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, with another Christmas-wish wave of dog sales and adoptions on the horizon. But 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 dogs — aka mechanical dogs or animatronic dogs — is smarter and more pet-like than ever before.
There’s now a tremendous range of robot dog toys 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 dog 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.
A little robot dog that's the perfect size for toddlers (age 3 and up). While not strictly interactive, this Chihuahua isn't just an inert bundle of cuteness either. It scoots along, walking, barking, and wagging its tail, and occasionally pouncing.
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.
This dog is so realistic, you almost forget it's not a real dog. It has a heartbeat, fur that feels like actual fur, and voice recognition. Great for kids 5 and up, this canine barks when you talk to it, and even moves like the real thing.
Harry, as the company calls him, runs off of three AA batteries, which are included. Once he gets going, the Dalmatian pup barks, talks, and makes other dog sounds, all while walking around your space. Multiple sensors that run from tip to tail respond to your child’s touch, eliciting songs and surprises, while his special 'Bump n Go' feature allows him to explore the room’s confines. It’s a ton of fun for ages 2 and up. When kids pull his tail, he farts.
This robot dog, great for kids 4 and up, flips his bone, shakes his paws, and barks on command. He also eats treats and poops them out. Plus, he responds with 100 sound-and-motion combinations and makes all sort of happy canine sounds.
Both a robotic pet and a Bluetooth speaker, this dog lets kids listen to Frozen while teaching it tricks. Using the app, kids 4 and up can feed the dog and teach it to perform stunts. He's responsive to voices, and follows commands like roll over, sit, and lie down. Best of all, he goes to sleep on command.
Preschoolers convinced they're ready to handle a real dog can take this yapping puppy for walks using the leash. It's cuddly and wags its tail.
Rollie has over 35 sounds and actions that your child can trigger through patting his back, placing him on his side, and more. He also loves to snuggle and kiss. Finally, we liked the included adoption certificate, which can be useful for explaining the concept of responsibility to children. Because of its advanced functions, it’s best for kids ages 5 and older.
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