nervous, they often urinate when they become frightened or overexcited. They can also be a bit cranky – particularly as they age.
Bichon Frises are famous for their “hypoallergenic” coats, but it is their cute little faces (and the adorable expressions they always bear) that secure them a spot on this list. In fact, Bichon Frises are often groomed in a manner that makes their head appear round, which further completes the teddy-bear look.
Fantastic pets for novice dog owners, Bichon Frises are very sweet, smart, and eager-to-please. They don’t present very many maintenance problems, aside from their need for frequent grooming, and they get along with just about everybody, including children and other dogs.
Like some of the other dogs frequently used in mixed-breed projects, Bichon Frises don’t create a lot of dander, so they don’t typically cause serious allergy problems for their people.
They may be named after the king of the jungle (“Shih Tzu” means “little lion”), but Shih Tzus look more like teddy bears than Simba if you ask us. Typically, those with relatively short facial hair are most reminiscent of teddy bears, but all Shih Tzus have a relatively teddy-bear-like appearance.
Another good breed for novice pet owners, the Shih Tzu is a delightful little dog who typically prefers to spend every waking moment with mom or dad. They can be a bit tricky to house train (most types of training can be challenging with these dogs), but they will learn if you start early and employ consistent rules and procedures.
Despite being best-known as lap dogs, some Shih Tzus excel in agility trials, thanks to their surprising athleticism and intelligence.
The only big dog on our list (unless you opted for a standard, rather than toy or miniature, poodle), the chow is a fluffy bundle of cuteness that often looks decidedly teddy-bear-like.
And unlike some other breeds we’ve mentioned, which only strongly resemble teddy bears while they’re young, adult chows continue to look like teddy bears as they age. They also have some of the most teddy-bear-like ears of any breed around.
But before you run out and pick up your own chow, be sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into. Chows are much different than the companion-oriented breeds discussed earlier. They don’t live to sit on your lap; most will prefer to maintain an arms-length relationship with you. In fact, many people compare chows to cats.
This is not to suggest that chows aren’t awesome — they totally are. You just need to understand their unique personalities before adding one to your family.
Lhasa Apsos can be groomed in a couple of different ways, which influences how much they resemble teddy bears. Many have silky, floor-skimming coats and hardly look like teddy bears at all, but others have shorter, shaggier coats and look quite a bit like teddy bears. A relatively short haircut also makes their faces look pretty round, which helps complete the look.
Unlike some of the other lap dogs on this list, Lhasa Apsos are protective little pooches. They were actually bred to be royal watchdogs, ready to sound the alarm anytime necessary (they weren’t actually expected to do anything about the danger – they aren’t guard dogs). So, while they are very loving and affectionate with their families, they don’t greet strangers very warmly.
Lhasa Apsos are spunky and playful canines who are quite small in size (few exceed 15 pounds). They’re intelligent, but they aren’t especially interested in doing your bidding the way a poodle may. Like most other breeds on this list, Lhasa Apsos require regular grooming.
The Maltese is another breed that can sport any of several different coats, and, once again, those with short, shaggy coats look the most like teddy bears. If you want that sweet teddy bear look, consider the different kinds of haircuts a Maltese can have, and choose accordingly.
Malteses are almost as cuddly as teddy bears too, and most would rather be in their owner’s lap than anywhere else in the world. But while they certainly enjoy accompanying their owner around town and sticking close to mom or dad’s side, they’re also playful pups, who like to run, jump, and play like many other dogs twice their size.
Similar to other lapdogs, Malteses are pretty sensitive canines who don’t like to be left alone for very long. They are a bit easier to train than many similar breeds, which makes them a great choice for first-time dog owners.
The breeds mentioned above all look a lot like teddy bears, but there are also a few mixed breeds who strongly resemble stuffed animals.
The resemblance to teddy bears is coincidental in some of these cases, but a few common mixed breeds are true “designer” dogs whose similarity to teddy bears is quite deliberate (although none of the designer breeds we mention are as deliberate as the panda pup).
The Zuchon is perhaps the most teddy-bear like of any other mixed breed in the world. In fact, many people who discuss teddy bear dogs are specifically referring to Zuchons. Some breeders even hope that the AKC will eventually recognize these mixed-breed dogs and begin welcoming them into shows and competitions.
Looking at the average Zuchon, you’ll immediately notice their resemblance to teddy bears. They have very round faces that look just like those of most teddy bears (and their shaggy facial hair helps emphasize the look), and their eyes are so cute they’ll melt your soul.
Plus, they don’t shed very much, thanks to their Bichon Frise genes.
Personality wise, Zuchons are very endearing. They exhibit all of the loyalty and love their parent breeds typically possess, and they generally get along well with strangers, other dogs, and children. As with several other small breeds, housetraining can be tricky, but if you keep at it, you’ll usually succeed in the long run.
The golden doodle (as well as the Labradoodle, which trades the golden retriever parent for a Labrador retriever parent) is probably one of the most popular mixed breed dogs around. While they tend to outgrow their teddy-bear-like looks, they certainly resemble squeezable stuffed animals as young puppies.
Originally created in hopes of producing a Lab- or retriever-like dog that is also “hypoallergenic,” goldendoodles are loving, fun, and friendly, and they often make great pets for first-time owners. In fact, they may very well be the best big dogs in the world for dog-owning beginners.
Goldendoodles do have pretty high energy levels and you’ll need to keep their brains busy to prevent destructive chewing and other behavioral problems. So, you’ll need to make sure you are willing to go on long daily walks and visit the park frequently, but they don’t present many other care challenges.
Another poodle mix, the Cockapoo is one of the cutest mixed breed dogs in the world. Clad in a wonderfully shaggy coat, these endearing pooches definitely resemble teddy bears – even as they age.
Most Cockapoos are smaller than other poodle-mixes, such as goldendoodles and Labradoodles, as they’re typically in the 10- to 30-pound range. Like most other dogs whose names end with the word “poo” or “doodle,” these pups shed very little and generally don’t cause headaches for allergy sufferers.
One of the greatest things about these particular mixed breed dogs is that they combine the Cocker Spaniel’s cuteness with the poodle’s gentle personality. This produces a dog who is as small, cute, and playful as a Cocker Spaniel, but also as good with children as most poodles.
The Yorkipoo is easily one of the most teddy-bear-like mixed breeds around. Most are absolutely tiny (most weigh about 10 pounds or less), and they are so cute you’ll likely be compelled to pick one up for a good cuddle.
Yorkipoos have all of the sweetness you’d expect, given their parent breeds. Their poodle parentage also helps them to get along with kids, strangers, and other dogs better than some Yorkies do. Yorkipoos don’t require very much exercise, but they do like tagging along wherever their owner goes.
Note that Yorkipoos are often pretty vocal, so while they adapt well to apartment life, you’ll need to be comfortable with their occasionally incessant barking. They don’t mean to annoy you (or your neighbors) – they just want to keep their family safe.
Do you have a dog that’s exceptionally teddy-bear-like? Tell us all about her! Did you specifically set out to acquire a living teddy bear, or did you just luck out? Let us know your experiences with teddy bear dogs in the comments below.
Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.