Americans have been adopting and rescuing dogs at record numbers since the earliest days of coronavirus. In fact, the pandemic puppy boom has led to shortages and long waiting lists with dog breeders and pet-adoption centers alike. That’s where robot pets can save the day. If you’re not ready or able to take on the responsibility of a real, live dog anytime soon, you can still bring home a furry friend for your kids — and one who never needs to be walked or fed. The new generation of robot dog toys — aka mechanical dogs or animatronic dogs — is smarter and more pet-like than ever before.
Don’t let the word “toy” fool you. There’s now a tremendous range of robot dogs out there, from the cute and comforting, to the brilliantly interactive, with wide-ranging price points to match. If you’re looking for a cuddly little robot puppy for your toddler, you don’t need to spend a ton on an interactive pet who barks on command. Older kids, however, will want a robot dog toy that’s responsive and loaded with features, and ideally one who can learn a few new tricks along the way. Either way, kids can get the benefits of pet companionship, such as bonding and play, without the full-time responsibility of, you know, an actual pet.
The Best Robot Dogs and Robot Pets
At first glance, the Dogness may not look like others on this list. But just because it's not cuddly doesn't mean that it's not one of the most dog-like robots on our list. Realistic enough to get the Petco stamp of approval, it even has a slot for treats, along with up to seven days' worth of battery life.
Granted, the Aibo carries an eye-watering price tag, but Sony itself designed this robot dog to be the most comprehensive, realistic, and feature-rich mechanical companion on the market. It carries a wide range of sensors and cameras, which it uses to develop its own unique personality over time. It also displays lifelike changes of emotion on its face, while interacting with your child, or while playing with its included ball.
A puptastic surprise toy! The Yorkshire terrier (work with us here) has gold details on her paws and ears, expressive eyes, and soft fur. She plays barking games, gives kisses, wags her tails, and makes dozens and dozens of different sounds.
This clever robot dog responds to both voice and remote control, is adorably interactive (when kids scratch his chin, he responds; kids can dance along to Fisca's three preprogrammed music numbers) and knows more than a few tricks — from handstands to low crouches. Great robot dog toy for older kids (ages 6 to 10), with rechargeable battery included for the dog.
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