Shichon dogs are small, outgoing, playful and affectionate. These lapdogs make great apartment pets for owners that enjoy grooming, and don’t mind a bit of watch dog behavior! Today we’ll look at the breed traits, characteristics, behavior and health of the Shih Tzu Bichon Frise mix. We’ll help you to adopt a Shichon puppy, and raise them to be a happy, fit adult dog. And to decide whether a Shichon’s care, training and exercise needs suit your lifestyle, family and kids.
- Where do Shichons come from?
- What do Shichons look like?
- Shichon grooming and shedding
- Are Shichons friendly?
- Is the Shichon a good family pet?
- Shichon pros and cons
- Adopting a Shichon puppy
But, generally a Bichon Shih Tzu puppy will be a toy dog, growing to less than 12 inches tall, weighing fewer than 18 pounds. This small mix will be lively and loyal, but needs daily grooming and lots of socialization when young.
What is a Shichon Dog?
The Shichon is a cross between the Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise breeds. This designer dog can show traits of either parent breed, so puppies can look quite different from one another. However we can tell you a few things about them for sure:
|Popularity:||On the rise!|
|Weight:||9 – 18 pounds|
|Height:||9 – 11.5 inches|
|Temperament:||Friendly, laid-back, affectionate|
|Coat:||Medium to long fur that needs daily grooming|
Common Bichon Shih Tzu Mix Questions
|Are Shichons good family dogs?||Yes – for families that can spend lots of time with their dog.|
|How much is a Shih Tzu Bichon mix puppy?||$800 to $3000. Choose reputable breeders to avoid costly health issues later in life.|
|Are Shih Tzu Bichon Frises hypoallergenic?||Often low shedding, but requires daily grooming.|
|Do Shichon dogs bark?||Barks occasionally. Prone to separation anxiety, so may bark when left alone.|
|How long does a Bichon Frise Shih Tzu mix live?||On average between 10 and 18 years.|
As this cross hasn’t been around for all that long, there isn’t a large amount of documented history. But, we can find out a little more by looking at the parent breeds. The Bichon Frise Shih Tzu cross hasn’t been around for that long, but they have quickly developed a reputation as small dogs well suited to family life. This makes sense given the histories of its parent breeds!
The Shih Tzu breed was developed by imperial breeders within the palace of the Chinese emperor. It’s thought that this breed, whose name translates as lion, can be traced back to a cross between two Tibetan breeds: the Lhaso Apso and the Pekingese.
Originating from Tenerife, the Bichon Frise is thought to descend from the Bichon Tenerife. While the Bichon Tenerife was popular with sailors, the Bichon Frise became the favorite dog of choice for royalty and nobles throughout France, Spain, and Italy.
Fun Facts About Shih Tzu Bichon Frise Dogs
The Shichon is a Bichon Frise Shih Tzu mix, also sometimes called a Zuchon.
One of their other names, the “Shichon Teddy Bear” refers to their round faces which resemble a toy teddy!
Crosses between two pedigree breeds are known as designer or mixed breed dogs, and they tend to divide opinion. But, designer toy breeds like the Shichon are becoming more popular, particularly in celebrity circles!
Shih Tzu Bichon Frise mix dogs will be small, have relatively short snouts and long coats. They will be fluffy, light but have a fairly sturdy build.
It can be difficult to predict how your puppy will turn out, because mixed breeds like this can inherit any trait from either parent.
|Shih Tzu||Bichon Frise||Shichon|
|Size||Toy||Slightly larger than a toy breed||Toy (or slightly larger|
|Height||9 – 10.5 inches||9.5 – 11.5 inches||9 – 11 inches|
|Weight||9 – 16 pounds||12 – 18 pounds||10 – 18 pounds|
Is the Bichon Frise Shih Tzu Mix Hypoallergenic?
You can be pretty certain that your Shichon puppy will have a coat which needs grooming weekly, no matter which parent breed it takes after. The long coat of a Shih Tzu definitely needs daily brushing. Because long hair on the top of their head can fall into a Shih Tzu’s eyes and cause irritation, many owners choose to tie this into a topknot or cut it shorter.
Bathing every four weeks will keep their coats clean. With this breed, there is the option to have a “puppy trim” which keeps their coat short and manageable but will require regular trips to the groomer.
Bichons need frequent brushing, preferably every day. It’s recommended to bathe and clip them every four to six weeks to keep their dense coats clean and manageable. Because the majority of hair that is shed remains within the undercoat, mats can form if they are not brushed out regularly.
Shichons are likely to shed a little, but shed hair will need to be removed whilst grooming. Sadly, no dog breed is truly 100% hypoallergenic. Allergens can be found in saliva, dead skin particles, and more.
Your Shih Tzu cross Bichon puppy is likely to end up as entertaining and outgoing as both parent breeds.
These two parent breeds have a long history as companion dogs. Their mixed puppies are perfect for this same purpose, needing plenty of companionship. However, you must socialize them well for the best temperament.
Shih Tzu are friendly and outgoing dogs, and enjoy spending time with children. They are generally laid-back and are well suited to apartment living for this reason. But, despite their relaxed demeanor, they can also be playful and affectionate.
The Bichon Frise parent has a very similar temperament – friendly, social, and great with children. They are often playful, stubborn, and energetic.
Shih Tzu Bichon Mix Barking
As both of these breeds dislike being left alone for long periods, it’s likely that your puppy will share this characteristic. If left alone for too long, they may display behaviors such as barking. In fact, barking is quite a common trait in the Bichon parent, although less so in the Shih Tzu.
To avoid barking when left alone, make sure that you introduce them to being alone gradually, with positive reinforcement. Or, avoid leaving them alone altogether. These mixed dogs generally do best in homes where they have lots of company.
Training your Shichon
Shih Tzu Bichon mix puppies are likely to end up with a combination of traits from the parent dogs. This includes their attitude to training.
Training a Shih Tzu can be interesting, as they often want to have their own way. Using positive, reward-based training works best with this breed. Due to their small size, it can be tempting to allow a Shih Tzu to have their own way. But this can lead to a spoiled and difficult little dog!
Bichons are easy and rewarding to train, especially using positive methods. They enjoy spending time with their family and don’t do well with extended periods of being left alone.
One area where both breeds can be challenging is when potty training, because of their small bladders. So, puppy classes are a good idea to make sure you’re doing everything right. Or, you could use an online dog training course!
Shih Tzu are not an overly active breed, so a short walk every day plus a small amount of playtime will be more than enough. That said, they love spending time with their owners and will happily curl up with you wherever you happen to be in your home.
While Bichons enjoy a good run, this is usually combined with longer periods of time when they’re happy to curl up at home and observe life. When they do run, they are fast. So, make sure you have good recall when playing in open areas.
Your Shichon is likely to enjoy short periods of intense activity, so agility and obedience training can suit these intelligent dogs well.
Shih Tzu Bichon Frise Mix Health
Scientific studies support the theory that creating mixed breeds provides something known as hybrid vigor. This basically means that opening the gene pool by crossing different breeds increases the health and vitality of mixed breed puppies compared to purebred.
However, puppies between two purebreds may still inherit health problems that the parents are vulnerable to. So, it’s important to look at the health of Shih Tzus and Bichon Frise dogs.
Shih Tzu Bichon Frise Health Risks:
|Brain:||Epilepsy, intervertebral disc disease|
|Eyes:||Brachycephalic ocular syndrome, cataracts, tear stains|
|Joints:||Patella luxation, hip dysplasia|
|Other:||Renal dysplasia, Brachycephaly, allergies, gum disease and tooth loss|
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological problems in dog breeds, with a suspected genetic cause. This health issue can come in various forms and will most often cause seizures.
Brachycephaly is a conformational problem that affects the Shih Tzu parent of our mix. These dogs have shorter skulls than normal breeds due to years of breeding for a certain appearance.
Brachycephaly can lead to breathing difficult, overheating, overcrowded teeth, and eye problems included in brachycephalic ocular syndrome. Sadly, this problem cannot be avoided as it is conformational, but you can hope that your Shichon puppy will inherit the longer snout of the Bichon parent.
This eye problem involves a clouding of the eye lens in a dog. Cataracts can be removed with a delicate and complicated surgery, but many veterinarians may suggest other routes for dogs that suffer with this problem, such as management.
Tear stains are most common on the Bichon Frise parent. Whilst tear stains themselves are not a health problem, they can be an indicator of other eye issues. Owners can maintain this unsightly staining by gently wiping their dogs face with warm water.
Patella luxation in dogs is also known as dislocated kneecaps. This problem is most common in the Bichon Frise parent. In fact, the Bichon Frise Club of America recommends all Bichon Frise dogs have a patella evaluation before breeding.
Canine hip dysplasia is a problem that can be managed and avoided with careful breeding. This problem occurs when your dog’s hip joint socket is distorted. It’s a common problem for large breeds, but is also possible in smaller breeds like the Shichon.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
Intervertebral disc disease is a degenerative problem in dogs that can lead to neurologic dysfunction. Dogs with this health issue can suffer from disc herniation and spinal cord compression.
This problem can be very painful for your dog.
Renal dysplasia involves the abnormal development of kidneys in a dog, most common in the Shih Tzu parent of our mix. The severity of this health problem can vary in its severity from one dog to the next, but in worst cases can be fatal.
Shichon dogs may be prone to allergies, inherited from either parent breed. If your dog suffers from allergies, they may need a special hypoallergenic dog food. Your vet is best placed to advise you on their specific care needs.
Another problem that both parent breeds of our mix are vulnerable to is dental issues. Bichons can be prone to gum disease or tooth loss, so be sure to include regular tooth brushing and dental care for these dogs.
Shih Tzus are prone to overcrowded teeth due to their brachycephaly, which can lead to buildups of plaque and other issues.
Shih Tzu Bichon Mix Life Expectancy
You can expect a Shichon to live somewhere between 10 and 15years. Shih Tzu dogs live between 10–18 years. Bichon Frise dogs have an average life expectancy of 14–15 years.
General Health of Cross Breeds
Many purebred dogs are prone to health issues, and Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise are no exception. There is a still risk that your mixed breed will inherit these problems.
Because both Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise can suffer from hip and eye problems, these health tests are particularly important to speak to any breeder about. Reputable breeders will be happy to discuss the results for any tests that the parent dogs have undergone.
Your Bichon Frise Shih Tzu mix will need very regular grooming. As frequent as once a day. Consider Shichon dog haircuts as a way to reduce grooming time. Combine this with checks on their nails, teeth, and ears to keep your dog in the best of health.
Do Shichons Make Good Family Pets?
Shichon puppies are undeniably cute. But it’s the characteristics and personality of this breed which will be more important in the long run. These dogs are best suited to a family where they won’t be left alone for long periods of time.
They also should not be expected to keep up with larger dogs or large amounts of exercise. Both Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise are intelligent small dogs. They enjoy training classes and spending time with young members of the family.
Pros And Cons of Getting A Shichon Dog
|Low shedding||Needs daily grooming|
|Outgoing, affectionate temperament||Prone to separation anxiety|
|Long average lifespan||Prone to hip and eye problems|
|Suited to apartment living||Can be stubborn and independent|
If you aren’t ready to bring a puppy into your life, but love this mixed breed, you can consider rescuing an older dog.
These little crossbreeds often have very long lives, so you can find Shichons of all ages in rescue shelters. Rescue dogs may already have basic training, which makes things a little easier for you.
Adopting a Shichon
Mixed breeds are becoming more common as time goes on, but it still might be difficult to find a Shichon in a rescue center. Many pure breeds have rescues entirely dedicated to them, but this isn’t yet true for most mixed breed dogs, including the Shichon.
You may find these little dogs in general rescue centers, but a good place to start is at those dedicated to the two parent breeds. Many of these centers will also accept mixed breeds.
Looking for a puppy is an exciting time, but make sure you prioritize finding Shichon breeders with good reputations. Requests to spend time with both parent dogs should be accommodated.
As should discussion over health checks, vaccinations, and routine care. Hip and eye exams are important for Shichon puppies. You should ask breeders for the results of both parent dogs.
Shih Tzu Bichon Frise Breeders
When searching for a reputable breeder, make sure that you avoid puppy mills and pet stores. These places will breed puppies for a quick profit, with little regard for the health of puppies or the dogs they are breeding from.
As the popularity of mixed breeds increases, more puppy mills are likely to jump on the wagon and breed unhealthy puppies. Puppies from these places are usually cheaper than well-bred puppies. Let’s take a look at this next.
Shichon Puppy Price
The price of puppies will always vary depending on where you live and how popular the particular breed is. Shih Tzu Bichon Frise mix puppies can vary in cost from as little as $800 to as much as $3000. This is usually less than the price of a purebred Bichon Frise, but not by a lot.
Puppy mills and pet stores will often charge less than this for unhealthy puppies, but a higher price doesn’t necessitate better health. Ask breeders plenty of questions and do as much research as possible before committing to a puppy.
Raising a Shichon Puppy
Caring for any puppy, purebred or mixed breed is a big responsibility. You need to ensure your Shichon puppy is well trained and well socialized.
Some people choose puppy classes to help with both tasks, and others use structured online dog training to teach their puppy from home. If you need more help, take a look at our puppy care page for other guides.
Shih Tzu Bichon Frise Mix Products and Accessories
If you’re preparing for a new Shichon puppy, these guides will make sure you have everything you need.
The Shichon isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t sure that it will suit your home, you may want to consider these other similar breeds.
The Shichon Dog: Summary
Do you have a Shih Tzu Bichon Frise dog at home? Or are you just preparing for a new arrival in your family? We would love to hear about your experiences with this little breed in the comments!
Bichon Frise Shih Tzu Breed Rescues
|USA||Teddy Bear Dog Rescue, Tzu Zoo Rescue, Shih Tzu & Fur Babies Small Dog Rescue|
|UK||Shih Tzu Action Rescue, Southern Shih Tzu Rescue, Bichon Frise Rescue|
References And Resources
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|O’Neill (et al)||‘Longevity and Mortality of Owned Dogs In England’, The Veterinary Journal (2013)|
|Adams V. J. (et al)||‘Results of a Survey of UK Purebred Dogs’, Journal of Small Animal Practice (2010)|
|Duffy D. (et al)||‘Breed Differences in Canine Aggression’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2008)|
|Farrell, L.L., (et al)||‘The Challenges of Pedigree Dog Health: Approaches to Combating Inherited Disease’, Canine Genetics and Epidemiology (2015)|
|Oberbauer, A.M., (et al)||‘Ten Inherited Disorders in Purebred Dogs by Functional Breed Groupings’, Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, (2015)|
|Hoppe (et al)||‘Progressive Nephropathy Due to Renal Dysplasia in Shih Tzu Dogs in Sweden: A Clinical Pathological‘, Journal of Small Animal Practice (1990)|
|Schuszler (et al)||‘Observations Regarding Periodontal Disease and its Local Major Consequences in Dogs‘, Lucrari Stintifice Medicina Veterinara (2015)|
|Beuchat||‘The Myth of Hybrid Vigor in Dogs… is a Myth‘, The Institute of Canine Biology (2014)|
|Vredegoor, W. (et al)||‘Can F 1 Levels in Hair and Homes of Different Dog Breeds: Lack of Evidence to Describe Any Dog Breed as Hypoallergenic‘, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2012)|
|Ekenstedt, K. & Oberbauer, E.||‘Inherited Epilepsy in Dogs‘, Topics in Companion Animal Medicine (2013)|
|Raghuvanshi, P. & Maiti, S.||‘Canine Cataracts and its Management: An Overview‘, Indian Journals (2013)|
|Ginja, M. (et al)||‘Diagnosis, Genetic Control and Preventive Management of Canine Hip Dysplasia: A Review‘, The Veterinary Journal (2010)|
|Brisson, B.||‘Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dogs‘, Veterinary Clinics of Small Animal Practice (2010)|
|Bovee, K.||‘Renal Dysplasia in Shih Tzu Dogs‘, World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings (2003)|