© 2019, The Author(s). We present a comparative study of the charmed baryon–nucleon interaction based on different theoretical approaches. For this purpose, we make use of (i) a constituent quark model tuned in the light-flavor baryon–baryon interaction and the hadron spectra, (ii) existing results in the literature based both on hadronic and quark-level descriptions, (iii) (2 + 1)-flavor lattice QCD results of the HAL QCD Collaboration at unphysical pion masses and their effective field theory extrapolation to the physical pion mass. There is a general qualitative agreement among the different available approaches to the charmed baryon–nucleon interaction. Different from hadronic models based on one-boson exchange potentials, quark-model based results point to soft interactions without two-body bound states. They also support a negligible channel coupling, due either to tensor forces or to transitions between different physical channels, Λ cN–Σ cN. Short-range gluon and quark-exchange dynamics generate a slightly larger repulsion in the 1S than in the 3S1Λ cN partial wave. A similar asymmetry between the attraction in the two S waves of the Λ cN interaction also appears in hadronic approaches. A comparative detailed study of Pauli suppressed partial waves, as the 1S(I= 1 / 2) and 3S1(I= 3 / 2) Σ cN channels, would help to disentangle the short-range dynamics of two-baryon systems containing heavy flavors. The possible existence of charmed hypernuclei is discussed.