“Shih Tzu Bichon Frise Mix”
A Shichon is a first generation cross breed of Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise. It is a small fluffy dog that is very friendly. It can live long with a healthy diet and lifestyle. It is not a very active breed, but its playful nature makes up for this and so, it is suitable to stay indoors. If you are planning on adopting and getting this gorgeous small dog, here is a detailed discussion to guide you.
It is a designer dog crossbred from Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise. It is also known as Zuchon, Tzu Frise and fuzzy wuzzy pup. The crossbreed is also dearly termed Teddy Bear Dogs because of their fond resemblance to those cuddly teddy bears.
The Shih Tzu is an affectionate breed that traces its ancestry from China or Tibet. It is definitely a companion dog who loves to follow you around the house. It loves attention, yet still obedient. It is called the little lion dog or chrysanthemum-faced dog by Chinese royalties due its flowing hair that grows on all directions.
The Bichon Frise is also a small dog breed from the Barbichon family, which originated from the Mediterranean. The breed almost became extinct, but due to its intelligence and appeal, it survived and still thrives to date. It was recognized in 1973 as a non-sporting dog by the American Kennel Club.
The breed has a double coat and it is always white. The dense undercoat is soft, while its outer coat is coarse. This creates a nice texture that is nice to touch. Its hair tends to stand outward from the body, making it appear puffy, so a trim that follows its body is best to bring out its popular “poofy” look.
The personality of this breed is predominantly cheerful. It appeals with a charming personality as it craves for attention. It learns quickly, so it is essential to let it undergo obedience training and teach it good canine behaviours as soon as possible.
As described earlier, Shichons are small in stature. A fully grown adult’s weight on the average ranges from 10 to 15 lbs. (4.5 to 6.8 kg). Its height is only around 9 to 12 inches (22.8 to 30.5 cm). Looking at it, it really has a tiny frame, so it is sometimes referred to as a portable dog.
The breed has a dense coat of hair that makes it look fluffy and bigger than it really is. Its hair is long and curly most of the time, and it is silky, making it lovable to touch. It comes in a variety of colors such as white, cream, gray, tan, apricot, silver, chocolate, black and reddish-black.
In some occasions, a puppy may display a mixture of these colors. But as it grows older, it will recede to the colors we have previously mentioned. An interesting fact is that a pup’s color can undergo transitions as it matures.
This breed also sheds minimally or not at all, making it convenient for pet owners who are not fond in dealing with lots of shed fur. It is also hypoallergenic. This makes the pooch more conducive for children and individuals who are prone to allergies, but are pet lovers.
On a typical basis, this little buddy has endearing hanging ears, an adorable small black nose, a tail that is of medium length, and curls over at its back. It also has expressive button brown eyes that add up to its charm. In addition, it is essential to know that the eyes grow excess hair that requires more grooming activities.
A Shichon can live from 15 to 18 years on the average. Yet, this is still dependent on the care, diet, and activities introduced to them.
A lot of positive qualities can be attributed to this beautiful creature. It is a sweet little buddy and so it makes a good family companion, most especially for young children. Kids, on the other hand, have to be taught how to properly play with the pooch to avoid accidents on either party. A Shichon is prone to bone fractures and ailments due to its relatively small frame.
Nevertheless, it is certainly friendly and can get along well with other pets and dogs in the house. The crossbreed is a lover of socialization, so it has to be around other pets and strangers to keep up with its friendly nature.
It is jolly and it loves to play. That is why this fluffy lovely creature can quickly develop strong bonds with other family members. On the downside of its very affectionate nature, it may develop separation anxiety from its owners when left alone, especially for extended hours.
This crossbreed has an occasional tendency to bark. However, in the presence of strangers, they may bark to alert their owners.
The designer dog has no definite ideal climate or specific temperature conditions to survive. Since it loves to play, it is very suited for homes with a medium or large yard. It is also suited for small apartments as long as they are given enough exercise. A play area can be made with a surround fence for its physical activities.
Similar to most dog breeds, dry food of high quality are best for this crossbreed. Wet food is not highly recommended, and should be avoided if possible.
Shichons can easily become obese, so discipline is necessary to prevent overfeeding them. The usual bulk of food they need to consume requires one and a half to two cups of premium high quality kibble per day, divided into two meals. Discipline is also necessary in rewarding treats so as not to go overboard with it.
As mentioned, the breed is not an overly active dog but of course, it does require sufficient exercise. It may require walking for about 5 miles weekly. Running is also essential and about 45 minutes a day would be enough. Since they’re naturally playful, playing with them can be integrated with their running activities.
The above exercises ideally need to be done on a daily basis so that they’ll be able to use up all their energy. But, since they’re naturally playful, it won’t be hard to comply with this.
Exercises for them can also include games such as fetch. Aside from physical invigoration, it also mentally stimulates them. Engaging them in games keeps them away from destructive behaviours such as chewing on shoes, slippers, and destroying furniture.
Shichons are certainly trainable, even though they have a stubborn temperament just like other small dog breeds. This makes it especially more tricky to house and potty train them. Therefore, it is best to train them while they’re still young. This way, it will be inculcated in them as they grow.
With training, it is a nice practice to be firm and consistent. Patience and consistency are necessary because they tend to poorly respond to anger. Make it a point to give a reward for every desired behaviour they achieve. The results will come soon, just gradually. So, just be patient.
The Shichon has long fluffy hair. Yet, it does not require frequent grooming to keep it gorgeous. You can keep them neat and pretty by clipping once every 12 weeks.
A fact that needs consideration on grooming Shichons is that they often have excess growth of hair around the eye area. This requires clipping and tidying at least once every 2 to 3 weeks, so it won’t go out of hand. Neglect on this part will increase their chances of acquiring eye infections that may affect their vision.
As for their oral health, it is sufficient to brush their teeth at least twice or thrice a week. This will help lessen tartar and prevent foul breath.
Nail care is also essential to prevent dirt build up in these areas. This can be done once every 14 days, unless they are capable of trimming them down themselves.
Care is necessary in trimming their nails. Don’t cut beyond the white area of the nail because this may inflict pain and cause possible bleeding.
Bathing is necessary once every month to keep them clean. The interval is essential to prevent drying of the skin that may result to discomfort from irritation.
In addition to cleaning essentials, it is best to use pet friendly shampoo and conditioner.
One important grooming requirement is ear care. This is necessary in order to prevent build-up of earwax. Keep their ears clean with q-tip moistened in an alcohol solution that is safe for pets. Caution is needed so as not to allow the q-tip to get into the dog’s ear. Clean only the areas that are visible.
The Shichon is a fairly healthy breed, but due to genes inherited from their parent breeds, they’re predisposed to some ailments and diseases. It is essential to know that the Shichon may acquire health concerns such as cataracts, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, patellar luxation, portosystemic shunt and dry eye syndrome.
If the above conditions are suspected, consult a veterinary doctor immediately. In generally, it is a good idea to bring the dog to the vet at least once per year.
Where You Can Get a Shichon
It is a relatively new breed, but its popularity is shooting up quickly. So, it is possible that you can get it from licensed pet shops and high quality dog breeders. You can ask around in your area for breeders who are selling them. You can also search online for possible shops and breeders available in your area, but do your homework to make sure the breeder has a good reputation!
The Shichon is a friendly dog that can be kept at home. Aside from being physically endearing, it also intelligent and can be trained gradually to develop good canine behaviour in the house. It is not very active so it is not suitable as a work-out companion, though it also needs sufficient exercise.
It is suitable in apartments because its playful nature can cope up with the limited space for physical activity. Homes with medium to large backyards are suitable for this breed.
Individuals who are often at home are the best companions for this breed because their affectionate nature makes them prone to separation anxiety if left alone for a long time.