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There are dog lovers who are into miniatures, but there are those who are looking for something smaller: toy dogs.
Also known as the Shi Chi or Chi Tzu, the Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix is the new crossbreed that embodies confidence while being cute!
Before you let the Shichi tug on your heartstrings with its child-like expression, almond eyes, and endearing face, get to know this designer dog better.
The origin of the Shih Tzu Yorkie mix
A crossbreed will always be unpredictable in terms of its appearance and temperament, depending on the parent it takes after.
This is why it’s beneficial to learn about the parent breeds of any designer dog you’re interested in.
The Shih Tzu, affectionately known as the lion or chrysanthemum dog, is a fluffy, friendly purebred that always served as a faithful companion to humans. These dogs have been around since ancient Chinese times.
The Shih Tzu was considered royalty and can be seen in tapestries dating as far back as 2000 years. These temple dogs were offered as gifts to the emperors of China by Tibetan monks.
Bred and raised by palace eunuchs and considered as exclusive property of the royal court, you’d rarely see the royal Shih Tzu outside the palaces. Any commoner caught owning one could be put to death.
Sometimes, noblewomen carried these dogs inside their robes. They were also used as bed warmers or placed under the feet of emperors and empresses.
Elegant-looking and born in the lap of luxury, the Shih Tzu is one of the most popular and most photographed breeds in the canine world.
Chihuahuas (Chis) are famous for being the smallest dogs in the world, but what do we know about the history of these feisty canines?
One theory is that this cute dog was originally from China and later brought to the US by Spanish traders brought them to the US. Chihuahuas then interbred with other small native dogs.
Others speculate that the Chihuahua’s origin is in South and Central America, in the native dog Techichi, to be exact. The Techichi is one of the oldest of the ancient canine breeds, and it was occasionally sacrificed in Toltec religious rites.
Whatever the Chi’s exact history is, evidence was found that these dogs thrived in a region that later became known as the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
Chis are known for their fearless, over-the-top attitude despite their size. Their loyalty and courage make them incredible watchdogs and protectors.
But, in most cases, beneath the Chi’s bravado is a sweet and loving dog that wants nothing but to cuddle and be with you.
This tiny canine has become a must-have for socialites and celebrities. Chis are often found dressed up and inside expensive purses, which is why they’re commonly referred to as “purse puppies.”
Physical traits of the Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix
Your Shichi’s appearance depends on the parent they take after, but cuteness is the defining quality of the Shih Tzu and Chihuahua cross!
Generally, a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix have ears that are either erect like the Chihuahua or hangs down like the Shih Tzu.
They’re also known for their adorable roundish face!
They can have a short coat or long and silky fur. Some Shichis have a slightly wavy coat, which makes them even cuter.
The Chi Tzu’s coat comes in various colors, including brown, black, cream, white, and brown and white.
How big does a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix get?
Both the Chihuahua and the Shih Tzu are small dogs, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if their offspring is a similar size.
Your Shichi can weigh anywhere from 5 to 16 lbs (2 to 7 kg). As for their height, they won’t grow more than 10 inches (25 cm).
The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix’s temperament
Each dog’s personality is unique, especially if that dog happens to be a crossbreed. If that’s the case, the designer dog will inherit traits from each parent.
Combine the personalities of the Shih Tzu and the Chihuahua and you’ll the spunky, affectionate, energetic, and protective Shichi. They only want your love and attention, so don’t be surprised if this little dog acts like your four-legged shadow.
Aside from their gentle and fragile nature, they can be feisty and protective, which is why this is the kind of dog that shouldn’t be in homes with small children.
Take a look at how small these dogs can be as pups:
The ShiChi is cute, but your little ones can unwittingly hurt the delicate dog. Like most small canines, the ShiChi can lash out and try to defend itself if it feels threatened or hurt. If that happens, expect growling and snapping to follow.
You can prevent negative behaviors like possessiveness and aggression in your Chi Tzu through early training and socialization.
How to train a Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix
Training a Shih Tzu and Chihuahua cross requires perseverance because they can be as stubborn as their Chihuahua parent.
You can fix behavioral problems with positive reinforcement and a consistent training routine. Make training sessions enjoyable for your furry pal, and you’ll see her get motivated and focused.
If this is your first time to get a dog, you can get help by taking your Shichi to puppy classes, where she’ll get both socialization and obedience training.
These clingy crossbreeds are also prone to territorial tendencies and overprotectiveness. One way to correct these traits is to train your dog not to jump on you or to get up from your lap at your command.
The Chi Tzu may also be a yapper, which happens to be a Chihuahua trait. The Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix is an expressive dog, and he won’t think twice about letting you know about his displeasure.
Many Shichi owners don’t think to spend much time on training or socialization for their dog, thinking that it can’t do much harm because of its small size. This kind of thinking often results in small dog syndrome.
Keep in mind, though, that an untrained and unsocialized Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix may end up to be a yappy, mistrustful, and selfish brat on four legs.
Easy training tips for new owners
Start enforcing obedience training on day one, or the day you bring your pup home. Make sure the whole family participates in the training sessions, so your Shichi will understand his place in the pack hierarchy.
Even after your Shichi has mastered basic complicated commands, keep reinforcing them throughout her life.
Consistency doesn’t stop with training; you have to be consistent with your praise and rewards as well. Positive reinforcement will help good behavior stick.
Don’t lose heart if your Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix doesn’t listen to you as you start training him. Given his willful, independent-minded parents, your pet may be stubborn at first.
Have patience with your little pooch, and you will soon have a loving pet that remains well-behaved wherever you go.
Getting your Shichi moving
With its size, the Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix isn’t the type of dog that needs vigorous exercise. However, that doesn’t mean you can leave the Shichi to entertain himself.
This crossbreed has a lively and playful nature, but he usually prefers to stay indoors. Chew toys will help your pet burn through its pent-up energy and keep his curious mind busy.
Puzzle toys will also give your Chi Tzu the mental stimulation he needs, so he won’t drive you crazy with his mischievous antics.
It definitely won’t hurt for the Chihuahua and Shih Tzu hybrid to spend some time outside, too! Giving your dog a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise daily – like a brisk walk or off-leash play – will help keep its body and mind healthy.
You can take her for two walks a day, but don’t overexert your Shichi. If you notice her panting while you’re outdoors, better pick her up and bring her home to rest and cool off.
Grooming a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix
The extent of grooming a Shichi needs depends on whether its coat is short like the Chihuahua’s or long like the Shih Tzu’s.
If your Chi Tzu has a short coat, brush his coat once a week to keep it shiny and healthy. Shichis with longer coats needs to be brushed 2 to 3 times a week to prevent their fur from tangling or matting.
Regular brushing helps in evenly distributing natural oils in the coat and keeping shedding under control.
(The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix is not a hypoallergenic dog, but they tend to shed less than the average amount.)
Other important aspects of grooming a Chihuahua and Shih Tzu hybrid include:
- Bathing him at least once a month or when needed.
- Wiping your dog’s ears weekly to remove debris and prevent ear infections
- Clean the corner of his eyes with a damp cloth.
- Keep her nails trimmed.
- Brushing her teeth daily, if possible.
You can always have a professional groomer to do all these for you. A groomer can also trim your Shichi’s fur to keep it at a manageable length.
The proper diet for a Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix
As a toy dog, the Shichi is prone to obesity. Which is why you need to monitor your dog’s daily calorie intake.
A half-cup to a cup of high-quality dry dog food daily is enough food for a Chi Tzu. Divide this amount into two meals – morning and evening – to reduce the risk of your dog developing digestive issues.
To know what kind of dog food you should give your Chihuahua and Shih Tzu cross, let’s look at the recommended food for its purebred parents.
To keep their muscles strong enough to support their backs and joints, both Shih Tzus and Chihuahuas require plenty of protein from high-quality sources such as chicken or eggs, beef, or fish.
These dogs don’t need a lot of carbohydrates, especially since they’re prone to weight gain. Still, carbs are an essential energy source, and organic sources like sweet potatoes are recommended.
Dog food with a moderate amount of fat works best for the Shih Tzu and the Chihuahua, as both breeds need fat to fuel their energy levels. Fat also helps keep these dogs’ coat shiny and healthy.
The Shichi shares many of the same nutritional needs of his parents. The best dog food for this crossbreed is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, with at least 15% to 20% fat from high-quality sources.
Avoid feeding your dog kibble with grains like corn, as these could trigger allergic reactions. It’s always best to go for a dog food that has natural ingredients such as meat, fruits, and vegetables.
Choose high-quality kibble that’s rich in antioxidants to counter the effects of free radical damage such as joint diseases, aging, cancer, and heart disease and to boost their immune system.
If you’re still unsure about your Shichi’s diet or you need help in choosing the right dog food, the best people to ask are your trusted vet and the breeder where you got your puppy.
Potential health issues with the Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix
The Shichi is a crossbreed, which means he may enjoy hybrid vigor. It also means they are less prone to diseases compared to their purebred parents because of gene diversity.
However, there’s still the possibility that your Chi-Shih Tzu cross will inherit some health conditions that are common in Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus.
These are some of the health conditions that you should watch out for:
- Patellar Luxation (kneecap dislocation)
- Eye problems
- Respiratory problems
Though the Shichi can live anywhere, you should never leave her outside as she has a low tolerance for cold weather, just like the Chihuahua.
If given the proper care throughout its life, your Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix can enjoy a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
How much does a Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix Cost?
With factors like the location and the breeders involved, the price of a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix puppy would be around $150 to $750.
Be careful, though. You’ll come across many unethical breeders and puppy mills online, so practice due diligence when you’re looking for trustworthy ShiChi breeders.
Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix Breeders
Like with most cross breeds, Shichi breeders may be a little challenging to find. You can contact the breeders of Shih Tzus and Chihuahuas to see if they have any Shichi puppies you can take home.
- Maple Lane Pups (Michigan)
- Miracle Shih Tzu (Ohio)
- Salem’s Finest Chihuahuas (Oregon)
- Izzy’s Chihuahuas (Louisiana)
Once you’ve chosen a breeder to get your ShiChi puppy from, ask about the health of the pup’s parents.
The breeder should also provide documentation that the puppy and its parents have been health-screened and cleared for genetic conditions.
And since the Shichi is a toy dog, you want to avoid breeders who advertise that they offer teacup sizes of this hybrid. So-called teacup dog varieties are often the products of unethical breeding practices.
Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix rescue and adoption
Opting to adopt or rescue a dog is a noble act. Adopting an older dog is also great if you don’t have the time to train a puppy.
You can try checking out your local dog shelter or humane societies for Shichis or contact Chihuahua and Shih Tzu shelters to see if they have a Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix available.
Here are a few rescue organizations and shelters you can get in touch with:
- Shih Tzu Rescue, Inc.
- Lone Star Shih Tzu & Lhasa Apso Rescue (Texas)
- Chihuahua Rescue & Transport
- Enchantment Chihuahua Rescue LTD (New Mexico)
The Bottom Line with the Shichi
The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix is an adorable and playful pooch with a big personality. If you’ve always wanted a snuggle buddy that can also be a brave watchdog, the ShiChi may be the crossbreed for you.
This hybrid has a lot of love to give, but it also requires special care and attention, especially in terms of training and socialization.
Do you have stories about your own Shichi? Let us know in the comments below!