Whether you are planning to add a new dog to your family or you are just getting ready to welcome your first canine companion, having a comprehensive background about a certain breed that you are eyeing is important. So, if you are considering adopting, rescuing, or buying a Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix, this complete guide can help you decide whether it’s the right breed for you or not.
Getting a dog is not a joke. It is a lifelong commitment that entails your absolute love, care, and attention in exchange for years packed with smooches and cuddles with your furry best friend. So, before welcoming one into your home, you need to take into consideration a lot of things to ensure that both of you will be happy.
Some aspiring pet parents want small dogs, while some are into larger breeds. However, one’s preference should not be the priority in choosing a canine companion. At the end of the day, you need to think about the welfare of the dog. You need to consider your experience with canines, the size of your home, your activity level, and so on.
By learning more about the background, personality, activity level, and other essential information about the different dog breeds, you can find the perfect dog for you and your family.
And once again, this article will provide you with the important things about the Chihuahua Shih Tzu mix, so you can make an informed decision before getting one.
Breed at A Glance
- Size: 9 – 12 inches
- Weight: 9 – 16 pounds
- Activity Level: Requires little activity throughout the day
- Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
- Color: Tan and white
- Coat: Medium length, straight or curly
- Shedding: Low to moderate
History and Origin
Shi Tzu Chihuahua mixes are a relatively new breed of designer dogs or cross breeds between two purebred parents. In this case, it’s between a feisty and tiny chihuahua parent and a calm and fluffy Shih Tzu. For a mixed breed dog to be considered a designer dog, the parents would have to be bred purely for generations before being bred with another breed.
Up to now, there’s limited information about the history of chi tzu chihuahua, and there are no records as to who started the breed. However, individually, each Shih Tzus and chihuahuas have a long and rich history.
Nonetheless, the Shichi breed might have been created during the late 21st century, or maybe in the early 2000s. Being a product of two breeds, a Shih Tzu Chihuahua puppy is most likely to take the characteristics of its parents.
Hence, we can expect that each Shichi could look and behave differently. However, to give you a better idea of what the puppy will look like when he is older, you can ask the breeder for papers regarding their parents.
Shih Tzu Overview
Known as the “lion dog,” or “chrysanthemum dog,” by the Chinese, the Shih Tzu is one of the most photographed and most popular lap dogs on the planet.
But in the early days, only the nobles can own a Shih, Tzu. Hence, they were considered royalty and they can even be seen in thousand-year-old tapestries.
The Shih Tzus were known as “temple dogs,” because they were considered exclusive properties of the royal court. In fact, any commoner caught owning one during the ancient Chinese times, can be put to death.
Sometimes, these fluffy dogs were used as bed warmers and were placed under the feet of emperors and empresses. The noblewomen back during those days can also be seen carrying these toy dogs inside their robes.
Fast track to the present day, the Shih Tzu remains to be a beloved small dog with a big heart. This breed may have a royal background, as well as elegant stature and beauty, but they are quite independent. They could even be excellent watchdogs because of their loud bark.
Chihuahua (Chi) is called the smallest dog in the world, but what are the facts of this canine's history? Some theories are that these adorable dogs were originally from China and later brought into the United States by the Spanish traders. Chihuahuas were then bred into other small native dogs.
Chihuahuas may be small but they are a fierce and loyal breed that loves to make their presence felt. Timid is not in their dictionary, and they are known for squaring out dogs that are twice or even thrice their size. With their innate bravado, we can say that they are the canine embodiment of the term, “small but terrible (in a good way).”
Chihuahuas also have a reputation for being loyal, especially to their primary caregiver. However, this is not meant that they are not friendly as they will love every person in their extended family.
With this tiny breed's over-the-top attitude, it's important to socialize them with other dogs and people, so you won't end up having a spoiled brat at home. Also, just like the Shih Tzus, chihuahuas are known for their yappiness. So, they can also be great watchdogs.
Additionally, with their tiny size, they don't need that much physical activity, and they also need little grooming compared with other dogs with longer coats. Also, with their zest for life and their adorable size, the chihuahua is often mixed with other breeds.
Shichi Breed Overview
The Shichi breed is an unlikely mix, not because of their size (since both the Shih Tzu and Chihuahua are toy breeds), but because of their contrasting personality. Chihuahuas are known for their tiny stature, yet feisty attitude, while Shih Tzus are beloved for their calm demeanor.
Both parent breeds have different looks and attitudes, so, you won’t know exactly how Shichi puppies will be like until they are fully grown.
Nonetheless, dogs are highly trainable, especially at an early age. With proper training, you can help this breed to be disciplined, sociable, and loving even towards other people.
Appearance & Grooming
A Shichi puppy’s appearance will be primarily influenced by either one of its purebred parents. Nonetheless, whether they’ll acquire most of their chihuahua or Shih tzu physical traits, it cannot be denied that they will grow up to be cute and loving designer toy dogs.
Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix usually had ears either sloping and upright like a Chihuahua or hanging like Shih Tzu. Their cute round faces are a popular feature of their breed! They may also come with a long and silky coat or a short coat. Some Shichis have fur, which makes them even more adorable. Shichi's fur also comes in various colors, including black, cream, white, and, brown and white.
Both the Shih Tzu and Chihuahua are small dogs, so, it would not be surprising if their offspring would take their tiny size. Your Shichi puppy can weigh 5 – 16 lbs (2 to 7 kgs), and he can grow up to 10 inches tall (25 cm).
Moreover, just like with other pets, grooming will depend on the length of the coat, and the professional groomer will determine the extent of grooming required. If your Shichi has the short coat of a Chihuahua, then, he will only need to be groomed once a week. This amount of brushing is simply enough to keep loose hair from falling around your house.
On the other hand, if your Shichi has a longer coat, then, he will need to be brushed at least twice a week to prevent tangles or mats from forming. Brushing your pup regularly also helps to evenly distribute his body's natural oil and keep shedding to a minimum.
Aside from regular brushing, you also need to include the clipping of your dog's nails and cleaning of his ears as part of his grooming routine. Watch out for inflammation, discharge, foul odor in his ears, or bald spots in his coat that may indicate some underlying health problems such as ear infections, parasite infestation, or an allergic reaction.
Additionally, you may also want to include the regular brushing of your dog's teeth at least once or twice a week to prevent more serious dental problems in the future. It's best to train your pup to love his dental routine while they are young because they are less resistant at this age.
Personality & Temperament
Each dog has a different personality, and this is especially true for mixed breed pups. Most often, puppies of two purebred parents, such as Shichi pups, can inherit traits from each parent. So, considering the personalities of Shih Tzu and Chihuahua, you can expect that your Shichi puppy will be energetic, vocal, affectionate, and protective.
Typically, Shih Tzu Chihuahua pups can be mildly aggressive when presented with new faces. If your Shichi inherits more of his Shih Tzu parent's personality, you can expect him to be a very calm, caring, and faithful dog which rarely barks and seldom causes any problems.
However, if your pup gets more of the traits of his Chihuahua parent, he can be a bit more challenging to deal with. In particular, your pup can be intensely protective of you and the other members of your household, which can sometimes lead to aggression. Nonetheless, just like with any other breed, you can correct negative behaviors while your pup is still young through training and regular socialization.
Moreover, the Shih Tzu Chihuahua breed loves to play and have fun with its owners. They also love being the center of attention, and this constant desire to be cared for makes them more prone to separation anxiety.
Common Health Issues
Compared with purebred dogs, mixed breeds are known to be healthier and they can enjoy a hybrid vigor. However, it doesn’t mean that they can’t inherit any of their parent’s common genetic predispositions.
To start, one of the most common health conditions that this toy breed can develop is obesity. With their small frame, Shichi pups are more prone to be overweight, and eventually develop health-related ailments, such as diabetes, joint issues, and heart disease.
Also, because of their small size, purse puppies like Shichi can be more prone to hypoglycemia than the average-sized dog. However, this can be easily prevented by feeding your pup enough high quality dog food and on a regular schedule.
And since this breed is famous for being hyperactive, they can also easily use up their energy. Hence, it’s recommended that you feed your Shih Tzu Chihuahua small portions of food multiple times a day.
Below are other health issues that are common with this particular breed:
- Respiratory problems
- Patellar luxation or dislocation of the kneecap
- Eye problems such as corneal ulcers, retinal detachment, and progressive retinal atrophy
Shih Tzu Chihuahua Mix Lifespan
Small dogs generally live longer than larger dogs and a mixed breed pup tends to have a longer average lifespan compared to a purebred dog. The Shih-Tzus have a life span of about 10 – 18 years, while the Chihuahuas have around 14 – 16 years. So, you can expect that your Shichi pup can enjoy a healthy and long life with you.
How to Care For a Shi Tzu Chihuahua Mix?
The Chihuahua Shihtzu mixes thrive in a small home where only a few people reside there. The owner should take them out and feed them twice every morning, or give them small portions of food divided into multiple meals per day. Although the dog isn't very active, a Shichi pup still needs to have regular exercise daily.
Exercise & Living Conditions
Apartments are good homes for a little dog, such as a Shichi because they require little space and they don't need that much exercise. Simply playing with your pup for 30 minutes inside your studio apartment will be enough to please him and satisfy his needs.
If you do walk your pup around your neighborhood, it's always best to walk him on a leash, especially if you are still learning his traits. Your pup will likely see something during your walk and he could run off to chase it.
And even if they will most probably stop chasing it because of their short attention span, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will run back to you or that they know how to run back to you or to go home, especially if it’s their first time to be outside of the house.
Shichi pups can also be a hit or miss with small children. They would love to play with kids and adults. However, your younger ones should be gentle in handling them since they can unwittingly hurt your fragile tiny dog. And if Shichi pups feel threatened, they can also lash out to defend themselves.
Moreover, Shichi pups are also indoor dogs, and they are not fond of being left alone for a long time as they have bad separation anxiety. They are also more likely to sleep with you. So, investing in their sleeping bed or allowing them to sleep on your furniture would be much appreciated.
Another important consideration with small breed dogs is the tendency of having a “small dog syndrome.” This is a term that refers to small dogs who misbehave and make use of their small stature to throw an attitude. You can prevent this with the help of training sessions with positive reinforcements every day.
Diet & Nutrition
Shichi pups don’t have high caloric requirements because of their tiny size. However, since they are smaller, they are also more prone to gaining excess weight compared with other breeds. Hence, you should be particular with your pup’s food intake every day. As already mentioned, small portions divided into multiple meals per day is ideal for them.
Veterinarians will recommend around 140 to 325 calories from high-protein foods per day. It’s best to derive their daily protein intake from premium sources such as beef, chicken or eggs, or fish.
A moderate amount of fat is also recommended for Shichis because they still need this nutrient to fuel their energy needs, especially since they can be active and playful throughout the day. A healthy amount of fat in their diet is also good for keeping their coat healthy and shiny.
The Shih Tzu Chihuahua mix can be extra challenging to train because of their stubborn streak. However, with regular daily training sessions and positive reinforcements, it would not be too much of a problem to correct unwanted behavior. And if you are not confident in training your pup, you can always take your Shichi to puppy classes, which can also help with socialization.
Housetraining or potty training is also very important with any breed. However, this is even more important with smaller dogs because of their small bladder. When you monitor your pup between bathroom breaks, you can eventually pick up his peculiar behavior or little dances that he does when is about to pee.
What to Look For?
If you are considering buying a Shichi, you should look for a reputable breeder because you’ll want to check the papers of their purebred parents.
You should also ask the breeder about the health of the parents, and he should also provide you documentation saying that the puppy and his parents have been health-screened and cleared for genetic conditions.
Moreover, you should also avoid breeders advertising their rare teacup toy dogs. This breed variety is a product of unethical breeding practices that should not be supported.
And if you are not interested in getting your pup from a breeder, you can search for rescues. You can check out your local Shih Tzu and Chihuahua groups for shelters and reputable breeders in your place or nearby areas.
The price of a Shichi pup can vary depending on the location, as well as the breeders. However, it can range anywhere between $150 to $750. Be careful, though, when comparing prices and checking pups online. There’s a high chance that you can come across unethical breeders and puppy mills. So, you should practice due diligence when you’re looking for reputable breeders.
You should also avoid buying from a pet store because almost all of these dogs come from puppy mills. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, you may also want to check out your local shelter for available Shichi pups, or even other dog breeds that you can adopt.
Visiting a shelter gives you the chance to see exactly what kind of dog you’re getting, and you can be confident that you are not supporting puppy mills.
Is Shichi The Right Mix For You?
Is Shichi the right crossbreed for you? Find out the pros and cons of this mix below to help you decide:
- Needs minimal grooming
- Suitable for small houses, or studio apartments
- Does not need that much exercise
- Very protective of their owner
- Friendly, fun, and loves children, as well as other pets
- Can be considered a hypoallergenic dog
- Can be a great snuggle buddy, and a watchdog at the same time
- Needs proper socialization
- Can bark or become aggressive with strangers or new faces
- Have separation anxiety
- Prone to health issues but can be investigated before getting one
- Needs to be trained and socialized
- Can be temperamental
- Can be a hit or miss with smaller children
This active and fun-loving pup is great for pet enthusiasts who are single or in a relationship, and who live in a smaller house or an apartment. Shichi pups love spending the entire day on their owner's lap on a rainy day. They are loyal and are extremely not afraid to protect their primary caregiver despite their tiny size.
Although they don't require much exercise, they still need to play and use their energy. This won't only ensure that they stay healthy at all times, but it can also make them happier since they are innately active and playful pups who are in constant need of love, affection, and attention.
Playtime and tasty treats can also make your pup's training sessions enjoyable, and these daily activities can also help with socialization. This playful, loyal, and loving pup can bring light into your life and help you bring a new companion or new set of friends.
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