The Shichon (A.K.A Shih Tzu and Bichon Mix): Everything you need to know

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Remember being a kid wishing your favorite teddy bear would come to life? The Shichon dog may just make your childhood dreams come true.

This Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise mix is also referred to as the Zuchon or one of the infamous Teddy Bear Dogs because of its resemblance.

Aside from being great with little ones, Shichons are also intelligent and friendly. Read all about this adorable breed here.

Origins of this teddy bear 

Breeders began intentionally breeding together the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise 20 to 30 years ago, most likely in the U.S.

The purpose was to create a well-tempered cutie with the smallness of a Shih Tzu and the gentle intuitiveness of the Bichon Frise.

As we mentioned earlier, the Shichon is one of the teddy bear dog breeds. Since this is a mixed breed, they are not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). They’re still recognized by the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR) and the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC).

The extroverted Shih Tzu

A full-grown Shih Tzu with a cute hair tie
Shih Tzu

Pronounced “Sheet-su,” this breed is recognized by AKC as part of the Toy Group.

This small breed typically weighs 9 to 16 pounds (4 to 7 kg) and stands at 9 to 10.5 inches (23 to 27 cm).

The Shih Tzu carries a royal background from China and has been pampered over the years. They’re long, silky coats are a staple of the breed and are often well-kept and beautiful.

They’re incredibly affectionate and good with kids. Shih Tzus are bundles of energy that would rather cuddle with their owners than spend their day running in the yard. They also have a vast lifespan of 10 to 18 years.

The playful Bichon Frise

A Bichon Frise dog with a round head hairstyle taking a walk outside
Bichon Frise

These dogs were initially bred in the Canary Islands. Then, In 13th century Europe, Bichons were pampered by royalty until an unfortunate turn of events led them to a circus career after the French Revolution.

Despite their rocky history, the Bichon Frise came to America around the 1960s. It is now recognized by the AKC in the Non-Sporting Group.

They weigh 12 to 18 pounds (5 to 8 kg) and stand at 9.5 to 11.5 inches (24 to 29 cm).

An alert and curious breed, Bichons are adaptable to many living and family situations. They’re loyal lovers, happy to play all day– doing anything, as long as it’s with you.

While their life expectancy is typically 12 to 15 years, some of these dogs have been known to live up to the age of 19.

What does a Shichon look like?

Crossbreed appearances are generally difficult to predict since their parents are of different breeds. Every canine variety and crossbreed comes with its own gene pools. Shichons are a combination of two adorably small, fluffy breeds, so whatever you get, you know will be equally cute!

Typically, the Shichon will have floppy ears with a black nose and an up-curled tail. But their expressive brown eyes may be their most compelling feature. They’ve definitely earned their spot among the Teddy Bear breeds.

A full-grown Shichon wearing a sweater while traveling with its owner
source

Size: How big will a Shichon get?

A full-grown Shichon is small. These pint-sized pups weigh in at 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 7 kg) and stand at just 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30.5 cm) in height when full-grown. Some can grow a bit taller, but they’ll never exceed 15 inches (38 cm). Shichon puppies reach maturity at the age of 14 months.

If they appear bigger than they actually are, it might be a product of their irresistible extra fluff. 

Due to their size and gentleness, Shichons are easily adaptable to apartment living.

They won’t take up too much room in the bed if you choose to have them sleep by your side at night, which I’m sure this lovable canine would just adore.

Coat & Color: Are Shichons hypoallergenic?

These dogs are considered very low-to-non-shedders, so good news for allergy sufferers! They are hypoallergenic dogs thanks to their parents, who both have an allergy-friendly fur.

Shichons have a dense coat. Depending on what your puppy inherits from each parent, it may have the long, straight hair of the Shih Tzu, or the wavy or curly fur of the Bichon Frise. 

Some common colors the Shichon comes in are black, black and white, cream, gray, red, tan, and chocolate.

Their coats may either be one solid color or patched with various shades. They may even change colors over time. Isn’t that cool?

Small Dog with a Big Heart: The Shichon Personality

These dogs are intelligent and naturally outgoing, inheriting traits from both parents.

Shichons seriously love their owners and will need lots of cuddle time and attention. They are well-tempered and make great companions for seniors, single-owners, and families.

They’re also a good fit for those with disabilities or ailments because they’re gentle and relatively low-maintenance.

They make great therapy and emotional support dogs because of their ability to adapt, and because they’re incredibly intuitive to their owners’ emotions. You can expect your Shichon to be there at your side for comfort when you need it most.

Shichons are gentle and affectionate in nature – they will surely melt your heart.

Are Shichon dogs smart?

The Shichon is a clever pooch, a trait they’ve inherited from both parents. Therefore, it should be easy to train.

Regardless, it’s best to get a jump-start on obedience training and socialization from an early age to provide the best chance of having a well-behaved dog who gets along with strangers, as much as it does your own family.

Still not convinced these little balls of fluff are also smarties? Check out this adorable Shichon video of various tricks she’s learned:

As mentioned, it’s important to remember that these dogs are pretty small, so they can easily injure themselves during rough play. They should always be supervised!

They’re a super loving breed that’s also great with kids and other dogs. Early socialization with other pets is vital. This is true when either introducing your Shichon to existing pets or when bringing a new pet home.

I would recommend consulting a dog trainer for best practices in introducing new pets.

Shichon quirks that you may find adorable, or not

These dogs may bark often. This is a typical small dog problem that isn’t guaranteed with every dog, of course. Early training can also help reduce this bad habit. Even though they’re fit for apartment-living, the barking can pose a huge problem for close neighbors.

Do you know that friend who seems to need just a little too much attention? The Shichon is kind of like that.

They may suffer from separation anxiety. For this reason, crate training is vital early on. Look into doggy daycare if your Shichon isn’t satisfied with your work-home balance and needs a bit more attention than you can give. These little extroverts are sure to have no problem making other doggy friends!

They may have a stubborn streak due to their high intelligence, which means training may require extra patience. This can make housebreaking a bit difficult.

Luckily, since these dogs are quite tiny, potty training inside using puppy pads is doable. This may appeal to seniors or otherwise exercise-restricted adults who spend more time indoors.

What to expect when taking care of a Shichon

Since this fido is the offspring of two historically royal canines, you can expect to have to pamper your pooch a bit.

They are generally low maintenance but still require regular grooming needs like brushing, cleaning, and trimming to reduce possible health issues in the future. 

The royal grooming treatment continued

Before and after photo of a groomed Shichon
source

They are low maintenance but require regular brushing at least once a week, as well as a good hair clip every few months to avoid matting.

Regardless of their thick coats, they are ill-equipped to withstand extreme temperatures.

Small dogs are susceptible to this issue, so you’ll often see them strutting in cute sweaters in the winter. You might want to stock up on some season-appropriate clothes for your Shichon, too. 

The Shichon’s fur provides an opportunity for adorable styles such as the teddy bear cut, also known as the puppy cut. In addition to being super stylish, these haircuts are also practical for breeds like the Shichon, whose coat affects their comfort and health during season changes. 

As a vital part of the grooming routine, I recommend a nail trim every two to three weeks for your Shichon. Let a veterinarian or groomer handle this unless you are 100% confident in your ability or have experience.

For many dogs, nail trimming is not an enjoyable experience, and if you aren’t super careful, you can accidentally hit the nail quick, which is the part of your dog’s nail that contains a blood vessel and nerve, and that can cause bleeding.

Bathe your Shichon no more than once a month to prevent dry skin and irritation. Always use a solid pet-friendly shampoo only, like oatmeal or aloe.

Ear cleaning is incredibly important, especially for dogs with floppy ears like the Shichon because it makes them more susceptible to ear infections or other severe issues

To clean them, use a dog-specific ear solution and cotton balls, never Q-tips. Your groomer may also remove excess hair or fur build-up inside your Shichon’s ears that can otherwise increase wax and infection.

Small breeds, the Shichon included, are notorious for having underbites due to short muzzles.

Other dental problems are also common. This is why it’s essential to clean their teeth daily.

Important Shichon eye care

Shichons have excessive hair growth around their eyes, which require extra attention to grooming around this area. If neglected, your Shichon may suffer from eye infections or other painful eye problems.

Due to the extra hair around their eyes, Shichons are also susceptible to tear stains

I recommend grooming around your Shichon puppy’s eyes every two to three weeks. A professional groomer is a safe bet when taking care of the hair around your dog’s eyes to avoid accidents.

Small dogs tend to have eye issues. You must pay attention to the state of your Shichon’s eyes so you may notice any irregularities such as cloudiness, redness or irritation, or other signs of infection.

You can watch this helpful video of how to remove tear stains from your Shichon’s eyes:

The relaxed athlete exercise regimen

Shichons are semi-energetic dogs who typically need about 30 to 45 minutes of daily exercise.

As with any pet, they’ll do best with both physical and mental stimulation to avoid destructive behavior issues. Your Shichon will be just as happy to play with you indoors as he will be taking a long walk outside or playing in the yard.

Puzzle toys are an excellent choice for this breed because it can keep them entertained for hours.

Their playful personalities can come in handy when trying to work through their energy requirements. Playtime can be fun for both you and your Shichon.

A trip to the dog park, a walk in the woods, or a short hike are all ideal for a Shichon.

Although they need to expend their energy during the day, these dogs also love to cuddle and relax.

What to feed your Shichon?

The amount of dog food and the type of diet you give your pet should be based on her size, age, activity level, and even health. The Shih Tzu & Bichon Frise mix needs a high-quality dry kibble formulated for small breeds with high energy. I’ve found a few sites that recommend a grain-free diet for this breed, but grain-free may be linked to DCM. So, I would avoid this.

Some sources have also said wet food is dangerous for canines like the Shichon. Still, it’s always best to consult a veterinarian on this issue and any topic concerning the health of your puppy.

I recommend one and a half to two cups of food per day, divided into multiple meals to keep up their energy throughout the day– would you be satisfied with eating just once a day?

The daily cost of feeding your Shih Tzu-Bichon cross may be between $1.20 – $1.40, adding up to monthly totals of between $25.00 – $30.00. Since this breed is prone to obesity, I’d keep treats to a minimum as possible. 

Health issues your Shichon may have

Shichons are generally healthy dogs and have a lifespan of 15 to 18 years. They are, however, susceptible to health problems from either parent.

Crossbreed illnesses are somewhat unpredictable. This is because both parents have their own ailments that their offspring may inherit. Some of those diseases may include cataracts, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism.

There’s also Cushing’s Disease, patellar luxation, Dry Eye Syndrome, and portosystemic shunt.

How much does a Shichon dog cost?

An adorable Shichon puppy playing with its bowls
source

Shichon puppies typically cost $800 to $1200.

The price of each pup can still go up or down. It will depend on factors like the breeder’s location, the popularity of the kennel, the bloodline of the purebred parents, and the availability of the puppies. For reference, a Shichon’s litter size would usually consist of 4 to 5 pups.

It’s also important to know the difference between first-generation Shichons vs. second-generation Shichons.

First Generations, or F1, are the result of crossing two purebred dogs (in this case, the Bichon and the Shih Tzu).

Second Generations, or F2, are the result of crossing two designer dog breeds (i.e., breeding two Shichons together).

Shichon breeders & kennels

Keep in mind that there are too many irresponsible breeders out there, and puppy mills are an unfortunate and seriously huge industry that you risk coming into contact with if you don’t do enough research before buying your pup.

Also, there are far too many homeless dogs stuck in shelters. If you absolutely must go through a breeder, make sure you do your research and ask the right questions. If the breeder is responsible and reliable, they will provide ongoing support for you even after taking your puppy home.

A good breeder cares about their dogs and their prospective owners. They will want to make sure you are a good fit for the puppy, and they should also introduce you to your puppy’s parents.

We haven’t found a breeder that specifically sells Shichons, but we were able to find kennels that may have available puppies for sale.

Where to adopt a Shichon

While I don’t condone breeding, many crossbreeds end up in shelters due to the infatuation with purebred dogs, or simply as a result of over-breeding. Some owners have personal reasons, too.

I’ve found a few rescue groups that have Shichons and other small dog crossbreeds up for adoption if you’re interested: 

Shichon vs. other tiny cuties 

People may get confused between some small dog breeds as I’m finding more and more every time I research a new breed. Here are some you may have heard of:

Cockapoo – Cocker Spaniel & Poodle mix

Morkie – Maltese & Yorkie mix

Malshi – Maltese & Shih Tzu mix

Cavachon – Cavalier & Bichon Frise mix

Maltipoo – Maltese & Poodle mix

Is the Shichon the childhood teddy bear you’ve always wanted?

A Shichon puppy laying on the grass while posing for the camera
source

The Shichon is a cutie, no doubt, but if you aren’t prepared for one, it might overrule you with its double royal attitude.

While the hypoallergenic title seems enticing, these dogs demand constant attention and love. Luckily, they can adapt to any lifestyle easily.

I’m skeptical of crossbreed-happy breeders with all these new small breeds. Shichons seem like they’re the whole package – but is it everything you want? Comment below.

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