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Teddy Bear

Breed info

Teddy Bear


Designer Breed: Teddy Bear
Written by Admin on January 17, 2011

The “Teddy Bear Dog” (more formally known as the Shuchon or Zuchon) is a new breed of canine making its entrance to the designer dog scene. The Teddy Bear is generally considered a mixed breed dog, though it is important to remember that true Teddy Bears are specifically bred- it is not simply a nickname given to any cute, fluffy dog. Teddy Bears are a cross between a  purebred Bichon Frise and a purebred Shih Tzu. Due to the young age of this new designer breed (introduced early in the new millennium), it has not yet been recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). It is said however that after a few more generations are born, the AKC will likely recognize this breed, officially naming it the Zuchon.

Appearance of Teddy Bear Dogs and Puppies

Teddy Bear puppies are named so due to their ‘teddy bear’ appearance. They’re small with soft, fluffy coats and flattened faces. They have large, endearing eyes and short tails. They are small companion dogs, reaching a height of approximately 12 inches with a weight of about 12 to 14 pounds (approximately 5.5 to 6.5 kilos). The dog grows hair, not fur, so it is a non-shedding breed that should be regularly groomed to maintain its coat. Without proper care, the Teddy Bear’s coat can become matted and unhealthy. The coat can come in almost any colour. The Teddy Bear’s appearance is such that it will still look very much like a puppy even as an adult dog.

Lifespan

Like most smaller dog breeds, Teddy Bear puppies have relatively long lifespans. This is why it is so important to plan carefully when considering buying a new puppy, and not to buy one as a spur-of-the-moment decision or a gift. Remember that a dog is for life. Expect your dog to live anywhere up to 17 years!

Health

Teddy Bear dogs are considered to be very healthy dogs if bred correctly. A responsible Teddy Bear breeder will carefully select their dogs for optimal health and breed accordingly, eliminating most possible congenital diseases. Being a mixed breed, the Teddy Bear is unlikely to suffer from many of the problems that their purebred ancestors may suffer from. It might be worth noting however that Teddy Bear puppies are short-muzzled (brachycephalic) dogs- much like their parents- and may not cope well with high temperatures.

Temperament

Teddy Bear puppies are considered by many dog lovers to be the perfect companion dog. Unlike many small dog breeds who generally have an independent nature, Teddy Bear puppies tend to be eager to please and thoroughly enjoy the company of their human “pack”. They’re intelligent but mild mannered and aren’t as “yappy” as many small dog breeds can be. Aggression isn’t considered to be a problem in this dog breed, making them ideal for families with children.

It is important to consider however that humans play a huge part in the temperament of their dogs. A good breeder will start to socialise the puppies from a very young age, ensuring that the dogs grow up to be fond of people and other animals, and be accustomed to the home environment. Once you adopt your new puppy from the reputable breeder (or dog rescue), it is important that you continue this socialization and training into its adulthood. Even though the dog breed is geared towards having a friendly temperament, poor socialization and lack of physical and mental stimulation can turn any dog into a terror.

To learn more about the temperament of this breed, it would be wise to research the Bishon Frise and Shih Tzu and get as much information as possible from veterinarians, breeders and dog owners.

Grooming

Even though their coat is non-shedding, it does require maintenance. Regular brushing is required to keep it free from mats (matting can lead to hot-spots and are very important to avoid) and the occasional haircut is usually required. As with most droopy-eared breeds, you will also need to clean the dog’s ears gently with cotton wool or a soft cloth on a regular basis to prevent dirt and grime from becoming trapped in the ear canal. If your dog has a lighter coloured coat, wiping the eye and mouth area may be needed to avoid discolouration in those areas.

Special Qualities

The Teddy Bear dog has been bred to suit all families. Their hair doesn’t shed their hair like most dog breeds, and their coat is low in dander (a material that is naturally shed by most animal breeds, similar to dandruff) making them very hypoallergenic dogs. This is good news for families who have avoided buying a dog due to allergies.

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