Milne named the character Winnie-the-Pooh after a toy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who was the basis for the character Christopher Robin. His toys also lent their names to most of the other characters, except for Owl and Rabbit who were probably based on real animals.
Christopher Milne had named his toy after Winnipeg, a bear which he and his father often saw at London Zoo, and “Pooh,” a swan they had met while on holiday. The bear, called “Winnie,” was known as a gentle bear which never attacked anyone, and she was much loved for her playfulness. This is exactly what inspired Milne to write about Pooh Bear. Pooh the swan appears as a character in its own right in When We Were Very Young.