Teddy bears are Older Than Television; their name comes from Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, who once refused to shoot a bear during a bear hunt. So, a teddy bear is a cute thing whom one would not want to kill, and the Steiff bear was patented in 1905. The label "teddy bear" now refers to almost any plush bear.
Teddy bears almost always are Beary Friendly and avert Bears Are Bad News. Teddy bears are not fierce; they like to give hugs! (Although they may sometimes be shown in children's media as bravely protecting their owners from Things That Go "Bump" in the Night.) Teddy bears rarely act like bears (unless they want to eat honey), they are just generic animals who happen to be bears because they are furry and not human. Teddy bears are anthropomorphic and usually fit the Funny Animal trope; they do not look human, but they have two arms and two legs (whereas real bears have four legs), and walk on two feet, though they are often posed sitting. Teddy bears have eyes, nose and mouth almost like a human, but also a short snout (usually more like a puppy than a bear) and bear-like ears on top of their head. On the bear's behind, there might be a small tail. Teddy bears have fur; usually brown, as a generic bear color, but they can be any color at all. Some bears have a small amount of hair (of whatever color) between their ears. Some bears wear a shirt.
Works that feature teddy bear toys:
- Garfield: The titular orange feline has a beloved teddy bear named Pooky.
- Sophies Guardian has you play as a gun-toting teddy bear who blows away hordes of Creepy Dolls.
- Ted is a comedy about a teddy bear who was brought to life with a wish under a shooting star on Christmas night, and remained by his best friend's side forever and ever... even though he's now a 35-year-old man living with a stuffed animal who's "grown up" into a boorish slacker.
- Toy Story 3: Lotso-Huggin'-Bear is a big, pink teddy bear who leads the toys at Sunnyside Daycare as a malevolent dictator.
- Undertown: The titular world is claimed to be where teddy bears come from, with one of the main characters being a sassy teddy bear named Eddie.
- Winnie-the-Pooh: The title character is a stuffed bear who lives among other Living Toys.
Teddy bears provide examples of:
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Many teddy bears are brown or white, averting this trope; but some teddy bears have fur blue, green, pink, purple, or another color not natural to bears.
- Beary Friendly: They are friendly and cuddly.
- Color-Coded Characters: A toy line with more than one teddy bear may assign different colors of fur. Taking the Care Bears as an example, Tenderheart Bear is the generic brown, Grumpy Bear is blue, Love-a-lot Bear is pink, and so on.
- Funny Animal: They are generally humanised as having arms and walking about on two legs, though they are usually designed in a sitting position.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Although most teddy bears are naked apart from their fur, some may wear a shirt or a vest, falling under this category.
- Panda-ing to the Audience: Plush pandas are a subset of teddy bears. Pandas, like teddy bears, are meant to look cute and adorable. A zoo that hosts a real panda will probably sell teddy pandas. Sometimes, the toy panda will deviate from the usual teddy shape, to take a more panda shape.
- Species Surname: Named teddy bears tend to keep "Bear" as their last name.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Teddy bears, like Teddy Roosevelt, seem to be male by default. A female teddy bear might wear a bow, or have pink fur. Or, the owner of a toy bear may avert this trope and decide that a bear is female.