If you've always longed for a dog that looks like a teddy bear, a bichon frise and Shih Tzu crossbreed may fill the bill. Although there's no real breed named after the teddy bear, this hybrid dog is often referred to by that nickname, and is also known as the "zuchon." Both dog breeds are bred to serve as companion dogs, as befits a canine named the teddy bear, a "stuffed animal" come to life.
Teddy bear dog size
At maturity, the Shi Tzu stands between 8 and 11 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing between 9 and 16 pounds. The bichon frise is similarly sized, ranging from 9 to 12 inches in height. While the breed standard doesn't specify a weight, it should be proportionate to height. No matter which parent your puppy particularly takes after, a full grown teddy bear dog will stand between 8 and 12 inches tall. That's the perfect size for a cuddly adult teddy bear dog that you can still easily carry around.
Teddy dog coat and colors
The bichon frise's coat is tight, curly and nonshedding. The Shih Tzu's double coated crowning glory is long, thick and floating — and doesn't shed. If your teddy bear dog inherits the Shih Tzu's flowing locks, don't worry too much about coat maintenance. The long coat kept on Shih Tzu show dogs isn't necessary for a house pet. You can keep your dog in a short "puppy cut." Your full grown teddy bear dog will require a good brushing a few times a week to prevent mats. If your teddy dog's coat is more bichon-like, they'll need daily brushing.
If you're wanting an iconic white teddy bear dog, choose the bichon frise as they are always white (though the exact shade will vary from dog to dog). Shih Tzus, on the other hand, may appear in any color ranging from white, black, red, and gold, and they may even be a combination of colors.
If your teddy bear takes after their bichon parent, their coat will be predominately white, but the shades of these pups run the gamut. Most of them will have large areas of white on the body.
Teddy bear dog temperament
The American Kennel Club describes the shih tzu as "affectionate, outgoing, playful and charming," while the bichon frise is "curious, peppy," and playful. Your teddy bear has only one desire in life, and that's staying by your side. Although your dog needs plenty of attention, their exercise needs are modest and a few daily walks should suffice. Indoor playtime activities like fetch or keep-away will satisfy the activity level of any teddy bear puppies. Teddy bear shih tzu and bichon frise get along well with other dogs (including different breeds and sizes) and cats. These dogs are great canine companions for children — but dogs should always be supervised around young children.
Because the teddy bear is a companion dog, he's not a good choice if he's left alone for most of the day. The bichon, especially, can suffer separation anxiety.
Teddy bear dog health
- Dental issues and diseases including periodontal disease, cleft lips or palates, and misaligned and missing teeth
- Orthopedic problems, including patellar luxation (slipped kneecaps) and hip dysplasia
- Eye conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, retinal detachment, and corneal dryness
- Kidney ailments including renal dysplasia (abnormal kidney development)
- Respiratory issues
As a part of responsible dog ownership, you should watch your dog for excessive weight gain (or failure to gain or maintain weight), excessive thirst, and problems breathing With luck and good care, your teddy bear should share your life for 15 years or more.