At first glance Totoro seems to be an easy task. But the challenge falls upon the art direction since he is not a real animal (at least I have never seen one with my own eyes). My first idea is to use my chinchilla (I named him after Totoro too) as a reference. But as you know, chinchillas have crazy thin hair. They can sprout up to 60 hairs from one single hair follicle! It is expensive to get that thin hair with that volume in CG.
I decided to design as it goes. First I got the model from Bin, which isn't heavy. Then I duplicate the original and put a smooth node on it. Generate basic hair from the duplicate, in this way the hair will be more accurate aligning to the surface of the low res model when rendering with a subdiv. The second image on the left shows the render of the basic hair render with Arnold. I painted the texture for hair coloring in Mudbox. Then the second step of my usual workflow is to scale down hair in the area that I do not wish to grow any hair, e.g.. the eye socket, the inside of the mouth and etc. By default all the hair goes in the direction of the face normal, so my next step is to comb them in the direction I want. To do this, I usually work in sections. For example, take the right side of the belly hair and comb them along the surface. Then I would select the left side of the belly hair. This way, you wont comb some hair in the back by accident. Well, I think just comb whichever way works for you. This can really take time!