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Teddy Bear Breed Information

Paws Pattern
mal-shi teddy bear dog on a green background

The teddy bear dog breed, which includes the lovable Mal-Shi, which is a cross between the Maltese and the Shih Tzu, and the delightful Shihchon, which is a cross between the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise, is famous for its warm, affectionate nature and irresistibly cute teddy bear-like appearance. With their plush coats and soulful eyes, it's easy to see why these charming dogs have quickly become a favorite among pet lovers everywhere. 

These cuddly little designer dogs typically weigh between 6 to 15 pounds and boast non-shedding or hypoallergenic coats, making them perfect companions for those with allergies. Teddy bear dogs are bright, adaptable, and always ready for fun, ensuring that they fit seamlessly into family life, whether you're a single person, a senior, or have a house full of kids. 

Known for their friendly and sociable demeanor, teddy bear dogs are wonderful with children and make exceptional family pets. They're also very adaptable, so whether you live in a cozy apartment or a spacious home with a yard, these dogs will be happy by your side. To keep their gorgeous coats looking their best and free from matting, regular grooming is essential. 

A little exercise goes a long way for these energetic pups, and they love joining their humans for daily walks or play sessions to stay physically fit and mentally engaged. With proper care and lots of love, teddy bear dog breeds will reward you with their unwavering loyalty and affection, filling your home with joy and warmth. 

BREED TYPE / MIX Hybrid / Shih Tzu crossed with a Maltese or Bichon ENERGY Moderate SHEDDING Minimum TRAINING Responsive TEMPERAMENT Affectionate, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Out-Going, Playful ADULT WEIGHT 6-14 lbs ADULT HEIGHT 9-12 in LIFE SPAN 12-14 yrs


  • Affectionate and loving: Teddy bear dogs are known for their warm, affectionate nature, making them excellent companions for people of all ages. They love to cuddle and will quickly become your loyal and devoted friends. 
  • Hypoallergenic and low-shedding: Their non-shedding or hypoallergenic coats make teddy bear dogs an ideal choice for individuals with allergies. These breeds produce minimal dander, which can significantly reduce allergic reactions. 
  • Adaptable and versatile: Teddy bear dogs are highly adaptable, meaning they can thrive in various living situations, from small apartments to large homes with yards. They're also great at adjusting to different lifestyles, whether you have a busy, active household or a quiet, relaxed environment. 
  • Social and friendly: These breeds are inherently sociable and friendly with both people and other animals. Teddy bear dogs enjoy meeting new friends, making them perfect companions for dog parks, playdates, and family outings. 
  • Great with children: Teddy bear dogs are known for their gentle and patient demeanor, making them wonderful pets for families with children. They are tolerant and loving, ensuring a harmonious relationship with kids of all ages. 
  • Intelligent and trainable: Teddy bear dogs possess a natural intelligence that makes them highly trainable. With consistent, positive reinforcement-based training, these breeds can quickly learn commands, tricks, and even advanced obedience. 
  • Moderate exercise needs: Although they're energetic and playful, teddy bear dogs don't require excessive exercise. A daily walk or a play session in the backyard is usually enough to keep them happy and healthy, making them a great choice for people with a wide range of activity levels. 
teddy bear dog with long hair


The appearance of the teddy bear dog breed is undeniably adorable and contributes to their widespread appeal. Their charming looks, combined with their endearing personalities, make them a favorite among dog lovers worldwide. 

Both Mal-Shis and Shihchons are small in size, typically weighing between 6 to 15 pounds, and standing about 8 to 12 inches at the shoulder. Their compact stature makes them well-suited to various living environments, from cozy apartments to spacious homes. 

One of the most distinctive features of teddy bear dogs is their irresistibly soft, fluffy coats. The Mal-Shi's coat is typically long and silky, often with a slight wave, while the Shihchon boasts a more curly or wavy coat, reminiscent of the Bichon Frise. Both breeds have hypoallergenic or low-shedding coats, which makes them an excellent choice for allergy sufferers. 

Teddy bear dogs come in a variety of colors, including white, cream, black, brown, and various combinations of these shades. Their enchanting coats often require regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain their plush, well-groomed appearance. 

Their expressive, round eyes are another hallmark of the teddy bear dog breed. These soulful eyes, combined with a button-like nose and a sweet, gentle expression, give them the irresistible teddy bear-like appearance that has captured the hearts of many. 

Completing their charming appearance, teddy bear dogs often have a sturdy, well-proportioned body and a plumed tail that gracefully curls over their back. Their overall look is one of elegance, warmth, and charm, making the teddy bear dog breed an irresistible addition to any family. 


The temperament of the teddy bear dog breed, including both the Mal-Shi and Shihchon, is one of their most endearing qualities. These dogs are known for their friendly, affectionate, and gentle nature, making them a delightful addition to any family. 

Teddy bear dogs are innately sociable and thrive on companionship. They form strong bonds with their human family members and enjoy spending time with them, whether it's cuddling on the couch or playing games in the backyard. Their friendly disposition extends to other animals as well, making them great companions for households with other pets. 

These breeds are also known for their intelligence and eagerness to please, which makes them highly trainable. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, such as praise and treats, and are quick to learn new commands, tricks, and even advanced obedience. Their keen minds also mean that mental stimulation is essential for their overall well-being, so providing puzzle toys, interactive games, or training sessions will help keep them engaged and happy. 

Teddy bear dogs have a playful and curious side, which adds to their charm. They enjoy exploring their environment and engaging in various activities, making them a fun-loving and energetic companion. However, they are also sensitive and intuitive, often picking up on their owner's emotions and offering comfort and support when needed. 


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Grooming is an essential aspect of caring for the teddy bear dog breed, for both the Mal-Shi and Shihchon. Regular grooming not only keeps their coats looking their best, but also helps maintain their overall health and well-being. 

Teddy bear dogs are known for their plush, luxurious coats, which require consistent care to prevent matting and tangling. It's recommended to brush their coats daily or at least a few times a week, using a slicker brush or a comb with wide-set teeth. This gentle, regular brushing will help remove any loose hair, dirt, or debris, and keep their fur looking soft and well-groomed. 

Both the Mal-Shi and Shihchon can benefit from professional grooming every 6 to 8 weeks, which typically includes a bath, trim, and a thorough brushing. This regular professional grooming will not only help maintain the appearance of their coat but also allow for early detection of any potential skin issues or health concerns. 

In addition to coat care, teddy bear dogs require routine grooming for their nails, ears, and teeth. It's essential to trim their nails every 3 to 4 weeks to prevent overgrowth and discomfort. Regular ear cleaning with a veterinarian-approved solution will help prevent the buildup of wax and debris, reducing the risk of ear infections. Dental hygiene is also crucial for these breeds, so brushing their teeth daily or at least a few times a week with a dog-specific toothpaste is highly recommended. 

Exercise Needs

The exercise needs of the teddy bear dog breed are relatively moderate, making them well-suited to a wide range of lifestyles. While these breeds are energetic and playful, they do not require excessive amounts of exercise to stay happy and healthy. 

Daily walks are essential for teddy bear dogs, as they provide physical exercise and mental stimulation. A leisurely 20 to 30-minute walk each day should be sufficient to keep these small breeds in good shape. In addition to walks, they also enjoy playtime in a securely fenced yard or even indoors, where they can engage in games like fetch or chase. 

Teddy bear dogs are also highly adaptable when it comes to exercise. They're generally content with a more relaxed lifestyle but can also keep up with more active households if given the opportunity. Including your furry friend in family activities, like picnics, hikes, or trips to the dog park, can be a great way to keep them engaged and happy. 

It's important to remember that while teddy bear dogs are small in stature, they still need regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity-related health issues. Exercise is also crucial for their mental well-being, as it helps reduce boredom and prevent the development of behavioral problems. 


The teddy bear dog breed, comprising both the Mal-Shi and Shihchon, is generally a healthy and robust breed. However, like all dogs, they can be predisposed to certain health issues. By being aware of these potential concerns and providing proper care, you can help ensure your furry friend enjoys a long, happy, and healthy life. 

Some common health issues that may affect teddy bear dogs include: 

  • Patellar Luxation: This condition occurs when the kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal position. Regular vet check-ups and maintaining a healthy weight can help minimize the risk. 
  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition where the hip joint does not fit correctly, causing discomfort and possible mobility issues. Responsible breeding practices and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of hip dysplasia. 
  • Eye Problems: Teddy bear dogs may be prone to eye issues, such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, or dry eye. Regular eye exams and prompt veterinary attention if you notice any changes in your dog's eyes can help maintain their eye health. 
  • Dental Issues: These small breeds can be prone to dental problems, such as plaque buildup, gum disease, or tooth loss. Regular teeth brushing and professional dental cleanings can help keep their teeth and gums healthy. 
  • Allergies: Like many breeds, teddy bear dogs can develop allergies to various environmental factors or food. If your dog shows signs of allergies, such as itching, redness, or digestive issues, consult with your veterinarian for appropriate treatment and management. 

To maintain your teddy bear dog's health, it's essential to provide them with regular veterinary care, including vaccinations, parasite prevention, and routine check-ups. A balanced diet, appropriate exercise, and consistent grooming can also contribute to their overall well-being. 


The teddy bear dog breed is known for its relatively long lifespan compared to other dog breeds. These lovable companions typically enjoy a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years or even longer, thanks to their generally robust health and small size. 

Several factors contribute to their longevity, including proper care, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine veterinary check-ups. By providing your teddy bear dog with the love, attention, and care they need, you can help ensure they remain a healthy and cherished member of your family for many years to come. 

It's important to note that individual lifespans can vary based on factors such as genetics, environment, and overall health. Responsible breeding practices can play a significant role in promoting a long and healthy life for these breeds, so choosing a reputable breeder is essential if you're considering adding a teddy bear dog to your family. 


Training is an essential aspect of raising a well-behaved and happy teddy bear dog. These intelligent and eager-to-please dogs are highly trainable, making the training process enjoyable for both you and your furry companion. 

Start training your teddy bear dog as early as possible, ideally when they're still a puppy. This will help them learn proper behavior and establish a strong foundation for a lifetime of good manners. Early socialization is also crucial, as it helps your dog become accustomed to various environments, people, and other animals, ultimately shaping their friendly and adaptable nature. 

Positive reinforcement techniques, such as praise, treats, and affection, are highly effective when training teddy bear dogs. These breeds respond well to a gentle, consistent approach, and using rewards will help them associate good behavior with positive outcomes. Avoid harsh training methods, as these can cause fear or anxiety, which can hinder the learning process. 

Consistency is key when training your teddy bear dog. Ensure that all family members are on board with the training process and use the same commands and techniques. This will help your dog understand what is expected of them and reinforce the desired behaviors. 

Teddy bear dogs can excel in various types of training, such as basic obedience, advanced commands, and even dog sports like agility or rally obedience. Their intelligence and eagerness to learn make them well-suited to a variety of training activities, which can also provide valuable mental stimulation. 

In addition to formal training, remember to incorporate plenty of playtime and bonding activities with your teddy bear dog. This will help strengthen the bond between you and your pet while reinforcing the positive behaviors learned during training sessions. 


The teddy bear dog breed, which includes the Mal-Shi and Shihchon, has a fascinating history that traces back to the origins of its parent breeds. Although the Mal-Shi and Shihchon are relatively recent creations, their lineage dates back centuries, with the Maltese, Shih Tzu, and Bichon Frise breeds contributing to their lovable qualities. 

The Mal-Shi is a delightful crossbreed that originated in the late 20th century, combining the elegant Maltese with the charming Shih Tzu. The Maltese breed can be traced back over 2,000 years, with roots in the Mediterranean region, while the Shih Tzu's history goes back to ancient China, where it was a cherished companion of Chinese royalty. The Mal-Shi was developed with the intention of creating a low-shedding, affectionate, and adaptable dog, making it a popular choice for dog lovers worldwide. 

Similarly, the Shihchon is a captivating blend of the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise, which originated in the 1990s. The Bichon Frise has a rich history, originating from the Mediterranean region before gaining popularity in 16th-century France as a favorite among royalty and nobility. The Shihchon was bred to combine the best qualities of both parent breeds, resulting in a friendly, hypoallergenic, and easily trainable dog. 

Over time, the Mal-Shi and Shihchon have continued to gain popularity as teddy bear dog breeds. Their endearing personalities, gentle nature, and irresistible looks have made them a beloved choice among pet owners. Today, teddy bear dogs are cherished companions, known for their ability to bring joy, warmth, and affection to any home.