Teddy Bear Trivia

How much do you know about Teddy Bears?

  1. What three countries claim to have created the first Teddy Bear?
  2. For which U. S. president is the Teddy Bear said to be named?
  3. What German toy bear manufacturer claims to have made the first Teddy Bear?
  4. How old is the Teddy Bear?
  5. What is Teddy Bear collecting called?
  6. From what kind of fur were some of the original Teddy Bears made?
  7. Why do some police officers and fire fighters carry Teddy Bears?
  8. How many famous Teddy Bears can you name?
  9. Some Teddy Bears work in hospitals. What is their job?
  10. At what age is a person too old to have a Teddy Bear?


  1. England, Germany, and the United States all claim to have created the first Teddy Bear. England claims the Teddy Bear was based on King Edward VII's nickname, which was "Teddy." But the United States version of the story is different and more popular. Go on to answer number 2.
  2. The Teddy Bear is said to be named after U.S. President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. The story goes like this: President Roosevelt went on a bear hunt. He and his friends hunted for a few days, but they didn't capture any bears. Finally, the hunting guide and his hunting dogs found an old bear. They chased the bear until it was so tired that the dogs were able to catch up to it and attack it. The guide tied up the bear and called for the President to come shoot the bear so that he would not go home from his bear hunt empty handed. But the President felt sorry for the bear and would not shoot it. Instead, since the poor bear had been hurt in its fight with the dogs, the President ordered the other hunters to shoot it to put it out of its misery. Shortly after the hunting trip, a political cartoonist (a person who draws cartoons about events in the news) named Clifford Berryman heard about the President's hunting trip. He drew a cartoon showing President Roosevelt refusing to shoot the bear. The first time Mr. Berryman drew the cartoon, the bear looked about the same size as the hunter. But later on he drew the cartoon again, with the bear appearing much smaller than the hunter. The little bear was cute. Mr. Berryman drew many cartoons about Theodore Roosevelt and most of them showed the little bear somewhere. The bear became connected to President Theodore Roosevelt. When Morris and Rose Michtom, a couple who owned a toy store in New York, saw the cartoon, Mrs. Michtom made a toy bear, which she displayed it in the toy store window. The bear became a very popular toy. So, Mr. Michtom wrote a letter to President Roosevelt to ask for his permission to name the bear "Teddy," after the President's nickname. Can you guess what the President said?
  3. Germany claims to have created the first Teddy Bear as well. The nephew of a German toy bear manufacturer Margarete Steiff sketched bears at a local zoo. Margarete made toy bears from the sketches. Margarete displayed her Teddy Bears at the 1903 Leipzig Trade Fair. At the fair an American buyer ordered 3,000! The American buyer ended up ordering 12,000 Teddy Bears by the end of the year. Today the Steiff Company's Teddy Bear is still a high quality bear with a good reputation for providing love and comfort to its owners.
  4. President Roosevelt's bear hunting trip took place in Mississippi in 1902. That makes the Teddy Bear over 100 years old.
  5. Teddy Bear collecting is called arctophily. The word arctophily is a combination of two Greek words that mean "bear" and "love." Teddy Bear collector Peter Bull came up with the name. Mr. Bull also suggested that a group of Teddy Bears should be called "hug of bears."
  6. Most of the very first Teddy Bears were actually made with real bear fur! Now they are made of machine washable synthetic fake furs, silk, or rayon plush. Were you wondering about the rest of the Teddy Bear's body, too? Here is a little Teddy Bear anatomy lesson: Excelsior (very fine wood shavings) was the original material used for stuffing Teddy Bears. A few hand-sewers still use it, but today's fire safety laws require Teddy Bears and other stuffed animals to be filled with fire-safe polyester filler, and tiny plastic beads (made from recycled milk cartons). The paws and nose of some Teddy Bears are just a different color fur than the rest of the body. And some modern bears have ultra suede paws and nose. The best Teddy Bear eyes are made of glass. The original Teddy Bear's glass eyes were attached to a long, sharp hatpin and thumbtacked into the head. Do you think this sounds safe for babies? Most parents didn't think so, and so they would remove these dangerous eyes and sew on buttons instead. Today, Teddy Bear eyes are sewn on with extra-strong nylon "eye-floss." All well-loved Teddy Bears have "wear spots". These are the bare spots on the tummy (from little hands holding on through the night), the missing or hanging ears that are used as handles, the threadbare hands and feet that have been chewed on, the dirt picked up from everyday travels, and the food stains and tea spills from fast food dinners and tea parties. Does your Teddy Bear have a lot of wear spots?
  7. Police officers and fire fighters often use Teddy Bears to comfort children who are lost or scared.
  8. Did you remember Winnie the Pooh, Fozzie Bear, Paddington Bear, Smokey the Bear, and Corduroy? What other famous Teddy Bears did you think of?
  9. Teddy Bears who work in hospitals have very important jobs. At many hospitals, a child who is going to have an operation can bring in his or her Teddy Bear for a free checkup by a nurse or doctor. This way the child gets to see what it will be like to be taken care of at a hospital. The Teddy Bear's important job is to help the child not feel scared about being in the hospital.
  10. You're never too old for a Teddy Bear! Teddy Bear collectors are all ages!

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