The Shih Tzu Bichon Frise Mix
The Shichon is a cross between the Shih Tzu and Bichon Frize. They are also known as the Shih Tzu-Bichon mix, and Teddy Bear dog. They are intelligent, outgoing, and affectionate. They share some of the best traits from their parents.
Average Size and Weight
There are a few standards for their size. Given the fact that their parents, Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise, are both small dogs, your Shichon will be on the small size as well. They stand at 9 to 12 inches at the shoulder and weigh in at 9 to 15 pounds.
Shichons are naturally extroverted and intelligent. That said, they are not yappy like other small dogs. They are energetic pups and would occasionally race a couple of laps around the yard, then dash right up into your laps for a snuggle.
They are not big barkers, but they are still protective of their household and family. Despite their small size, they can at least alert you if there is someone at the door. Shichons are known to be clingy, so much so that some would suffer from separation anxiety if left alone frequently for long periods. For this reason, crate training is a must and should be done as early as possible to ease that anxiety. If you cannot fit crate training into your schedule, consider taking your Shichons to the daycare center.
Shichons are known to be so close to their owners that they are very intuitive and make perfect therapy and emotional support animals. They are the perfect pet for those who suffer from illnesses since their loving and caring nature mean that they would never leave you alone, especially when you need emotional support and companionship.
Shichons are also known for their stubbornness, which is a trait inherited from their Shih Tzu parent. That coupled with their high intelligence means that housetraining can be challenging for novice and veteran dog owners alike. Potty training is also helpful, especially for older owners who find it difficult to physically take their dog outdoors, especially during adverse weather conditions. Potty training is useful since small dogs have a small bladder, so they need to do the business frequently. Taking your dog outside every time that happens can be annoying for some people. So you need to train them to go outside in the yard, or at least on a leash, if not on potty pads.
Most Shichons are healthy but they inherit some health problems from their parents. As such, regular checkups at the vet is crucial. Some of the most common health concerns include:
- Cushing’s Disease
- Chronic dry eye
- Gum disease
- Sensitive skin/allergies
- Patellar Luxation
Caring for Your Shichon
Taking your pup to the vet regularly is critical as your vet can detect any health concerns early on and administer proper care. For you, that means you would be spared from the greater cost of caring for your pet if things get serious, and the stress from it. Your vet can help you create a healthy routine for your dog.
Shichons also have a high energy level, meaning that they are quite active. As such, make sure that your dog gets enough exercise every day, not to mention that this breed is prone to obesity. Thanks to their small size, it does not take much for Shichons to work up a sweat. At least their energy level means that they are always ready to exercise. A simple game of fetch and 30 minutes of walk around the neighborhood should be enough.
Shichons can grow rather long hair, which can obstruct their eyes and ears and prevent you from noticing any problems at a glance. Check their eyes and ears every day for any debris or signs of infection. Your groomer can help maintain a reasonable hair and nail length with a proper grooming schedule.
Small dogs tend to have dental problems and Shichons are no exceptions. The short muzzle of the Shichons can lead to underbite, which is a common problem among Shih Tzus. Brush your dog’s teeth every day. If you do not know how to do that, your vet can give you some pointers.
A high-quality diet for small dogs with a high energy level is best for your Shichon. As mentioned before, Shichons are prone to becoming overweight. So, free-feeding is not recommended. Instead, stick to a regular feeding schedule and limit the number of treats you give them. Your dog’s needs will change as they get older, and your vet can advise you how you can adjust the diet based on those needs.
Coat Color and Grooming
Shichons coat color and length depend on their parents. The colors include black and white, brown and white, chocolate, cream, and silver. The coat could be a solid color or contain patterns. Coat texture varies wildly since Shih Tzu has long straight hair and Bichon Frize has a curly, wavy coat. So expect your Shichon to have something in between those two breeds.
Shichons are a perfect pet for those who have allergies since they do not shred as much. Their long hair will continue to grow, so make sure to get it trimmed and brushed regularly to avoid matting. Despite their long hair, Shichons are still vulnerable to extreme temperatures. During the winter, give your pup a sweater. Their small stature and short snout pose more problems in the summer months, however. If you do take them out for walks, make sure to bring a bottle of water to prevent dehydration. When inside, keep your dog in a room with electric fans or an air-conditioner. Respiratory diseases can occur if they cannot breathe properly in either warmer or colder months.
Interaction with Children and Other Pets
Small dogs like the Shichon are very fragile. While Shichons love children, children who do not know how to handle small dogs may accidentally injure them. Given their high energy level, Shichons tend to wriggle around when you hold them in your arms. This poses a drop risk in the arms of children. Therefore, all play sessions must be supervised by an adult. If you can prevent an accident from happening, a Shichon would be the perfect addition to any household.
Shichons do not have a prey drive and they are quite sociable, so they can get along with other pets easily. Early socialization is important, so introduce your pup to your other pets as well as children as early as possible. Again, supervise all interactions since rough play can also lead to injuries.
You can find Shichons in shelters that host Shih Tzus or Bichon Frise since they tend to have mixes as well. Consider adopting than buying. It will save you some cash and will save that dog’s life.