Ever wanted to adopt your very own real-life teddy bear? Or maybe you’re considering something a little bigger and want a full-sized cuddly bear?
Adopting a grizzly bear has it’s challenges, so the next best thing is finding the perfect dog to resemble one.
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
We cover the full spectrum of breeds in all shapes and sizes but all have those bear-like qualities, and then we’ve add a little bit of info about each dog so you can find the one that suits you.
Haircuts Can Make All The Difference
Some breeds just need a little grooming to give them the authentic teddy bear dog look – in fact, it’s the most popular request at my grooming shop (especially among non-shedding breeds).
We call it the Teddy Bear Cut, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. We round out the face, trim around the ears, and carve out a mane, making your pup look like an adorable little bear cub.
So next time you visit your groomer ask if a teddy bear cut will work with your dog.
Teddy Bear Dog Breeds Ordered By Small, Medium, and Large:
1. Bichon frise
Cheerful, loving, and a little trouble maker – The Bichon Frise is everything you would want from a real life teddy. They are fiercely intelligent, affectionate, silly, and cuddly.
All that silliness needs to get burned off eventually though – some daily exercise will help them excel and live life to the fullest. The Bichon adapt well to any living environment and make great apartment pets.
Remember, these dogs are especially sensitive to scolding. Gentle training and a positive environment is what they need to flourish.
2. Border Terrier
Work hard and play hard, that’s the Border Terrier motto.
These dogs were originally bred to hunt foxes, so running, digging, and chasing comes pre-wired. Which means this can be a challenging breed to work with.
The Border Terrier is fiercely intelligent and loyal, but they come with a high list of demands that not every owner is up for. With all that energy previously used for hunting, they need a very active daily lifestyle.
Border Terrier’s have big hearts, and love being the center of attention with family and friends. Although they take a great deal of work, they reward their owners with endless love and affection.
Affectionate, intelligent, and attached to your side – the Cockapoo is the very definition of a companion.
This is the ideal family dog, because they’ll never hold a grudge against anyone or anything! Cockapoo’s are pure, unconditional love right down to the bone.
Their drive to please their loved ones makes them the ideal training partner, and are perfect for first time owners. And while they still need to be groomed often, this is a very low shedding, quiet, and non-drooling breed.
4. Lhasa Apso
The Lhasa Apso was once used to guard royal palaces in Tibet, and still carry that proud duty to this day.
These are very independent dogs that take the position of protecting very seriously. Therefore, they can be very unkind to strangers, while fiercely loyal to their family.
This is a strong-headed breed, and it takes consistent training from a strong leader for the Lhasa to take heed. Because of their protective nature they absolutely must have early socialization.
Pekingese is a unique breed originating from ancient China, but even more unique is their coat which is sometimes groomed in exuberant fashion.
But with a teddy bear cut from your groomer, this dog can certainly resemble an adorable cub.
The Pekingese have an independent spirit that make their own rules, so they can be very stubborn with training and potty training.
Also, they can be very loud, and tend to bark at just about everything. With that in mind, the Pekingese are not well suited for families with small children, other dogs, or first time dog owners.
A Pomeranian is described as a confident trouble-maker that enjoys being treated like a prince or princess.
They enjoy seeing just how much they can get away with. While it’s all in good fun, you will need to establish some house rules before they claim their spot on the throne. Poms can be especially difficult with barking and potty training.
Poms love going on adventures and hate being left alone. It’s not wonder they make the perfect accomplice for joining you on your daily tasks.
When it comes to Pomeranian grooming styles – ask for the Teddy Bear Cut from your groomer. They’ll give your Pom a cute round head and soft round ears – just like a teddy bear.
7. Shih Tzu
In this case, the Shih Tzu benefits from showing off their signature grooming style – the Teddy Bear Cut. I would even argue this breed shows off the teddy bear trim better than any other breed.
And these dogs are all about showing off, as they love being the centre of attention.
These critters are lovable, energetic, and want nothing more than to spend their day with you. Friendliness is actually in their genes, as the Shih Tzu’s were originally bred for companionship.
However, they can be overly energetic and sometimes difficult to manage. Some families say the best way to keep them happy and occupied is to actually adopt two Shih Tzu’s so they have a friend.
8. Toy Poodle
A poodle might not be the first dog you think of when it comes to teddy bears – but you might be surprised what a little grooming magic can do.
The most common grooming request is the teddy bear cut – and it works as advertised.
Poodles receive top marks in their class for being intelligent and quick-witted. They love to put on a show and are very eager to please. Which makes them the ideal training partner.
At a young age they are full of energy and may be difficult to hold their attention. If left alone they tend to dig, bark, or race around your home for hours. They’ll need a way to burn off daily energy with mental and physical stimulation.
They tend to grow calmer as they mature, but still need ways to stimulate their body and mind.
9. Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkies have no shortage of energy and personality.
Once they find a new parent they will dedicate their entire existence to that single human. However, some Yorkies show an unkind manner to anyone else, including other family members or pets. Early socialization and training will help curb bad behaviors.
Yorkshire Terriers were once fierce rodent hunters, and they are still very efficient at this task. If you have rodent problems, it will be easily handled by your terrier companion.
As we described earlier, we recommend giving your yorkie a teddy bear trim to resemble that adorable bear cub.
Medium Sized Breeds
10. Chow Chow
Chow Chows have an unmistakable look that certainly resembles a cuddly teddy bear dog.
But these dogs may be anything but cuddly, as they’re known to have a very independent spirit. They’ll often be suspicious of strangers and other animals, and are known to be very protective.
With early training and socialization your Chow Chow will learn to accept children and strangers. But without that early training this dog’s patience will wear thin. Therefore, if you adopt an older Chow Chow it’s recommended for older families and experienced owners / trainers.
A new trend in China has recently been grooming Chow Chow’s to look just like Pandas.
The Keeshond has a unique grey coat that bares similarities to a wolf’s mane.
As a puppy they closely resemble a bear cub with short, rounded ears and nose. But as they mature they lose some of that cub-like appearance.
This dog loves nothing more than to spend time with his family and loved ones. In fact, the Keeshond is a highly social animal, and cannot be left alone at any time. That will become very apparent as they “Velcro” onto you and follow you everywhere.
And that thick coat needs love too, as you’ll assume the roll of a full time brusher to control the heavy amounts of shedding.
Keeshonds can be a mouthy breed, and although they have the best intentions, they do tend to bark and yell frequently.
12. Shiba Inu
Shiba’s are a unique breed from Japan with an assortment of quirks and a hilarious personality.
But Shiba’s are very independent, and that comes with a certain amount of stubbornness. While they are incredibly intelligent, training is a frustrating task that are best left to experienced owners.
These dogs have a high prey drive, and a tendency to be on alert. So they’ll often chase small animals and bark at strangers. But with some training, socialization, and love, they can really flourish in a family environment.
Large Sized Bear Dogs
13. Akita Inu
Once used for protecting royalty, the Akita has since retired from guard duty into the family life.
These are a proud breed, and have unwavering respect for their owners and loved ones, but can overly protective at the same time. Their guarding traits are still very strong.
Akita’s like to talk – all day and everyday. Somewhere in between whining and barking they make use of their vocal chords to let themselves be heard in every situation – often with hilarious results. They tend use that mouth for other things too, like carrying objects or toys at all times.
Because of their protective nature and strong opinions, the Akita is hard to train, and are not suited for inexperienced owners. These dogs have aggressive tendencies that require a lot of patience to work through.
14. Bouvier Des Flandres
Just what you’d expect for a bear, the Bouvier is powerful and fearless.
They were originally bred as herding and working on farms, and used to protect live stock. Daily exercise is absolutely necessary to keep this big guy content.
Of course, with that big stature comes confidence and a bears pride, they are truly brave dogs and are ready to defend the “pack” as necessary. Owners will need to demonstrate assertive leadership in order to maintain who’s really in charge
Despite their “tough-guy” attitude, they are truly gentle and affectionate creatures with their loved ones, and are great with children, but wary of strangers and other animals.
15. Caucasian Shepherd Dog
Also known as the Ovcharka Dog or Russian Bear – this is a massive breed sometimes weighing over 200 pounds.
Unsurprisingly, these beasts were used in Russian military and to guard livestock, and so they still take guard duty very seriously.
When there’s nothing to guard these dogs will sleep the days away, and are often quite lazy. However, walks and play are still an important part of their routine.
And you are right to assume that these are heavy-duty droolers and shedders. With all that in mind, these are great dogs for acreages or farms where they can roam, nap, protect, and receive some affection from their owners.
These are a unique breed originating in Germany, but are slowly gaining popularity.
The Eurasier is described as curious, calm, intelligent, and affectionate. While rarely aggressive, they are quite suspicious of strangers and new dogs – but some early socialization can help curb their shyness.
Eurasier’s are in love with their owners, and their intelligence makes them easy to train. Not to mention they aren’t overly active, so their calm demeanor makes them an excellent family pet. That coat needs some extra love however, since Eurasier’s are heavy-duty shedders.
17. Great Pyrenees
This polar bear was originally used for herding and protecting, and the Great Pyrenees still bears that responsibility to this day.
But despite their protective background, these gentle beasts have enormous hearts and unconditional love.
While very affectionate, the Great Pyrenees may be shy with strangers, and will often feel obligated to herd other dogs and small children. Their independent nature makes them extremely difficult to train, and while they hear your commands loud and clear, they’ll just choose to ignore them.
These big guys have big barks, and they like to use them. Not to mention the shedding is off the charts. This all sets the stage for a list of unique challenges that most owners have difficulty dealing with. But then again, most of these owners would argue the payoff is worth it.
18. Newfoundland Dog
The Newfoundlands history begins over 100 years ago when they would work alongside fishing boats and docks. They’re powerful body helped pull fishing nets and carts. But they would also assist in rescuing workers who fell overboard.
They have a kind and calm demeanor, but they will not hesitate to jump into action if they detect danger. It’s no surprise that they are among the most loyal dog breeds.
Think of a “Newfie” as a family member more than a dog. They’re natural nanny-dogs that will look after children. And they will show absolute love and loyalty to their owners.
A round head, short muzzle, and floppy ears lends itself to a big cuddly bear appearance.
And they’re almost as big as a bear, averaging 120 pounds. Males may reach 160 pounds! It may come as no surprise, but Newfies also shed and drool a lot.
The Samoyed has a beautiful white, fluffy coat that could very much resemble a plush polar bear.
These dogs are sweet natured and love being the center of attention, and they’ll fit right in with a family of any size. Furthermore, they’re a very astute breed, making training an absolute joy.
Despite being loving and intelligent, Samoyed’s can be a handful. This is a working breed, and require daily runs or tasks to keep their mind occupied or they’ll quickly become bored and destroy your home.
And let’s talk about that fluffly coat – Samoyed fur is a force to be reckoned with. There will be endless amounts of shedding, brushing, and trips to the groomer – so just be ready for that.
20. St. Bernard
These are big dogs with big hearts. But be warned: they share their love with cuddles, drool, shedding, and not being completely aware of their size.
And while they were built for the cold, St.Bernard’s are very much an indoor family member.
Another thing to keep in mind, these big guys will inadvertently knock over items or small children in your home. Adopting a St.Bernard means changing your lifestyle to accommodate their size (and sometimes clumsiness), and so they’re recommended for families without children.
21. Tibetan Mastiff
If you’re looking for a bear – you found it. Weighing up to 175 pounds and standing 30 inches tall, the Tibetan Mastiff is a beast.
Unsurprisingly, these Mastiff’s were used for centuries to guard live stock.
Despite appearances, this beast has a huge heart, and can be very fond and cuddly with owners. They’re quiet, patient, and want nothing more than to hang out with their family all day.
Getting a dog this big comes with a few hurdles.
Training and socialization from an early age is absolutely essential. You want your mastiff to be comfortable around children, other pets, and strangers. But this breed are known to be very stubborn, and obedience isn’t at the top of their priorities.