If you are looking for a “teddy bear” dog, the Bichon Frise Shih Tzu mix, also called a Shichon or Zuchon, may be just the one for you.
It is by some estimates, one of the best mixed breed, or “designer”, dogs available.
The Shichon is small — about 9 to 12 inches in height and 10 to 15 pounds when adult. Shichons have an average lifespan of between 12 and 15 years.
Its coat colors can be a variety, although they tend to favor the light shades. Oddly enough, a pup’s colors do not necessarily stay into adulthood.
The coat itself is thick, made of fine inner hairs and thicker outer curly hairs giving it that adorable teddy bear look.
Very little hair is shed, so a Shichon is ideal for those with allergies.
Specifics vary, but:
- Most Shichons are intelligent, bold, active, and extroverted.
- They need, more or less, constant companionship, so Shichons are not a good idea if you expect your pet to fend for itself for extended periods of time.
- On the other hand, that very characteristic make Shichons ideal as “therapy” dogs.
- They do well as watch dogs too.
Their intelligence comes along with a tiny streak of stubbornness; housebreaking can be a bit of a challenge.
But persevere with the obedience training when she is young and she will turn into a lovable adult.
Maintaining Your Bichon Frise Shih Tzu Mix
Pets depend on owners for their basic care. The Shichon coat does not shed very much, but that’s only because the long hair gets trapped within the fur.
This means that your Shichon needs a daily, yes daily, brushing, or else her fur will get matted and quite unmanageable. Specialized grooming, including a haircut, is recommended every six to eight weeks.
Read 6 Easy Tips For Awesome Bichon Frise Grooming for some helpful grooming advice you can apply to your Bichon Frise Shih Tzu mix.
In terms of exercise, your Shichon is quite flexible. She will happily accompany you on your daily walks. She will also do reasonably well within a wide range of formal activity, making up for it by being relatively active within your home. To find out about the benefits of daily exercise read this.
The Shichon is the type of dog that will follow you around the house from room to room.
Because of the very nature of a mixed breed — diseases prone to afflict the pure breed pass mixed breeds by — your Shichon will usually enjoy robust health.
You should plan to meet with your Vet annually, but there normally isn’t much more to worry about. Rarely, a Shichon will inherit diseases common to its parent breeds — faulty tear ducts and breathing abnormalities from the Shih Tzu and skin issues from the Bichon.
Protect them from Children
Keep in mind, though, that all tiny dogs can be hurt when playing with young children who aren’t as conscious of your pet’s physical limitations. It looks like a teddy bear, but your Shichon certainly cannot run the gamut of teddy bear treatment.
Fractures are definitely a possibility when dropped even from a low height onto a hard floor.
Choosing the best Shichon
There is the concept of “generation” when dealing with cross bred dogs. A first generation cross breed is one whose parents are both purebreds. This generation, consequently, will inherit exactly 50 percent of the genome of each breed — in the case of the Shichon, 50 percent from each of its Bichon and Shih Tzu parent.
While one still cannot predict which parent’s genes will be dominant, there is more predictability than with cross breeds that are not first generation.
In general, aim for a first generation Shichon. They are healthiest and the closest you will get to the primary attributes of both Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu.
If possible, meet with the potential parents before deciding on the pup, so that you have a good idea of what to expect when she matures.
Read How To Choose A Dog That Makes The Perfect Pet and apply this step by step guidance to help you select the perfect Shichon.
A Final Word On the Bichon Frise Shih Tzu Mix
The Bichon Frise Shih Tzu cross is getting to be increasingly popular. And, with good reason. It is a relatively low maintenance dog which is an ideal companion for somebody living alone.
The Shichon also fits in quite nicely into a family. They will not eat you out of house and home and, while they do require their daily brushing, many find that the ritual is a great time for quiet contemplation; both human and animal seem to be the better for it.