Bear stuffed toys were inspired by the teddy bear just as bears were the models for the original teddy bear created in 1902. Grizzly bears, in fact, were what was used as a the model for the teddy. Later on, other species of bear, such as the panda and the polar bear, became inspiration for bear stuffed toys.
Bear stuffed toys were produced throughout the nineteenth century, their appeal perhaps enhanced by the popularity of performing bears that could be seen in towns and cities across Europe and the United States during this period. These bears became inspiration for some of the great French toy manufacturers, such as Roullet & Dcamps, to produce automated bears that could dance or beat a drum, but such toys were much too expensive and fragile to be given to children. Much more suitable were the soft toys which included bears that a German company began to make toward the end of the century. It was these soft bear stuffed toys that led to the birth of the teddy.
There are eight species of bear from which bear stuffed toys can be modelled; polar bear, black bear, brown bear, Asiatic black bear, sloth bear, spectacled bear, sun bear, and giant panda. The most popular for producing bear stuffed toys are the giant panda, the polar bear, and both the black and brown bears.
Bears are mammals and are all part of the Urisdae family. They are characterized by the way they walk, which is like humans: on their heels. All bears pedigree dates back to animals called miacids weasel like animals with small snouts that lived some 50 million years ago. 38 million years ago, however, bears began their own evolutionary path. The only evidence available to support these findings are skulls of Ursavus, which is considered to be the first true bear.
The largest land carnivores (meat eaters), as well as omnivores (vegetable and animal food) make up the ursids. For reasons that still can't be explained, bears that only ate meat at one time, became omnivores. Due to lack of food in the Arctic, the polar bear not only became a meat eater, but developed superior swimming and stalking skills so it could hunt its main food source, seals. The giant panda is the bear that moved furthest away from a strictly carnivorous diet; it was only until recently that they were thought to be strict vegetarians.
When bears are born they are hairless, blind and helpless thus must rely totally on their mothers for food and warmth. Bear stuffed toys will require a good deal of care and love as well. They are after all, a child's friend, companion, and sounding board. Like the very first teddy bear, bear stuffed toys are there for triumphs and disasters, to comfort in times of need and join in adventures great and small.