Information

Shichon Dog Breed Health, Temperament, Grooming, Feeding and Puppies


  • Height: 9-12 inches
  • Weight: 10-15 lb
  • Lifespan: 15-18 years
  • Group: Not Applicable
  • Best Suited For: Families with children, singles and seniors, apartments, houses with/without yards
  • Temperament: Loyal, affectionate, friendly, outgoing
  • Comparable Breeds: Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu

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Shichon Basics

In recent years there has been a drastic increase in the popularity of designer dog breeds. Once considered little more than mutts by snooty purebred enthusiasts, designer dogs are now rightfully considered to be special and lovable pups in their own right. Everyone seems to want a designer dogs these days. And the Shichon is one of the most sought after mixes in the pack! Adorable looks, soft and fluffy fur, and a friendly, sweet nature all make the Shichon attractive to a variety of pet owners. After all, who wouldn’t fall in love with a breed dubbed the Teddy Bear Dog? Only a monster and you aren’t a monster now, are you?

Also known as Zuchon or Tzu Frise, the Shichon is a cross between the Bichon Frise and the Shih Tzu, resulting in a hybrid pup that combines all of the best features of both breeds. The Shichon gives you the small size of the Shih Tzu and the friendly disposition of the Bichon Frise. Why choose between two wonderful dog breeds when you can have the best of both in one lovable pup? You don’t need to choose between your favourite breeds anymore. You can have it all! That’s the main appeal of designer dog breeds, and the Shichon is a perfect representative as the cross truly gives you a perfect blend of two popular breeds.

These hybrid dogs are not demanding. They will adapt to almost any family or living situation. However, like all breeds, the Shichon also has his quirks and special needs. What are these exactly? You’ve come to the right place to find out. Read on to learn all about these designer dogs before welcoming one into your family.

The Shichon gives you the small size of the Shih Tzu and the friendly disposition of the Bichon Frise.

Origin

Designer dogs are a popular global trend, but individual hybrids don’t have well-documented histories. Few people were paying attention to how these dogs came to be so popular and even less were documenting the development. The origins of the Shichon breed cannot be traced back to any one breeder because the crossing of purebred dogs is not a new phenomenon. There have been surprise mixed breed litters for as long as dogs have been breeding, but that’s not what experts would consider a “true” Shichon. The history of the breed starts with people who started intentionally developing it, with a clear goal for the future. And, since no one has stepped out to claim that they first created the Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise mix with the idea to make a fluffy family companion, there’s no way to know the origin of the breed itself. The Sichon remains a bit of a mystery, but thankfully even if we don’t know exactly where these pups came from, we do know that they are lovable and loyal companions. That’s all that matters.

That said, it’s safe to assume that the Shichon shares the origin story with the majority of other designer dogs. The first litter was probably born somewhere in the United States in the last 20 to 30 years. And that’s only if you take designer dogs as your timeframe. If you are looking at all Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise mix in history, it’s certain you could find more of them much earlier than that. But, let’s stop sweating about this breed’s mysterious origins. There’s so much that we do know about them that is necessary to explore.

Pedigree

The Shichon is a 50/50 hybrid of the Brichon Frise and the Shih Tzu. This is a first generation hybrid, with equal parts of both of his purebred parents. However, despite the fact that the parentage is split 50/50, these types of mixes are the most varying ones. Even across one litter, there could be significant differences. Some puppies could take on more traits from one of the breeds, others could be a mix of both. Much like a box of chocolates, you never quite know what you’re going to get from a litter of Shichon pups. Either way, with the many similarities of the two breeds, there’s not that much room for a surprise!

While the first generation Shichons remain the most common ones, there are some F2 Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise mixes as well. Multigenerational crossing is a great way to create a more uniform standard for the breed. This is achieved by breeding Shichons to other unrelated Shichons. Alternatively, to increase the percentage of one parent’s genes, breeders could opt to breed with an unrelated Shih Tzu or Bichon Frise. This is still a Shichon, only with traits that favor one parental breed over the other. Eventually, there will be a standardized Shichon just like every other designer dog breed. However, it will take many years and generations of these pups for that to happen. For now, at least you can guarantee that you’ll end up with an adorable pup regardless of the genetic mix of your Shichon.

Food/Diet

Like most dog breeds, the Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise mix does well on high-quality dry food for dogs. It should be of premium quality with healthy ingredients. Always avoid cheap kibble that’s full of fillers and low on nutrients. Because the Shichon is a small-breed dog, you should plan to use a dog food formulated for small breeds. These dog foods are designed to meet the high energy needs of small-breed dogs.

As is true with many small dogs, Shichons are prone to obesity so avoid overfeeding. Usually, these dogs don’t require more than a cup of premium kibble per day. Split it into two meals and don’t go overboard with treats to top it off. This little pooch has a big appetite, so he may demand more. However, it’s important not to give into his adorable begging to protect this pup’s longterm health.

As always, if you are in any way concerned about your pup’s diet, feel free to consult with your veterinarian. While dog food manufacturers do provide useful guidelines for servings, all dogs are different and have their own personal needs. Only your vet is qualified to determine the specific needs of your pup. So never be afraid to ask about this sort of thing. It’s why you have a vet, after all!

The Shichon dog breed is intelligent and has the capacity to do well with training.

Training

The Shichon dog breed is intelligent and has the capacity to do well with training. Unfortunately, like many small breeds, these dogs are a little tricky to train (especially when it comes to housebreaking and you need that!). The key to training these dogs is to start early when the puppy is still young and to maintain a firm and consistent hand in training. It is important to maintain your patience when training as these dogs do not respond well to anger. Always focus on positive reinforcement and reward base training. Anything less can feel closer to abuse and won’t do your pooch any good. As long as you are consistent and reward your Shichon for good behavior, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with training. Socialization is also important, particularly when the dog is still young, to make sure he remains friendly around strangers and other dogs. That’s why taking them to obedience school is always a good idea. Not only will it take the pressure of you during training, but school will provide your dog with socialization opportunities that will pay off in the long term.

Weight

The average weight of the Shichon breed is between 10 and 15 lbs.

Temperament/Behavior

The Shichon is a friendly and affectionate little dog that loves to be around family. These dogs are generally good with kids, though you need to be sure that your children know how to handle a small dog properly. They are lively and love to play which makes them a great choice for active families or families with older children. These dogs form strong bonds with their family members and they tend to get along well with other dogs and household pets. In other words, Shichons love to love and be loved. They will light up any home and even put a smile on the face of strangers that they come in contact with. Just look at that picture! How could you not fall for one of these adorable pups?!

Common Health Problems

For the most part, the Shichon is a fairly healthy breed but it is prone to certain health problems. The health problems seen in these dogs are a combination of those seen in the parent breeds, Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu. Some common health problems affecting Shichon dogs include cataracts, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, patellar luxation, respiratory problems, and portosystemic shunt.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy of the Shichon breed is between 15 and 18 years.

Exercise Requirements

The Shichon is not an overly active breed but it does require a daily walk to work off its energy. These dogs love to play and active games like fetch can fulfill the breed’s daily exercise requirements. Providing your Shichon with mental and physical stimulation will help to prevent the development of unwanted behaviors. So always keep your dog well exercised. It’s so important for their longterm physical and mental health.

The Shichon is a friendly and affectionate little dog that loves to be around family.

AKC

The Shichon dog breed is not currently recognized by the AKC or the UKC because it is considered a hybrid of two purebred dogs rather than a separate breed. The Shichon is, however, recognized by the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR).

Coat

The Shichon is often referred to as the “teddy bear dog” due to its cuddly nature and soft, fluffy coat. The coat color and appearance of this breed varies slightly depending on breeding but, for the most part, the Shichon has a long, silky coat that may also be curly. As well, they are hypoallergenic. Coat colors may include gray, silver, cream, tan, apricot, red black, chocolate, or any combination of these colors.

Puppies

Shichon puppies look like little bundles of fluff with all of the cuteness that implies. These puppies are small and cuddly, just like a teddy bear. The average litter size for Shichons is usually between four and five. It is important to start socializing puppies at a young age to make sure they do not develop aggression toward other dogs. The care that you put into raising these puppies will pay off throughout their adult lives, so take that responsibility seriously early on. You won’t regret it.

Photo credit: Patrick/Flickr


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